Cages and Set Up
The subject of cages has a wide variety of
opinions, as does the set up for them. I
will begin with what I prefer for mine.
These preferences come from learning
experiences with my chins and I will share
them with you.
should be totally made of metal. They
should not be made of plastic, not even the
floor. They will eat through it and escape.
Not to mention the medical problems that can
occur from eating the plastic.
They are little Houdinis.
The holes on the cage should be no more than
1" x 2". It is amazing how flat a chin can
make itself and be able to squeeze out. Their
skeletal frame is very small and they can
just flatten all that skin and fur and
slide out. Again, I speak from experience.
I had a chin do that and I just couldn't
believe that she got out of that little hole.
3.If you are planning on
breeding and having babies, make sure the
holes on the cage are NO MORE than 1" x 1/2".
New borns are born VERY active and will
escape out of holes any smaller. Yep, that's
another learning experience. My first
litter had 3 kits. I awoke on the morning
after their births to find only 2. One had
escaped, never to be found. Something you
never ever forget!
that have wire bottoms are preferred by some
owners. If you prefer a wire bottom, make
sure that the holes are no larger than
1/2" x 1/2". Add a wood house or a piece of
marble slab, so that their feet have a rest
from the wire. Mine have marble, which
helps keep them cool and a large piece of
pvc tube that they lie in and it gets their
feet up off the wire. If you prefer a solid
wood bottom, that's ok. You will need to
add pine wood shavings. (Refer to Care
section--DO NOT use cedar shavings)! Cedar
can kill your chinchilla.
Do not use aquariums for your chin's home.
They will overheat in them and die within
minutes of HEAT STROKE. (Refer to Care
6. Do not use
colored newspaper, other paper or cardboard
with colored ink to line cages. It gives
off chemicals that can harm your chin.
7. A cage 2'x2' is a good size
for one chinchilla, but you can always go
larger if you want. Just remember to keep
those holes SMALL! If you have a larger
cage, you need to add shelves that are
graduated, so that they aren't jumping
from the very top to the very bottom.
Make them kind of like steps. They can
break their legs very easily. This
concludes the cage section.
next section begins with the set up of the
cage. The following are necessities your chin
will need in the set up of their home.
1. Food Dish--Preferrably one that
hangs on the side of the cage. They will
potty in one that is set on the floor of
2. Hay Rack--If you
choose to use loose hay rather than hay cubes.
The rack pretty much keeps the loose hay in
place and from spreading all over the cage.
3. Water Bottle--You can use
plastic or glass, but if they can reach the
bottle and it is plastic, they will eat a
hole in it. There are guards you can purchase
to go around the bottle to prevent them from
reaching it. Some chins just won't bother and
plastic will be fine. Just have to see what
4. Chew Items--
These would usually be made of wood (refer
to "safe woods" list at the end of this section).
or pumice stone. Their teeth grow constantly
and they must ALWAYS have something to chew
5. Hiding place--You can
put a pine box in the cage, a large PVC
tube, or a large coffee can (no sharpe
edges). If you prefer, you can flatten it
on one side so it won't roll. Remember--
nothing made of cedar!!
Large Play Wheel (optional)--Although there
is some controversy about these wheels, they
may be added if you choose. Of the many
veterinarians I have spoken with about the
wheels, most prefer some exercise rather
than no exercise at all. So, if you can't
get your chin/chins out at least everyday
for some kind of exercise, then a wheel is
ok. The largest is always the best.
DO NOT use the large exercise floor balls
for more than 10 min. maximum. Chinchillas
can overheat in them and die of heat stroke!!
Safe Woods List
Unsafe Woods List
Fresh Pine Branches
Unsure--so do not
use the following.