Chinchilla Shopping List

chinchilla-shopping-list

I remember when I rescued my chinchilla, Jasper. Jasper showed up at my doorstep in nothing but a tiny dog carrier. Yes, I said dog carrier! The woman who owned him lived in a van and had this poor little guy living in a tiny space not even big enough for a mouse! Anyway, before bringing this guy home I did some quick research and quickly made a shopping list of everything my new chinchilla was going to need. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find just one site that had all of the information that I needed! Luckily for me, I had a few hours before I was supposed to pick him up, so I did my shopping list research and away I went to purchase what I needed. I had to read five or six different articles to make a complete shopping list. I have typed up the results of that research into one resource for you. Below is my chinchilla shopping list.

The absolute bare minimum items that you will need include:

(1) Cage: Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation is the cage I use and recommend.

(2) Basic Accessories you will need include: 

(3) Travel Carrier – I prefer the 32.5-inch crate made by Prevue Pet Products or the 24-inch Super Pet Mfh Rabbit Cage  if you have a tight budget is acceptable.

 

In the rest of this article, I’ll give more info on toys your chinchilla will enjoy, supplements to keep him/her healthy, acceptable treats, and types of wooden chews you can provide.

 

Toys Your Chinchilla Will Enjoy

Please take a moment and read my full post about Best Toys And Exercise Wheel For Your Chinchilla.  It will really help you to make sure you get the right size wheel and don’t just buy according to the cute pictures on the front of the packages. Although some wheels show a chinchilla on the front of their packaging, doesn’t mean its safe for your chinchilla!  Here are the items which are suitable to leave in your chinchillas’ cage I generally recommend:

  • hanging parrot toys (Don’t forget to check that they are made from safe trees.)
  • sisal ropes (again designed for parrots, but chins love them)
  • pieces of pumice stone
  • some rabbit or large hamster toys
  • wood or branches, e.g. Safe woods are Apple Arbutus Ash, Aspen, Beech, Birch, Cottonwood, Crabapple, Dogwood, Elm, Fir, Hawthorn, Hazelnut, Larch, Magnolia, Manzanita, Mulberry, Kiln-Pine (not fresh pine), Pear, Poplar, and Sequoia.
  • stuffed Booda buddy

DIY Toys For Your Chinchilla

Make your own toys: It is not very hard to make hanging toys with wooden blocks and it is much cheaper to make them at home than buying them. You just need some wooden blocks, wires (or chains), wire cutters, and a drill. If you don’t have a drill, you can drive a nail through the blocks.

  • Branches: i.e. apple branches. Chinchillas love to chew apple and pear branches so I would highly recommend using these trees. Of course, you need to make sure that no chemicals and such have been used on the trees.
  • Empty toilet paper rolls: Chinchillas’ all time favorite! These are great to hide treats in.
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Plain cardboard boxes
  • Rocks: Rocks of different sizes that have been cleaned and boiled.

Tip! ~ I know I have listed many things above but take a look around your house. You will find things that would be great new toys for your chinchilla. Just watch for glue, tape, staples, etc. Common sense stuff.

Optional, But will help keep your Chinchilla healthy and happy!

Other items you may wish to purchase right away or could need in the future are listed below.

Treats

Treats which can be given are:

  • fruit, try fruits with seeds, not stones or pits, e.g. raisins, dried cranberries, dried strawberries, dried blueberries, dried rose hips, a banana chip, or a piece of apple, pear, a half of a fresh or frozen grape, or kiwi.
  • veg, e.g. piece of carrot, flaked peas, parsley, chard, romaine, a dandelion leaf (small and washed). Avoid anything gas forming, e.g. broccoli, cabbage.
  • dried herbs, if available you can pick herbs, then after washing them, hang them upside down (in bunches) in a warm area until they have completely dried out. Herbs suitable for chinchillas include oregano, comfrey, mint, nettle, dandelion, and raspberry leaves.
  • grain, e.g. rolled oats, oat grouts, healthy cereals low in sugar like Shredded Wheat, plain Cheerios or Cornflakes.
  • nuts and seeds, very sparingly – e.g. almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds
  • commercially prepared, e.g. chinchilla crackers (produced for chinchillas and available in the US & UK), a small piece of dry toast, or an alfalfa-based animal treat.
  • unsalted peanut in the shell, uncooked pasta…

 

Meds & First Aid

  • Acidophilus for balanced gut bacteria
  • Albon – Diarrhea Treatment
  • Antibiotic cream – For minor cuts
  • Baby Oat Cereal
  • Baby wipes
  • Charcoal – balances gut ph
  • Cheek retractor to check molars
  • Eye Wash
  • Gauze
  • Griseofluvin
  • Grooming Combs
  • High-calorie supplement for weak or sick Chins
  • Lavender oil for small abrasions or cuts
  • Lidocaine
  • Life Line helps with appetite
  • Lube
  • Medical tape
  • Ophthalmic Ointment
  • Pedialyte for Electrolyte dehydration
  • Powdered Goat Milk – kit formula
  • Shredded Wheat Biscuits – Diarrhea Treatment
  • Simethicone – For Bloat
  • Tinactin

What Do Chinchillas Need In Their Cage?

