Breeding chinchillas is a process that can be both gratifying and fun. Unlike other rodent species, chinchilla babies emerge with their eyes open and full hair, making them very cute. Before you begin, ensure that you have an experienced exotic pet veterinarian on call should problems arise. Additionally, secure proper homes for the offspring before the doe becomes pregnant. Chinchillas are prolific animals and will breed readily. Keep males and females separate unless you are prepared for kits. Please note that chinchillas are often unintentionally sold into the fur trade as their coats are especially popular in fashion. Use your discretion when you place a kit in a home.
- Acquire a mating pair. Males should be over six months, while females should be at least one year and of an appropriate size for their age. You will need two cages for the process, one for each individual animal.
- Introduce the pair. Begin by placing their cages side by side for two weeks, close enough that the pair can smell and see each other, but not close enough that potential injury can occur. No matter what, when introducing two animals, aggression can take place. Be alert so that your pets are not injured.
After the two week period has ended, allow the pair to meet in open space, away from cages, during a play session. Do not allow them to be left alone! If no aggression seems to take place, allow the male to enter the female's cage. You must be around the pair for 1-2 hours, monitoring them closely to prevent injury. Remove him and place him back in the cage after a few hours. Repeat this process for a week before allowing them to be together full time. If ANY signs of aggression occur, separate the pair and place the male back in his adjacent cage.
- Allow them to mate. Female chinchillas go into heat monthly. You probably will not observe your animals mating, as they are nocturnal. You may find a waxy, white plug at the bottom of the cage, but otherwise, it will be hard to know exactly when copulation has occurred.
- Wait out the gestation period. Babies are born approximately 111 days after mating has taken place.
- Prepare for the birth. If you have a wire cage, you must ensure that the babies' small feet will not get caught. Utilize cardboard or non-toxic wood to cover the bottom of the enclosure.
Additionally, remove the male approximately one week before birth. Females will be in heat after giving birth, and it is very dangerous for her health should she get pregnant immediately after having a litter. Some breeders recommend putting a 1 part orange juice, 3 parts water solution in the female's water bottle to enhance her milk production.
- Take good care of the babies. The mother will clean her newborns and consume the afterbirth. Typically, two kits will be born, though it is sometimes more or less. Babies will need to be weaned at ten weeks to ensure that interbreeding does not take place. Females can stay with females and males with males, but use caution when introducing males to their father. He may become aggressive toward his offspring. Kits can be handled after a week, but be very careful with them and monitor children who hold them.