How To Care For Baby Chinchillas

Anytime you house a male and female chinchilla together, you should be prepared for babies. Chinchilla babies are called kits. Average litter size is 2, however litters can range in size from 1-7, with litters over 4 being rare.

Mosaic Kits

Separate your male and female
The first thing you should do in preparation for chinchilla kits is to remove the male from the cage. This is because the female can get pregnant again right away and even a day before the kits are born. Having back to back pregnancies is hard on the female’s body. You can reintroduce your male to the female after the kits are weaned.

Cage
You will need a cage that the kits cannot escape. The wire spacing should be no wider than 1/2″, usually 1/2″ x 1″ is recommended. The cage should not have levels or be too tall. Kits are active at birth and will climb walls so you don’t want them to fall or get accidentally landed on my their mom jumping down from levels.

Birth
Gestation ranges between 106-118 days with the average being 111 days.  Chinchillas are born fully furred and with eyes open.  Delivery can last from a few minutes to a few hours.  Wait 10-14 days after birth to dust the female and kits; any sooner can cause infection.

Chinchilla delivering 2 kits (please note, ramps and multi-level cages are inappropriate for kits):

Chinchilla delivering placenta – most of the time they eat it and there should be 1 placenta per kit, though sometimes not all is eaten:


Fostering/Rotating

Sometimes, especially with larger litters, kits will fight over milk or a place to nurse so rotating will become necessary. You can switch kits out every few hours, and supplement with hand feeding if necessary. If you have another female that has recently given birth, you may be able to foster a kit out to her. Often, females will care and nurse other kits as if they were their own. Even if you have another female that is not producing milk, she still may help keep a kit warm during rotating.

Hand Feeding
While most females will take care of their kits on their own, you should be prepared to hand feed if necessary. Sometimes this is needed if the female does not produce enough milk, if the female rejects the kits, or if your female dies. Kits need to be hand fed often, every couple hours (2-3).

Heat
Baby chinchillas must be kept warm. Usually they will stay warm under their mom, but if needed, a warm heating pad can be placed under part of the cage or as mentioned perhaps the kit can be fostered out to another female.

C-sections, miscarriages, still-borns
Unfortunately things do not always go well with chinchilla pregnancy and delivery. Females may miscarry, or deliver still-born or mummified kits. If your female is having a difficult time delivering, you need to go to the Emergency Vet Immediately for assistance delivering the kits or a c-section. If your female has finished delivering kits but is bleeding a lot (delivery should not be very bloody-see above movie), go to the vet!

Weaning
Kits will start to eat pellets at a few weeks old and hay even sooner however they need to stay with their mom until a minimum of 6 weeks, most breeders wait until 8 weeks to wean. Females of course, can be housed with their mom indefinitely however males must be removed by 10 weeks to prevent inbreeding.

Misc

  • Kit survival is about 70-80%.
  • It is a good idea to purchase a gram scale (postal or kitchen scale) to weigh the kits daily and make sure they are gaining. Kits generally weigh between 30-60g at birth and gain 1-2g per day
  • It may take a few days for the female’s milk to come in.
  • Hand feeding kits is not easy and should be prevented if possible. Fostering out is a better option if available.
  • Do not continue to breed females that cannot produce enough milk to support their litter as milk production is genetic
  • If you intend on breeding chinchillas, look for a good breeder to purchase quality pedigreed chinchillas from. Breeding pet store, rescue, or other chinchillas, whose linage is unknown is risky because you do not know if they could be related or have any history of health issues.

81 Comments

  1. Your post, How To Care For Baby Chinchillas – Chinchilla Expert, is really well written and insightful. Glad I found your website, warm regards!

      • Nowhere in the article, does it say to put the babies in with the male. In fact, it says to remove the male from the cage to prevent breed backs. In some of the comments, there is discussion of reintroducing the male, in which, should be similar to any introduction between chinchillas and the outcome will depend on the individual chinchillas involved. Many males will help care for the babies, while others may be aggressive towards mom or kits (especially if they are not his kits).

        • Our male is very very protective over his kits. Matter of fact he has been teaching them on how to get out of the cage

  2. Hi.
    This was really helpful for me because my chinchilla gave birth but she died shortly afterwards. I do not have a Foster mom for the kits but I am trying my best to keep the kits alive and healthy. Do you have any tips that can help me out??

