Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chinchilla Update... and Toads Singing

           It's been busy around our household.  Bizzie has been doing outstanding with his attitude/social behavior!  I can't believe it.  We've had family by for an hour visit or so and he allowed them to even hold and per him. 

Bizzie climbing daddy's arm

       Very impressed mommy here!  He really loves to climb our arms.  This is a show of dominance.  To let us know he is in charge.  Obviously he isn't, but we do let him climb.  I think it has helped him adjust and warm up to us a lot faster.  I'm OK with the occasionally climbing on our arms since there is no more barking and biting.  He has become one extremely happy chinchilla.  We still make sure to keep up with the gentle and happy talk.  When he does well and behaves nice we make sure to give him a treat.  Not too often, but when he really deserves it.  That way he knows we appreciate him and his understanding. 

Freeney running the wheel

       There has be one set back with our home being busy.  The chins wheels broke.  So for almost 2 weeks they have not been able to run.  They've been extremely bored.  Luckily for them, today was payday, so they got new wheels, and sticks and blocks to chew on.  I'm sure they feel that today is their birthday.  Freeney has been running constantly on his wheel.  He's been hopping and jumping in and out of it all day.  We've nicknamed him Freeney Gump with all the running he's been doing.  But we are just glad to get them active again and moving about.  It has also cut back on his begging to get out and play.  Bizzie on the other hand, still has yet to really utilize his wheel.  I'm sure you remember when we first got him that I told you the wheel they had in his cage he couldn't even fit into or actually use.  He finally got use to the wheel we gave him, but I think it is going to take a day or so for him to re-learn the "running" thing.  He has adapted to it and used it for napping today.  
Lizzie napping....

Toad swimming
        Now onto the Toads.  Haven't talked about them.  They are doing GREAT!  We fed them their crickets today.   Change their water 2-3 times a week.  The ground is changed every other month.  There are 4 Fire Bellied Toads that live in 1 tank.  We know that they are doing great because for the last 3 weeks they have been singing non-stop all night long.  We can hear them singing while the chinchillas run all over their cage at night.  We need to start closing the bedroom door more often...  Anyway, we are getting ready to move the toads into a tank that is three times the size that they have now.  I also plan to buy the last 4 Fire Bellied Toads at the pet store.  I've gotten some more plants and rocks to make it very lovely in there for them.  The more singing they do, the more mating happens.  I'm just curious to see if we can get any eggs laid in the water holes.  Here are two pics of 2 different toads.  More to come... We have 2 green, 2 brown, and 1 tan.  

Toad hiding in plant

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Training and Learning Continues...

          Bizzie is just BRILLIANT!  We have no complaints here.  He is still eating from our hands, allowing us to pet him, greets us at the cage door, doesn't hop/jump out when we leave the cage doors open, and lets us love on him willingly.  Lately he has allowed us both to pick him up and carry him about. Cute pics oming soon.  Regardless how impressed we are with the improvement and willingness to adapt to us...

Checking his cage out from the "outside"

     Freeney, on the other hand... well, his need for attention still has him chewing on his cage.  So my boyfriend and I decided, maybe we should let him run about the couch like we use to allow him to before we got Bizzie.  This should remind him that he behaves so well and has a great personality, that he can roam free.  Well over the last week or two, this free roaming has spread to our legs, to the coffee table, and even a few hops to the floor.  He LOVES coming out of his cage!  He is now constantly wanting to come out and play.  He sits at his cage door and waits for it to be opened.  Freeney will stare at us, hop about, put his hand on the cage door, sometimes beg like a puppy... and when that isn't enough, he'll squeak.  Its too cute, but he is getting braver.  The last few times we've allowed him to walk out of the cage door.  He slowly walks out, looks around the room, then he is off like a mad man.  Now this is his favorite thing to do.  Tonight after dinner, we were sitting there watching Criminal Minds (the chins watch tv too) and I looked over during a commercial break... and what do you know, Freeney is there perched ready to roam.  So we let him out and about. He is getting so brave, its getting harder for us to get him back into his cage. 

Freeney sitting on his cage door

         As soon as we put him back inside his cage, he hops right back to the door.  Sometimes he refuses to remove his butt from the cage door not allowing us to close him in.  This makes us laugh a lot.  So he turns around thinking he can go right back into the living room.  We have some sassy chins on our hands!  I think it is mainly because they are restless.  The other day both of their wheels broke.  Its a good thing this is week includes payday.  I'm back to the store for new wheels. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Life is GOOD!

Sorry for delaying in writing a new post.  We've been working with Bizzie on the "changing his attitude" topic that I discussed last week.  BOY OH BOY... where do I start.  He is like a completely new chin.  He doesn't bark and bite anymore, except the normal, everyday nip and chew from time to time like all chins do.  No more angry forceful bites though.  I'm so proud.  That night I posted the blog about wanting him to feel loved, wanted, and to make sure that he knew he is ours forever.  So I began working asap.  I stopped chasing him with my hands around the cage to pet him.  I did continue to talk softly though and offer my hands out to allow him to come to me.  This prompted him to come to me on his own terms.  He smelled me and nibbled on me each time I allowed him to come to me.  Over the next 2-3 days I continued this pattern.  He then started eating out of my hand, instead of just taking the piece of food or snack from me and running away with it in his hands.  By the fourth day, he allowed me to reach in and pet him.  He didn't run or move or hide!  I continue to talk in soft voices, baby voices, and happy chatter when I get close.  Now he runs to the door of the cage to greet me like Freeney does.  Bizzie even allows my boyfriend to reach in and touch him without barking and hiding anymore.  We are super excited and proud to have a happy chin now.  He is hopping all over the place, loves the treats, and enjoys running freely around the house in the ball.  He got so excited today he met me at the door and crawled up my  hands to hold him.  Its like a whole new world... Bizzie's new life is GOOD!

