Baby animals are incredibly cute. It is only understandable that many chinchilla owners want offspring from their darlings. Watching your own little chinchilla children grow up is a very special experience.
Before you decide to breed with your animals, you should think carefully about this wish and its consequences. Raising small chinchillas takes a lot of time and can be expensive. As a rule, the female throws only one or two young, but in exceptional cases, there can be up to six siblings. Even before mating, you have to decide what to do with the babies when they are old enough to be separated from their mothers. Look for buyers in advance. Always expect that one of your prospects will drop out. If you don’t find a new owner for one of your kittens, you must keep them. If the female has given birth to a particularly large number of young, you may have to feed the little ones. This requires a lot of time and patience. In addition, you have to create space for a second enclosure in the apartment, because the male has to be separated from the female immediately after mating. Don’t underestimate the cost of hobby breeding either. If problems arise at birth, veterinary intervention may be necessary. Once the young animals are born, they should also be examined by a doctor. A second enclosure and food for the little ones must of course also be provided.
If you have enough time, money, and space, raising young chinchillas is an exciting task and you will be rewarded for your efforts at the latest when the little rascals hop happily through your apartment.
Who with whom?
Finding the right chinchilla pair is not that easy. Young animals that are allowed to grow up together from the start get along best. However, one must note here that the female is already sexually mature at four to five months, but is only mated at around nine months. So you have to keep your animals in separate cages next to each other until the female is old enough to be mated. When “she” is not in heat, “he” can enjoy freewheeling with her. If you place a strange male with your female, you have to reckon with the fact that it can take a long time for the animals to get along and have offspring. Sometimes it doesn’t even work out and you have to look for another partner. Also remember that after mating, the male must be separated from the female so that she does not mate again. If you only want offspring once, the two animals can no longer live together even after the birth and you have to find a new, same-sex partner for both the male and the female. However, this can be difficult, especially with a buck that has once mated. Nevertheless, if you have found a suitable pair, the chinchilla lady will fend off the buck at first. After a wild hunt through the cage, mating takes place. The male riders on the female from behind. This usually takes place in the evening hours and is repeated several times throughout the night. “Evidence” of mating is the cover plug, a waxy plug about 2cm long. However, this does not guarantee fertilization. You can only look forward to having offspring when the female gets fatter and begins to build a nest. After mating, males and females must be separated immediately. After four to five days, the buck should go back to the female, since chinchillas like to raise their children together, but the female is ready to mate again immediately after birth. If you want one-off offspring, separate the parents.
The little ones are here
Female chinchillas carry around 111 days. After this long time, one to three babies are usually born. The birth usually takes place during the night without any problems. However, it can happen that a little one gets stuck in the tummy, the mother is overwhelmed by multiple births or one of the babies has already died in the tummy. If you notice any complications, consult the veterinarian. Chinchillas are precocial, meaning they are born fully developed. They already have a thick coat, teeth and eyes are open. Just a few minutes after birth, the young are able to run after their mother. Although the little ones are nursed by their mother for six weeks, they are interested in chinchilla food from day one. Therefore, put more food in the cage immediately after birth. Due to the exertion of suckling, the mother also needs more food than usual. If the female has given birth to more than three young, she may not only need more food, but also nursing assistance. Then you have to feed the little ones with substitute milk. Be sure to ask a veterinarian for advice. The young develop very quickly. After just a few days they are curiously exploring their surroundings and hopping and jumping around the cage. Although the little rascals look like miniature versions of their parents from day one and appear extremely cheerful and trusting, you should leave the family alone for the time being. Although you can put your hand in the cage from time to time without hesitation and let the dwarfs sniff it, you can only start to carefully hold the animals from the third week onwards. The little chinchillas become sexually mature at around 12 weeks. Then young bucks must be separated from their mother and sisters to avoid inbreeding. The females can easily stay with their mothers if the cage is large enough. If you want to adopt your young animals, you can give them to their new homes from the 12th week.
The lethal factor
If you want to mate two chinchillas with each other, you not only have to make sure that the two are sympathetic to each other, you also have to consider the lethal factor. If both parents carry the lethal factor, the young animals are usually born mutilated or handicapped. All animals in Velvet colors carry this factor within themselves and are not allowed to produce offspring among themselves. White chinchillas should also not be mated. Don’t keep pairs of these colors together. There are owners who believe that these chinchillas will not produce offspring, which is wrong. It is true that these chinchilla babies are often not viable or are even born dead. This is an enormous burden for the parent animals, which is often fatal for the mother.
Offspring? No thank you!
Chinchillas prefer to live in pairs. However, a pair will produce offspring very quickly. Of course, you can prevent this by having your male neutered. However, neutering chinchillas is not an easy procedure. It is not uncommon for complications to arise that can end fatally for the animal. You should therefore always try to socialize your animals with conspecifics of the same sex if you do not want to keep a whole chinchilla family. Only if a buck can’t make friends with other males should you think about castration. Then take your time looking for a veterinarian who has experience with such procedures.