Chinchilla Care - Questions to Ask Yourself Before Breeding
For anyone who chooses to breed chinchillas. Please read and give some thought beforehand.
Some questions to ask of yourself before jumping into breeding:
- Have you researched all you can (i.e. spoken to breeders of at minimum 5+ years experience, read books, know as
much as possible when it comes to health, pregnancy, behaviour,etc... of chinchillas.) ?
- Do you have a mentor or a breeder to go to for help that is very knowledgable and experienced with chinchillas?
Will you go to this person when in need of advice or help?
- What are your plans for breeding?(small scale, maybe a pair of chinchillas, at most, 10 or 20? Larger scale
breeding of up to 80+ chins?)
- What are your plans for how long you will breed? Do you have any future plans that may force you to sell your
chinchillas (i.e. college, moving to a place where pets are not allowed, etc..) ?
- In case of emergency, do you have money put away should something happen to a chin out of the blue that needs medical attention?
- In the event that you can not sell kits, what will you do? Do you have space or will you have space to keep those kits?
Anyone wanting to breed chinchillas should have some money set aside for emergency situations. This goes for also when you have just a pet chinchilla.
Some incidents that can happen when breeding chinchillas:
- Pregnant female chinchillas can sometimes have a hard time giving birth. In some cases a kit can be stuck in the
birth canal. In these instances, the kit must be removed or else mother and all kits will die.
- Sometimes the kit(s) can be born breech. C-sections are always possible when breeding chinchillas. If you run
into this kind of emergency. That if you see a mother having a truly hard time giving birth, you must not just
watch but call your vet and get help asap. Sometimes the kit can be safely removed by you, but this is only reccommended
for those who have had some experience or know that they are doing.
- Kits can be born too weak or small to nurse properly. Sometimes milk will need to be supplemented.
- Nursing mothers may get mastitis/or not have enough milk to go to all their young. Sometimes handfeeding needs to be done or a wet nurse found.
- Kits can also fight when there is not enough milk for them all, so in this event rotating and handfeeding must
be done. Handfeeding usually is done for every 2 hours the first 2 weeks.
- When breeding chinchillas, sometimes males or females can be beaten up by their cagemates or even killed. Babies
can even be killed or neglected by their mothers.
- Are the chinchillas you plan to breed from good quality stock? Do you have backgrounds on them and know the breeder well?
- You do not want to breed any chinchilla or just pair up whatever male or female you can find. Sometimes chins you may
purchase from pet stores or people can carry or have malloclusion. Some chins may fur chew. Without knowing the chinchillas
background, you could be breeding more mallocluders or fur chewers. Sometimes chins also have heart murmurs, though it is
controversial if indeed all heart murmurs are hereditary, why take the risk to pass onto the offspring?
- You basically want to breed the best and always be improving the lines. You will be responsible for the offspring you
breed, and its suggested to breed the best you can find.
Are you willing to pay up to $250 for a top quality standard? When breeding for high quality offspring, you may need to
pay alot of cash to acquire top quality chinchillas.
- If you do decide to one day have a large herd, are you prepared for the possibility of a chin becoming sick and in turn
many of your chinchillas becoming ill? Can you cope with this and afford not only the medications but the time to help them survive the ordeal?
This is why you need to have some sort of cash in the case of vet bills. Another suggestion is to purchase yourself a vet care card that is only used for vet bills. These work too. Most vet offices have them, and sometimes it takes as little as a half hour to get approved for one. My suggestion to anyone looking to breed is to always start out with only a couple of chins after doing research. Jumping in to 10 or more chins without having experience with a breeding pair for some time first, can be overwhelming. Sometimes those breeders who do this, end up selling their herd shortly thereafter. As they find they cannot care for so many at once. I believe everyone who thinks to breed chins, should really think about it before doing so. If you have alot of time to provide to them, space, care, and knowledge, then its best to just ease into breeding. Jumping in can prove to be too much.
In my opinion when it comes to breeding chins you want to start with the best you can find. You want to find a rancher or breeder who has chins that are of show quality. Why breed if not to better the quality of the chinchilla? Many people prefer to breed mutation to mutation, without realising that as you breed more mutation to mutation, the offspring will become smaller and the fur will become weaker. Try to breed mutations back to good healthy standards every few generations. This will continue to keep the size and quality of what you want to breed, rather than producing weaker furred and smaller chins.
When it comes to breeding recessives, in my opinion, breeding a recessive to a top quality standard then breeding the offspring
of those to another recessive, is best than continuing to breed recessive to recessive. Breeding reccessive carriers is another
way to improve the mutations.
Also when it comes to picking out the chins you plan to breed, try to see them in person. Sometimes pictures are okay, if they
are very clear and show the chinchilla well. Be aware that there have been on occasion some breeders who will fake a pedigree of
a chin, to sell it for more money. If the breeder/rancher is someone to be leery of, ask them for the numbers of the parents and
check with the original breeder(s) of those chins. There has been an occasional few who have sold chins they purchased with unknown
backgrounds from pet shops, re selling those chins or their offspring as top quality, when it is not so.
Always look for a guarantee of health as well. Asking for references is something else I suggest. When it comes to breeding, many
people prefer to get adults, as usually adults are proven breeders. When buying kits, although several people think that the size
of the parents will determine the offspring, this is not always true. It is not always possible to ensure a kit will produce
offspring when older. From speaking to one rancher, they have determined one in thirty females born at their ranch during each
year, tend to be sterile. Too large of chinchillas (900 + grams) sometimes tend to be slower breeders as well. When breeding it
is best to look for chinchillas between 600 grams - 850 grams.
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