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CavyLover94
12-15-07, 10:47 am
I just got my first chinchilla on Monday but I know almost nothing about them. Can anyone help?

What is the best way to pick them up? How do you tame them? Is there anything special you need to do for males that you don't need to do for females? What kind of treats can I feed him and how many a day?

Sorry about all of the questions. I just want to make him happy. I will post pictures next week.

CavyLover94
01-31-08, 07:28 pm
Well our digital camera broke so I guess there won't be any pictures. Vinny is a standard gray.

Anyway, I was thinking about getting a mouse. How do you care for them?

wickedrodent
01-31-08, 07:42 pm
I would advise against getting anymore animals until you at least know how to properly care for the ones that you currently have.

I honestly know nothing about Chins but you could private message Susan, she has 4, I believe.

Cavy Carnage
02-01-08, 09:24 am
Well first off you need a very large cage, definatley needs to be tall as chinchilla's love to climb. I wouldn't recommend a C&C cage as they also love to chew and wil make short work of cable ties. I have seen cages made out of old wardrobes with shelves/ extra levels added. They don't like handled but love to run around. You need to have a sand bath available all the time for them to roll around in to keep the fur in good condition. If you google chinchillas I am sure you will find chinchilla forums/ care pages.
I also agree with wickedrodent that you should wait till Vinny is settled in and happy till you even think about getting another animal.

Sammy and Peanut
02-01-08, 04:38 pm
Well, I don't have a chin, but I know a way to hold them. old them just like a baby over your shoulder. Closer to you would probably make them feel more secure.

Biscuit
02-04-08, 04:21 pm
So, I'm not exactly sure what the "over the shoulder" thing means.

Chins need to feel supported when picked up like a guinea pig. However, chins have a "floating" ribcage that is very easily injured. So you never, ever want to squeeze a chinchilla across the middle.

The main thing is to give your new chin time to get used to you. Do not chase him/her around trying to catch them, do not force them into your lap like you might a guinea pig. With chins, everything is to be on their terms for them to best and most comfortably get used to you. Chasing your chinchilla around in circles and trying to "grab" them out of the cage is a common mistake early on. Chins have extremely long memories! I would spend time sitting next to the cage at first. Talk to him, sing to him...

Chins will also chew anything and everything. You cannot have any plastic in the cage. Even a small amount can result in a GI blockage. In my opinion GI problems are even more urgent in chins than guinea pigs.

While many guinea pigs do not "enjoy" being held, the majority of chinchillas will spend most of their life barely tolerating it. They will squirm and such. Some do like light rubbing (called scritches) behind the ears or on the chin, but not all.

Males need to have a hair ring check. This is where you check the hair around their penis as it can get clumped up around there and cause them extreme discomfort.

Chins need a simple diet of a high quality pellet (Oxbow, Tradition, Mazuri), fresh timothy hay (APD, Kleenmama, same hay this forum considered good for piggies), and water. They are sensitive to giardia, so tap water and brita type filters are not okay. I use reserve osmosis filtered water available in big jugs from the grocery store. You can also bring your own bottles and use one of those filling stations. Just ensure it is reverse osmosis filtered.

Chins should not be fed vegetables or sweet treats. As with guinea pigs, most of the things in pet stores are bad. They cannot process sugar in their system. Raisins, the once popular chin treat, are now frowned upon. Good treats are the occasional unsweetened shreddies cereal, non instant oats,

Chins teeth grow fast and are not generally kept properly short from pellets and hay like guinea pigs. They should have things like natural pumice, loofah, untreated apple sticks to gnaw on.

C&C cages are not good for chins and you can read about that in other threads. Ferret Nation cages (with plastic removed and untreated pine shelves in place, home-made melamine & wire, quality cage, and Martin's all make good chin cages (google is your friend, I am not).

Store-bought wheels are dangerous. Quality cage sells an excellent wheel as well, the Chin-Spin.

Chins need dust baths. They should not get wet, as their fur is very dense. Dusting not only cleans and dries their fur deep down, it makes them happy. Do not leave the dust in their cage all the time, they will poo and pee in it. Store bought dust, or sand, is not very good in quality. Some are even bad for the lungs. The scented dust baths are horrid. The best dusts are Blue Cloud and Blue Sparkle.

Like guinea pigs, the poo is a good window into the GI health of your chin. Poos are slightly smaller than guinea pigs, being the size of a tic tac roughly. They should be mostly uniform in color and not be squeezed off at the ends. Small poos can indicate a GI statis, bloat, or blockage problem which is very serious. Wet poos can be equally serious, indicating a bacterial infection, particularly giardia. Chinchilla poo doesn't really have an odor, so odor can be a bad sign as well.

I see from previous posts you have been looking into chin information since 12/15. It's a little sad you went ahead and got one and still haven't found much information in that time.

Here is some good nutrition info on a rescue site:
Chin Rescue, Info & Supplies | The important thing is education and supplying the best for your chinchildren! (http://www.sinfulchins.com/chinchillanutrition.htm)
And Housing and Accessories page:
Chin Rescue, Info & Supplies | The important thing is education and supplying the best for your chinchildren! (http://www.sinfulchins.com/chinhousingaccessories.htm)

Her page also sells some excellent houses and toys for chins. Mine love the stuff I just got from her.

Other than that, I swear I'm going to put together a rescue friendly online supplies guide for chins. It's just a bit time consuming to do this considering I am only willing to do it at work because then I can get paid while you know, not working. :D

Biscuit
02-04-08, 04:28 pm
Worth adding to a separate post so the reader does not get lost/confused:

Chinchilla savvy vets are even harder to find than guinea pig vets, but just as important! Keeping up on information about them is your responsibility. I do not know of a good rescue only chinchilla forum...

The best forum for chinchilla information I have found allows a variety of breeders and ranchers for the sake of gathering information. 95% of the major rescues are members. They are quick to discourage and even berate an irresponsible breeder but will not ban them. You may PM me for that forum info but I will never post it here.

Susan9608
02-05-08, 12:44 pm
Biscuit, love, love, love your post on chins! Perhaps you could write up a chin reference guide for us! that would be fabulous.

Where can I find natural pumice? I've never thought about giving my guys that to chew on.

Also, CavyLover - I really think you should concentrate on the pets you have and not fall into the "collector" mentality. It's much better to have a small number of pets who are exquisitely cared for then a large menagerie that are in poor condition.

Biscuit
02-07-08, 09:16 am
Pumice, hammocks, adorable hay boxes, wood tunnels, food, dust, willow stuff, mats (my chins love the mats), chubes, sticks, etc, and more!
Chincessories (http://www.geocities.com/forchinatechins/chincessories)

You do have to do the email/paypal thing, but she's a very good seller and has a great reputation and such. She's also a rescue.

Her wheels are a great alternative to the $50 chinspin. At $18, it's apparently pretty loud, but very safe and lasts.

She also sometimes has special baskets or packages of things where all proceeds go to a certain batch of rescued chins.

CavyLover94
03-14-08, 06:21 pm
Well, I've decided against getting a mouse and I'm going to enjoy the pets I currenly have the many years to come.

I didn't just get Vinny. Someone I know couldn't keep him any more and she wanted him to go to someone she knew. I made the mistake of accepting him without knowing enough about them though.

I now know enough about chinchillas to make sure that he is happy and healthy: dust bath several times a week, no sugary treats, several hours of playtime a day, tall cage with many ledges, letting him choose what and when he wants to do something, etc. I have not had a chance to look for a cagemate for him but I think that if I spend enough time talking to him and giving him chin scratches during the evening and morning he will be happy.

I hope that this is all the right information and thank you for your input.