Chinchillas Pepper & Coconut/Courtesy Nancy Strathman
Introducing chinchllas to each other is a process; it usually begins with a quarantine of the new chinchilla to ensure it doesn't have an illness it could pass along.
Moving to a new home, city, country or even just changing your route to work is stressful. You are unsure of your surroundings, who to trust and where to go for entertainment. You even become a stranger to yourself. Dredging through the usually mindless tasks like going to the grocery store suddenly become hurdles you must overcome to continue your day.
These changes are taxing, so imagine how your new chinchilla feels when you bring it home for the first time. It is suddenly extracted from its family, its surroundings and its routines. Being aware and sympathetic to your chinchilla’s situation helps you provide a comfortable environment for your new chin. When you introduce your chinchilla to your family and other chinchillas, keep some of these tips in mind.
Introduce To Family
Pam Oldham, a chinchilla breeder from Sacramento, California, recommends that you don’t overwhelm your pet with too many people at one time when introducing your chinchilla to your family members. Let your chinchilla get used to you first, then start bringing more people into the mix. The process takes time.
A good way for your chinchilla to get to know you is to put your hand in its cage. Don’t grab at your chin; instead, rest you hand in its cage and let your pet come to you. "Oftentimes I tell new owners to leave their chinchilla in the cage for the first week, talk to them through the doorway and perhaps lay their arm into the cage without moving,” Oldham said. This gives your chinchilla the chance to be curious and investigate you.
Use the under-the-chin technique, which means that when you let your chinchilla smell you, put your hand under its chin instead of over its head. Your chinchilla will feel threatened if you come at it over its head. After it gets comfortable with you and your family, it will start to recognize your different smells and schedules.
Introduce To Other Chinchillas
This process takes time, and you shouldn’t expect immediate results. First, make sure your chinchilla is comfortable with you before you introduce it to another chinchilla. Some people like to wait 30 days before putting two chins together in case one is sick. This helps stop the transfer of diseases. Others will be satisfied after a clean veterinary checkup.
When you feel your chinchillas are ready to meet one another, put their separate cages by each other with a few inches between. Then, after they get used to each other, move to a face-to-face meeting outside the cages. “Start in a common area, not their cage to be territorial in, probably a small area or hallway where they are always supervised, to run to have lots of room to explore and not feel threatened,” Oldham said.
After several days, weeks or months depending on your chinchillas, they will become comfortable with one another in the common area. This is when you can start letting them into each other’s cages. Remember that the process takes time, and you shouldn’t rush your chinchillas.
“Start putting them together for one hour, then two, then three, until you get to 10 hours without any incidents,” Oldham said, “Are they eating out of the same bowl together and at the same time? Do they take turns in the dust bath? Once they can be together like this, then you can start leaving them together during the night.”
Introducing your chin to a new environment takes time, but with lots of patience and understanding, your chinchilla will thrive in its new environment.