What Do Chinchillas Need In Their Cage

Chinchillas are naturally playful and cheeky little pets, but this wonderful friendly nature will only come out if you set up your Chinchilla’s living environment so that it is as happy as it can be. A depressed Chinchilla does not make a good pet! Part of making your Chinchilla happy is setting up their cage with some basic chinchilla cage accessories.

The bare minimum that your Chinchillas needs are a durable and safe exercise wheel, a water bottle that’s easy to clean, a food dish and hay rack that they can not be knocked over, cage toys and an adequately sized cage that is properly placed within your home.  Here is a list of items I use:

Size of Chinchilla Cage

Without a doubt, this is the most important tip for Chinchilla cages. Just like human beings we all want our house to be as large and as big as possible, money permitting of course! Well, Chinchillas are absolutely no different, so depending on the money you are able and willing to spend on your Chinchilla cage, it is always advisable to buy the biggest, largest size of Chinchilla cage your money will buy you. Chinchillas don’t necessarily need a mansion but they are very active pets who love to jump from branch to branch.

Choosing the Best Chinchilla Wheel

No matter what the size of Chinchilla cage you have buying a Chinchilla wheel, also known as Chinchilla exercise wheel enables your Chinchilla to run and run until it’s little legs are absolutely exhausted. A Chinchilla wheel in effect makes even a small Chinchilla cage bigger by enabling the Chinchilla to exercise itself and remain fit and healthy. What happens with the Chinchilla wheel is that it spins and the Chinchilla runs on top of it or inside it. The wheel is ideal if you are unable to allow your Chinchilla outside its cage very often. (note: Chins need out of their cage every day for a minimum of 30 minutes!)

Bottles and Feeders

Make sure you have a bottle which allows your Chinchilla to drink as often as it cares to. Keeping your Chinchilla hydrated is absolutely essential for its health and well-being. Remember that Chinchillas will chew anything in sight so glass bottles are best or metal tipped bottles that hang on the outside of the cage. For feeding your Chinchilla, make sure that the food bowl is ceramic or glass as once again a plastic one will soon be eaten by your Chinchilla which actually could kill it if it ingests the plastics. Ideally attach hopper-style feeders to the outside of the cage for ease filling, changing and cleaning.

Placement of the Chinchilla Cage

Many people mistakenly put their Chinchilla cage where they can see it on a regular basis. Many people end up putting their cage in the lounge or living room where they spend much of their time. This environment is actually bad for your Chinchilla because there is lots of noise either from your family or from the television. In all honesty, the best place for your Chinchilla cage is in a quiet area where they may have peace and quiet and not suffer from stress and shocks. Don’t forget to not put the cage in a cold, overly hot or draughty area. Chinchillas appreciate a regular temperature which is not susceptible to regular changes.

Chinchilla Toys

Once again Chinchillas can certainly be like human beings. As human beings, we love to play and be entertained. Your Chinchilla is the same. So once again when it comes to your Chinchilla cage make sure the contains a number of toys and activities to keep your Chinchilla stimulated and busy. There are a whole host of accessories which you can buy for your Chinchilla cage. Chew toys are especially good because your Chinchilla does need to grind its teeth down, so these are practical as well as for pleasure. Look for safe-wood chew toys, hanging parrot toys with bells, tubes, boxes, and swings. There are many more, but that should get you started. If you are unsure what is or is not safe-wood for your Chinchilla, please read “What Are Some Chinchilla Safe Wood for Chews, Shelves, And Toys

 

 

What Are Some Chinchilla Safe Wood for Chews, Shelves And Toys

chinchilla-safe-wood

Chinchillas love to be busy, obviously also as the teeth continually grow they need access to good gnawing material. As a chinchilla pet owner, the last thing you want to do is unintentionally give your chin a piece of wood, or any item, that may make him sick or worse yet, cause death!

Untreated wooden levels placed in the cage make for great exercise as well as giving your Chinchilla a good source of chewing material. Also, untreated wooden houses provide a hideaway for your friend to sleep and feel safe, but obviously he will enjoy chewing on it as well! Eventually, after a few months, most wooden objects will need replacing as they will either get mostly chewed away or will become soiled, so make sure that it is easy to replace these items.

