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Author Topic: Just looking for a little insight  (Read 245 times)

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Tarash

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Just looking for a little insight
« on: April 01, 2017, 08:10:55 AM »

Hey, I just got myself 2 Chinchilla females about 2 weeks ago, before that I did a bunch of research on them to try and make sure I could provide a stable and healthy environment for them, obviously as many of you could probably tell me as well, no amount of research can fully prepare you for all the the things that could happen and probably will happen when you own chins, so to that end I have a few questions I'm hoping you guys could help me shed some light on.

A little info about them first, from what I was told by the previous owner, they're around a year old both of them, it was a young boy that used to take care of them and as they told me they simply didn't have enough time to care enough for the fluffy little bastards any longer.

Was also told and showed how he'd handle them by basically grabbing the root of their tails and carrying them that way too, through all the research I've read though most people seem to agree that you need to also support their body and paws, I can't imagine it being very pleasent being dragged around by your tail.

Aynways, after I got them back to my place and got their cage set up, I let them stay in their cage to try and get used to things, and this is when things started going wrong.

Firstly, I let them out of their cage on the second day at my place, as they did not seem afraid of me, they were happy to crawl and sniff on my hands, clearly a huge mistake however, within a few minutes they found their way under my couch into small crevices and basically stayed there for an hour, needless to say it ended with me having to "chase" them a little to get them back in their cage, not very enjoyable for me or them, upon having to get them both back in their cage, Triss struggled while i held her to get her into the cage and Ciri the other one, started squealing when I held her, the heartbreaking kind of squeal.

So at this point im still pretty reluctant to let them out of their cage, this happened the 20th of march, for this one I'm just a little curious, how should I go about gaining some trust so things can get better? I do want them out and about, and I've started taking more precautions now, I'm just worried this kind of thing will happen again to sour their entire experience with being able to run around and have fun, and how long should I keep them in their cage to let them know and understand that it's their home?

Second question, I am very confused by all the things they can't be around, like their bedding, specific types of wood, and what I mean by that is, on the packages at my local animalproducts store, it usually never states what type of wood it is, all it says is organic and non-treated, this goes for both beddings and extra wooden accesories such as small wooden boards you can attack to the cage so they have something to climb on, so what am I supposed to do with it? How can I sniff out the bad stuff from the good stuff for my chins so that they don't end up with respiratory problems? Is there any markers I should look for such as specific colors or odors?

Third question, I mentioned that my one chin, Ciri, squealed when I picked her up, the 2 weeks I've had them so far she's also the least active, she can't jump as high as Triss either, is this something I should be concerned about or look into? I really wanted to delay a Vet visit for a few weeks so I don't scare them to death, but if a vet visit is recommended I will of course take them, and will just have to repair the trust later if there's a health concern for her. I'd wager the jump difference between Triss and Ciri is that Triss can probably jump up to 50cm whilst Ciri can barely do 30cm.

And final question for now, mostly pertaining to their droppings, I read it's a good way to keep track of their health, I'm just not sure if it's currently in order, their droppings are small, relatively hard and black / dark brown in color, is this a normal type or do I need to look into their diet?

Thanks for any and all responses, from the otherwise happy new owner of 2 lovely chins.

Oh uh and a few pictures here, made me think of a last thing, why is Triss sleeping ontop of her nest as opposed to inside it? that seems a bit odd to me.

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GrayRodent

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Re: Just looking for a little insight
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2017, 09:31:16 PM »

LOL. What you describe is so typical of chinchillas. Especially chins that are not very well socialized. And obviously not handled properly.

Regarding behavior:
I don't think holding them by the base of the tail without foot support causes them pain of any kind. However I think by not supporting their feet or having a place for them to grip I think it can cause them stress in most contexts. Which isn't the same as pain but that is going to seriously work against you as you try to straighten them out. It's made them averse to being picked up and handled. Which is one reason why they were screaming bloody murder when you grabbed them. That kind of response is not typical. Expect this to be a process over weeks and months but I don't think it's irresolvable. And I do agree you don't want to keep having the same bad experience each time they're out if you can avoid that. You want to establish a pattern of experience. The occasional mishap won't matter too much if you can be consistent. And unfortunately you can expect your chins will get away from you numerous times as you as you start working with them. And beleive me they are nefarious little creatures that can innovate on the fly!