    • Wait atleast 4 days before putting the male back in. One source says females can be in heat up to 13 days after, all others say 2-4days. Be careful though because females have a weaning estrus as well which can occur as soon as 4 weeks from birth and back to back pregnancies can be hard on a females body just as a breedback.

      • Hi Sara,
        I purchased a bonded pair of chins from a breeder(well he is a mouse and rat breeder and was planning to breed chins and changed his mind) this past april. My female just delivered 3 kits in the early morning hours today. By the time I was aware she was already nursing and eating the placenta. So my concern is that the male is very upset about being separated from mom and babies. I feel very bad because I really should’ve read your article BEFORE she had the babies… I received misinformation from the breeder I received them from and they were still housed together. So my issue is that he was very good with the kits and he cries for her. I tried putting her in another room so he couldn’t see her and he cried even louder. I did read that he can return to them in 4 days but how will I know when I need to separate them again to prevent another pregnancy? Although I don’t plan to breed them, I am not eager to have him neutered unless that is the best solution to keep them both happy and healthy. What do you recommend?

        • If you don’t plan to breed them, being neutered is the only solution for them living together. If you choose to neuter him, please please please make sure you have a good vet. You cannot tell when she is able to get pregnant and just remove him during that time. Unfortunately I wish I had ideas to calm dad but I do not. Since it sounds like he was with her when the kits were born, it is possible that she has been bred back so I’d mark your calendar for about 111 days to be on baby watch. She will have a weaning estrus about 6 weeks or so. I hope the kits are all doing well, three can be a handful.

          • Hi Sara,
            I did find a very knowledgable chin vet today and my poor guy is schedule to be neutered next week.
            Thank you for your quick reply. Kits and mom are all doing well. I have been giving mom 20 minute breaks every 2-3 hours after she nurses. I have a chin proof porch where their cages are kept and they can have play time. So when she is out she goes and lays by her mates cage and they talk to each other through the cage. I feel bad for them but he is much calmer now.
            Thanks again
            Cate

      • I have a question! My male and female chinchilla made it almost 8 months ago and had to baby girls. The babies are almost sexually mature, and I’m wondering… Will the father try to meet with his babies?

  3. Hi, i tried to reintroduce the male back when the kit around 10th day old But he seemed aggressive and frightened the little poor kit. Should i continue to separate them or is there any tips to help?
    Thank you so much.

    • Yes, I would keep him separated until the kit is weaned if he is acting aggressive towards the baby. If he was ok with Mom, then you could let mom and dad have playtime together if they are ok with it just to keep them used to each other.

  4. this sight helped us find out how long our chinchilla baby will nurse and stuff like that. we had to take our chinchilla to the vet but we have one healthy baby girl chinchilla! this website is the best

    • Thank you chinchilla breeder for the kind words! Please share pictures of your fur-babies on my Facebook page, I’d love to see them 🙂

  5. I bought a chinchilla right after christmas and i didn’t know it was pregnant.. Or that “he” was even a she. They seem to be doing ok, they’re very active. But one is noticeably smaller than the other, but weighs 34 grams. Should I be worried or is he just the runt?

    • I hope all the kits are doing well. 34g is fairly small but I’ve heard of them surviving even smaller. If he made it, I assume by now you’ve figured out if he’s caught up or is runty. There has been a show champ that was born right around that weight, he was a tiny baby but grew well later.

  6. Hi, I have a few years experience with Chinchilla breeding and never really had any problems that aren’t common. I have 2 breeding pairs at the moment. they were put together at around the same time 2 years ago. One couple had 3 litters within the 2 years and I think they’re expecting again. One couple had their first baby this morning. I thought one or both were infertile due to the lack of babies which I was fine with because they got on together so well. The male is half the size of the female which is what I thought the problem may have been (a case of dominance), when I bought him from another breeder he was just 12 weeks and the female was born in my care. I’m nervous because this is her first litter and there was 2 kits but I found just a leg and a flesh flap along with the living kit. I removed it and she’s in a 3 tier cage. I can usually tell when they’re going to give birth and so prepare cages for them but this was so unexpected I didn’t move her and now I’m sort of at a loss: move her into the smaller cage I have prepared and risk distressing her or leave in in the 3 tier and risk her jumping on the baby or leaving It alone. The baby is quite small and thin but Mum is sitting on her and grooming her in their den and the baby is moving around and seems happy. This baby looks pretty much like any other baby I’ve had in the past just a little smaller. The Mum is very large for a chinchilla and the father, as I said is pretty small. A little advice would be greatly appreciated. Link below to see a little snap of baby and Mum
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=790738907610957

    • Baby does not look super tiny to me but hard to tell when not in person. If mom is taking care of the baby then I wouldn’t worry much about it’s size as it seems active. I would definitely move them to the smaller cage or maybe you can just block off the upper parts of their current cage? Concerning the parts of a baby you found, I would worry that the rest may still be inside the female, if you are not sure, I’d take her to the vet to check and prevent infection.