 

The following wood lists: safe woods in GREEN, and unsafe woods in RED, have been compiled from various unverified sources. Aside from kiln-dried Pine and Aspen, the other woods’ appropriateness for a chinchilla should be verified by an exotic veterinarian. Do not rely upon these lists solely, as they are only provided as a general information reference and are not meant to replace the advice of a qualified veterinarian. Although we strive for accuracy of our chinchilla information, ChinchillaStuff.com is not liable for any consequences or action you take based on these wood lists. If you are a vet or have consulted with a vet regarding chinchilla safe wood varieties, and have something to add or correct, please submit a comment below!

SAFE Woods, If Properly Prepared

  • Alderberry
  • Apple
  • Arbutus
  • Aspen (kiln-dried)
  • Bamboo
  • Basswood
  • Birch (White, grey, broadleaf, silver and common)
  • Black Currant
  • Blackberry
  • Cottonwood
  • Dogwood
  • Elm
  • Gooseberry
  • Grape
  • Hawthorn
  • Hazelnut
  • Kiwi Wood
  • Linden
  • Loquat
  • Magnolia
  • Manzanita
  • Medlar
  • Mulberry
  • Pear
  • Pecan
  • Pine (kiln dried)
  • Poplar
  • Quince
  • Red currant
  • Ribbonwood
  • Rosehip
  • Rowanberry
  • Sycamore
  • Sickle bush
  • Star Fruit Wood
  • Strawberry
  • Willow

CAUTION/UNSURE

  • Hickory – unsure
  • Pine cones are only safe if properly prepared

 

Ash (conflicting information)

 

NO !! Not safe for chinchillas!

  • Almond
  • Apricot
  • Beech
  • Birch
  • Juniper
  • Black Locus
  • Blackwood
  • Box Elder
  • Boxwood
  • Cashew
  • Cedar
  • Cherry
  • Cherry Mahogany
  • Chestnut
  • Chinese Snake Tree
  • Chinese Tallow
  • Cypress
  • Ebony
  • Elderberry
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fir
  • Ginko
  • Grapefruit
  • Greenheart
  • Hemlock
  • Holly
  • Honey Locus
  • Hydrangea
  • Hydrangea Yew
  • Iroko
  • Ironwood
  • Juniper
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mahogany
  • Mango
  • Maple
  • Myrtle
  • Nectarine
  • Oak (of the Solanaceae family)
  • Obeche
  • Orange
  • Peach
  • Pistachio
  • Poison Ivy
  • Poison Oak
  • Pistachio
  • Prune
  • Fresh Pine Branches
  • Plum
  • Ramin
  • Red Pine
  • Redwood (any variety)
  • Sandalwood
  • Satinwood
  • Sneezewood
  • Soapberry
  • Spruce
  • Sumac
  • Tallow
  • Teak
  • Walnut
  • Weeping Fig
  • Wenge
  • Yew

Printable Safe Woods List:

Safe-And-Toxic-Tree-List-For-Chinchillas Word .doc

Safe-And-Toxic-Tree-List-For-Chinchillas PDF

Shelves

Your chin should have shelves inside the cage to jump onto. I use dried white pine for mine. NEVER use plywood, it contains glues which are toxic to chins. Keep in mind, anything inside the cage will be chewed on, at least a few times, so it all needs to be safe. Some chins like to play in the ferret tunnels sold in pet stores. I buy the 4-inch PVC white PVC pipe at my local hardware store. It is safe for them to chew and they love running on it and through it. Wooden toys made for parrots are also good toys for chins. Keep away from the ones with leather or rope. These aren’t good for your chin. Branches from unsprayed fruit trees such as apple or pear are OK as are birch, hazelnut, and willow. Don’t give them branches from trees that have pitted fruit, such as peach and plum, cherry, etc. they are also toxic.

Tubes and Boxes

Another fun and easy toy to get hold of for your pet is the inside of a toilet roll. There have been debates over whether this is safe for your Chinny as some say that it can be eaten and cause a blockage. All I can say to this is that I have always allowed my Chinchillas toilet roll tubes on a regular basis and have never had any problems with this. I have, however, enjoyed watching my Chinnies shredding them! You can also try allowing cardboard boxes without any print on them. The reason that cardboard boxes without print are best is that some of the inks used for print can be toxic for your Chinchilla should he ingest any of it.

Swings and Wheels

We also provide our animals with wire swinging tunnels. These are clipped to the ceiling of the cage ( obviously not suitable if you have a tall cage, due to the risk of injury ), and you can then get to see a Chinchilla using its tail to balance as he sits on it. As well as watching them curl up inside the swing and rock themselves to sleep! There are also Chinchilla wheels on the market, Exotic Nutrition 15″ Chin-Sprint or 15″ Chin Spin  Chinchilla Wheel – Handmade in the USA are the ONLY two wheels that I feel are safe! I have heard some very sad stories of chinchillas getting their legs caught in the slats of the wired wheels, so if you can’t afford to get your chin one of the two safe wheels that I’ve listed then don’t get one at all, the others are unsafe!

