OUR CARE SHEET Aug 18, 2012 18:45:43 GMT -5
Post by Ann on Aug 18, 2012 18:45:43 GMT -5
Chinchillas Are Not Low Maintenance Pets
While this may seem like a strange statement coming from someone who has chinchillas and loves them; I want to tell you the truth and say that THEY ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE! They require out of the cage exercise, dilligent supervision when they are out, a quiet household, special food with very little treats, large cages and wheels, and vets who are knowledgeable about their care. The startup cost for a chinchilla can be very high. The food should be kept fresh and clean. A mistake here or there can cause high vet bills, or even the death of your chinchilla. You must definitely have air conditioning for the warmer months, unless you live in a low humidity area that never goes above seventy degrees. You also should be a patient person who does not shout and definitely would not scare an animal. Chinchillas are prey animals that are frightened very easily. Do you have small children? Don’t get a chinchilla unless you can guarantee that the children cannot reach the animal and injure it. Children over twelve may be okay, but they must be taught carefully how to handle a chin. They should be supervised for a long time after that. Chins can be injured and killed with rough handling. Do you hate cleaning cages? Are you able to handle fairly large cages for cleanup? If not, then a chinchilla is not the right type of pet. They should have a huge cage compared to a small animal such as a hamster. Unless you are strong enough and willing to clean such a cage, then forget it. A chinchilla has very little to no odor on its own but any cage that is not kept spotlessly clean can and will smell. The animal will suffer with illnesses associated with an unclean cage. A chinchilla that is properly cared for and is bred well can live as long as a dog or cat. Do you want a pet that can live that long? Will you make arrangements in case you pass away before your pet? Do you have room for a large cage, chin food, and hay in your home? Does your spouse or other people that live with you want a chinchilla as much as you do? Is anyone allergic to the hair or fur of other animals? Chinchillas are sometimes known to be hypoallergenic animals, but that is not one-hundred percent true for everyone. Find out BEFORE you buy a chin if anyone could be allergic. These are just some of the considerations that you will have to face before you buy a chinchilla. There are already too many animals in shelters or being passed on from owner to owner. Unless you have a deep love for chinchillas and for animals in general, get a stuffed animal. If this sounds harsh, remember that a chinchilla is a living being that depends on you for proper food, shelter, exercise, and his or her general welfare. It is a crime not to give such an animal and all animals the best possible care and love. After this, do you still want a chinchilla? If this is the case, then read on.
Basic Care FOOD: Timothy Hay, a small amount of pellets and water are the only foods that your chinchillas need. You can add other grass hays for variety and chewing experience. Orchard grass and Bunny Brome are examples of other varieties of grass hays. Do not feed Alfalfa Hay.
Chinchillas are not for everyone. Before you choose your companion, let’s talk about the basics of taking care of him or her.
First let’s learn about cage setup. Do not put the cage in a draft or near a window that has the sun blazing out of it. REMEMBER:NO AIR CONDITIONING, NO CHINCHILLA! Many people say that you must put a chin in a room where other animals cannot go near him/her because they are very nervous animals. I agree with that in part. You must make sure that your other animals will not bother your chin, but I have mine in the family room where we spend most of our time. Our birds, cats, and dog are there and our chins couldn’t care less. Just make sure that your chin is not bothered when sleeping. Chinchillas sleep and are awake both in times of the day and night. Respect the animal and there should not be a problem. If you have an aggressive dog , cat, or particularly noisy bird, then it may be a good idea to put your chin in another room and spend some time with him or her there. NEVER LEAVE A CHINCHILLA ALONE WITH OTHER ANIMALS. Make sure that your chin has access to some light, but not direct sunlight. Do not keep your chin in a dark cellar or attic. REMEMBER; YOUNG CHILDREN SHOULD NOT HANDLE CHINCHILLAS. OLDER CHILDREN SHOULD ONLY WHEN PROPERLY TAUGHT.
The cage should have a water bottle, food dish, bedding, and litter pan set up. The water bottle should also hang from outside. You should also have a wooden box bed so that you chins can have some privacy. If you have two chinchillas, then have two wooden bed boxes, one big enough for one chin and another for two. This way they can choose isolation, or being together. The beds should multiply with the number of chins in one cage. WARNING!!! DO NOT USE THOSE PLASTIC IGLOOS SOLD AT THOSE LARGE CHAIN PET SHOPS. THEY CONTAIN ZINC, WHICH CAN CAUSE DEATH. MANY CHINS WILL CHEW ON THEM, WHICH CAN ALSO KILL THEM.