  7. Hi
    my baby chinchilla is about 3 months old and I’m unsure if he has a calcium deficiency. If so, can I still give him milk? Also if so what type of milk?
    Thankyou Sian

  8. Back in March on the eighth I believe, I had purchased another female chinchilla. Yesterday, June 22 she gave birth. We had no clue she was pregnant until we seen the kit running around the cage ! Thankfully we can support and love another chinchilla & so we plan on keeping it. I however have another female chinchilla in the same cage. She takes care of it as well and doesnt seem to mind it at all. I have the critter nation cage with the multi levels and the kit and mother are on the bottom level but should I seperate my other female from the kit and its mother or let it be ? Also, I did some research and know when to remove the kit from its mother and all that, but are there any other tips i should know ? We never did this before ! Lol thanks for your time !

    • I would let them all stay together if the other female seems fine with the kit. Many times other females will help with the care of the kit. The only suggestion would be to remove any levels in the cage for a few weeks so that the kit will not accidentally get jumped on or fall (they do start climbing right away). If you plan on keeping the kit, you would only need to separate from mom if male. Oh and also verify that the other female is indeed a female.

  9. Hey there! I’ve been reading your web site for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the great job!

  10. Hello. I have 15 chinchillas. I do not breed to sell, I keep any babies that happen to arrive. At the moment we have a 2 year old chin about to have a baby. This sadly was a complete accident, one that happened so quickly we had no idea even happened. The daddy chin is not in the same cage, only the same room. Anyway, she is very big, very lumpy, eating and drinking normally, but…her pregnancy seems to be lasting such a long time. She looks ready to drop and has looked this way for a few weeks now. I know that pregnancies last a long time for chins but it’s just a bit too long this time. Do you know of any specific tell tale signs that she’d be ready to give birth? All my other births were completely as we thought, knew when to expect it by reading them… Any tips would be much appreciated xxx

    • Hi Rose, sorry I don’t have any specific tips on when she will be ready. Chinchilla gestation averages 111 days but can last up to 120 days. Sometimes you can tell when they are pregnant, sometimes babies can come as a complete surprise. If you had been weighing her throughout the pregnancy, you can sometimes guess how far along but like people some chins gain a lot, some gain only the baby weight, and this also depends on the number of babies. A lot of people will tell you the nipples will get longer and you can see them, but this is not always true.

  11. Hey my chinchillas just have birth and I was curious if she did give birth to males do I have to separate them permanently to avoid inbreeding?(after weaning of course) Also I’m not very experienced with chins. I adopted them from the rescue mission and assumed they were nudered, should I take them to a vet for a checkup or anything? They wiegh about 37-43 grams (they kept moving around on the scale XD)

    • Yes you will need to separate males from mom after weaning to prevent inbreeding. Around weaning time double/triple check on the sex of the kits because it can be harder to tell when they are little. If they are females then obviously they can stay with mom indefinitely. You shouldn’t have to do anything for the kits, mom should take care of them but once they are a little older, it wouldn’t hurt to get a check up (especially mom) just so you have a baseline for their health and to get to know your vet if you don’t already and to make sure the vet is knowledgable and comfortable with the chinchillas. The weight of the babies seems ok, as long as they are active and eyes are open and mom is attending to them. Enjoy 😀 and feel free to post pics on my Facebook page!

  12. hi my Kits were just born 2 days ago , if I see mom is having trouble keeping up with her feeding what do I feed them as a substitute
    thanks 🙂

    • Hi Becky, it can take a few days for the milk to come in. If needed, you can feed goat milk to the kits. It needs to be just barely warm and then use an eyedropper or small syringe to put one drop at a time on the bottom lip, the kit should lick it off. DO NOT put any INTO the mouth, this could cause the kit to choke or aspirate. It will take a while to feed and it may take a while to find the easiest position to hold the kits while feeding. I would feed just enough that they are not crying for food so that they still try to nurse from mom, it will keep the milk coming in, at least for the next day or two. After that if mom still needs help, feed until they won’t take anymore. They need to be fed every 2-3 hours if mom is not producing any milk. Make sure you have a gram scale so you can weigh them daily.