Do-It-Yourself Hop’n Chew Toy

This super simple chinchilla toy can be assembled in less than an hour! Here’s an easy way to give your chins a safe place to hop, climb, and chew. A few pieces of white pine, a few screws and a few minutes of your time can create an interesting addition for your chinchilla’s play time. It’s small enough and light enough to store in a closet when not being used. It’s Jasper approved!!

Material List:

  • 3 pine boards, 18″ x 5 1/2″ x 3/8″ ( For the landings. They come in this size so no need to cut them.)
  • 4 pine boards, 18″ x 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ (For the risers. Have 6″ cut off two of the boards at the time of purchase.)
  • 1 pine board, 16″ x 12″ x 3/4″ (For the base. We purchased a 48″ board and had it cut into thirds.)
  • 6 wood screws, 2 1/2″ x 8 flat head (To attach risers to the base.)
  • 6 wood screws, 1 1/2″ x 8 flat head (To attach the landings to the risers.)

Tools Required:

  • Power drill
  • #8 Countersink for a power drill
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Medium grit sandpaper

Assembly:

  1. Lay out the risers and landings in a way that makes it easy for your chin to get from one level to the next.
  2. Mark the position of the risers on the base.
  3. Countersink and attach the risers to the base using the 2 1/2″ long screws.
  4. Countersink and attach the landings to the tops of the risers using the 1 1/2″ long screws.
  5. Give the toy a light sanding.

More DIY

Do you have any 2 x 4′s lying around? You could build your chin some steps, a balance beam, a jungle gym out of them. You could really have fun creating stuff for him to play on. You could also use that PVC pipe again on a 2 x 4 creation. Just be 100% absolutely sure it is made from the safe wood list above!

Other than that, paper towel rolls and the toilet paper tubes are lots of fun. Try stuffing one full of hay and put a bite-sized nonshredded wheat in it. They will dig and tear at it until they find the “prize” in the middle.

How to Prepare Wood Chew Sticks for Chinchillas

Recipe to Make Your Own Chinchilla Wood Chew Sticks

  1. Start with an UNTREATED Chinchilla-safe wood variety. Wood from a known organic source is ideal.
  2. Cut wood into the desired sizes (approx 3 inches is just about right for your chinchilla to handle)
  3. Scrub wood pieces with a stiff bristled brush to remove all dirt, lichens, bird poop, or other “natural additives”
  4. Boil wood pieces for approximately 20 minutes in salt water
  5. Lay wood pieces on a towel or rack and allow to dry for a couple of hours
  6. Place on cookie sheet and bake in 200 – 250-degree oven for 2 – 8 hours (baking time depends on thickness of wood)
  7. Bake till dry and stiff, but not burnt. Adequately prepared wood will have small cracks on the cut ends.

Store your homemade wood treats in a cardboard box, or paper bag to ensure airflow and continued drying. If you store in a plastic bag or airtight container you could trap in any remaining moisture and mold could grow.

Serve your wood chew sticks to your pet chinchilla with pride and love!

Final Thoughts

  • All wood should be sourced from an area that has not been sprayed with chemicals, and the wood should be scrubbed clean and ideally “seasoned” for a couple of weeks too.
  • Apple-tree twigs and branches come top of the list, and most chinchillas adore eating the bark.  Eating, cooking and crab apple trees are all suitable, so are pear trees.
  • Medlar trees and any other fruit tree are great too – as long as the fruit does NOT contain stones.  Hazel and willow are ok – but are not as favored.
  • Some people also give their chinchillas the tough, woody rose “prunings” (minus the thorns) and dry, seasoned, open pinecones.  I have not tried them with my chinchillas – so cannot comment on their suitability from personal experience (yet). I have tried Hawthorn though – and the chins love it and sill strip and eat the bark.  It is also safe to give them a few leaves too but introduce these slowly to avoid stomach upsets.
  • Give the chinchilla one or two of the above items at a time but don’t overdo them or they will lose their novelty for the animals.  And please don’t over-clutter their cages, so the poor chinchillas cannot move for toys!

 

Things To Consider If Your Wanting A Chinchilla As A Pet

chinchilla-as-a-pet

So why choose a chinchilla as a pet?

With such a large choice of pets around why choose a chinchilla? Maybe because you perceive them as cute and think they will not take up too much space? Below are the reasons for buying, or not buying, a chinchilla

Reasons you may not want to buy a chinchilla

  • You don’t have time to dedicate to him/her
  • You want an animal you can cuddle and pet – most chinchillas are not keen on being picked up/cuddled
  • You intend to always keep them in the cage and never let them run free (indoors) – chinchillas may be small, but they can be quite energetic, they need to exercise
  • You have small children. While this doesn’t mean you can’t have a chinchilla, they are not considered suitable as pets for children under 12
  • You don’t think you’ll have the time/patience to slowly win their trust – chinchillas can be extremely timid when they do not know you.
  • They don’t come when you call them (and they can’t fetch either).
  • They can’t scare away a burglar.
  • They poop whenever and wherever.
  • They like antique furniture (to chew).

