Compared to other rodents, chinchillas are small-bearing animals. Usually in a litter there are 1-2 cubs, much less often – 3 or 4. Young females have a 20% lower birth rate than mature ones. In farm conditions, receiving from a female three to four cubs per year is considered normal.
It is noted that the diet of animals with a high protein content has a positive effect on increasing fertility. In a large litter, at the same time, all cubs are of different sizes and the smallest are usually short of milk. Therefore, families where there are more than two babies should be kept under special control, and if necessary, artificially fed.
When breeding chinchillas, monogamous and polygamous families use. In monogamous families, animals are kept in pairs. In general, by their nature, chinchillas are monogamous, i.e. They can live with the same partner all their lives. When a young couple gave a good offspring and does not show aggression towards each other, animals can be kept together for many years. If the cubs are poorly developed, the female is connected to another male.
The method of polygamous reproduction of chinchillas (one male is used for several females) is widespread on large farms.
Before pairing, you need to pick up a pair, paying attention to the following points:
- Animals must match each other according to tribal data;
- Have good pedigrees;
- Have good health;
- Have similar color and quality of the fur;
- A couple should not consist of close relatives until the third generation of kinship.
When forming pairs, it is also necessary to consider the age of the partners. Females reach puberty by 6-9 months. It is advisable to choose a male 2–3 months older for her. If the female is older than a year, the male, on the contrary, is recommended to choose 2-3 months younger for her. But this condition is not required.
For the birth of viable offspring, the female and the male must be in excellent physical shape. You need to know that depleted, or, conversely, obese animals, can give sick or weakened puppies. It is possible that the female does not conceive at all.
Before mating, you should determine the relationship of partners to each other. To do this, first they are placed in different cells, but put them at close range. So animals can get used to each other a little. Then an attempt is made to put the couple together. If a quiet relationship has been established between animals, they do not quarrel and do not fight, so replanting was successful.
Females are usually larger, stronger and more aggressive than males. If there is no peaceful life between animals, on the contrary, there is aggression, then the failed pair should be disconnected and other options should be selected for mating.
Chinchillas recognize each other by smell, and if for a while one animal already lives in the cage, then he may try to drive the seated cub out of it. If this happens, you can suggest several ways to reduce the aggressiveness of the old-timer. For example, place a cage with a new animal next to the old cage. For 2-3 days, the animals will get used to the smell of each other, after which you can try to settle them together, and in case of failure to plant them again, changing places. After a few days, you can try again.
You can try for 4-5 hours a small (transportation) cage with a beginner to place inside a large cage with an old tenant. The animals will contact, but will not be able to fight.
A good option may be when the old tenant is closed for 3-4 hours in a small cage located inside a large one, where a newcomer is released. The latter, freely moving, will leave its smell in all corners of the cell and accustom the “owner" to it. When the old-timer is finally released from the small cage, he will treat the newcomer “with respect”.
Usually fewer problems arise when forming a pair of young individuals. Animals are most easily accustomed to each other at the age of six months, immediately upon reaching puberty, and they can be used for breeding until they reach the age of ten.
The time of active mating of animals in natural conditions is from November to May, in captivity – from November to April. By changing the behavior of animals, one can determine their readiness for reproduction. The male begins to actively look after the female, run after her in the cage, snort loudly, wag his tail. At the same time, the female is restless, eats poorly, and scatters feed on the cage. All these signs indicate that the pair has developed, and it will not stay with the start of reproduction.
Chinchilla rutting occurs approximately every 40-41 days. This period may vary from 30 to 50 days. The duration of the rut is from two to seven days. The female takes “signs of attention” of the male, during estrus she lifts the back of the body and as if stretched in front of the boyfriend, showing readiness for mating.
Pregnancy in chinchillas lasts 105–115 days. How to determine that a female is pregnant? Beginning chinchillovodam to recognize pregnancy in their ward is quite difficult. In the first half of pregnancy (until about the eighth week), changes in the behavior and appearance of the expectant mother are not very noticeable. In the second half of pregnancy, the chinchilla begins to gain weight and eat more. During this period, it is transferred to enhanced feeding and give food more often.
Food for a pregnant chinchilla should be varied and enriched with vitamins and minerals. Special vitamins for rodents can be added to water. On about the 60th day, pregnant chinchillas begin to swell and pink their nipples (by the way, they are not on the stomach, like most animals, but on the sides). In total, chinchillas have three pairs of nipples, but usually only two function.
Chinchilla should be handled with care during pregnancy. When time comes to birth, you should not take it in your arms without unnecessary need. During pregnancy, you need to bother the expectant mother as little as possible. With the approach of childbirth, the chinchilla begins to move less and often lies on its side. Sometimes she is disturbed by extraneous noise and sudden movements of a person near the cell. If the female is very stressed, then after giving birth she can kill her cubs and even eat them!
In the cage where the pregnant chinchilla lives, it is necessary to maintain cleanliness and more often change the filler. And, of course, fresh water should always be in the drinker.
It is better to remove the shelves located above until the kids grow up: firstly, jumping from high shelves, the mother can injure the chinchillas; secondly, the crumbs themselves are not averse to climbing higher, but the path down for them can be very traumatic.
If your pets live in an apartment or other well-heated room or childbirth fell on a warm summer, then additional heating is not required.
Childbirth in chinchillas
Shortly before birth, the female is resting more and more lying on her side, her fur seems not so well-groomed.
A few days before the expected birth, be sure to remove the sand bath from the cage. Before giving birth, the female may be aggressive towards the male, refuse food, and become more passive.
Birth usually occurs at night or early in the morning. If you want to observe the process, it is advisable to do this as discreetly as possible for the future mother. The onset of labor is indicated by preliminary contractions and discharge of amniotic fluid. The female can moan, stretch, dodge. The fetus goes forward with the head and as soon as it becomes visible, it begins to release it from the amniotic fluid.
As a rule, chinchillas give birth easily, quickly and without complications. But if the contractions continue for more than 8 hours, and the kids do not appear, it is worth contacting a veterinarian for help.
The body weight of newborn chinchillas ranges from 30 to 70 grams and depends on heredity, the size of the litter and feeding the mother during pregnancy. