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Author Topic: Have you ever re-homed a chinchilla? Why?  (Read 170 times)

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shelverman

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Have you ever re-homed a chinchilla? Why?
« on: October 14, 2017, 11:29:27 AM »

I'm really struggling with one of my new chins, Fitzgerald. I bought him simultaneously with another new chin, Hemingway, about 8 months ago.

{1} Despite planning to house them together, I have been unable to do so because Fitz is too hostile to Hemi. Therefore, their available space is cut in half, since each of them only gets half of my double-decker Ferret Nation cage. This is unfair to Hemi, who could have double the space – and a compaion – if Fitz were nicer.

{2} For a while, I was switching them upstairs/downstairs for variety, but Fitz has become a constant risk of peeing outside the cage. I had to take out his shelf because he was backing his little butt all the way up to the edge and peeing off of it. (He's even managed to pee out of the floor pans, which are 3 inches high, just because he neurotically piles his wooden shavings into the corners until he's created a "ramp.") Because I've had to take special precautions in Fitzgerald's half of the cage, I don't switch them anymore... which has cut off Fitzgerald's access to the wheel.

{3} Possibly as a result of losing his wheel and his shelf, Fitz has started to chew the bars of the cage. Due to my living situation, I can't move the cage out of my bedroom, so this is definitely a problem for me. I'd also rather not buy a second wheel because the Chin Spin is a hundred dollars.

For the record, Fitz is the same chinchilla that I posted about in this thread:
http://www.chinchillaclub.com/forum/index.php/topic,5202.0.html
He's gotten less aggressive and horny since then, but he's still not a great pet... and his life's mission seems to be foiling my best laid plans.

I've started to wonder if I should find another home for him (if I can) and try to match Hemingway with a different companion before he gets too old. Does anyone have any advice?
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GrayRodent

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Re: Have you ever re-homed a chinchilla? Why?
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2017, 10:02:45 PM »

I use a two level FN-182. I have two chins, one per level. I originally wanted to combine them but they turned out to be incompatible. It turns out the space they have is just fine for them so I wouldn't be too critical of the space you have. They are thriving in their areas.

It's better to not switch them around for variety. Chinchillas like their space and are territorial about it. That practice may be contributing to your urine problem.

I recommend adding shelving to the cage as well as wooden or metal splash guards. This can also help and it gives your chins more space. Shelves should be wood, preferably white pine or aspen. The wood can be cut with a basic hand saw. Fasteners such as stud bolts, wingnuts, and fender washers can be easily installed with a drill and bit.

You can certainly swap the wheel back and forth with little effort. I have a chin spin as well and it's easy to set up.

My advice is keep the setup you have and save up for another wheel. Make the modifications described and you should be all set.
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GrayRodent

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Re: Have you ever re-homed a chinchilla? Why?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2017, 10:06:37 PM »

Another question. How long have you had the chins. Also peeing outside of the cage is unusual (though not unheard of) for a male. Are you are certain of their sexes? Also what behavior are you observing that makes you think they are not compatible?
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shelverman

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Re: Have you ever re-homed a chinchilla? Why?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2017, 08:55:49 PM »

Thank you for the suggestions.

re: switching them: It would be ironic if territoriality is contributing to the urine problem. Half my reason for switching them was acclimating them to each other's scents and preventing territorial behavior! That's a good point, though.

re: shelves: For what it's worth, they already have 3 shelves each.

re: urine guards: I have urine guards attached at the bottom, but I never expected him to pee off of a shelf... and I don't really want to encase the entire cage in urine guards unless I have no other choice.

re: history: I've had them for over 8 months. They are almost a year old. But I'm definitely certain of their sexes. (Recall the other thread I linked that described Fitzgerald's humping problem.) I don't think it's his intention to pee outside the cage; he just has a weird preference to back up as far as he possibly can before he pees.

re: behavior: This is also slightly described in the thread I linked, but I can go into more detail. For a long time, after buying these two chins, I kept them in adjacent cages to acclimate them. Most of the time, they ignored each other (even at a mere 6 inches' distance), but if I pushed the cages close enough for them to – almost – touch each other, Fitz would start clawing/flailing with his paws and biting through the bars. He actually succeeded in biting Hemi on the nose once, when I thought they were at a safe distance. Finally, after months of keeping them side by side, I gave up and bought the double-decker Ferret Nation cage.
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GrayRodent

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Re: Have you ever re-homed a chinchilla? Why?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2017, 07:42:48 PM »

I'm not sure if there is much hope for improvement. Perhaps they'll settle down a bit once they're assigned sections. And you can try to put splash guards in the worst places. There probably won't be more than one or two places since chinchillas develop a habit of urinating in one spot under normal conditions.
Something you might try is to get a metal pan and put some bedding in it, make sure it's cushy. Let the bedding in the pan get soiled. When you change it out put some of the soiled bedding back in. This might help establish a corner to urinate in as chinchillas normally assign themselves one place.
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