Reasons you may want to buy a chinchilla

  • You have sufficient space for a good size cage, and you have the time to spend with them and supervise their playtimes
  • They are adorable and gentle creatures.
  • They require little attention, but they appreciate attention when shown to them.
  • They keep themselves very clean. In fact, they have no odor.
  • Their fur is so thick that fleas and ticks can’t live on them.
  • They are quiet.
  • They are easy to care for and can be left alone over a weekend.
  • Their food is very inexpensive (only about $1.20 per month).
  • They are nocturnal, so they are ready to play when you get home from work.
  • Many people who are allergic to most animals are not allergic to Chinchillas.
  • They are smart, curious and extremely entertaining.
  • Both you (and any children you have) will understand a small animals nervousness and will be gentle and patient
  • You are looking for a small pet which may enjoy a long lifespan (with some luck and your loving care)
  • You want a pet which will be happy left at home alone all day while you at work
  • You want a reasonably intelligent pet which can think for itself and has its own unique character
  • You have fallen in love with their gentle and inquisitive natures
  • You enjoy watching a chinchilla’s playful antics

Chinchillas and allergies

Most allergic reactions to animals are caused by an immune reaction to a protein found in the saliva, the dander (skin flakes), or the urine of an animal. Of these three, in the case of chinchillas, the urine is most likely to cause a reaction.

It does appear that the vast majority of people will not be allergic to chinchillas. I myself am allergic to cats, dogs, horses, and probably a few other animals as well, however, chinchillas do not appear to affect me – however, I have heard of a few people who do suffer a reaction. The hay (which the chinchillas should be supplied with), or their dust baths may also cause an allergic reaction.

Points to consider if you may be allergic:

  • Before buying a chinchilla try handling one. If you suffer an allergic reaction then you know it will affect you
  • Use chinchilla bath sand instead of dust to decrease airborne dust
  • Use hay cubes rather than loose hay to reduce airborne allergens
  • When buying loose hay, look for hay that says ‘Dust Extracted.’
  • Consider using a wire-bottomed cage with a pull out litter pan rather than have a cage with a solid bottom. Instead of the dust and allergens sitting in the bottom of the cage where the chinchillas will disturb them, they will collect below the cage where they will be undisturbed
  • Use newspaper in the cage/litter tray instead of wood shavings

 

Chinchillas and other animals

Many people who own chinchillas also keep cats or dogs and experience no problems. However, chinchillas can become stressed by other animals, for example, dogs nosing around the cage and barking at them, or cats trying to reach them. You need to judge for yourself how existing pets will react.

While it may not be a good idea to have dogs or cats in the room while a chinchilla is running free, many chinchillas will enjoy the company of a guinea pig.

Having said this, it has been known for other animals, e.g., dogs rabbits, etc. to pass on a disease they are carrying to chinchillas. While the disease may not affect the other animal, it can affect the more sensitive chinchilla. One example of such a disease is Bordatella.

 

Chinchilla Q & A

What do chins eat?
What other treats could I give my chin?
What type of cage should I get?
What is in a chinnie’s cage?
How much can I expect to spend on my first chin?
What about exercise?
Can I use a ferret leash on my chin?
What do you have against those exercise balls, anyway?
Can a chinchilla really die from being too hot?
What’s this I hear about chinnies and water?
What if my chinchilla gets abnormally dirty or gets wet by accident?

What do chins eat?
In all honesty, it depends on whom you ask. Different chin owners feed their chins different diets. A better question for me to answer is what do our chins eat! Our chins are given a constant supply of Mazuri pellets to eat throughout the day. They also have alfalfa cubes to chew on, though none of our chins seem to be particularly fond of cubed hay. In the evenings, they are given 1/2 teaspoon of rolled oats, a generous helping of timothy hay, and a treat. Treats can be a variety of things. We generally have raisins, bite-sized shredded wheat squares, horse cookies, and almonds. Once a week, each chin gets a small piece of dried papaya, rosehips, and a chewable Vitamin C. These are given in place of the traditional treats. Occasionally, we give Nutri-Cal in addition to a treat. Pregnant females are given calf manna, raspberry leaves, and an extra bottle full of cranberry juice and water.

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What other treats could I give my chin?
Dried cranberries, plain Cheerios, dried apples, prunes, a half of a fresh or frozen grape, very small pieces of fresh or dehydrated banana, unsalted peanut in the shell, uncooked pasta… The list goes on! Remember, everything in moderation.

