Breeding Chinchillas is a great experience that almost anyone can do. Do you want to dive into the depths of breeding chinchillas? Or have you tried and failed so far?
Here at Vet Advises, we will move through this topic to show you how to breed chinchillas, what you need for breeding chinchillas. In addition, we’ll provide you with tips and tricks to make the most of your experience.
Reproduction in chinchillas
Mating and reproduction in chinchillas is like that of other animals. Like humans, the female chinchilla has an estrous cycle. Hormones (chemicals produced by the body), which are regulated by a biological clock, control this cycle.
The cycle begins with a follicular phase during which the female’s ovaries grow and develop new eggs. The ovaries produce estrogen, which causes development of the sexual skin and vaginal opening to prepare for mating.
During the next phase, called the ovarian phase, they release many eggs from the ovaries; however, only one or two of these will continue to develop. The remaining eggs degenerate and die. This phase lasts about six days.
The next phase is the luteal phase, during which the uterus becomes fully prepared for pregnancy should mating occur. If mating does not occur, then menstruation occurs and these changes begin again.
The breeding season happens between November and May in the Northern Hemisphere while between May and November in the Southern Hemisphere. Females normally have two litters per year, with two to three young per litter. Gestation lasts for 111 days, and the young are precocial or well developed at birth. The newborn chinchillas weigh up to 35 g.
When do chinchillas become ready to breed?
Male Chinchillas can breed when they are approximately 7 or 8 months old. We should place females into breeding when they are approximately 7 months old.
But to ensure a healthy kit, we recommend breeding them when they are at least 1-year-old. It is important to note that if a female chinchilla has not been bred by the time she is 2 years old, her chances of successful breeding will be greatly reduced.
What do you need for breeding chinchillas?
Breeding chinchillas is a fun and interesting experience. The steps for breeding chinchillas are fairly straightforward if you have the right equipment and supplies. Breeding chinchillas requires just one female and one male chinchilla. The female chinchilla is called a sow, and the male is called a boar.
You can begin breeding as soon as you get your female and male chinchillas. You will need to separate them until they have reached sexual maturity, which usually takes about 8 months.
To know when they are ready to breed, watch for signs of courting behavior, including chin-wrestling matches, chasing each other around in circles, and squeaking at each other with their mouths closed. The female will also develop her estrus cycle before she’s ready to breed.
Steps you should follow to breed the chinchillas
These are the steps you should follow to breed the chinchillas:
Finding suitable chinchillas for breeding
The first step in breeding chinchillas is to choose your animals wisely. A good breeder will confirm the weight and appearance of their potential mates before they breed. Your animals should at least weigh 650 grams and they should appear healthy.
When you choose your chinchillas, it is important to check their health status too. Chinchillas with clean medical records are more likely to have a successful pregnancy and live a long life. If you breed your chinchillas with healthy ones, you can ensure that the baby chinchillas will be healthy as well.
You should also select a male and female chinchilla that has similar personalities. A male and female chinchilla that are too aggressive may not get along with each other or their babies.
The breeding age is one of the most important things to consider when picking a pair of chinchillas for breeding. Chinchillas reach sexual maturity between 7 and 8 months old. But to ensure healthy offspring, select chinchillas that are at least 1-year-old.
Setting up the proper environment to breed the chinchilla
Chinchilla breeding is not as easy as people think, so proper environment and preparations are essential. You should give the chinchilla a quiet, isolated area to breed in.
Chinchilla housing cages should be close enough so the animals can smell and hear each other, but not so close they can fight. It is important to have at least one cage per chinchilla, so the female has a place to hide if she wishes to avoid a male.
The cages should also provide a safe environment for the kits to grow up in. The cage needs to be no higher than 18” and 1” x ½” or smaller bar spacing, so the kits can’t fall very far if they climb the sides of the cage.
The room temperature should range from 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in order to keep both the mother and babies healthy during the breeding season.
Allowing the chinchillas to mate
Chinchillas are quite territorial, so they can sometimes be aggressive towards other chinchillas. If you plan to breed them, you need to introduce them slowly.
Step 1. Put each chinchilla in a separate cage.
Step 2. Put the cages next to each other. Allow the chinchillas to smell and play with each other through the cage wire.
Step 3. Open the doors of both cages and let the chinchillas play together for about ten minutes.
Step 4. Let one chinchilla out of its cage and place it in a small cage that’s placed inside the larger cage with the second chinchilla.
Step 5. Let the smaller cage door open and watch how the two chinchillas interact together. If there is any aggression from either chinchilla, separate them again immediately by putting one back in its own cage.
Step 5. Once they are not aggressive towards each other, you can let them live together in a bigger cage. This way, they would be ready to mate.
