Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Vera's pregnancy

Checking life out from the couch
I left off with us realizing that Vera was pregnant and how we bonded with all four chinchillas during the summer.  I am going to fast forward to September.  The first came quickly and my birthday was right around the corner.  That weekend my mom got us tickets to go see the Colts for the first game of the season. I was terrified because I had gaged on the calendar that Vera could give birth anytime between September 6th through the 9th.  We had Bill's sister stay at the house while we were gone just in case.  We left Friday afternoon with Vera not giving birth.  Saturday (September 7th) we were 3 hours away in Indianapolis visiting family when his sister called.  She said there are two babies running all over the cage.  We were so excited and couldn't wait to get home to see the babies.  
Babies playing in the blanket
She sent us pics of them from her phone.  She said everything looked fine, but she had to go to work.  When she returned home she could only find one baby chin.  My heart dropped.  I told her to search everywhere, babies are known to escape and hide.  Five minutes later she called back saying she found the baby in the other chinchilla cage, curled up with Stella for warmth.  I told her to grab it and put it with mommy as fast as she can.  She said at first Stella wouldn't let her have the baby, but after three minutes of gentle talking she got the baby and put it with mommy.  She said it started feeding immediately.  Over the next few weeks my sleeping pattern became like a real mommy pattern.  I was up checking on them every 2-3 hours to make sure no one escaped.  But of course they were always escaping.  At least they 'ventured out together.  We would find them under the couch, under the cage, sitting my by the kitchen trash can, sleeping on the rug in the bathroom, and a few times they tried climbing the blankets to crawl in bed with Bill and I.  It has been one fun ride with watching, seeing, observing, and learning with the babies.  They are full of spunk and adorable. 
Next time I will tell you all about them.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New Additions

Bizzie playing with a toy on ledge, Vera in background
We are so glad we got the Females last year.  We picked them up on March 31st and couldn't be happier.  The two weeks they spent in there own cages separate from Freeney and Bizzie allowed us to work with Stella and Vera; just like I did with Bizzie.  Stella didn't need a lot of encouragement.  She was only 6 months old when we got her and Vera had turned a year old just a few days before.  As much as I love my chinchillas and learned from the breeder we got her from, I couldn't help feel that the way he bred his chins was like a small breeding farm.  Don't get me wrong, the place was clean, I learned a lot, and all the chins there were healthy and seemed happy.  But there is now way I can let my chins live in a 3 foot by 3 foot area for their entire life.  I like to think we rescued them.  Vera was very skittish and I had to work with her a lot like I did Bizzie.  I don't know if we scared her at first, or if it was the environment we just removed her from. 

Stella was hopping... she caught me trying to take a pic...
Stella adjusted a lot faster.  She and Freeney play all the time.  They run, jump, hop, and entertain each other constantly.  They cuddle and follow each other around.  I find it funny that they will both jump in the dust bath at the same time.  Right from the beginning she always came to me when I reached for her.  She has never sprayed urine or bark at me.  Stella even enjoys pets and scratches from Bill (the fiancĂ©). She and Freeney were the easiest chins to handle. We got lucky with them.

It took about 2 months and Bizzie got Vera pregnant.  We figured this would happen eventually, but not this soon.  We were excited though.  During the pregnancy Vera really calmed down.  She got really friendly with me.  I talked gently to her, let her come to me, and she would take hay right from my hands.  It took her a lot longer to get that comfortable with my fiancĂ©.  Vera ate tons of hay, drank so much water, but she got big fast and seemed to do well with the pregnancy. I did my best to make sure we didn't ever over do it with the treats.  I did find out that I had to refill the water bottle twice a day sometimes. 
Freeney and Stella playing on the couch.

The summer flew by and we kept up with the weekly cage cleanings.  We let everyone out to play on the bed or couch for exercise; except Vera, since she got pregnant we didn't want to chance harming her or the babies so we didn't get her out of the cage and handle her. This summer we got to bond with all the babies.  They all come to the cage doors and beg us to open them.  When we do they stay there and get petted, sometimes they crawl onto our hand or even up onto our shoulders.  Since I have gone back to school; I take all of my classes online and Bizzie loves sitting on my shoulder or put his butt on the back of the couch and stretch out so he can see over my head and watch me do my homework on the computer.  He is extremely silly and a mommas boy! He always has to know what is going on when I turn the computer on. 
 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

One Long Journey

It's almost been a year since I posted.  I kept putting it off because I have gone back to school, searched and found mates for Freeney and Bizzie, and decided to do everything from homework, housework, actual work, playing with the chins, and anything else that you can think of instead of work on this blog.  Now I am catching you up. 

