Friday, December 14, 2012

Important must knows about young chinchillas...

     This morning we did the daily cleaning of the cage.  Lots of poo and the usual favorite spots to pee.  We have the monumental cages, of all cages!! 4 LEVELS of awesome chinchilla fun.  The size is amazing for them.  They both get two levels to themselves.  Bizzie lives on the top two levels and Freeney on the bottom two.  No worries though, they have tons of toys to be entertained with. Yes, they are separated and visit each other from time to time.  We keep them separated because they are both males and we want to get them mates soon.  Bizzie is 9 months and Freeney is 5 months old. 

     Now, on to important cages, toys, food and etc.  It is extremely important to keep them in a huge cage.  They are constantly chewing and eating, so they need LOTS of running and play space.  They are very energetic, bouncy, and can be hyper animals.  Not to mention, they can hop/jump up to 6 feet.  The bigger the better, unfortunately cages can be costly, but going for it will be worth it in the long run!  Chins require lots of exercise, because they will eat constantly and nap for hours at at time.  So when they are ready to run, they run hard.  Every chin needs at least 1 wheel.  They grow super fast, so to save money, just got for it and buy a big one.  Chins can get arthritis so they must have a wheel that is solid.  Do NOT get the ones they sale that are the wire ones with the square holes.  Chins are known to get toes, feet, and finger caught.  Which often leads to broken limbs.  If a broken limb occurs their overall health with decline fast.  So please make sure to get the correct toys to avoid any injuries and damage to your chins health. Another form of exercise we have for our chins, is the big hamster balls.  We have purchased the biggest ball that you can get.  This way as they grow older, we know they will always fit in it.  We put them in their balls and this allows them to travel anywhere in the house.  They cant get themselves stuck behind furniture, cant get to cords and chew, or crawl into or behind any kitchen or laundry appliances.  They love it because they can follow us anywhere in the house while getting some running exercise.
     They will require lots of chew toys.  UNTREATED wood is best.  They will chew, chew, and chew.  I highly recommend getting the toys that hang.  Our chins love the hanging ones the best.  They are usually sold with 1-4 blocks of wood.  There are also great hay intertwined balls with bells on the inside.  They love them.  We also save our paper towel holders and cut them up and throw them in the cages.  They love to chew cardboard.  Cardboard that doesn't have paint/die/color, glue, etc will be fine for them to chew.  This is why I don't use the cardboard from toilet paper. 
     Their food bowls are filled each day with a mix of pellets and Charlie Chinchilla food. We constantly use Timothy Hay.  Between the hay and this brand of food, they get the hard grains and nutrients they need the most of.  We also provide salt rings for them to chew on.  They are extremely cheap and help with avoiding dehydration.  They must have a clean water bottle or bowl of water every day.  Snacks... oh yeah, they love them.  Due to the type of stomach/digestive system they have, there are very few human food items they can have.  Here are a list that they can have:  raisins (once a week), Goji Berries, Rosehips, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts (no more than twice a week though due to high fat content), animal crackers, & banana chips.  They do love tons of hay and its the best thing for them. 
    Bedding, the most important part for the bottom of your cage.  You can get wood chips, paper bedding (which I hate), or rabbit or kitten pellets used for litter boxes.  This is what we use, and we get the odor control.  Chins aren't very smelly, thank goodness, but the odor control will allow you to go a month for each changing. 
    Hiding and napping.  They will nap anywhere, however, they do love darker places for hiding and sleeping.  I say hiding, but its more related to feeling safe.  Igloos, yes... the plastic igloos you can find in your local pet store are perfect.  Just like the wheels, just go ahead and get the biggest igloo.  Chins do get attached to their toys, hiding places, and owners.  So if you just get the biggest igloo, they will have it their whole 18-22 years of life.  They will also nap in their baths a lot.  Make sure each chin has their own dust bath.  You hear right, dust bath.  Due to the type skin they have, they bathe in dust.  
    I think this is a great start for beginning your journey with getting a chin and creating it's new home.  There will be tons more I am sure.  Please feel free to ask questions. 

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