Wednesday, 22 May 2013

New Day new chin introduction

Today was Eva and Munchkins turn to see how they got on, the Leeloo interaction happened over the weekend and we have had a good number of days between. This tryout again wanted to keep brief and will be honest much more on tender hooks as these would be two dominant personalities and unsure how Eva would react after the nose incident. Both times hubby was present as two hands and pairs of eyes are better than one and his instincts are usually spot on. Again we sat side by side sofa, let them near each other no real interest at that time but no lunges either (both can tend to be panickers when being held). So this time decided to place the dust baths different area of the room and further apart and we released them. There was no immediate reaction though I held my breath when Eva dove in next to Munchkin (as used to dusting with another chin), Munchkin was startled but moved to a different one. We kept it short again wanting to end on relatively positive note. During that time, there were head on meetings and there was a surprising development, they both have a dominant streak and both at different times bristled and reared but Eva definitely seemed to come out more dominant. Again think we will leave a couple of days and try the pairings again with a view if it continues to go ok of putting all 3 in the same room down the line. The behaviour so far includes bristle, like an almost lunge but this appears more of a rush of prescence, bit of tail pulling and rearing.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Chinchilla Recommended Sites for UK

I am on various chinchilla forums and chin safe sites are always being requested for, these were passed onto me and I pass these on to you. **** - Fuzzbutts - soft furnishings including designs unique to the site, currently being transferred to a new site, adore this site and my chins adore all the products. **** - Hammocky Hammocks - soft furnishings, hammocks, beds etc. **** - Chinchillas2Shop - treats, wood chews, loads and loads of things to stock up to give your chins. Site is marked for what isnt suitable for Degus or chins. **** - Shelfridges - excellent for chin safe shelves to add more platforms to your cages and the seller of the Flying Saucer, metal safe exercise wheel especially designed for chins (ensuring they can't eat plastic or hurt their backs) **** - Charnwoods - sells good wholesome chinchilla food, I buy the bulk and delivery is swift. **** - The Hay Experts - sells hay, treats, etc. I adore getting hay from them, there is such variety and my chins love the mixes. Again super quick delivery. **** - John Hopewell Cages - chin cages need to be made all metal and ensure no plastic and safe drops of no more than 18 inches. John Hopewell Cages offer immense range of different chin safe cages for various numbers of chins and can also make to specific requirements. I havent had a cage from him but can wholeheartedly recommend based of loads of responses of other chin owners. His cages are adaptable with add ons that can make life easier. This list is not exhaustive but certainly can help chin owners everywhere who need sources and perhaps need them online.

Starting the Nitty Gritty

So we decided to try Munchkin with a heavily supervised playroom session but with only one of my other chins to make it more controllable and see what behaviour went on. I chose Leeloo as she is such a docile podgey baby and my expectations would be if there were any disagreeances they wouldnt be her end. We prepared with towels to separate easily if it came to it without fear of being bitten or grabbing too hard. I kept the space quite wide with plenty of things to interact with and two sandbaths as Leeloo hogs a bath normally and did not want conflict over one bath to begin with. I kept the baths close but some space just in case. No photos for this as we had to concentrate on the chins in hand. My husband held Leeloo and myself Munchkin as more used to handling them and prepared to act quicker. We sat on the sofa next to each other and allowed them to see and sniff from a good distance in case of lunges. Nothing untoward happened and interested sniffs. So we then set them on the floor apart and watched carefully. The session was short only about 15 mins and there was a bit of rushing behaviour from Munchkin when Leeloo got to close but no teeth or fur pulling. She did hold Leeloos tail at one point but soon let go with a warning from me. Leeloo spent most of her time in the bath (such a hog!!) and we decided to return them to their cages on a positive note with a treat (dont worry Eva got a run and treat separate too ;)) This was couple of days ago, will allow them to settle again and then we shall try Eva on this basis also, she is more Munchkins age and more determined, an absolute softie with Leeloo though can see her holding her own if need be and we will be even more vigilant on this introduction. Fingers crossed more meetings will take place with positive events.

