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Introducing Chinchillas

How much time you have should be a big factor in deciding how many chinchillas to get. If you are able to spend some quality time with your chin each night, than a single chinchilla will do just fine. If you travel a lot or are very busy it may be better for you to get two.

Chinchillas do very well in pairs. They can handle stress better together. If you already have a friendly chinchilla you won't have to worry about it bonding to a new chin and no longer excepting you. I have found that in pairs, the outgoing one tends to help tame the shy one.

Once you decide to get another chinchilla you must decide which sex to get. A same sex pair is the ideal situation for many chinchilla owners. Two males can be successfully housed together if they are introduced slowly. Females can also be housed together, but sometimes it is a bit harder if they are not litter mates. You may choose to get a male/female pair. With this combination there are a few things to consider:

1.Female chinchillas should be 8 months or older before they are housed with a male.

2.Some males do not make good fathers, so your female and her babies may have to be placed in a separate cage for a few months.

3. Once the babies are 3-4 months old you will need to separate them from the parents. Will you be able to find good homes for the babies?

Introducing the New Chinchilla

When you get a new chinchilla it is best to introduce them slowly over time. Placing a new chin in the cage with your original one right away will usually cause a fight.. In fact, chinchillas can fight to the death. Some matches take a bit longer than others but with a bit of patience and a few techniques pairing them up is possible. These techniques should be used for same sex pairs as well as for male/female pairs. Many pairs will go together easily, others may take a few attempts to make friends.

1. Place their cages side by side for a week so they can meet through the cage bars. Leave a small space between the cages so they won't be able to bite the other's nose. Once they seem OK with one another and are no longer 'fence fighting' it is time for step two.

2. Before you put your chinchillas together, place them in each other's cages for about an hour. Make sure you leave the original bedding and houses, ect. This way they can get used to each other's scent.

3. Now place fresh bedding in the male's cage and put the female into the cage with the male.

If you are introducing a same sex pair place the most aggressive, outgoing chinchilla into the cage with the other one. **Make sure you do this on a day when you can be there for a long while to watch for fighting. If they fight you will have to separate them and try again. You can expect the chinchillas to sniff each other, play chase, bark or squeek. If you have a female she may stand up and shoot urine at the male. If they begin jumping on each other and/or biting, separate them and try again in a few days. If your chinchillas don't seem to go together using the above method try placing them in a brand new cage with fresh bedding that doesn't have the smell of either animal. Neither one will have the "home turf" advantage.

Remember to go slow and keep constant supervision over a new pair. Rushing a union can cause disaster, but with slow, careful planning you will have a loving pair of chinchillas before you know it!

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