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Cheeky Chinchillas - Breeding Chinchillas
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Breeding chinchillas is a great responsibility and must not be taken on lightly. You may already have a chinchilla and think it would be lovely to get him/her a mate. Consider all the facts very carefully before you go ahead. It is always wise to read as much as you can and from as many different sources as you can. I am not a breeder and the information below is basic. Please scroll down the page to see photographs of a chinchilla kit from 1 hour old to 100 days old The parentage of the breeding pair is very important. Do you know sufficient about them? Have they had any health problems i.e. with their teeth? Some problems are passed on genetically. The last thing you want to do is breed from a pair where one or both of them have had any health issues. These could be inherited by the kits and so would just increase problems in the future. Sometimes health problems don't show until they are older, by which time you may have bred more kits. It can be come a vicious circle, so really think about it. It can also be very expensive if you need vetinary care. Do you have plenty of room? More chinchillas, means more cages. Even if you intend selling the kits, you will still need extra cages when it is time to separate the babies out, until they are sold. If you intend just having one litter, have you thought enough about what will happen afterwards? If you leave the pair together, they will most likely produce more litters. Two litters a year is more than enough for one female. So what do you do? Do you separate them? Is this fair to them? Should you think about having dad neutered? These are important questions to ask yourself, before you even think about breeding chinchillas. Unless you have bought a pair of chinchillas already living together, it is necessary to introduce them gradually. A female should not be mated before the age of 10 + months. Even then, she will only breed if she feels secure in her surroundings. Just before she is ready to breed, you may notice the male acting a little more aggressively, making sounds and wagging his tail. After an attempt at mating has taken place the male will make a loud hiccupping noise and he will eject a waxy substance into the female to hold the semen in place. Finding this wax-like plug, is a sign that an attempt at mating has taken place but does not necessarily mean that the female is pregnant. The gestation period for a chinchilla is 111 days. The female does not usually look very different until a few weeks before the babies are due. She will probably sleep more on her side, eat less and drink more. Chinchillas have six teats ... by about 65 days the teats will be pink and enlarged - after about 85 days or so, you will notice the nipples getting longer and redder. They will eventually be almost as long as her fur. You may also see the kits move. During the last few weeks it is best not to handle her unless really necessary and do not allow her to bathe for about a week either side of the birth. This is to stop her getting any infection and also to stop sand clinging to her teats etc and causing problems for the babies. The kits (babies) are usually born in the early hours of the morning. She will give birth on her own, clean the baby/babies, clean herself and eat the afterbirth. Keep her in a warm and quiet environment. You probably won't see the birth but should you suspect that she is having problems, take her straight to the vets. The litters are small, usually one or two babies, although they can have more. The kits (babies) are born with teeth and are fully furred. Before the babies are born, make sure the cage is ‘baby safe’. It’s a good idea to put something down on the floor if you have a wire bottom cage. Some breeders use newspaper or fleece liners (these also provides a nice soft resting area). This prevents the kits from getting their legs stuck in the holes. Also, make sure there are no parts in the cage that would be dangerous for the kits - it's a amazing how soon they are moving and climbing around. It is safe to keep both parents with the new born kits, BUT it is possible for the female to become pregnant soon after giving birth, so you should remove the male before the birth to prevent a 'breed back'. Having another litter so soon after is not fair on the female as it is very tiring for her. If you are not a breeder, serious consideration should be given as to whether you should put them back together. Placing mum and dad back together again, will most likely produce more kits. The kits will be moving about within a few hours and the doe will have no objection to the new born babies being held, gently of course. The kits can weigh between 25 - 60 grams and should gain about 2-4 grams a day approx. It is a good idea to weigh the kits to make sure they are gaining weight. Sometimes the mother cannot produce enough milk for one reason or another and you may need to supplement. Weaning begins at about 8 weeks, but the kits can stay with mum until they are 10 weeks old. After this time, they can be placed in a separate cage, where they should be monitored to make sure that they are eating and drinking ok on their own. They should not be sold until they are at least 12 - 14 weeks old. Neutering You may decide to have your male chinchilla neutered. This is a responsible thing to do, to prevent unwanted kits, but something you must decide for yourself. If you decide to neuter your male, he must be kept away from the female for about 8 weeks afterwards. Pictures of a Chinchilla Kit: 1 hour old to 100 days old

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