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What type of cage should I get?
We have several different styles and sizes of cages for our chins. We started off with the wrong type of cage for our first chin. Of course, this can easily happen when you buy a cage from a pet store that has no real knowledge of what a chin needs. After doing even more research on chinchillas and cages, we quickly stopped using the original cage and got a new one. As a general rule, you should use a cage with wire flooring no bigger than ½” by ½,” if you have wire flooring at all. We recommend cages be at least 16″ (width) by 16″ (depth) by 16″ (height) for one chin. However, even bigger is definitely better! Having a slide-out pan can also save a great deal of time and prevents your chins from being in direct contact with the bedding or litter. If you are using a wire cage, it is important to provide solid surfaces for your chin to rest. This can be done with pine shelves and ledges or marble tiles, which also provide an excellent means for your chin to cool down. We recommend the  Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation Many people find that they can build their own wonderful chinchilla cages from a combination of melamine, pine, and wire. We just haven’t the time nor the energy.

Our Chinchilla Cages

 

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What is in a chinnies cage?
Once again, that depends on the chin. We use and recommend Choco Nose No Drip Top-fill water bottles, and Living World Lock and Crock Dish. Each cage has a pine box for hiding and chewing. Each of our chins has pine blocks, lava rocks, pumice, and a few other toys to chew on. Chewing is very important for a chin’s health, as it helps to keep their teeth trim. Many of our chins have their own special stuffed Booda buddy. A few of the chins have cuttlebone. They all have ledges and levels to add to the fun of their cage. Chins like to jump and climb! Bedding or litter is also necessary. We use Living World Pine Shavings, which are inexpensive, softer on chin feet, and safe.

 

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How much can I expect to spend on my first chin?
These amounts are low approximations for essential chinchilla supplies for one month. The actual price will vary depending upon the amount spent for any shipping and handling charges, buying in bulk to save future expenses, electing to purchase for different places or purchase different supplies, etc. This also does NOT include the cost of the chinchilla! You should expect to spend between $75 and $500 for a chinchilla, depending on color, background, age, etc.  Please consider adopting a chinchilla from a rescue rather than a pet store!

  • Cage
  •  Bedding
  • Water bottles
  • Food dish
  •  Food
  •  Hay
  •  Treats
  •  Toys
  • Bathhouse – Kaytee Chinchilla Bath House
  • Dust – Kaytee Chinchilla Dust

Your approximate total cost would be in the area of $181 for supplies alone.

Other items you may wish to purchase right away or could need in the future are listed below.

  • Ledges
  • Exercise Wheel
  •  Cuttlebone
  •  Nutri-Cal
  • Chewable Vitamin C
  • Calf Manna Supplement
  •  Oats
  •  Brush
  • Pine house
  • Chin-Chiller

Chinchillas are not inexpensive animals to care for. A great deal of time and money must be invested to ensure chinnies have happy, healthy homes and proper care.

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What about exercise? Can I use a ferret leash on my chin?
While we would never use a leash on a chinchilla, chins do require exercise. Large cages with enough room to run around and play will certainly help, but nothing beats having playtime! Chin-proofing a room is necessary before any chinchilla is allowed to run around. Chinchillas are chewers. This goes for baseboards, electrical wires, furniture, and on and on. We’ve found that the most convenient way to get our chins to exercise is by allowing them an hour or two to run around the bathroom every evening. Chin-proofing a bathroom is fairly easy. Clean up is much more simple when the carpet isn’t involved. Urine can easily be mopped up or wiped up, or a litter pan can be placed in your chin’s “favorite spot.”

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What do you have against those exercise balls, anyway?
We do not recommend the use of small animal exercise balls, such as the Giant Kritter Krawlers. It has been our experience that the lids on these come off easily, even when they have been securely locked into position. We have had chinchillas find their way out of these exercise balls on two separate occasions. If you must use these to give your chinchillas exercise, please use masking tape to prevent the lids from moving. Also, these Giant Kritter Krawlers can cause a chin to over-heat. Remember to take your chin out of the ball at least every fifteen minutes to prevent overheating and possible death. Another disadvantage to these exercise balls is that the chinchilla is trapped inside with droppings and urine. Feces and urine and become embedded in the chin’s coat. Regular and thorough sanitizing is necessary to prevent these exercise balls from harboring bacteria.

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Can a chinchilla really die from being too hot?
Yes. Unlike humans and most other mammals, chinchillas cannot regulate their body temperature. Ideal temperatures are between 45º and 70º F with low humidity. Cages should be kept out of direct sunlight as well as direct draft. We keep our air conditioning set at 70º F during most months, as Arizona tends to have mainly hot months and short winter periods. Another way to keep your chin cool is to freeze smooth rocks and place them in the cages for your chinnies to lean against. This acts better than a frozen water bottle, as there will not be any condensation. You can also try unglazed floor tiles, smooth marble slabs, and chimineas.

