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Breeding chinchillas can be an interesting and lucrative hobby, but it requires more than simply putting two animals of the opposite sex together. Before breeding chinchillas, a male and female of the right age should be introduced slowly. This may take some time, and patience is important during this stage. Care should also be taken when the female chinchilla is pregnant and after she gives birth.
Anyone interested in breeding chinchillas should educate himself to better understand what is involved. Chinchillas, like any pets, have certain care requirements, including daily feedings and large cages. A person who does not have the time or finances to commit to this venture should probably not breed these animals.
Choosing the right animals for breeding is also important. Both male and female chinchillas should be sexually mature, usually no less than nine months old. Also, animals with good genetics should be chosen when breeding chinchillas. This will help ensure that healthy babies, known as kits, are born with no birth defects. If possible, breeding animals should be obtained from another reputable breeder.
After the male and female have been chosen, a person breeding chinchillas can begin the introduction process. When introducing two new chinchillas, breeders should be aware they will most likely fight at first. Some breeders put the animals in side-by-side cages, while others use a single cage with a divider. These set ups allow the animals to get used to each other, but do not allow them to physically fight. It can take a week or more before two chinchillas start to get along.
Once they can stand the sight of each other, the animals can be put together. Typically, a female chinchilla is ready to mate about once every month. During this time, a male chinchilla will often become excited, wagging his tail and chattering. The breeding chinchillas are often quite noisy, chasing each other and squeaking. After they have mated, a small waxy plug is usually found on the bottom of the cage.
The gestation period of a chinchilla is, on average, 111 days. It can, however, be a little longer or shorter. During the last couple weeks of a pregnancy, the female chinchilla should be handled as little as possible. She will begin to look noticeably fatter, and she will also need more water and a little less food.
Usually, between one and three kits will make up a litter. The birth of the litter is typically quite uneventful, and usually takes no longer than a few hours. If the mother appears to be in distress, however, a veterinarian should be consulted.
After each kit is born, the female will clean them and allow them to nurse. Since they will start moving around shortly after birth, it is important to make sure that the cage is safe for them to do so. This means that a piece of cardboard should be placed over wire-bottomed cages, and any upper levels should be closed off. Also, the male should be transported to a nearby cage to prevent the female from getting pregnant again too soon.
If the kits are to be sold or given away, a person breeding chinchillas should wait for a time before doing so. Typically, the kits will be weaned from their mother's milk at around eight weeks of age. After this, they should be moved to a separate enclosure. When they are eating on their own, they can be placed in a new home. This can usually occur about three months after they are born.