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We have come full circle in our housing of the chinchillas. In our first two years we had a small herd in our home. With the birth of our son we were forced to move them to their own building. He had respiratory problems and the added chin dust was not good for him. Over the next 7 years we worked to come up with the best design for housing our chinchilla herd. In 2006 my husband created our best building yet:
This building has a lot of perks we added with our chinchillas in mind.
First there are the 12 foot ceilings. These are perfect for allowing the dreaded heat to rise up above the cages leaving the lower half of the room comfortable even in our Southern sweltering heat.
Notice the 4 air conditioner units. These help disperse cool air evenly across the room. With 4 a/c units it wouldn't be a nightmare if one unit were to break down in the middle of summer. The other 3 would still keep the room below critical temperatures until a new a/c could be installed.
Up in the attic we have a mega exhaust fan on a thermostat. It is set to come on when the attic space reaches a certain temperature. The fan is so strong that it pulls air up through the ceiling of the chinchilla room. This removes the warmer air and pulls in just enough fresh air from outside to keep the air nice and circulating without adding heat.
We have a smaller exhaust fan in the chinchilla room that we use during dusting to help remove excess dust.
Our lights run vertically down the walls rather than horizontally from the ceiling. We find this places more light into the cages.
We do get a lot of questions as to why we use smaller cages than we recommend for pet chinchillas. These are breeding cages that 95% of all chinchilla breeders use. They are the safest size for pregnant moms and new babies. Larger cages would allow a mother to run from her babies if she didn't want to feed them. Taller cages would allow new babies to fall and get hurt.
Our chinchillas do get toys like the one you see hanging in the picture below. We don't feed our breeding girls many raisins or other treats, however, we do give them a supplement which they think is a treat. They line up and start rattling their cages when they see me coming with the container!!
Another special perk to the breeding cages is that when one of my girls delivers her baby(s) we can close the hole you see in the back of her cage. This will allow her to not get pregnant again while she is nursing. Because the male can still walk through that tunnel behind her cage they don't miss each other and Dad gets to visit with the babies through the cage bars. Its not uncommon to see the baby and Dad rubbing noses or chatting to each other through those bars. Family life is still happy and Mom gets a nice long rest until I feel she is ready to breed again.
~Don't feel bad for Dad. He has three wives so he isn't lonely when one of his girls is closed off for mother duties. ;)
I hope you have enjoyed a look at our breeding room!
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