Things needed for your chinchilla!
This is simply a list of all those things that are needed to care for a chinchilla and possibly some that are not. Some things are absolutely essential and others are optional - I have included a strictly optional section. I've written this up for all you new and prospective chinchilla owners out there so you can be sure that you are prepared to bring your new chinnies home! If I have forgotten anything, you experienced chin owners out there must let me know. Some of the items have links to AZ Chins product webpages. http://chinstore.azchins.com is our online store, we also have other products and custom products available for chinchillas. Email me if I don't have something you'd like listed and I can try to get it for you.
Food and other Consumables:
Chinchilla Pellets - We use Mazuri, but other high quality, fresh pellets are ok provided that your chinchilla has been properly switched over to them. I also have a high quality, lower protein pellet available.
Timothy Hay - The fresher the Timothy hay, the better! Good hay should have a grassy smell to it and be green. Brown hay that does not smell isn't very fresh. We carry timothy hay that is sold by 1 lb, 5 lb and 10 lb bags
Alfalfa Hay Cubes - Fresh compressed alfalfa hay cubes are good just to leave in with your chins at all times. We have Alfalfa cubes that we turn over monthly and are fresh from the mill.
Pumice - This is an excellent tooth condition/toy. We have smaller pieces that chins like to move around the cage.
Pine Chew Blocks - Nothing makes a better toy than pine for chinchillas to satisfy their endless erge to chew (and destroy!). Stay away from any toys made of Cedar! I also have pecan wood that is very good for chins to chew on and lasts longer.
Dust Bath - Chinchillas need to take dust baths to keep their fur nice and clean. We carry three types of dust.
Cage Litter/Bedding - Any type of pine litter is best. Stay completely away from Cedar, it can cause long term respiratory problems. We have bags of softwood shavings available for $7 a bag.
Treats and Supplements:
Raisins - The type generally used for chins are from the grocery store. (But, as with all treats, only feed one for a daily treat!) It would be best if they are only fed once every one to two weeks. These are very high in sugar, something that chins do not need. Chinchillas do not need treats at all, they definitely do not need raisins. But, if you feel that the chin would like one, it is alright to give just one. Please remember that a chinchilla eating a raisin is about like a human eating a raisin the size of a football. It's a lot of sugar and can cause problems if fed on a regular basis.
(I do not feed raisins myself at all. The only reason why they are being mentioned is because people read in books and on other places on the internet that they can feed raisins and that it is a good treat. Years ago raisins were seen as a good treat for chinchillas to get on a daily basis. As time has gone by things have changed a lot with the way we care for our animals. Treats are seen as much different.)
Almonds and other RAW Nuts - In extremely strict moderation these may be fed. Every great once and awhile a raw almond can be a good treat every few months. I will feed them to a mother that has given birth to give her a little extra fat to produce milk. They should not be fed every day or even weekly. Fat is not good for chinchillas in large amounts or on a regular basis.
Shredded Wheat - Plain shredded wheat cereal (no sugary sweet side!) from the grocery. The bite sized variety is the easiest to deal with. This may be fed as a treat or as a way to help correct sticky droppings.
Other Treats - There are a great deal of different treats out there for chinchillas. Only ONE TREAT A DAY! It is best to not feed veggies and fruits at all if possible. The amount to be given must be extremely small, it's hardly worth it to give them anything like that.
Vitamin C - We always give a weekly vitamin C supplements to help maintain good oral and overall health of our chinnies. Chewable 500 mg tablets are the best thing, in my opinion, to feed. I buy a 180 ct bottle from Walmart for $8.00 and it lasts for several weeks. Just feed one tablet a week, the orange (or other fruit flavor) makes the chinnies think that it is a treat!
Cages and Cage Accessories:
Cages - There are a lot of cages out there! AZ Chins. Stay away from the cages at Petsmart and Petco, they are overpriced and not made for chinchillas! Cages can be pricey, but well worth it if you find a good quality cage. I can custom make just about any type of wire cage that you would want. I can put in wire or wood shelves with different features. Just let me know what you want and I can make it for you.
Waterbottle - I recommend a waterbottle that has a lever valve not a ball valve in the drinking tube. It doesn't drip like regular bottles do and is very easy to refill from the top.
Food Dishes - One larger dish for food and one for treats/supplements may be a good idea. Heavy ceramic dishes are best because they cannot get chewed to pieces like plastic and are a little more tip resistant.
Chinchilla Bath Houses - This is a must for anyone with chins!&nbssp; If you have another container you would rather use, that is fine, too. But, the Bath House will cut down on the amount of dust that gets out into your house! Any container that contains the dust is fine. We have a larger chinchilla dusting pan that does a great job.
Chinchilla Houses - These are little wood boxes for chinchillas to sleep or hide. I can custom make different sizes of houses in different shapes. Email me with your idea and what you'd like, I can probably get it made up right away for you.
Hay Holders - These can help with holding loose or cubed hay. However, my chins just end up moving them around the cage and the hay never stays in them. Some can be very dangerous because chinchillas may get caught up in them and break a limb.
Leapin' and Sleepin' Ledges - These are exactly what their names imply!! They're made out of wood and can attach to the side of any cage. They may be used instead of wire shelves and chinchillas LOVE them. They are so much cheaper there. We make our own version of the Leaping Ledge and sell them for about half the price. Email me if you are interested in buying some!
Chin Combs or Brushes - Some people like to brush out their chincchillas to remove old fur and keep them well groomed.
Exercise Balls - I do not use these. They end up in the closet because most chins do not like them. It would be best to save your money. I do understand that people enjoy using them while they are cleaning the chins' cages. They can be dangerous. The chins can overheat in them easily, they can get their toes caught in the vent slits and the ends can come off the balls and the chins can escape. Honestly, they are only useful if the chinchillas' owners are watching them as they play. So, they aren't a great option to put a chin in if you plan on walking away and not watching the chinchilla. They can only be safely used with close supervision.
(I am changing this information. The previous write up I had before was from 2001 and was not changed. I prefer that people not use balls and have said that for years. I am a responsible breeder and I do not want to do anything to harm chinchillas. It would be nice if it was acknowledged that the information was changed. I ask for people to give me feedback before they announce that I do not know what I am saying.)
Exercise Wheels - I will never, never have another exercise wheel in any of my cages. We've had chinchillas killed or injured in the past from the wheels and I will not recommend any of them. Anything you put into your chin's cage must be safe, wheels move very fast and just aren't completely safe - no matter what everyone else may say! If you absolutely have to get a wheel, only let your chins use it while you are supervising them.
Other Toys - We have a lot of toys meant for chins and small animals. Just use your common sense when purchasing toys. They need to be safe and made out of acceptable materials. Cedar is not acceptable! Plastic will be destroyed! And, anything made of straw, twigs or hay will be ripped apart and strewn all over the cage and surrounding areas. Pecan wood makes great toys and chews, email me for more information.
Chinchilla or Small Animal Vitamins - There are people that think that you should give your chinchilla vitamins in his or her water. Sometimes this will work, but sometimes the chins will not drink their water because of the funny tasting vitamins. I believe that if you supply your chinchilla with the proper food, hay and occaisional vitamin C supplement, you will not need the vitamins. However, they are safe and you may use them if you so desire.
If you have anything to add or that you think should be revised on this page, please contact me. Sometimes webpages do not get revised for years and years because there's just not time to work on webpages. You have to let me know if something doesn't seem right.
Last Update: 5-17-2009
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