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What’s this I hear about chinnies and water?
Chinchillas and water DO NOT mix! It is fine for chins to drink water, of course, but it is not a good idea to have chinnies around an open water source. Chinchilla fur can be ruined by water. This is why we recommend the water bottles with no-drip valves. Instead of taking traditional baths, chins use special dust to keep clean. You can use chinchilla bath houses to keep the particles confined while chins are rolling around and having fun in the dust. We’ve found that these narrow entrances make a few of our chins a bit nervous. Instead, we use a clear, deep, plastic container with a lid that can be placed on top when the chinchillas are done bathing. This can be very messy, so we don’t recommend allowing chins to bathe around electrical equipment, such as televisions, computers, stereos, etc. Chins should be given access to dust baths approximately three or four times a week. You might consider placing the dust bath in the cage for a 15-minute period. We like to give them access to the dust bath during play time, as this takes place in the bathroom and, again, allows for easy clean-up. Having constant access to the dust bath can cause dry skin.

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What if my chinchilla gets abnormally dirty or gets wet by accident?
Generally, anything in chinchilla fur will come out with the help of numerous dust baths. If, for example, your chin’s fur gets sticky from Nutri-Cal or takes on the color from a dyed toy, you can use unscented baby wipes to help clean them up. Take the dirty fur between a folded baby wipe and rub. Afterward, either give the chin access to a dust bath or rub dust on the wet spots by rubbing the dust into the fur.

If your chin has gotten wet and the water has soaked through to the skin, you will need to help dry the fur to prevent fungus. Since chinchilla fur is so dense, the fur will not dry completely on its own. Use towels and a drying set on cool to prevent overheating.


My Chinchilla Schedule

Chinchillas are very much creatures of habit. Chinchillas like routines and tend to be a little more happy and relaxed in an environment where a routine has been established. Routines also help chin owners to ensure that all of their duties have been performed in regards to chinnie care. We have set up a list of our daily, weekly, and monthly schedules in regards to our chinchillas. Generally, there are one or two days a week that the chinnies do not get external exercise (playtime), but these days are determined by our plans for the week and can change from week to week.

I no longer have rescued chins. I am down to just one. This is the schedule a friend of mine gave me and has been adopted by many breeders. So if you’re going to have multiple chinchillas, this schedule may help you.

NOTE: Before putting two Chinchilla’s together, please thoroughly read Introducing Chinchillas!


DAILY


Monday

Check water levels (Morning and evening)
Playtime for Clyde, Z, and Zeus (6:30-7:30)
Playtime for Koontz (7:30-8:00)
Fresh timothy hay in every cage (8:00)
Playtime for Avra (8:00-8:30)
Playtime for Henna upstairs (8:00-8:30)
One treat per chin (8:30)
Playtime for Krishna and Radha (8:30-9:00)
Change out pellets and give 1/2 teaspoon of oats per chin (9:00)
Playtime for Sage (9:00-9:30)
Playtime for Bonnie, Hera, and Kalli (9:30-10:00)
Playtime for Harold (10:00-11:00)

Tuesday

Check water levels (Morning and evening)
Dust bathes during the first 15 minutes of each play time
Playtime for Clyde, Z, and Zeus (6:30-7:30)
Playtime for Koontz (7:30-8:00)
Fresh timothy hay in every cage (8:00)
Playtime for Avra (8:00-8:30)
Playtime for Henna upstairs (8:00-8:30)
One treat per chin (8:30)
Playtime for Krishna and Radha (8:30-9:00)
Change out pellets and give 1/2 teaspoon of oats per chin (9:00)
Playtime for Sage (9:00-9:30)
Playtime for Bonnie, Hera, and Kalli (9:30-10:00)
Playtime for Harold (10:00-11:00)

Wednesday

Check water levels (Morning and evening)
Clean all cages (Done during each chinnies’ play time)
Playtime for Clyde, Z, and Zeus (6:30-7:30)
Playtime for Koontz (7:30-8:00)
Fresh timothy hay in every cage (8:00)
Playtime for Avra (8:00-8:30)
Playtime for Henna upstairs (8:00-8:30)
One treat per chin (8:30)
Playtime for Krishna and Radha (8:30-9:00)
Change out pellets and give 1/2 teaspoon of oats per chin (9:00)
Playtime for Sage (9:00-9:30)
Playtime for Bonnie, Hera, and Kalli (9:30-10:00)
Playtime for Harold (10:00-11:00)

Thursday

Check water levels (Morning and evening)
Playtime for Clyde, Z, and Zeus (6:30-7:30)
Playtime for Koontz (7:30-8:00)
Fresh timothy hay in every cage (8:00)
Playtime for Avra (8:00-8:30)
Playtime for Henna upstairs (8:00-8:30)
One treat per chin (8:30)
Playtime for Krishna and Radha (8:30-9:00)
Change out pellets and give 1/2 teaspoon of oats per chin (9:00)
Playtime for Sage (9:00-9:30)
Playtime for Bonnie, Hera, and Kalli (9:30-10:00)
Playtime for Harold (10:00-11:00)

