Chin Care

- Food and Water
- Bathing and Grooming
- Cages and Accessories
- The Need to Chew

- Introducing Chins


Introducing Chinchillas

When adding a new chinchilla to your household it is best to introduce them to other chinchillas gradually, over time. Placing a new chin in the cage with your original one right away will usually cause a fight. Chinchilla fights can cause serious injury or even death. Some friendships take a bit longer than others to make, but with a bit of patience and a few techniques most pairings are possible. These techniques should be used for same sex pairs as well as for male/female pairs.

  1. We usually start by letting the pair of chins have some well-supervised time together in neutral territory, such as on a couch or a bed, in a play pen, or perhaps in a bathroom. this first introduction will give you some idea of whether there is instant love, instant hate or somewhere in between.
  2. Place their cages side by side for a week so they can meet through the cage bars. Leave a small space between the cages so they won't be able to bite the other's nose. Once they seem okay with one another and are no longer trying to fight through the sides of the cage, they are ready for the next step.
  3. Before you put your chinchillas together, get them used to each other’s scent.

    • Place them in each other's cages for about an hour, leaving in the original bedding and houses, etc.
    • Another idea for getting chinchillas used to each other’s scent is to exchange dust bathes. Let one chinchilla take a dust bath. Without changing the dust, let the other chinchilla take a dust bath in the same dust. Then let the first chin use the same dust bath again, and so on.
    • Another option is to mask the natural scent of the chinchillas with a drop of vanilla extract, or perhaps a baby powder dust bath. As the odor fades away, the natural scents will be gradually introduced to each other.
  4. Let the two chinchillas have playtime together in a safe, chin-proofed, and well-supervised environment. A bathroom is a good room to use because it is small and usually without hiding places, so that you can reach the chinchillas at all times in case of a fight. You can expect the chins to sniff each other, chase, and vocalize. "Humping" is okay as long as they are not biting and the fur is not flying. If they begin jumping on each other and biting, separate them and try again in a few days.

    If the fighting is serious, and requires human intervention you will want to protect yourself from being bitten. Oven mitts can be used protect your hands when you are trying to separate fighting chins. You can also use a small towel to put over them, which may calm them down or at least surprise them enough to separate.
  5. Once playtimes have been going well for a couple weeks, you can try to cage the animals together. Be sure to try this on a day when you will be home to keep an eye and ear on the new cage mates!
  6. Once your chinchillas are living in the same cage, we advise that you continue keeping an eye on them. Signs that the partnership may not be working even if you have not seen any squabbles:
    • Hair loss in one or both chinchillas
    • Weight loss – not eating and drinking as much as usual
    • Wounds
    • Fearfulness – hiding more, or not being willing to take a treat from you that way they used to do.
  7. SQUISH method

Other Tips:

Put the chins in a neutral cage, or if not possible, then thoroughly clean the cage they will be sharing to minimize previous odors.

You can start with new cage accessories, or you can put belongings from both chinchillas in the cage, such as houses, chew toys, food dishes.

If you are introducing a same sex pair place the most aggressive, outgoing chinchilla into the cage last, after the less dominant chinchilla.

If your chinchillas don't seem to go together using the above method try placing them in a brand new cage (or a cage that neither has occupied before) with fresh bedding that doesn't have the smell of either animal. Neither one will have the "home turf" advantage.

Make sure that the cage has adequate space for two animals, and provides the opportunity for each chin to get away from the other on different levels and/or different houses.

Putting two males together if there is a female in the household may lead to problems...



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