  13. My boyfriend and I bought a pair of chinchillas from a breeder and unknowingly the female was pregnant. The young male that was bought with her however was not the father of the kits. Well I woke up this morning to 3 kits bouncing around the cage. The male showed no aggression or aggravation towards them and even helped keep one warm. With this being the first litter we have ever had and it being so unexpected we didn’t separate the male since he seemed perfectly fine with them. When I got home there was only one kit in the cage. There are no signs of the other two ever being in there and no blood pointing to them being eaten by either of the adults and with both of the adults being white I would think I would see blood stains on one of them. Is it still possible they were eaten or that maybe they got out of cage? I’ve searched everywhere and still can’t find the poor little guys

    • Keep looking for them, I bet they escaped and are hiding. Under normal circumstances, chinchillas do not eat their babies. It is not a huge problem that dad is in with mom but do know that she could be pregnant again so definitely separate them before 111 days from today (and if she turns up pregnant again give her a nice break) because back to back pregnancies especially after triplets will be tough on her. Hope you find them soon and they are ok! Be sure to look in other cages if you have other chinchillas; I once found an escaped baby in another cage being kept warm after what seemed an eternity searching for him.

  14. Hi, I was wondering, at what age is it ok to have a kit separated from its mother to a new home? (I would imagine immediately after weaning is too soon). I’m interested in raising a chinchilla from a younger age so it can bond with me, but I don’t want to traumatise it by taking it away from its mother too soon x

    • Hi Bunny, most breeders will not let a young chinchilla leave before it is 8 weeks old, some 10-12. It is best for the chin to have a week or more after weaning so that the breeder can be assured it is eating well on it’s own before it goes to a new home but there isn’t really a rule about this. Sometimes breeders will put the chin in a cage alone but sometimes they are weaned with others so it may or may not be in the same situation when it comes to you. If the chin is female though, there isn’t really a reason it would have to separated from mom at all before she leaves. This will just depend on the breeder’s set up more than anything. If the kit is very young, 6-8 weeks, I personally I would make sure it is okay on it’s own before rehoming but at 12 weeks it should definitely be fully weaned and ok to move so I don’t know if the transition week would be necessary at that age. It is important to have a quiet place for the cage and to let the chinchilla settle in for a few days. Some will take longer than others to settle in and get used to the new surroundings but no matter what the change will be stress on the chin, you just do what you can to minimize it.

  15. We rescued two chinchillas from a friends friend about 3-4 months ago, and yesterday she had a baby (somewhat unexpected) we kind of knew she was pregnant but not completely. The baby was healthy, he weighs 2.3 oz (66 g) and we are thinking its male. So if it is male, until how old can we keep him in the same cage? He’s moving around and very excited, mama chin is allowing us to hold it.

  16. Hi I have 2 very lively baby chinchillas they eat and drink by themselves but they still go to their mother for milk is that normal and would it mean they are not ready to go yet

    • By 10 weeks, they should be weaned off mom. Since they are eating and drinking by themselves, they should be ok but if they are female it doesn’t hurt to keep them with mom longer. If you separate them, just monitor and make sure they are eating enough to be gaining weight and that they are still drinking. I think they should be fine.

    • Hi Maria,
      It can be hard to tell when they are little. Most the time, you can tell by the amount of space between the cone and anus (more=male, less=female). But this is not always accurate, the only way to tell for sure is to do a hair ring check. If you can do it, then you have a male, if not then female. You should wait until weaning age to do this though.

  17. Hi,
    We adopted a mama and her 8 mos old male kit over a year ago and kept them in a separate cage next to my 3 year old male for about 2 months until they were talking and bonding with each other.
    I then introduced them into a 3 level 4X3X4 cage and they were great.
    This 10 days ago I awoke to find two kits scurrying on the ground under the cage. Didn’t have any idea they had bred.
    They are all fine and separated and mama is feeding them and they have started chewing on hay and gain over a gram a day.
    The mama’s first baby, whom we were told was a male, delivered 2 kits of her own 3 days ago. 1 was under developed at birth and didn’t make it through the night but the 2nd is thriving and feeding. She and her kit are in a separate container also.
    Question: At what stage can I or should I allow the mama and baby along with their kits to be combined into one container to see if they will care for each other and have bonding time before they are weened and adopted out.
    I also note you saying the mamas can spend time back with the male after a couple weeks to allow familiarization to continue. Should I bring both females back together and allow play time with the male or should this be done separately? And how long acan the kits be away from their mamas during this play time?
    But my main concern is combining the original mama and kit with their new offspring prior to weening.