However, with that being said, it's typical for chins to hide in dark places and chew baseboards, power cables (which sadly I hear of fatalities quite often from this), and stuff they shouldn't have access to. It's just not a good idea to let them roam around except in a place that's prepared for them. You can certianly transport them using a travel cage if you think that can help you.

I wouldn't start doing that anytime soon though. I think your chins need to stay in thier cage for a few weeks and just get used to you and get used to interaction through the door and through the bars of the cage. That's going to give them time to adjust to their new surroundings and owner and it will give you time to observe them and figure them out. And that's 2/3 of the battle right there, observing and learning from them. And the other 1/3 is them learning from you.

Regarding wood:
There are people all over the spectrum when it comes to saying what's safe and what's not. But for me I just go by what the old school agricultural breeders have used for years without problems yet not go off the deep end with restrictions. I would stay away from particle board or press board, board that has varnish or coatings on it, or anything that is not some kind of white pine, aspen, or similar material. If it smells stronger than white pine boards I'd say stay away from it. If it's denser it's probably not safe. If you have a specific wood in question I can tell you whether or not others have used it safely but white pine is very common. You can very easily make shelving and ledges for your cage. If you have any questions just ask.

Bedding is ususually labelled. If it says kiln dried white pine or aspen you're good. It doesn't have to be organic or anything crazy like that. Avoid paper or artificial absorbent beddings. These are bad news and are proven to be unsafe.

Regarding Health:
I wouldn't be to concerned about your chinchilla's health unless you see loose or runny droppings, lethargy (I know that's hard to describe when you don't know what normal behaviour looks like), uncoordinated walking, discharge from the eyes or nose, things like that. You can certainly take them to the vet for an exam if you'd like. They are going to be stressed no matter what but it's your call.

I can also assure you both of them can jump higher than 50cm if they really wanted to.

The droppings you describe (and photographed) look typical to me as well. Dry and brown is good. Wet and green is not. But as far as diet might I ask what you are feeding? There are some really good diets out that that are popular and there are a larger number of very poor diets should be avoided.

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2017, 09:41:02 PM by GrayRodent »
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Tarash

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Re: Just looking for a little insight
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2017, 05:44:49 PM »

Hey many thanks for the response :) I'm guessing some of it is things that get repeated quite often, so you taking your time is much appreciated!

Even since initially writing this post I've made pretty decent headway with them, especially Triss seem keen to learn and is much more contact seeking, Ciri is still a work in progress, which seems mostly to be connected to her personality or that she may have had more bad experiences, the latter is difficult to discern as i don't know enough about their previous house.

The current feed I'm giving them is this https://image.maxizoo.dk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/121750/121936.jpg , from what I've seen it's mostly pellets in it, it's leftovers from what the previous owner gave them, I have purchased another product as well http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0478/4301/products/b510988c9e277c5172b407c27745023f4e880bc8_large.jpeg?v=1476902859 that I'm going to change to once they've finished the other one.

As for treats I let them eat oats out of my hand or they get a raisin every once in a while, the oats seem to be a way better way of building a bit of trust so they don't run off the second my hand comes in contact with either of them!

I'll take your advice though and keep them caged for a while longer :) Should also give me ample time to make the area safer for them to run around.

I have however decided to take them to a vet just to make sure nothings ailing either of them, I thought I saw a tiny thing crawl out of their fur the other day, and I have no idea when they last had a vet visit, so figured it would be timely to get them checked out.

Again thanks so much for the response!
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GrayRodent

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Re: Just looking for a little insight
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2017, 06:38:47 PM »

Glad to oblige. That's why we're here.

Chinchillas can have widely different personalities just like cats or dogs. Considering they have not been socialized properly they may never get super friendly but you if you keep working with them they should tame down quite a bit.

I think the diets on your list are not good. You are better off feeding loose hay only than feeding those diets. I'm guessing you're in Europe where your options are more limited. Do you have access to Oxbow or Mazuri feed products there? There may be better options for you.
I recommend feeding in the meantime half in half alfalfa and timothy hay. Once you add pellets back into the diet just feed timothy hay as your loose hay.

Pelleted diets that come in mixtures are not good for chinchillas. Chinchillas will pick out the junk and leave the good parts behind, if there are any good parts left. I strongly suspect this reduces their life expectancy by less than half.

It is very unusual for chinchillas to have mites or fleas and if you are actually seeing something crawling out of their fur consider that to be highly abnormal. However the urine in the cage bedding can attract gnats and flying insects but considering the diet they were on they may not be particularly healthy. The vet should be able to tell you more.
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