Chinchilla Care

Basic Chinchilla Care 

Diet:

  • Commercial chinchilla pellets (I prefer Oxbow brand) @ 1-2 tbsp/day
  • Free choice timothy or grass hay
  • Dark Leafy Greens: Mustard greens, Endive, Kale, Carrot tops, Turnip Greens, Dandelion, etc.
  • If offered at all, grains, dried apples, raisins, figs and seeds/nuts should be limited to no more than 1 tsp/day
  • Clean, fresh water.  Sipper tubes are preferred.
  • Porous stones (pumice), young branches of trees (elm, grapevines, maple, birch) and bark (apple, pear, and peach trees).  Avoid poisonous trees.

Housing:

Multilevel cage (minimally 6.6’x6.6’x3.3’) with a wooden nest box and a dust bath (typically offered twice a week).

Facts

life span:………………………….. 10 yrs average

weight……………………………… 400-600 grms

maturity…………………………… 8 months

estrous cycle…………………….. seasonally polyestrous

length………………………………. 30-50 days

ovulation………………………….. spontaneous

gestation period………………… 105-118 days

litter size………………………….. 1-6 (2 on ave)

normal birth weight……………. 30-50 grms

weaning age………………………. 6-8 weeks

temperature………………………. 98.6-100.4F

heart rate …………………………. 100-150 bpm (at rest)

Force feeding:

Mix blenderized alphalpha pellets (1 part), mixed vegetables (3 parts), add water as needed to make a pancake batter consistency.  Feed 2-3x a day until eating better.  Oxbow makes a superior product called Critical Care that is available at your local veterinarian office.

Flea control:

Advantage:  Apply 2 drops to level of skin between shoulder blades.

Veterinary care:

As with other exotic species, annual exams are recommended to provide the best opportunity to detect and treat sub-clinical diseases (hidden problems).  Fecal exams are also a good idea to evaluate for parasites, protozoa’s and certain bacteria.  After 4-5 years of age, we also recommend annual blood screening and in some cases screening radiographs (jaw, thorax and abdomen).

Most common reasons for veterinary evaluation:

  • Nutritional (diet related)
  • Trauma
  • Dental Disease
  • Digestive Tract Disorders
  • Fur/skin disorders

Note:

This handout is only a very basic guide for Chinchilla care.  We recommend that you invest in some books on the subject and ask your vet any questions that you come up with.

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Veterinarian/Owner of Pismo Beach Veterinary Clinic

Posted in Handouts
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