    Thanks Dom

    • Hi Dom, you could try to combine both moms and all kits and see what happens. Maybe switch the kits, and see how the moms react and if they seem ok with the other baby then put everyone together and keep a close eye on them. I would think you wouldn’t have a problem, but you never know. I would wait another week or so before playing with dad but there isn’t really any rule just be aware of weaning estrus and the possibility to get pregnant again so soon. I wouldn’t keep kits away from mom very long at the beginning as they need to be kept warm but at a few weeks they’d be ok for a little while. I’d probably let mom have 10-20 min breaks. It may be possible to have them all run around together, how the male will react to the kits is unknown. Some males will help, others may attack so be careful. Can’t say it’s never happened but I haven’t heard of males killing their own kits, only those from other males. If everyone is let out to play make sure that there are NO places kits can escape.

      • Hi thanks for reply the kits are now over a month old and they have been reintroduced to the father and the moms are ok with the arrangement. All 3 kits and both moms and dad are fine. I had to add small gauge wire to bottom of cage as the little guys are quite the escape artists. There hasn’t been any problems and all seem to enjoy the big cage and company of each other. dom

  18. I’ve recently purchased a male chin and I put him with my female. At the moment they have seperate cages. I really liked your article because I wanted to be prepared just in case something might happen. He’s about 8 months old and starting to try and mount her. She won’t let him mate with her. Is it because she isn’t in heat? And is my male always going to act like this? Also how many days does it usually take before the wax plug fall out? And is there any special milk formula to get if you would need to bottle feed them? Sorry for asking so many questions but id like to be prepared. I also might have more questions. Thank you.

    • My guess is that if they continue to live separately then he will probably always act like that when they are together. If they live together then no not constantly but sometimes. I don’t know if there is a set time for the plug but you may or may not find it. Sometimes you may not even know a chin is pregnant until the baby shows up in the cage. It is best to have goats milk on hand, it is the only kind of “milk replacer” you should feed to chinchillas. I believe you can get powder or liquid; personally I would get liquid to have on hand before baby arrives. It is also good to have eyedroppers or syringes on hand to feed with.

  19. Hi! Thank you so much, this was very informative.
    I have two questions.
    1. What is the difference in personality between males and females? Is only more snuggly than the other?
    2. Do female chins have “periods” as dogs do when in heat?

    3. I am picking up a baby chin (my first!) on Saturday; it is approx. 8-9 weeks old.
    Apparently, it is weaned and doing well but I wondered what I could do to make the transition easier?
    Are chins okay with being alone?
    How often should I feed him?

    Thank you! 🙂

    • Hi Natalie, thanks for reading!
      1. My observations on this are hard to put into words. My boys seem to be more outgoing towards me with females more reserved but there are wide variety of personalities among both sexes and either can make a great pet. The best way to get a more “snuggly” one is to ask the breeder/rescue/owner about the temperament first and also to spend a lot of time interacting with your pet. There are some chins that no matter how much you try, they may not warm up to you as much as another would naturally without much effort on your part. If a chinchilla gets mad, they can spray you with urine and females tend to be very good at this. While not impossible, boys are not nearly as good at spraying and, in my experience, far less likely to even try.

      2. There is no blood. They can have a little clear/white discharge that you may never notice if you didn’t look for it. They also have a distinct smell during estrus which is commonly described as smelling like vitamin E. It is distinct but not necessarily unpleasant.

      3. Yes chins are ok being on their own but make sure he has plenty of toys and interaction. To make his transition easier his cage should be in a quiet area and while you can be around do not overwhelm him with interaction or visitors to show him off. I would recommend playing a radio with soothing music at a low volume in the room to help block out “scary” noises. You should feed your chinchilla however much pellets (plain pellets without treats mixed in) and hay he will eat. Adults eat approximately 2 Tablespoons of pellets each day and a handful of loose hay.

      Enjoy your new friend!

  20. Hello, I don’t have any chinchillas or anything, but I was wondering if it would be possible to have a breeding colony of 2 females and 1 male? Assuming the females have been together since weaning or birth and get along.

