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Sunshine Chinchillas

Chinchilla Bonding

First and foremost, please always quarantine any new chinchilla(s) you adopt from your current chinchilla(s) for at least 30 days to prevent the spread of disease. There are several ways to introduce two or more unfamiliar chinchillas. There is the smoosh method, side-by-side or cage within a cage method, and the car ride method. Although the smoosh and car ride methods are successful for some, we do not encourage it for our chinchillas as we have seen it fail one too many times due to improper application. The key is to not be impatient with the bonding process and try to rush it as this can cause careless mishaps that could make the bonding process be a complete failure. If you attempt either the smoosh or the car ride method, we are not responsible if accidents occur. For better instructions on the smoosh method, check out RDZC Ranch:

Although, long bonding processes through infrequent playtime sessions or meetings is also highly unlikely to succeed. The ideal time-frame for chins to bond is around two weeks when using the method we recommend. This reduces fighting due to dominance and allows the chinchillas to be in constant contact with each other. Allowing chinchillas to interact on an infrequent basis does not build a bond, this actually works against you. They do not remember each other every time you put them together and then separate them. Chinchillas are not like dogs or cats where they will remember a playmate or friend. They are a rodent and do forget, this is why prolonged infrequent introductions never work. Every time you take them apart and then reintroduce them, it is as if they are meeting all over again. This will lead to chasing, humping due to dominance, and possible attacks.

Please note, we do not encourage the breeding or bonding of opposite sex animals that are unpedigreed, not show quality, and not from a reputable breeder. Chinchillas DO NOT need opposite sex cage mates. Chinchillas can live happily alone or in same sex pairs, trios, or colonies. Opposite sex chinchillas WILL breed, leading to potential complications such as genetic problems, pregnancy/birth issues, and possible death if the animals are not show quality and from a reputable breeder. Pairing opposite sex animals also runs the risk of fights breaking out due to hormones and mating, this can cause serious injuries and/or death.

The method we use involves having two cages side-by-side or a smaller cage within a larger cage. Some will even split a cage down the middle using wire, this is called the split-cage method. For all these methods, each chin would either be in opposite sides or one would be in the smaller cage while the other is in the larger cage. Each animal would have access to their own food, water, hay, and cage accessories. Everyday, each chinchilla should be put in the others cage or side (at this point, the chinchillas should never be in the same side or cage together!) to get used to the new smells. This would mean that every day each chin will reside in the opposite cage that they were in the previous day. The chinchillas will need to live together in this way for at least 2 weeks before allowing them to freely roam together within a shared cage. 

If the chinchillas still fight or act aggressively towards one another, more time may be needed for them to become comfortable with one another. These methods can be used indefinitely to attempt to get the chinchillas to bond. The key is to make sure that they can always see and smell each other. This way, they will always know the other one is there and will not forget their scent.

Worst case scenario, you may need to be prepared to have another cage on hand if the chinchillas never bond. There are some chinchillas that do enjoy living alone, it is not uncommon for older established animals to not accept a younger cagemate. Although we hope for the best, it is always a good idea to also be prepared if it doesn't work out. 

Why Can't I Bring My Chin to Meet the New Chin Before Adoption?

Many times we get asked this question. Allowing chinchillas to briefly meet prior to adoption does not indicate whether they will get along or not. Many times we have had owners bring their chinchilla and put the newly adopted chin in with the other. Usually, the chinchillas will act fine upon first observation. But as soon as they are home, fighting ensues. Due to the stress of a car ride, the unknown environment and a new friend to meet, most chinchillas will be overwhelmed to the point that they will not act the way they would normally in their familiar home habitat.

This is why we don't encourage you to bring your already established chin on adoption day. It can cause unnecessary stress on both animals and usually does more harm than good. The best way to ensure they bond and get along is following the side-by-side or cage within a cage method. This way they can get used to each others smells and slowly integrate over a few weeks. This reduces both stress and aggression which will prevent fights breaking out and unnecessary tension.

**Photos for demonstrative purposes**

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