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  #1  
Old 02-04-2019, 12:24 PM United States
Devynthecatwithsocks Devynthecatwithsocks is offline
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Hi I am Devyn and I wanted to introduce myself.
I am a new time chinchilla owner but I have been fascinated with them since I saw Chinta the Chinchilla on Go Diego Go when i was 6. Currently I have a 2 year old chinchilla named Roo. I rescued her about a month ago and she seems to be doing fine. She loves our dog who is fascinated by her. I want to get her a friend (female) but I am broke so if any of you know anybody that is giving away or selling for very cheep in the LA area plz let me know. Anyway I would like as much advice I can get to keep her healthy and happy. I have a few questions tho....
1. What toys are best she loves wood and chews everything up so quickly, I find the things that last most are her chews sticks (I currently have apple orchard for her now)
2. How do you keep her cage from smelling. My mom has threatened to get rid of her if the smell doesn't go away. She keeps telling me to open a window its been raining for days now and I don't want it to cold. I have fleece liner and am thinking about getting citrus magic to help
3. What treats are best for her that I preferably can buy in the store. She has the simple reward veggie treats now (carrots, kale, flaxseed, and pepper) which she had came with but I don't think those are very healthy. She loves them tho
4. What hay is best. I have her on two different types of hay and she likes the softer sweeter one best. I have Orchard grass hay which is sweet and soft then I have Western Timothy hay which is crunchy and hearty. I want something that is healthy yet yummy for her to consume on a daily basis (she eats a lot of hay)
5. How much pellets should I give her. The girl that rescued her said a small handful (which is a handful for me cuz i got baby hands) but I was thinking if we ever needed to leave town I want to be able to give precise measurements. So I measured it out and it was 1 1/2 tablespoons which bothers my OCD cuz I would like it to be either 1 or 2. So i looked it up and it said give her 1-2 tablespoons. I started off with 2 and she couldn't finish them in one day so I made it 1 tablespoon. She finishes faster but then eats a lot more hay. I then found on the packaging of her food that I should be giving her 2 tablespoons. So now I am stuck at how much I should give her.
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  #2  
Old 02-04-2019, 03:50 PM Canada
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Amethyst Amethyst is online now
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1. Make sure you offer lots of different kinds of toys, toss toys, hanging toys, shredding toys. As well as lots of different materials, lava rock, different kinds of wood, cardboard if she doesn't eat it, bamboo, palm leaf, dried grass, vine, loofah, etc.

2. How often are you changing the liners? What are you washing the liner with? Liners need to be changed at least once a week, sometimes as much as once a day if the chin is not potty trained. You should not use any fabric softener or detergent to wash them, just use a cup of vinegar in the wash to clean them. Is the chin litter trained to pee in a litter box? if so how often are you cleaning the litter box? Any cleaner you use in the cage needs to be fully cleaned off or it will make the chin sick. Ideally use a 50/50 vinegar and water mix for cleaning, it's safer.

On a side note, I wouldn't be worried about the cold, chins are good down to freezing, but a draft from the window can make them sick. The room should be kept below 70 F and below 40% humidity or the chin can overheat and die.

3. Ok first of all, no those treats are not healthy at all for chinchillas. Chins should not have fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, or animal products (meat, milk, eggs, hide, etc). They are grass herbivores, so for obvious reasons can't digest animal products. Veggies and fruit are too high in sugar which chins can't efficiently digest (most pellets already have sugar in them to make them tasty) which can lead to issues like obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, and liver and kidney failure. Nuts and seeds are too high in fats, which once again chins have a hard time with, leading to liver failure. Safe treats include things like a single no sugar added Cheerio, a piece of Shreddie, rose hips, rose petals, or a couple pieces of slow cook oats. Treats should be limited to one treat a day or less. If you want to offer more give more chew sticks, those you can give unlimited.

4. The best every day hay is timothy, I like to offer timothy and at least one other kind of grass hay to give variety. Eating lots of hay is good, they should eat roughly a handful of hay a day (70-75% of their diet), but it should always be available. Different hay wears down teeth differently too so it's good to offer a variety to keep the teeth in good shape. Chew toys wear down just the front teeth, the hay is what wears down the back teeth, as well as adds the long strand fiber to the diet the chin needs for healthy digestion.