This being said... Freeney has gotten rotten.  He has been biting the cage and pouting.  I think he feels left out or not the favorite anymore.  But I'm trying to make sure to give him some extra attention too.  I've been working a lot and excited that I've been successful with Bizzie, but don't want to have Freeney act out due to helping Bizzie adjust. 

Sorry for not having great new pictures today.  I've not taken any recently due to my mission fixing his anti-social attitude.  Boy, am I glad it has worked! :)  Lots of new pictures to come soon. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Personality & Attitude City

     Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  The last week or so has been tons of fun.  I've enjoyed being at home and getting to know Freeney and Bizzie a lot better.  They sure are two completely different chinchillas.  Besides the obvious, coat classification, they have complete opposite personalities and attitudes. 

Freeney Gives me Kisses
Freeney is fun loving and cant get enough baby talk, hugs, kisses, and loves being out and about.  He runs all over the living room all by himself.  Well, I mean we are home so we make sure he doesn't hurt himself, but we don't have to hold him or keep him in the ball.  He hops all over the couch.... he is a nut!  His favorite is running all over the kind size bed.

Bizzie excited cos I gave him Hay

Bizzie on the other hand, spends half his time barking and hiding from us.  Other times he loves getting all the petting around her face he can get.  I've done some reading because Bizzie has good days and bad days.  I'm not saying he is horrible.  He is sweet, gentle, and has tons of love to give.  I see it come out often.  I just think he is going through a rough adjustment.  I'll give you her back story, that way you understand.  When baby chins are old enough to be weened from their mommies, they are roughly 8-12 weeks depending on the mom, baby, and if they have siblings in the kit. The kit is what the babies are called and generally the mommy chinchillas will give birth between 1-4 kits at a time.  Bizzie was born in April and he stayed with mommy for about 11 weeks.  Then went to this couple who thought they wanted a chinchilla.  They had him from early September and then posted her to CraigsList the first week of November.  We got Freeney on November 4th, so I immediately set search to find him a mate, that he is close to in age.  It took me about 2 weeks to find Bizzie.  I contacted his owner and told her that we would love to have him.  When the lady first told me about Bizzie, the lady thought he was a female.  So we traveled thinking we were getting Freeney a female companion. They told me she likes to be held, has her own toys, and we can get her asap.  I was so excited, we finally got to pick her up on December 11th.  Bizzie was curious about us, but definitely in shock and didn't know why he was being moved all about. We got him loaded up and home.  For the first 72 hours life had turned upside down again.  We got him home and placed him near Freeney's cage.  Boy, did they go crazy  checking each other out!  What a sight to see!  We went to feed him, give him more water,  and clean out his cage.  This would also give me a chance to see what all the toys were.  Once I opened up the cage, the entire floor bedding was soaked with urine and feces.  I honestly believe they never cleaned out the cage.  They only had Bizzie for about 3 months total.  Poor baby!! The wheel that they had for him to run, was too tiny.  It was the tiniest wheel that you can find, there was no way a chin could fit in there to run.  My hand barely fit in there.  I wasn't a very happy mommy by this point.  So I cleaned out her cage, put new bedding, food, water, took out all the broken toys, we replaced the wheel with the biggest one we had (other than Freeney's obviously).  We put her back in her own cage, because at this time we hadn't closed off the top part of Freeney's cage for him to run free in.  As I went to put Bizzie in the clean cage, this is when I realized that the 'she' we bought was actually a 'HE'. But that is ok, because this adorable chin already had my heart.  He crawled in his clean caged and loved it.  He was hopping all over excited to not be filthy.  We left him like that for about 3-4 days.  That way he'd get use to the fact that he is now officially living here with us, so he could see and smell Freeney all the time.  Then we moved her to the big cage.  I think this is where we blew his mind.  Too much change way too fast.  He is constantly back in forth in his moods.  He always runs from my boyfriend, it is hard for him to pet, catch , r do anything except clean the cage.  He does allow him to do that.  I can pet him and I always constantly talk to him.  I am sure that the couple we got her from, the man didn't like her, cos he said he tended to leave her in the garage/laundry area.  So I'm sure there's been some male drama association.  On a good note, I've been reading other blogs & chinchilla pet sites and getting/learning ideas on how to make him happier and to trust us more.  He is having behavior issues due to lots of home change in his first few months of life.  Not being handled and talked to enough in early stages of life didn't help.  With what I've been reading and trying out, so far it is working greatly!  Lots of soft gentle talking while petting his ears, cheeks, and belly.  I say "good boy Bizzie"  or "You're super sweet Bizzie" and he gets calm and reacts all gentle and soaks up all the love and kind petting.  He even comes to the door when I open it now to feed/water him and enjoys to be petted.  Now for me about 30% of the time he will still bark, run to the opposite side, or hide in the igloo or dust bath.  But it is a process... a patient process.  My boyfriend is even working on the gentle talk and being persistent with petting him and getting him out.  He follows me around the house on the occasions we get him out.  We are incorporating more out of the cage time.  I'll keep you all posted on Bizzie's journey to be more lovable, happy, and trusting.  We are adjusting him to a loving home the best we can.