Extend existing group

As cute as a group of as many fluff balls as possible is, it is often not a good idea to add more animals to the already existing group. A group expansion can lead to the complete disruption of a previously functioning group or to group splitting, e.g. you end up with two groups of 2 instead of a group of 4 or even worse. If you do not have the capacity to keep several groups species-appropriate in an emergency or do not want to have to give away animals, you should not expand the group.

If you have enough capacity (space, time, money), an expansion makes sense under the following conditions:

  •  The existing group has been functioning in its current constellation for at least 2 years, i.e. it has not been expanded or socialized with another animal during this time: A socialization always means stress for all involved, in addition, every new animal means a potential danger for the peace of the existing group; the risk for ranking problems increases the less and shorter the group is consolidated and stable in itself
  • AND in these two years of cohabitation there have been no ranking problems (hunting, mating, sleeping separately, etc.): this partly reduces the risk of group discord, since the group is already consolidated and stable.
  • All group members as well as the new animal are already fully grown, i.e. at least 2 years old or even better older, and are therefore out of puberty: In the flailing phase most quarrels and ranking problems occur, especially among bucks.
  • None of the animals is pre-stressed: There are chinchillas that have had bad experiences with socialization and could "go crazy" due to the renewed stress; in the worst case, you end up with a single animal that can no longer be socialized.
  • None of the chinchillas is ill: For sick animals a socialization can lead to a reduction of the health condition due to the associated stress; due to the increasing danger of group problems with larger groups the danger for the sick animal increases as well, e.g. a heart-sick animal may die from exhaustion due to being chased by other group members; in addition, sick animals are sometimes bullied or their rank is contested more often, all of which is very stressful for the animals, especially if the sick chinchilla is dominant and does not easily subordinate itself

Furthermore, the following is advisable:

  • The group is a mixed-sex or all-female group: experience has shown that all-boy groups are the least stable and are particularly susceptible to strife and ranking problems; we do not recommend keeping more than two bucks together
  • The group consists of no more than a total of four chinchillas: we recommend a group of no more than 2-4 chinchillas - the larger the group, the more unstable and prone to ranking fights and discord. This is because chinchillas are very strong character animals and the more characters there are in a group, the more compromises the animals have to make to make it fit. The tolerance level for compromise is different for each animal, but is further strained with each additional animal in the group.