WARNING!!! DO NOT FEED TOO MANY PELLETS!!! IT CAN CAUSE HEALTH PROBLEMS AND EVEN DEATH!!! BABY AND YOUNGER CHINS ARE ESPECIALLY PRONE TO OVEREATING OF PELLETS TO THE POINT OF DEATH!!! Give unlimited, fresh Timothy Hay daily. WARNING!!! YOUR CHINCHILLAS MUST HAVE LOOSE TIMOTHY HAY!!! HAY CUBES DO NOT GIVE THE CHINCHILLA THE CHEWING EXERCISE HE OR SHE NEEDS FOR HEALTHY TEETH!!! ALFALFA HAY IS NOT TO EVER BE SUBSTITUTED FOR TIMOTHY HAY!!! IT CANNOT PROVIDE THE ROUGHAGE THAT CHINS NEED TO PREVENT GUT STASIS! ALWAYS USE TIMOTHY HAY!!! . Here is some very good information from Cindy of Sinful Chins, www.freewebs.com/sinfulchins/, in collaboration with Dawn. "It is very nice to offer your chin a variety of grass hay so they don't really get bored with their diet. Although the variety of hay is not really for nutritional reasons, but for the even wearing down of the teeth. I discovered that chins chew different hays with different chewing motions-1st cut timmy (more "stemy")side to side, 2nd cut timmy or soft grass hays (like orchard grass) ."
Clean out the old hay, or it may become soiled and harbor bacteria. Clean out the water bottle daily and give fresh water. Clean up the soiled bedding and litter and replace with fresh. Remember, even if your chin is litter pan trained, he or she will only urinate in it and will defecate anywhere. Do not force the chin to eat veggies. FEED VEGGIES ONLY UNDER AN EXOTICS' VET'S ADVICE. DO NOT FEED YOUNG CHINS RAISINS, FRUITS OR VEGGIES WITHOUT VETRINARIAN CONSULTATION.
When your chin has gotten used to you, take your chin and put him in a chin-proofed room for exercise. Chin-proofed means that there are no electrical wires or outlets that your chin can get into. Do not leave the room even if you think that it is chin-proofed. Your chin can still chew on treated wood, the walls, the woodwork, etc. A chin is like a tiny baby. It must always be watched. Your chin should have at least a half hour of out time daily or an hour four times a week. I always let my chins take their dust baths when they are out. If you leave the dust bath in the chin’s cage all of the time, then the chin will make a mess, defecate in it and dry out her coat due to too much bathing. A couple of minutes daily is enough for bathing or five minutes four times a week.
DAILY- Remove pellets daily, wash the bowl out with plain water. Remember that young chins COULD overeat and make themselves sick, so don’t overfeed the pellets. Give fresh unlimited Timothy Hay daily. Clean out the old or it may get soiled and harbor bacteria. Clean out the water bottle daily and give fresh water. Clean up the soiled bedding and litter and replace with fresh. Remember, even if your chin is litter pan trained, she will only urinate in it, she will defecate anywhere she can. When your chin has gotten used to you, take your chin and put him in a chin-proofed room for exercise. Chin-proofed means that there are no electrical wires or outlets that your chin can get into. Do not leave the room even if you think that it is chin-proofed. Your chin can still chew on treated wood, the walls, the woodwork etc. A chin is like a tiny baby. It must always be watched. Your chin should have at least a half hour of out time daily or an hour four times a week. I always let my chins take their dust baths when they are out. If you leave the dust bath in the chin’s cage all of the time, then the chin will make a mess, defecate in it and dry out her coat due to too much bathing. A couple of minutes daily is enough for bathing or five minutes four times a week.
WEEKLY-Take all bedding out and clean the cage entirely with vinegar or steam clean. Make sure the chin is out of the cage. All toys should be cleaned as well as the wheel and anything else that the chin uses. Make sure that your cage and all accessories are dry before returning the chin. If a chin gets wet, he or she can become very ill. Your chin bath should also be cleaned and the chinchilla dust should be replaced. Everything else should be dry before placing it back into the chin’s cage. Brush and or comb your chin’s coat. Make sure that your chin has fresh uncolored untreated wood to chew. Give the water bottle an extra good rinsing to prevent bacteria growing inside.