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Thread: Diet and Care for Baby Chinchillas

  1. #1
    clover Guest

    Diet and Care for Baby Chinchillas

    Hi, just thought I'd post a little bit of what I know here. Others feel free to add on if it's been tried and tested. But pls bear in mind that these are personal opinions and not some golden rules you should follow totally. Always think, read and consider carefully if this is ok and healthy for your chins. Thanks.

    Umm, okie, for baby chins. They need alot of calcium, nutrients and an unlimited supply of food for their first 3 months. Of course the most important thing is they need their mum's milk, but it's possible to foster a baby chin who is an orphan or who has been rejected by mum. But that will be a bit different from this topic. I'll be talking about what things to feed your baby chin, when it's with mama chin.

    Firstly, to promote more milk from mama chin, pls feed her diluted cranberry juice. 50% juice to 50% lukewarm water. You can do this when she is just about to give birth, or starting from 1 week before. It's probably better to give her everyday, starting from 1 week before. Just give it to her in a normal water bottle. Some chins may not like the taste, but most do. Pls buy the cranberry juice that is organic and natural, not the type that is remade from concentrate.

    Make sure that your baby chin is getting enough milk from mama. He should suckle very often. For me, I see the baby suckling under mama very often throughout the day. Even when she is lying down, he'll be drinking. That's good. Baby chins may not drink milk for very long periods of time, they do it only in a jiffy. But they do it all day often. You can increase its nutrients intake by feeding supplemental milk, but not all babies will like it. Buy some pet milk powder and make it according to instructions, but do remember that they won't drink alot of it if they don't like it. And pls don't force the baby chin to drink, as it can choke on the milk and this is very serious.

    Unlimited pellets and hay should be given to both mama and baby chins. The baby will learn from its mum what to eat and how, very quickly, so it's good to teach it to eat adult food early. But pls do not wean your baby chinchilla earlier just because of that. I actually like to leave mama and baby together for a full 3 months, and then separate them if the baby is male. If it's a female, I'll leave them together even longer. Some breeders wean at 8 to 10 weeks old, but they are confident the baby is healthy, so they can do that. If you're unsure, then don't wean the baby before 12 weeks.

    Vitamin C and nutrients can be given to the baby and mama at this stage, just to help them more. The baby is still growing and mama is still recovering from the pregnancy. Oxbow's apple vit c and papaya tablets are helpful here. If you want to give fresh fruit, try a little bit of apple or pineapple. But pls don't give large slices, just a small slice will suffice. Nutri-cal can be fed to mama chin, but I personally don't feed it to the baby chin at this stage yet. I'm not sure if others have experience with this.

    Oh yes, not forgetting, mama chin and baby chin should be fed lots of alfalfa hay. In fact, I personally would feed 100% alfalfa hay with just a little bit of timothy hay mixed in. Because the calcium and protein requirement for mama and baby are quite high right now. When mama chin is confirmed pregnant, feeding her alfalfa hay often is very good also, as she needs the calcium to give her baby strong bones.

    Other ways to feed calcium is to give a calcium block or a cuttlefish bone (pls remove all metal and wire fittings from it). My chins prefer the cuttlefish bone, but their ultimate favourite is the superpet critter cones. I actually prefer feeding that (although it's a bit expensive in my opinion), but they really do eat all the calcium in it, so it's worth it. 2 chins can finish 1 whole cone in less than 1 week, for me. But I feed this to growing chins, baby chins and mama chins only. The full-grown adult also get the cone, but not all the time. Only once every 2 months or so. Cos I don't want to give them too much calcium after they are full-grown. It can lead to bladder stone.

    During baby's one to 3 months, I actually don't feed treats that are rich. 1 raisin is fine 3x a week, but I don't feed it daily. Plus I don't feed any nuts or rich, starchy treats. I hope I didn't miss out anything, cos I'm writing this from memory.

  2. #2
    chinsandhollandlops Guest

    what i do.....

    Fed only after the baby is completely weaned. I give dehydrated apple slices or papaya.

    Increasing lactation:
    If you can't find cranberry juice, you can also give apple juice. Try to give juices with no or very little added predervatives/suger.

    Basically, their pellets are alfalfa based. Hence i do not feel it is neccessary to feed alfalfa hay. However, if you notice the mother chin losing weight, do feed alfalfa. Remember to feed timothy also. Critical care from oxbow would also be a good thing to give the mum if she loses weight rapidly while lactating. I try not to feed too much alfalfa due to bladder stones....

