|CAGE: Some people buy
their cages pre-made. If this is
your plan, make sure you know what you're getting. Most
pre-made cages have a pull out tray below a wire cage-bottom.
Most people view this as a positive attribute. However, make
sure that the wire mesh on the bottom is not larger that 1/2" X 1/2".
If it is, your chinchilla could get his/her leg hung and broken.
Don't think it won't happen to you. This is extremely common
because of chinchilla activity levels. To help avoid this do not
buy a ferret cage. Keep in mind size limits: 2' X 2' with overhead
There are a lot of ingenious people out there in Chin-Land who make their own cages. Follow the links! ChinNet Cage Listings , and Valley View Chinchilla Ranch, Jim & LurLee Adams, 752 Busch Dr., Vista, CA 92083, 619-726-6356.
FOOD: Before you buy food, you will need something to put it in! A rabbit water bottle is generally a good buy: inexpensive, easy cleaning. If you can get a glass water bottle Definitely buy it! (Remember the teeth.) Try to find a bottle that hangs from the cage in a metal hanger. If you have to get a plastic bottle, and it isn't protected by a metal hanger, the chin will eat through it quickly.
Food bowls: Chinchillas love to sit as high as they can be. If that means sitting on top of a food bowl 1 inch off the ground, then they'll do it. The yucky result is chinchilla poo and pee in the food. One recommendation I've heard is to buy one of those ceramic frog pot&pan scrubber holders. They can't eat it, can't sit on it easily, and they can't stick their rear ends in it.
Chinchillas will eat about one or two tablespoons of chinchilla pellets per day. Don't feed them rabbit food; there's still a debate about this. As for treats they can have one or two per day, consisting of: raisins, Cheerioes, dried cranberries, Corn Flakes, or dry oatmeal. Don't let them talk you into giving them more!
You'll need some timothy or alfalfa hay! Try Oxbow Hay Company. I use them.
TOYS: You might want to buy a running wheel for your chinchilla to work off some of that energy. Recommended is a wheel at least 12" in diameter with a flat/solid running surface. Sources: ChinsToGo and Valley View Chinchilla Ranch, Jim & LurLee Adams, 752 Busch Dr., Vista, CA 92083, 619-726-6356.
Chinchillas must chew! If they are not allowed to chew their teeth will over grow and it can kill them. Get some non-treated pine 2X4s or dowels. Available at Wal-Mart, Lowe's. Home Depot, etc.
SPACE: You'll need somewhere to put that cage, those supplies, AND somewhere for that little guy to run! (A bathroom with all outlets covered and all holes plugged is good.)
BATH: An absolute necessity is the Dust Bath. Available are Blue Cloud, Fuller's Earth, and other brands such as KayTee. Check your pet store. Put a small amount of dust in a container such as a gold-fish bowl. Let them have it once a day.
SUPPLEMENTS: Try dry kiwi or Vitamin C tabs for Vitamin C, and Calf Manna or Doe Manna for Calcium. (Available at your local farm store if you have one.) Some chins will eat a Tums (Calcium fortified).
LITTER: Do Not Use Cedar Shavings! It can cause repiratory distress. Use Kiln Dried Pine Shavings. (However, even some chins can't handle the pine aroma.) If you're putting the litter in the pull-out tray in the cage, and the chins will never touch it, you might consider using plain, ordinary, cheap, non-scented cat-litter.
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