Me carrying 'Stella' around
Last year for the rest of February I continued to work with Freeney and Bizzie and have the happiest chins ever, but desperately needed some personal chin company.  It took a few weeks, but I found a chinchilla breeder in Ohio, only 5 hours away.  He and his wife have been breeding chins since 1969.  I started emailing them, asked questions, and ultimately learned a lot.  I am know knowledgeable about chins, but there are still new things I learn everyday.  And I still enjoy always hearing what many breeders do and choose to do and why.  Anyway, we made a date to come and visit the chinchilla ranch (here is their website: http://www.shootschinchilla.com/).  He told us to bring both of our male chins that way we can put them in a cage with the females to see if they would get along and be good mates.  This is where I also found that you must never allow siblings to mate, to not mate the same recessive traits in a pelt (pelt is the chins coat/fur) to avoid deformations, and how to pair certain coats to get certain coats.  Now, getting certain pelts is a gamble, but he's been breeding every coat and color for over 45 years now.  I think he knows what he is talking about.  Anyway, this place blew my mind.  I found this beautiful mosaic to introduce to Freeney.  Imediately she crawled right into my hands.  I carried her around for an hour before placing her with Freeney.  They were inseperable, it was love at first sight.

Bizzie discovered 'Vera'
 However, Bizzie... so true to his personality, it took him 3 females before we found a homo beige that didn't mind him trying to cozy up to her.  So after another 30 minutes we decided we found their mates and must return home.  I learned a lot about feed, treats, water, hay, to pet the, how to brush them, and how to correctly come at them when you want to pick them up.  Since this trip I have actively made time to talk to breeders and pick their brains.  I have made healthier feed and treat choices for the chins and you can tell in their pelts.  The ride home was traumatizing for the female we paired with Bizzie.  They got into a fight while in separate cages that were placed right next to each other.  I had to calm her down and ended up holding her in my arms the rest of the way home.

Freeney trying to cuddle 'Stella'
 On the other hand, Freeney and the female we paired with him cuddled up to each other as close as they could with their cages between them.  We got home and set the girls cages up next to the Males cages.  After a week we had the girls named.  Stella, the mosaic paired with Freeney.  And Vera paired with Bizzie.  The second week we started putting the girls in the boys cages for a few hours each day to get more acquainted with each other.  After a week and a half of that we just tossed the girls in.  They all have been perfectly fine ever since.  Perfectly mated!  They sleep together, play together, share toys, treats, and food together.  It is extremely adorable. 

Here's to the first blog back and I plan to continue to the story about the female additions (Stella & Vera) and how the gang is doing now.  Thanks for being patient and I hope you start reading again!
-H

Friday, February 22, 2013

Free Roaming


Bizzie & Freeney talking

Freeney climbing my computer
      It's been too long since I've posted. We are still working with the Chins and their free roaming. They are doing great. We've even gotten brave and let them run about at the same time. This isn't always easy, because they are both so curious about one another. They get way too excited and jump on each other, which makes one of them nervous and they pee.... everywhere... a lot!! Their favorite thing is when we make them forts to hide in out of the pillows.  The jump, hop, run all over the bed.  I will say I am very surprised that they don't take the initiative to hop off of the bed and explore.  Both Freeney & Bizzie have hopped off the bed, but they've only done it twice.  So they have been learning to back away from the edge when we say "no", "stay", "stop", so that is really impressive. 
                                                                                         
                                                                                          They are such happy and lovable chins! 
     Not a whole lot new or exciting, just the normal run of the mill. That is good news though, no sick chins, just extreme happy chins. They've been chewing up tons of sticks from the pet store. We've been hanging them from their cages, they cant get enough. They have also been tearing up alfalfa sticks.  We got them plain and corn flavored.  If there are any other chinchilla lovers, or care takers out there that read this... PLEASE, pass on any treats that your chins love.  I am always interested in sharing stories and info on here with you!  Here are a handful of pics. Enjoy!




Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Another Fun Play Time


Me holding Freeney
     We've been working on making more fun playtime for Bizzie & Freeney outside the cage.  Since we've been doing this they have become more lovable and enjoy the holding, cuddling, and of course the freedom.  We have gotten cautious, yet brave with our roaming.  A few times playing in the living room, Freeney has chosen to not leave from under the couch, mainly because he knows he must go back to the cage.  Poor fella, doesn't get to always be free. We just don't want him to get brave and make his way to the light outlet.  This idea is extremely terrifying for me.  My boyfriend and I started plotting out new places for them to play where it would be safe for them just in case they got into a place that would be harder for us to get to them.  We came up with the bedroom.  Yes, the bedroom.... We have a huge king size bed, 1 dresser (that isn't open on the bottom, covers the floor), and 1 bedside table (that also is solid along the bottom with no opening for them to get into).  The bedroom doesn't have a lot of nick-knacks, crazy things for them to get into, really the bare minimum.  So we each lie along the edge and let them roam free.  They love to hid in the pillows and play around.  We've even gotten brave and let them both roam on the bed at the same time.  This has definitely helped them get to know each other better.  So far so good.  Baby steps, but it has helped their overall happiness, personalities, and tires them out with added exercise.  We will be keeping this up!  Sorry this is a short one.  More updates soon!