Chinchillas require a large cage/enclosure and many marketed as suitable simply are not big enough. Ideally, we would like to see chins housed in large DIY enclosures with at least 1mx1mx1.5m space or even a specific chin safe room. German rodent care is miles ahead of us and many German sites have great info on building a suitable set-up – here are some useful sites:
The absolute minimum cage size we will accept is the Liberta Explorer (or cages of the same size). The Savic Royal Suite 95 and Critter Nation Double are also acceotable for chins, but the plastic shelves will need to be covered with fleece (or replaced with metal/wooden shelves) and regularly checked for any signs of chewing.
Chinchillas also need daily out of cage playtime, as they love to bounce around, jump off walls, and use you as a climbing frame! They live up to 15-20 years so this is a big commitment. Please ensure you have the time to provide chins with the care they need before taking any on.
Hay should make up the majority of chinchillas’ diets. We feed a mixture of meadow hay and timothy hay, with the occasional addition of oat grass hay and readigrass (dried grass). Alongside hay, we provide around 1 eggcup full of pellets for each chinchilla and a small amount of fresh herbs/suitable greens. Feeding fresh food to chinchillas is quite controversial, however following discussions with our exotics vets, and some research, we now feed small amounts of fresh herbs, leaves and branches a few times a week. Chinchilla Scientia has some great advice on feeding a ‘natural’ diet and research on the diet of wild chinchillas. Our recommended pellet brands are Supreme Science & Burgess. Chinchillas also enjoy dried herbs and flowers, rosehips, and shredded wheat as treats!
We recommend using fleece in the base of your chinchilla cage, which is safe if nibbled, and is easy to keep clean with a quick sweep out daily and changed out/washed at least weekly.
We advise against using any cardboard/paper based bedding as chinchillas may ingest it. If you prefer to use a substrate rather than fleece, we would recommend hemp such as aubiose, or kiln dried woodshavings such as Bedmax or Littlemax (other pine woodshavings are not considered safe as they can cause respiratory issues).