    Should they be able to care for each others kits? I am wondering because in the wild there would be several females, but I can’t seem to find much info on this for pet chinchillas.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Monique, yes 2 females (or more) can live with a male as long as everyone gets along. They do not automatically have to be together since young, some chins get along with anyone. There are some breeders that breed in trios or even quad groups. Also you are correct, that the females will usually share in the care of the babies. Keeping breeders in large groups like this may mimic their natural habits though it requires larger cages and increases the risk of a kit being killed either intentionally by another female or accidentally from being trampled or jumped on.

      • Hi I’m Camilla I am 12 I am saving up for a female chinchilla I already have a male and I want to breed them to cover expences but I have no idea what to do or be prepared for any tips? 🙂

        • Hi Camilla! I would advise you to get another male if you want two chinchillas. Breeding chinchillas does not make much if any money unless you are large scale. You have to consider the costs of housing and feeding the babies before they find homes and it can take a while to find good homes for chinchillas. Breeding also introduces health risks to the female and her babies which can result in expensive veterinary bills. She may need a c-section or the kits may be injured. If something happens to the female or she does not produce enough milk, you’ll have to hand feed the babies every 2 hours around the clock for several weeks. Consider if you have someone to help out with feeding if necessary. Also, sometimes the babies don’t survive so there is no guarantee of any money at all. The female could get mad at your boy if she’s not in the mood to mate, she could kill him! Breeding is something to seriously consider before deciding to get a female.

          If you do decide to breed, you will need a baby safe cage without levels, extra cage for dad, extra cage for weaned babies, eyedroppers, goats milk, a good vet and an emergency vet (you should have these anyway).

        • Hi Camilla. Sara is 100% right but I have a couple things I want to add because I know the chance of the chinchillas not getting along. The breeding is not the best idea and kits do take a lot of work. If your male has already taken up the living space it might not be the best idea to put two males together. This can cause them to fight and even kill each other. If you were to put them in seperate cages that would be better but try not to mix their play spaces. From my experience of having 4 chinchillas, sometimes sharing space can make them nervous and a little agitated. I use play pens to seperate their smells. But if you would like to put them together, I suggest doing your research. If it doesn’t work out, don’t push it. You wouldn’t want a injured chin of or worse.

          • I did not take your advice (sorry) however I got two females and the one is pregnant all is going well but she does not want to interact with the male I think she is quite far on but I am not sure, she is very fat .what should I be prepared for ?

            • I assume she probably already had her babies by now, but if not you should remove her from the male and put her in a kit proof cage. Have some goat’s milk and a dropper on hand and a gram scale handy. Hopefully you will not have to do anything.

  21. Hi,
    I wanted to thank you for your article. I am getting my first kit (8-9 weeks) on Wednesday. (I had an older rescue) My question is can a kit be in a multi level cage?
    Thanks,
    Sher

    • Hi Sher, yes a weaned kit can have levels in the cage. You just need to make sure that they are somewhat close together. Depending on where the kit has grown up, he or she may or may not be used to levels already. I would try to keep the shelves or ledges about 6 inches away from each other at the beginning. Also if possible, I would only put a few at the bottom if you have a tall cage until the chin is used to going up AND down so he doesn’t get to the top and not know how to get down or misjudge and fall. Have fun with your new guy!

    • Hi Jennifer, it depends what type of treat you are giving. If it is a rose hip or flower petal or grassy type of treat, those should be fine by weaning. Sugary treats which I wouldn’t recommend regardless of age, the chinchilla should be at least 6 months.

  22. Thank you Sara. When my rescued chinchillas suddenly and unexpectedly had a little one in with them last Wednesday, I was a tad flummoxed to say the least never having had kits before. I found your website which was brilliant and I ended up feeling informed and reassured, I followed the advice, and Wally (as in ‘Where’s Wally?’…the constant cry as we pass the cage) is alive and well so far. Books are one thing, but you can’t beat asking someone with experience. I’ve often found that animals can’t read.
    May I ask a stupid question? If a females’ milk doesn’t come in for 5 days, what do the kits live on?
    Also, the three chinchillas that I have, have never been handled as far as I can tell, but after 6 weeks of patiently talking to them and cleaning and feeding around them they have calmed right down, although I wouldn’t trust them out of the cage. Does the mother chinchilla mind me handling the baby? I don’t do it overmuch, but you say to weigh it and I occasionally have to pick it up to give it back to mum after it has escaped.
    Apart from the baby information, do you have any advice on starting to handle the adults?
    I (and Wally) would be very grateful for any help you could give me. Many thanks, Alex

    • Some kits will lose a few grams if mom’s milk takes that long to come in. After three days, if they are losing weight I’d try to supplement a little so they are getting something but the suckling is what helps the milk to come in so you want them to still be hungry enough to try to nurse. Most moms don’t mind you handling the kits, some might be more protective of them but most are fine you just have to take clues from her. It’s so great that they’ve calmed down!

