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Chinchilla Care - Gestation and Pregnancy

The gestation period of a chinchilla is about 111 days. They are the only rodent with the longest gestation period. The first time a female chinchilla will come into heat is at about four months of age. It is advised not to mate them at this time, because they are much too young at this time. Many complications can happen if they are bred this early. Females should not be bred unless they are at least 600 grams or their birthing canal is large enough for a kit to go through.

During the gestation period, make sure your female has plenty of food, and fresh water.

Alot will use calf manna for their pregnant females during pregnancy and nursing. Although calf manna is fine for nursing mothers, it is not good for pregnant mothers. From experience and the knowledge of other chinchilla breeders, calf manna will and can cause chinchilla babies to be weak, sick, very small or very very large when born. There is talk of the fact that some mother's have breech births. For the best care and health of your future kits and their mother, please do not use calf manna till after the babies are born.

If you want to check to make sure she is pregnant or to check on how soon she will deliver, never touch her belly too hard. Very gently touch it, because this can hurt the babies if done wrong. The way to know if a female is pregnant is to press your fingers lightly on her tummy, and if you feel like there are little lumps inside, or a lump, then she should be pregnant. Another way of knowing is if she suddenly gets a weight gain, and then stops after about a month. She will also eat more than usual. Nipples can also be a sign as well and check for longer nipples that are pink as well. Sometimes when feeling the mother, you may even be able to feel little kicks.

Contrary to other rodents or animals, the father can be left in the cage, and will not always (rare instances it does happen sadly) harm the babies. However, for the health of the mother and babies, it is best to separate the father once the kits are born and keep them separate till the babies are weaned.

When the babies are born, don't disturb the mother or her young for the first few days. It is okay to take the babies out and check on them for a few minutes each time (check their weights, make sure their tummies are full and make sure all is well with their breathing and overall health.), but please leave them time for them to be with the mother as much as possible. In very rare cases the mother can die in birth, and if there are babies to look after, you will need to feed them with an eye dropper or syringe of replacement milk which you can get from a vet or at a drugstore. Always keep the babies warm, and place them by a heater at a warm temperature. My suggestion is to use whole goat's milk with a pinch of mixed baby cereal for a milk replacement. It has worked well for the kits born here needing handfed.

After two months the babies do not need to be with their mother, but in some cases where there is a runt in a litter, you may want to keep it longer with its mother. Never take the babies away from their mother before two months.

For more information regarding the breeding of chinchillas, especially for those who are beginners, please click here.

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