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Children and Chinchillas

I am a stay at home mother with two small children and I also own a herd of 55 chinchillas. Iíve had people ask me how I can find the time to do both. What do I do with the kids when I need to work in the chinchilla building? Iíve also had motherís call me, interested in buying a chinchilla but worried that they shouldnít own one because they were told children and chinchillas donít mix. So in answer to those questions I though I would introduce you to my family.

Jacob, age 4

Hunter, age 6
I starting breeding chinchillas just before my oldest daughter, now 6, was born so both of my children have grown up with chinchillas in their everyday life. When they were younger I built a play area for them in the chinchilla building to keep them busy while I was working but now they have come to love the animals as much as I do. When we go out to take care of the chinchillas each morning they want to work with me and its wonderful to see them so excited about their ďjobsĒ.
When they first came to me wanting to help out I tried to think of the easiest job they could safely do. I let them pour food in each cage and they were thrilled to do it. After awhile they were flying through their one chore and begging for more.
My daughter showed me she could unclip the water bottles, fill them up, and replace them on the cage so that became her new job.
Pretty soon they were helping me with everything. One of their favorite chores is filling the pans with aspen on cleaning day. They take turns with one of them pouring the shavings and the other one spreading it out. I have to admit that they get about as much aspen on the floor as they do in the pans, but with their help I can clean cages a lot faster than when I was doing it alone. Plus itís so much more fun doing it together!
My daughter enjoys helping out with the chinchillas but itís my son, now 4, that truly shares my love for breeding them. His ultimate, favorite job of all is taking care of the babies. He is so gentle with them and loves to help get them out and weigh them. I have to read the scale but he is now able to do everything else.
I think we have all benefited from making chinchilla breeding a family affair. The children have learned how to take on more responsibility and to properly care for animals. They have learned about caring and compassion as they watch their own chinchillas grow. They have learned a bit about birth as they help look for new babies. They have learned about death and loss as they say good-bye to a kit that didnít make it. Our chinchillas are better for it as well. They are used to the sounds of children laughing and playing. Itís not uncommon for us to be singing and giggling as we work. I think our babies are better adjusted having been held by several people on a daily basis. They tend to be more open to new people and adjust well to new homes. All in all Iíd say in our family, Children and Chinchillas are a perfect match!

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