      • Thanks Sara, Wally is doing well, mum doesn’t seem to mind me handling him and it’s helping me to build confidence with the adults. Still haven’t got around to handling them though, that’ll be the next joy. Did I see you have a facebook page? It’d be good to get tips from other owners. Many thanks again, Alex

  23. I have a female chinchilla, she is just about six months old and i got her for christmas. I have been reading youre article for a few weeks now so i was prepared for her. I do have one question, when i try to bond with her by resting my arm in her cage she likes to nibble my hand, she has plenty of food so I have ruled out hunger but then It occured to me that she could be trying to trim her teeth, but that also made no sense because i have a “salt” block attached to her cage to help her trim them. I have seen her using it as welll. Any thoughts? thank you for all the help you have provided so far!

    • Hi Cheyenne! Nibbling on hands in pretty normal. My boys especially like to nibble on my nails. You could have food or lotion smell on your hands if your don’t wash them right before that could interest her. Unless it hurts I wouldn’t worry and it’s great that she is that comfortable with you to “check you out.” I would recommend removing the salt block though, she shouldn’t need that with a proper chinchilla pellet. I’d replace it with a pumice stone to chew on. Let me know if you have any other questions and welcome to the world of chinchillas!

  24. Our chinchilla kits are almost a week old. They appear to be steadily gaining 3 grams a day. Is this normal? Is it possible to gain weight too quickly? If so, should we take the mother out for a break and leave the kits with dad?

  25. Question!!!!

    I have a chinchilla female that gave birth last night question I have is this

    I also have a baby from another litter ( female) 7 weeks old

    Is it OK to keep her and mother and baby’s together the little 7 week old female looks like she is still eating and taking water and seems to be helping her out

    I don’t want to split them up if I don’t have to lunar new mom is a pain to house with anyone and she has got very attached to the 7 week old

    • Yes a female baby can live indefinitely with mom. Just don’t let dad back in 😉 Boys need to be removed by 10 weeks as they become fertile around that time.

  26. my female chinchilla has just had a stillborn baby.i have been breading with her for two years and she has never had a stillborn before and is taking it rather hard. i have removed it from the cage, but as soon as i did she started shrieking. i cant help feeling sorry for her. i became aware of her pregnancy very early on, because i hold her often and noticed changes in behavior and weight. i have been very careful with her diet and have made sure she was getting all the right nutrients. extra hay, Lucerne etc. should i keep breeding with her, has this got to do with genetics or was it just a sad coincidence. her other babies were perfectly healthy

    • Unfortunately this is the not fun side of breeding and not uncommon. Kit survival is around 75-80% and I’m not sure if that takes into account stillborns or miscarriage. It could be a one time thing or it could be genetic and happen again. If it happens again, I personally would not pair her with the same male and if it happened a third time would not breed her anymore.

  27. hey! i have 2 male chinchillas and i really want a female chinchilla. do you think the 2 male chinchillas will fight to impress the female chinchilla? this was a really helpful website thank you.

  28. Hello there,

    Thanks so much for such an informative article. My female has just had her first kit, she weighs in at 42g, so a healthy weight, but I am concerned that her tail has not curled, it is still straight and dragging along floor… (I read an article saying they should curl within 24 hours otherwise there is something wrong with baby – is this the case?) I discovered baby kit yesterday morning and believe she was born during the night ( roughly 36 hours ago) Mum is sitting on top of her and seems to be grooming her, and i can see baby going to suckle, but I don’t know if Mum is producing milk? I bought a small syringe this morning and tried putting goats milk on her lip, but she didn’t seem interested – so perhaps Mum is producing milk for her? I don’t know what to do! I would really appreciate any help!

    Thanks so much

    Hannah

    • Hope all is well! A single kit being cared for (kept warm) by mom I would not worry about. I have never heard about the curled tail vs straight tail.

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