Friday

Check water levels (Morning and evening)
Playtime for Clyde, Z, and Zeus (6:30-7:30)
Playtime for Koontz (7:30-8:00)
Fresh timothy hay in every cage (8:00)
Playtime for Avra (8:00-8:30)
Playtime for Henna upstairs (8:00-8:30)
One treat per chin (8:30)
Playtime for Krishna and Radha (8:30-9:00)
Change out pellets and give 1/2 teaspoon of oats per chin (9:00)
Playtime for Sage (9:00-9:30)
Playtime for Bonnie, Hera, and Kalli (9:30-10:00)
Play time for Harold (10:00-11:00)

Saturday

Thoroughly clean water bottles and food bowls (Done during the day)
Check water levels (Morning and evening)
Clean all cages (Done during each chinnies’ play time)
Playtime for Clyde, Z, and Zeus (6:30-7:30)
Playtime for Koontz (7:30-8:00)
Fresh timothy hay in every cage (8:00)
Playtime for Avra (8:00-8:30)
Playtime for Henna upstairs (8:00-8:30)
One treat per chin (8:30)
Playtime for Krishna and Radha (8:30-9:00)
Change out pellets and give 1/2 teaspoon of oats per chin (9:00)
Playtime for Sage (9:00-9:30)
Playtime for Bonnie, Hera, and Kalli (9:30-10:00)
Playtime for Harold (10:00-11:00)

Sunday

Check water levels (Morning and evening)
Check weights (Done in the early evening)
Dust bathes during the first 15 minutes of each play time
Playtime for Clyde, Z, and Zeus (6:30-7:30)
Playtime for Koontz (7:30-8:00)
Fresh timothy hay in every cage (8:00)
Playtime for Avra (8:00-8:30)
Playtime for Henna upstairs (8:00-8:30)
One treat per chin (8:30)
Playtime for Krishna and Radha (8:30-9:00)
Change out pellets and give 1/2 teaspoon of oats per chin (9:00)
Playtime for Sage (9:00-9:30)
Playtime for Bonnie, Hera, and Kalli (9:30-10:00)
Playtime for Harold (10:00-11:00)

 


WEEKLY

Generally, we give our chinchillas a bit of Nutrical (about the size of a pea) once or twice a week. We also throw out alfalfa cubes and replace them with fresh cubes a few times a week, depending on temperature and humidity. Cages are cleaned at least once a week. Chew blocks are given as needed. Cuttlebone is replaced as necessary. Pine shavings are cleaned from around the cages often. Any urine on the shelves and ledges are cleaned as needed.


MONTHLY

Once a month, we take the cages outside and give them a thorough scrub down. Without the chins being inside them, of course! Once a month, stuffed toys are washed. Obviously, these toys are washed more often if they have become soiled.

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Meet My Rescued Chinchillas

 

Males

CLYDE

 


HAROLD

harold the chinchilla


Z


KRISHNA


KOONTZ


Females

Bonnie


Hera

 

hera our chinchilla as a pet


Avra

 


Radha


Kalli

Kahli our chinchilla


Background Information

Krishna & Radha

The Story:

Krishna is one of the most popular deities throughout India. Krishna’s consort, Radha, is equally loved amongst the people of India. Krishna is considered to be the eighth incarnation of the god Vishnu. According to legend, Krishna was also heroic. He is alleged to have defeated numerous dragons and monsters, and, as predicted, he killed his half-uncle, the tyrannical King Kamsa.

While Krishna is divine, Radha was human. Radha was a cowherdess who once experienced divine love with Krishna. After they were separated, Radha yearned for reunion. Her longing is a metaphor for the human soul longing for union with the divine. The final reunion symbolizes the bliss of salvation.

 

Avra

Their History:

After Avra’s initial quarantine, an attempt was made to place her with some of the other girls (Bonnie, Hera, and Kalli). Unfortunately, Bonnie and Avra just could not get along. Avra was given her own cage, just above the girls’ cage, with a lovely pink hammock. She thoroughly enjoyed the single life.

 

Z and Mabel 

Their History:

Mabel lived most of her young life helping her mother to raise her offspring. She has a very sweet temperment and loves being around other chinchillas. Unfortunately, Mabel’s first mate, Sage, passed away in December of 2015.

Z is a very docile chin, always preferring to let the other chins be dominant. He lived with Clyde and Zeus very happily for several months.

 


Having a chinchilla as a pet is a huge responsibility, but oh so rewarding!

You may also want to read our post “Chinchilla Care Sheet