Signs of a chinchilla is giving birth
When you find signs of a chinchilla giving birth, it is important to allow her to be at peace while she delivers the kits. It usually takes 30 minutes to 1 hour for the first kit to be born, and then another three hours for the rest. If you notice signs of labor, follow these steps:
Step 1: Observe your chinchilla’s behavior. During delivery, she should begin digging in her nest, chewing on some hay or straw, and squatting with her hind legs spread apart from each other. She will also have a pinkish discharge from her vulva. You might also hear grunting noises or squeaks and see movement in her nest.
Step 2: Check for discharge from your chinchilla’s vagina immediately after noticing signs she may deliver kits.
Description of Delivery in Chinchillas
There are basically two ways for a chinchilla to be delivered, live or by Cesarean section.
1. The mother delivers live babies herself. The babies come out one at a time and usually there is little to no blood loss on their part.
In most cases, the mother will clean her babies after they’re born by licking them off and removing amniotic fluid from their lungs.
But sometimes she might need your help to get the job done properly. She may not get all the fluid out of their lungs, causing them to gasp for air after birth. When you notice this happening — or if any of the kits aren’t moving when you check on them — gently rub their bellies with a warm washcloth
2. The other option is C-sec. The vet performs this procedure if there are problems such as the baby being stuck or not making it through the birth canal easily. A Caesarian section can also be performed if there is too much blood loss by the mother and she needs a hysterectomy.
Here, if the baby was born alive, then it will be put into an incubator for around 2 weeks until it’s ready to go home with you. If you get one of these babies, unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that it will survive because of all the medications given to its mom during surgery and all the stress it went through during that time period.
I have seen very few problems with deliveries. However, I have heard of a few people having problems with their deliveries and I would like to share some tips that may help you avoid some of these potential problems.
The most important tip is not to panic when something goes wrong. Chinchillas are prey animals and the female is likely to be stressed during delivery. The stress may cause her to go into shock if everything goes wrong, so it is important to remain calm and try to solve the problem.
The second problem that can arise is the umbilical cord being wrapped around the baby’s neck. Chinchillas are delivered head first, but sometimes the cord gets wrapped around their neck. This usually happens when the babies come out too fast and the mother doesn’t have time to clean them properly before they try to nurse on her, which causes the babies to move around.
Dystocia (hard labor) is a common problem for chinchillas because of their large litter size (often >3 kits/litter). If parturition is difficult, help should be sought from an experienced veterinarian to avoid maternal and neonatal loss.
Chinchilla litter size
Female chinchillas are sexually mature at about 7 months of age. They may have one or two litters per year, and each litter usually comprises two to four kits. The gestation period is 111/2 weeks, and the kits are born with fur and open eyes.
Baby chinchilla care
Your job as a chinchilla parent is to make sure your baby gets enough milk to grow. It’s not always easy, and sometimes it can take a lot of creativity.
You need to know that some babies can’t get their mother’s milk, or they might refuse to nurse. There are many reasons for this, and the best you can do is feed the baby with a syringe.
Most of the time, the mother will have milk and the baby will suckle on its own. If that happens, you need to stay away from the cage so that you don’t scare the baby or stress out the mother.
However, when a baby is too small, or if he/she was born prematurely, they may not know how to suckle properly. The mother may also reject her newborn if it has health problems.
In these cases, you’ll have to step in and help the baby by hand-feeding it with a syringe or dropper until he/she gets stronger (usually about 1 week).
A baby chinchilla that is growing steadily at 2-4 grams daily is a good indication of proper diet and nutrition.
Kits nurse for about six weeks, and weaning occurs at about 8 to 10 weeks of age. After weaning, kits spend most of their time playing with each other until they are approximately 12 weeks old.
After delivery care for the mommy chinchilla
You need to get her out of the cage, as you can’t keep the wheel inside her cage. The wheel is not really safe inside the cage while the new mother is nursing, because she could hurt herself trying to get around it or its bars.
Chinchillas need more nutrients than usual during nursing, so make sure they’re getting plenty of hay (about 3-5 oz/day), pellets (1/2 cup/day) and calcium. You should also provide a constant supply of clean water. It takes a lot of energy for them to nurse their babies, so make sure they’re eating as well.
Since the mother chinchilla has just given birth, she needs more vitamins than usual. You can give her cranberry juice mixed with water (not too much).
We recommend you do not dust bathe mom after delivery unless absolutely necessary (i.e. she gets covered in bedding). This can cause complications with the vaginal opening healing properly and nursing her litter effectively.
Breeding animals is one of the most satisfying, yet challenging, things you’ll ever do. To breed a pair of chinchillas, you need to know what to expect and what can go wrong. Breeding is not for everyone. It can be messy, stressful and expensive, but in the end, the feeling of holding a new chinchilla in your hands makes it all worth it. Hope this guide has equipped you with the right knowledge of successfully breeding the chinchillas.