Does someone her own Chinchillas? (the critter, not the cat) - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Does someone her own Chinchillas? (the critter, not the cat)

Hubby and I have agreed to take on a local handy-man project and build a custom Chinchilla enclosure. I have NO CLUE what caring for Chinchillas require, other than the basics and they need dust. I don't know about eating, playing, sleeping or eliminating habits.

We meet up with the people on Saturday afternoon for preliminary drawings and I'd like to at least know *something* about anything we suggest in the design-phase.

I'll be googling for Chinchilla information but I thought we had a few members here who have 'chillas.
Thanks for any assistance,
heidi



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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 03:40 AM
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We had them for a long time.
They need a big cage, wire (of the thicker kind). They gnaw, so wood is useless. They need it either tall or long, but they need space to run around. They LOVE hay, so maybe a built in hay basket as well.

As for size, ours were about 1x1x3 metres. The design we had had a slide out metal tray underneath the wire mesh bottom, so "eliminated stuff" would just fall through.

Oh and they also had a shelf which they liked to sleep on, even the "long" cage (as opposed to the "tall" one) had a shelf running across it's length.

Hope this helps.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you!
I did some google-ing last night and wrote down 2 pages of notes. 0_o Chilla-owner stated they want a 4'x4'x2' wide cage, so I think that is about 1.5meters square, and about half that in width. She included photos of things she liked in other cages and lots of shelves were high on her list so they could jump.

Things I can see that need to be addressed are:
How does she plan to clean?
Solid or wire floor?
Access to clean?
Small door or entire-front becomes the 'door'?
How best to secure door to prevent accidental escapes?
Would she like cupboards underneath for supply storage, which would make the 'unit' about 4'x6' tall, w/ the Chin-cage about 2' off floor level?

Chilla's had a long list of approved and NON-approved woods. I did note that metal appeared to be the best material. We are *thinking* of a wood cabinet lined with sheet-metal so on the outside it looks like nice furniture but on the inside it is Chilla-utilitarian and safe with the front and top an open-mesh wire for air circulation.

I have a question about wood ... If we did use wood, would they be unable to chew/gnaw if there were no exposed wooden edges for them to get their teeth gripped on? ... or can they chew through *flat* wood?
I also took note about their small feet and how to create less opportunities for injury.

Anyhow, thanks for responding, I do appreciate it!
heidi



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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 10:50 PM
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I owned chinchillas for two years, please make sure there is no exposed wood that has been treated. They are rodents and they will chew anything/everything. As for shelves, I'd most definitely use kiln dried pine or regular untreated pine. Here are pictures of the cage I built. It's made out of Melamine outside and kiln dried pine trim and shelves.

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t...s/DSC00714.jpg

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t...s/850A0414.jpg

Make sure to use 1' x 1/2" or 1/2" x 12" wire, no smaller.

For more suggestions, please please join www.chins-n-hedgies.com and make a thread asking for suggestions. That site is the catforum of the chinchilla world! They can help you out.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you!
With your permission, may I print your photos to keep on hand for ideas?

Melamine was the product I saw mentioned most often.
Is the bottom a pull-out tray? Is it solid or does it have a wire 'floor' above it?
I did take note of the half inch wire opening size. Man, I've got a LOT of notes for this project!

www.willamettevalleychins.com was very helpful with information and cage plans.



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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2010, 01:39 AM
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Print away!

There is a pull out tray. The handle on the bottom of the cage. It's solid flooring, I'd opt for that, as wire can cause bumblefoot in chinchillas in some cases. It's personal preference, though.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2010, 02:24 AM
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CassiandRJ your cage was awesome.


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Molly Brown December 2006- January 9, 2013
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2010, 02:47 AM
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I'd leave wood out of it altogether, but then I though all chins were gnawers in the extreme.

Must admit that looks a lot nicer than our cages.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2010, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you CassiandRJ, I printed them and added them to the Chilla folder.

I gave all my research to my husband early this morning for him to review and when I carried your photos to him he showed me HIS idea ... which I must admit is pure genius!

He suggested finding a wardrobe or upright Entertainment TV armoire and modifying the interior for Chilla-land while the outside looks like a nice piece of furniture. We could line and caulk the interior to make it chilla-proof, remove the wood insert-panels of the doors and replace w/ screening then install shelving and any other items the client would like. Any doors, drawers or shelves underneath could store supplies, would elevate the Chillas above floor level AND make the enclosure easier to clean if the people do not have to lean in and/or bend over.



Any comments and/or problems you could see with doing this, as long as we are able to make all of the wood from this modified piece of furniture unavailable for chilla-chewing?
Hubby found a nice TV armoire on CraigsList for $50 and we feel this could give the clients a very nice, sturdy enclosure at an affordable price. If we build from scratch, costs would be much higher and I am under the impression the client doesn't want to spend a boat-load of money, but they *do* want their Chillas to be happy and have a large enclosure to romp in.



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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2010, 01:08 PM
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Chin pee is damaging to varnished wood I think. Our grandfather clock bears testament to this
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