    Try to handfeed if your chin gives birth to 3 or more. Also, if the baby is underweight. You can mix tge milk with baby cereal..The average weight of a baby is between 45g and 50g if my memory is not failing me.

    I'm also writing this from memory and personal experience. Hope this helps.
    Last edited by chinsandhollandlops; 14-Oct-2005 at 10:00 PM. Reason: just noticed a typo error

  3. #3
    clover Guest
    What kind of baby cereal? I've fed baby food before, but it's the jelly kind that has a fruit taste. Is it the heinz brand or? Good to learn that I can feed this. Or is the baby cereal the dry type, then mix with water?

  4. #4
    chinsandhollandlops Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by clover
    What kind of baby cereal? I've fed baby food before, but it's the jelly kind that has a fruit taste. Is it the heinz brand or? Good to learn that I can feed this. Or is the baby cereal the dry type, then mix with water?
    Gerber creal is good. The dry type mixed with water. Get the plainest type.

  5. #5
    wktam Guest
    A few suggestions or comments based on what I have read above.

    1. No treats for babies. Period. None. I would avoid treats for kits until they are at least six months old if not older. Actually my chins (adults and babies) consider themselves fortunate if they get a raisin a month. There is absolutley no health reason for chins to get treats. We give treats because it makes us happy to see the chins eating them but remember we are acting as "parents' to our chins and have to be the one responsible for making sure they get a healthy diet.

    2. Make sure any juice you offer your chins is sugar free. Too much sugar will cause soft poop.

    3. Please, please do not feed your baby chin supplemental milk unless you are 100% sure that it is not getting any milk from mother. There is nothing better than mother's milk for a kit so do not offer an alternative until there is no choice. If you supplement unnecessarily it will lead to the kit taking less from mom which in turn will result in mom producing less milk creating a vicious cycle where you will end up feeding the kit more and more supplement (not so good stuff) at the expense of its mother's milk (good stuff).

    I have found that mothers are capable of feeding any litter up to and including triplets entirely on their own. I have seen my females raise well over 50 litters and the only time I have ever had to supplement was when quads were delivered. What you should do with any litter is monitor the growth of the kit. It should gain 2-5 grams each day for the first 12 weeks or so.

    Please also note that most babies loose a few grams in weight the day after they are born. This is perfectly normal. Do not panic when this happens and start supplementing.

    4. If you absolutely must supplement use powdered goats milk rather than pet milk powder. Most pet milk powders are for dogs or cats (i.e. carnivores) and have the wrong nutrient set for chins (i.e herbivores). You can get goat's milk from most NTUCs in Singapore. Again, DO NOT DO THIS UNLESS YOU ARE 100% SURE THAT THE KIT IS NOT GETTING MILK FROM ITS MOTHER.

    5. If you have to supplement a kit or hand feed it; drop me a pm for detailed instructions. This is not easy to do and takes incredible patience and discipline. I had a mother die a day after delivering twins which I had to hand raise. Imagine feeding baby chins every two hours, round the clock, for 8 weeks. Each feed takes about 30 minutes and involves feeding the kit one drop at a time until it has consumed about 2 ccs of milk. I would suggest that you be ready to make this kind of commitment to keeping a kit alive before you start breeding.

    6. Alfalfa hay is not necessary unless you are feeding a pellet that is based on timothy hay. Mazuri and Kline are both alfalfa based pellets. If you are feeding those I would not recommend anything more than an occasional bit of alfalfa for nursing chins or kits. Too much alfalfa in a diet will cause soft poop.

    7. If you feel you must supplement the mother chin I would not suggest Vitamin C. Please try rolled oats instead. Just a table-spoon every two days will be sufficient. As for NutriCal; that stuff is nothing more than sugar in a tube. I would never offer it to a chin.

  6. #6
    elovechat Guest
    wah kao ... my chin only takes dried up hay ... ggrrr ... called up Oxbow Hay company to enquire where to get old hay ... Raymond (the sales guy) told me to dry the remaining food under the sun. but nowadays ... the sun hides behind the grey clouds leh ...

  7. #7
    Sanctuary Guest
    Hi All
    The informations are very interesting.
    Am wishing to breed chins.
    Any suggestions for a newbie, please?


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