|Genetics||Signs of Pregnancy||Related sites|
There are many things to be aware of when breeding chinchillas. The cage size must be different - having smaller gaps. Inbreeding is discouraged. Females can get pregnant at an age of 3-5 months, but should not be bred until at least 8 months of age. There are some lethal factors among certain mutations. For example whites should not be bred to whites, and black velvets should not be bred to black velvets.
If you are serious about breeding, it is recommended you contact (Jim Jensen) for some additional advice. Jim has been doing some research on genetics (not easy to get info on chins), and has learned about different mutations and their breeding.
There are two genetics documents on ChinNet now, that will give you some backgound information and a idea what colors to expect when you start breeding your chins. The first one was written by Jim Jensen, while the second one was written by Mike Thurston.
After delivery, giving the mother some cranberry juice will help replenish some of vitamins. Check the babies to make sure their stomachs are full. If you need to hand feed, a combination of Vitamin D milk and Gerbers mixed dry baby cereal works well. Heat to lukewarm, and feed via a dropper. Do not force the milk down, let the baby drink it. Forcing it can kill them by putting the liquid in their lungs. If you ever hear a clicking sound, it means there is fluid in the lungs. In this case you need to hold the baby firmly in the palm of your hand. With a downward sling, shake the water out of the lungs. You may have to repeat this, wiping any fluid off the nose so it does not go back in.
Be careful with some vets because not all know much about these critters. There is a list of vets that are knowledgeable about chinchillas on ChinNet. Also, be careful what some pet stores tell you, as some do not know much about them either.
Signs of Pregnancy
One strong sign of a bred chin is the estrus plug. This is a small, white, wax-like plug, about one inch long. It is formed by the female shortly after mating. Once you see it, start counting the days. If your chin is pregnant, birth will take place in 111 days..
Keep in mind the estrus plug is almost never found in a cage when the floor is covered with wood shavings.
The alternative in recognizing a bred chin is to actually witnessed the mating. Look closely for the estrus plug the next morning. If you find one, it confirms what you saw the day before. If not, start counting the 111 days anyway, for there is still a good chance she is pregnant.
If you did not witness the mating, it is difficult to recognize a bred chin. An experienced breeder can 'squeeze' the animal, feeling inside her. This is a procedure that should absolutely not be performed by amateurs. If it is done incorrectly, you will cause the abortion of the unborn babies.
Another sign is when she suddenly start sleeping in unusual positions. If this happens, and the other reasons for doing this do not apply, she may be pregnant. This however is by far not as certain a method as finding the estrus plug.
The last alternative is weighing her on a regular basis. If you see a small decrease in weight, followed by a steady increase, she may be pregnant.
Don't worry if you cannot detect your chin is pregnant, there are no exceptional precautions to take. If she does suddenly deliver, there is no immediate need to help her. Chinchilla mothers are pretty self-supporting.
Look here for Jim Jensen's (Chinman) breeding tips.