Social life with other chins
While chinchillas can be happy in pairs, it is not necessary to have two as long as you have a bonded relationship with your chin. But the situation may also depend on the chin's personality. Some may actually prefer to be alone while others need the companionship of another chinchilla to be happy.
Introducing a new animal in the existing group
Most of the times, when you have an existing group of animals and you want to add a new one, it will not get accepted easily. Chinchillas recognize each other by smell, so what you need to do is slowly introduce the new smell in the cage.
There are two ways to do this:
- Put the new chinchilla in a small cage, and place it in the big cage. This way, the animals of your existing group can see and smell the new occupant, but not fight. Let it sit there for 3-4 days. Then, open the small cage and observe. If one of the animals is very agressive (doesn't matter if it is the new one or one of the other animals), punish it by locking it in the small cage for 24 hours. Then, try again.
- Mask the natural smell of the animals with something like perfume or a small drop of Eucalyptus oil. Then, lock them in a small cage, so small that they cannot move or walk around without touching and smelling each other. Because the smell you put on the animals slowly fades away, this will gradually reveal the 'nose fingerprint' of the new one.
If you have a second cage, you could alse put the new animal in there and slide the two cages up to each other.