Help, we unexpectedly got chinchilla offspring!


If you take in emergency animals or chinchillas from second hand, it happens from time to time that you suddenly have to find out that the female is pregnant (she seems round especially on the belly sides and often likes to lie down) or you are surprised one morning with one or more babies sitting in the cage. Often you are understandably very excited at that moment and don't really know what to do. The following infographic is devoted to just this scenario.

Tip: For couples or mixed-sex groups, you should either ask for proof of neutering in the form of an invoice or visit a veterinarian who can confirm that the buck(s) is/are really neutered to avoid "nasty" surprises.

The cage

The sand bath should be removed immediately after birth so that no sand can enter the vagina and possible birth wounds and lead to inflammation. Only when the open - normally slit-shaped - vagina (transverse opening between the urinary cone and anus) is closed again may the sand bath be offered.

Initially, all higher living areas should be made inaccessible. The baby should only stay on the floor as long as it is not yet able to jump safely. Later, all levels can be made accessible again and they should also be temporarily connected (e.g., with the help of cork plates and cork tubes, thicker branches, willow bridges, closed ramps) so that the young animal can safely reach everywhere.


The partners / conspecifics

After birth, the group should be closely monitored. If one of the partner animals should attack the mother or the baby, the mom together with the offspring must be separated. After successful rearing, when the baby is about 10-12 weeks old, you can try to socialize the chinchillas again. If the offspring should be male, it must be castrated early before at the age of approx. 3-5 months and a weight of min. 300g. Of course all males in the group should be neutered to avoid new offspring.

If you have adopted chinchillas, e.g. a pair, and it turned out by or after the birth that the male is not neutered, it must be separated from the rest of the group immediately after the birth, otherwise it will mate the mother immediately again. Then the dad can be neutered and after the successful rearing of the young (when the baby is at least 10-12 weeks old) he can be reintroduced into the group.

If it is determined before birth that the male is not castrated, he must be separated from the expectant mother in time, i.e. before delivery, so that he does not mate with her again immediately after birth. Another option is to have the buck castrated immediately so that he can stay with the family.

Sometimes it happens that the mother is stressed by the rest of the partner animals and then attacks them, for example. In this case, too, the mother and baby are separated from the group or from the partner until the offspring has been successfully reared.


The weight

Every evening, mom and the boy should be weighed at a similar time. It is normal that both (can) lose weight in the first days.

A chinchilla should weigh about 35-65g at birth. A birth weight below 30g is to be considered critical, here one should already feed from the first day on - however not too often, otherwise one prevents thereby the sufficient milk formation with the mummy. A vicious circle, which quickly leads to the fact that one has a complete hand rearing!

If the baby's weight does not increase even after the 4th day, you should feed the baby as needed (not too often, see above) and give the mother a lot of rest and a mixture of fenugreek seeds(!) and other seeds (see below) to stimulate milk production.

If the mother is steadily losing weight or is conspicuous in her behavior (frequently licks her genital area, presses her abdomen/butt to the floor, eats poorly, is apathetic, etc.), she should be presented to a veterinarian promptly. The veterinarian should palpate the uterus and, if necessary, x-ray or sonicate it to rule out the possibility that there are remaining young, placental remains, etc. in the womb, that there is an inflammation of the uterus, or that the chinchilla has other health problems. Especially the former can quickly lead to sepsis and the female dies.


The nutrition

The freshly born mommy is fed species-appropriate (unlimited hay as well as a mixture of at least 30 different herbs, flowers and leaves, plus twigs and fresh food) and gets - unlike chinchillas without additional requirements - 1 tsp of concentrated feed daily. In addition to this, it is recommended to give indefinitely a mixture of certain seeds that stimulate milk production. This is composed of: Fenugreek seeds(!), fennel, caraway, anise and melissa seeds.

The baby may have access to all the feeds of the big ones from the first day. Already a few days after he has seen the light of day, the offspring not only drinks the mother's milk, but also helps himself to the chinchilla buffet.