5. Chinchillas eat roughly 1-2 tbs a day, some eat a bit more some a bit less. The hay is really the primary food, the pellets are more like supplements to the hay, they have nutrients the chin needs that the hay may lack. A chinchilla can actually survive on hay alone, but obviously a more balanced diet is better.
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  #3  
Old 02-04-2019, 04:40 PM United States
Devynthecatwithsocks Devynthecatwithsocks is offline
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I clean the liner 1 every week and no i don't believe she is potty trained. Ive only had her for a month and she was a rescue so I have no clue. I did wash them with tide free and gentle detergent but next time I will use vineagar. Does it matter what type of viegar I use. I have white vinegar here to clean off water marks in my geckos cage I could use.
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Old 02-04-2019, 06:28 PM Canada
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White vinegar is what I use, so that is fine. The problem with detergent is most have fabric softener in them which coats the fabric and makes it less absorbent, as well as chemicals that can be harmful to the chin (not sure that tide does though). You will likely need to change the liners more often, with liners that get peed on they need to be changed at the very least twice a week. As I said though some people find they need to change them daily, I guess think if it like a cloth diaper in a way. Another thing that can make a difference is how many layer of fleece are you using? Also what are you using as your inner absorbent layer? There are different kinds of liners, some are just a single layer with no absorbent layer and those are useless for non litter trained chins. Others use quilt batting or a towel inside, they are more absorbent but not as safe and can smell quicker. Personally I use 3 layers of fleece thick, so I have a top layer, another layer of fleece inside to absorb the pee, and the bottom fleece.

If she pees in just one corner or spot mostly (a lot of chins just pick a spot) you can try litter trainer her. Put a dish (square baking pans work well) filled with pine or aspen shavings there. With luck she will take to it and pee in the litter pan, then you just have to change the spoiled litter in that everyday and can go a week or so between having to change the liners.

The last suggestion depending on your cage, would be to just use kiln dried pine or aspen shavings instead of fleece liners. They mask smell unlike the fleece liners, so you can go a week between changes without dealing with it being smelly.
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  #5  
Old 02-04-2019, 07:28 PM United States
Devynthecatwithsocks Devynthecatwithsocks is offline
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We kinda DIYed it so its only 1 layer. and no inner layer. Like I said we DIYed it so its not very good. She pee's anywhere she wanted but typically I find its in a corner. And I thought of bedding but I have the critter nation 2 story cage and I am looking at the litter and I would have to buy one or two (depending how big) a week just to cover it and I don't think my mom would appreciate that. When its time to replace liners we will make it better and make a inner liner and see if thats helps
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Old 02-10-2019, 03:54 PM United States
keala keala is offline
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Lots and lots and lots of wood. Pine board houses, pine board shelves, and several times a year I am drying mulberry wood cut from our yard to refill the boxes of sticks and larger branches. Good thing mulberry grows fast. They could eat one of the 8' tall trees in a year. Large parrot toys that do not have plastic, leather, or similar unsafe materials can entertain a single cage for awhile but it's rather expensive. You can get your own parrot toy items in bulk from online stores. It's still cheaper and they are nearly as happy if you keep shoving whole sticks in the cage as anything fancy. They'll strip even larger pieces quickly though so I recommend buying bulk boxes of wood online rather than bits in a pet store or finding a safe local source that is known to have never been sprayed on or around in the tree's lifetime. Of course also make sure it's a safe species of tree and most bake it in the oven or other sterilization methods. That's why it's often safer and easier to have a box shipped to you from a seller that's already sourced and prepared safe wood. Cholla cactus is a commonly available option other than only using tree wood.

The only dried fruit or veggie type thing I ever feed is goji berries with no sulfur preservative. Infrequently. Rose hips, dried flowers, and some dried herbs are better. As well as simple grain items with very little to no sugar. Plain cereals or some horse treats broken smaller work. Watch for sugar ingredients, fruits, vegetables, or molasses high up on the list. No apple or carrot based horse treats for example. You just want plain grains or things like flaxseed and I consider a molasses binder or a small bit of brown sugar acceptable if it's not before the grain ingredients. No more than is in pellets or plain human cereals like cheerios. Every herbivore I've had big or small loves manna pro flax snax cookies. Small quantities when using such things. A piece or 2 of oatmeal (not instant or flavored) or 1 cheerio can be enough treat. Especially if begging several times a day.

I free feed pellets. Each cage has a ceramic crock that holds 1/8th - 1/4th cup. Not so much it gets soiled or sits for too long before being wiped out and refilled but we don't measure a daily amount. With constant hay and chewing objects they don't overeat on good quality, plain pellets.

Pee really needs absorbed. Nothing will keep it from smelling if it's exposed to air. It has to touch something no matter what you use or you can't do much about it. If you have only a few animals vinegar is usually plenty to clean and deodorize. Some veterinary cleaners are safe to use and not rinse off but not cheap. Simple green pro 5 is approved for use with food prep and is used in hospitals, veterinary clinics, kennels, and zoos. It must be properly diluted, allowed to dry before putting things back in the cage, and none of the other formulas of simple green that are more commonly found in stores and for plumbing. If I do use pro 5 I rinse everything I apply it to except the cage pan that is fully covered in fleece. Mostly I keep it around for mopping my floors. Cleaners won't do much for smell on cage pans or between cage cleanings anyway. They are more for dissolving dried urine, removing any stuck poop or dust, and killing pathogens. Bedding or fleece liners take care of smell between cleaning and cleaning removes the smelly bedding.
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