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  #1  
Old 06-12-2019, 12:42 PM United States
gil100 gil100 is offline
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Default New owner - first steps?

We got 2 chins in an unknown age and owner (long story but they were abandoned by the previous owner). They are in a large cage with plastic shelves, hay, water, proper food, bedding all over and looks overall fine (we had them for two days now)
Here are the questions:
1. Bedding - do we need it all over all the shelves or just put it in one place for them to potty would be the right step
2. Should we use hay only in the hay ball or also on the floor?
3. We are not sure if they will let us touch or hold them, what would be first good steps not to scare them away?
4. We will be traveling for a few weeks and will have someone come to clean and feed them, how often should it be done?
5. Do we need to take them to the vet for a general check-up?
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:07 PM United States
gil100 gil100 is offline
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To add to the above, we have dust bath, we also got them a large wheel, do we need to teach them to use it? if so, how?
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:44 PM Canada
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Amethyst Amethyst is offline
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1. The bedding just needs to be on the bottom level of the cage or floors of the cage if you have a multilevel like a double ferret nation. Most chins do pick a spot to pee though, so if you just put a glass or metal pan with shavings in that spot you just need it there. However all plastic needs to be covered in fleece or replaced with wood or metal.

2. Hay balls that I've seen are all dangerous, chins can get there head, legs, and in the case of bigger ones, the whole body caught in them. You can use solid metal or wod hay racks though, some people even use clay flower pots. If you just put it on the floor they tend to just pee on it. If you do a search for hay holders or hay racks on the forum here it should show you lots of options. If in doubt link it here and we'll let you know.

3. The best thing to do at first is to just sit by them, talk to them, sing to them, play music, read aloud to them, just get them use to your voice, smell, and you in general. If they seem interested you can open the cage and see if they will come to you, crawl on your arms and hands inside the cage. You can also give them a treat or chew stick every time you see them, so they associate you with good things.

4. It's best to have someone check on them at least once a day, food gets tipped over, water bottles can get knocked off or leak, etc. How often the cage needs changing depends on the cage and bedding, in most cases, once a week.

5. Since their history is unknown it's not a bad idea to get a once over at the vet just to make sure they are healthy to start with. Otherwise regular/yearly checkups can be very stressful, and stress weakens the immune system. So I don't advise going to the vet if your chin is otherwise healthy and uninjured.

They should know how to use the dust bath, and that should only be given for about 5-10 minutes (or until they are done) a couple times a week, not left in the cage. If they don't know how to dust, you can try sprinkling and patting some dust on them.

The wheel can be hit or miss with some chins especially if it's a flying saucer type. Also you said it's a large wheel, but is it at least 14", solid metal, no spokes? I've never seen a pet store sell a wheel that is safe for chins. If you do a search you should get a list of safe wheels.

Also another thing to add, it's best to give filtered/purified water, unfiltered tap water can have thing in it that can make the chin sick (contaminate levels deemed safe for humans in public water is still too high for chins).
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