Friday, 10 May 2013

First stages of tricky introductions

My advice to anyone looking to introduce chins is read up and read up some more, join a forum to have that support as each intro will depend on the chins themselves and individual advice needed. Although I am at the beginning stages I have sources to draw on and have a basic understanding to attempt this (hopefully it will be enough). I hope by showing the stages with pictures where can this will help others. Generally introductions will be with two, I am going to have a more difficult time as I have an established pair and attempting to introduce a third. Issues I may come across is the pair ganging up on the newbie, fights, dominant personalities coming out etc. The best advice I have given and to give to you is: 1. Be prepared for it to take weeks if not months as not always instant 2. Be prepared to have a permanent separate home for the new chin in case things dont work out 3. Be prepared to have A LOT of patience ( I do lack this somewhat) So how to start, I have started with the simplest of things, moved the cages into the same room, watched their behaviour and moved the cages closer. Here is a current view: When doing this move closer gradually and also do not put too close in case they try to bite each other's noses or toes! Fortunately for me there has been no squabbling or any bad behaviour witnessed yet. In the meantime, I also swap their toys and also use the same dust bath so they can get each others scent more. I have been advised first signs to go further is if they snuggle near each other in their separate cages, here are some pics of them getting used to each other: Also of Munchkin sleeping near the other two: As the new girl got new toys, decided my two babies needed a treat also which they loved (even though they got a new cage too but shhh) I am going to continue to watch their behaviour, then sit with one chin each on the couch alternating so they can get used to each other more.

Quarantining a chinchilla and mishaps.

So for those that may not know when you bring a chinchilla home from a different environment, whether it be another persons home, breed or store, that new chin needs to be put in quarantine for at least 6 weeks but optimum is 8 weeks. The reason for this is partially to allow the chin to settle to a new environment and smells but more importantly is a long enough time for any diseases or viruses to make themselves present and therefore limit the exposure to your other household chins. The only time would not bother is if the chins are coming from the same place home together (e.g. Leeloo and Eva came home from the same breeder and their house cages were in the same room, they had the same exposures). Ideally this has to be in a separate room and you must wash hands and not transfer items between the cages during this time (no sharing dust baths either). It is for the best though not always achievable. Luckily for myself I have the space to accomodate. Munchkin came in the Pets at home cage which wasnt an ideal design with the door at one end and with treatments it made it stressful for everyone in question. Unfortunately for me the quarantine time effectively ended short on an escape from the newbie in question. Learn a lesson from me here! Munchkin decided last weekend to gain some confidence and bypassed me out the cage door, out of the room and beelined up to the girls cage. Curious Eva then got a shallow bite to her nose and although me and hubby acted quickly, it was a gloomy night for breaking quarantine and Eva having a small bite on her nose. Galens green cream really is wonderful and helped the bite overnight, but a quick trip to the vet confirmed nothing more serious as a big worry is chins have huge jaw strength and can seem worst than it first appears. After panic and advice from a chin guru, I was helped to know well it wasnt best it happened but at least we stopped anything worst. As quarantine had effectively been broken, I decided to start the first stages of introducing. Might as well!

Munchkin new arrival rehome to rescue

Well I recently decided to upgrade my two munchies cages to a bigger home and on researching Gumtree found this girlie needing a rehome. The owner kindly popped her round though didnt realise cage included at the time and as the short car journey had not been kind to the little one, needed to let her settle in. Immediately had to remove the dried pot noodles and crackers and a day or two later, I wasnt happy about the her having a solid base and wanted to check her over. To my horror I found things that made me glad we had her. To look at her in the cage she seemed bright and alert though very nervous and resorted to spraying with wee (common in female chins though a new experience to me!). Her ears were very dry and she was scratching, we have been dosing with baby oil as recommended and it has gotten better though dont think it will ever go: Her fur was matted rather heavily, we managed to snip about 10 lumps out as best as we could, though with time/maintenance and dust baths we can hopefully clear these: Lastly she had lost a front toe and the underneath of her back feet were sore. She had been on a solid base with wood shavings and the accessible hay inside a nesting box which when removed was urinated and mould at the base. A lifesaver for those in the UK that was recommended to me is Galen's green cream, it has healed her feet along with clean cage in almost a week! After 3-4 weeks in my care and a lot of urine sprays later (unfortunately having to attend to her feet etc meant a less slow approach) she is coming around.

Introducing my furry monsters

I thought I would start keeping a log of my furry little monsters and share the good and bad times, it may help others out there and I definitely will be learning things! I am still a fairly new chinparent I got my first new chins back July 2012 from a local breeder. It involved a lot of research and having a fun experience of visting the breeders home to have a play with different breeds and sexes. I eventually settled on two girls and waited for the breeder to do the hard work for me of introducing them and ensuring they were compatible. I decided on a chin baby (who wouldnt?) and her auntie, who had recently been taken out of breeding and was missing her kits, her backstory did sell her to me, I am a sucker for animals needing a home. So here is Leeloo: She was about 12 weeks when I got her and a dark grey standard (though told ebony at the time - learnt colours later) She is absolutely docile and podgey and was such a friendly starter chin. She is very good at figuring out how to climb methodically. Her Mum' sister came as companion, Eva: Eva was a lot more nervous when she came to me. She was about 2 years old, another Dark standard. She had had a couple of litters and dearly missed her last batch of kits. She has since come around and is the forever harrassed by little one, she has been known to nip if you hold her too long. My latest addition is Munchkin: More on her in the next entry.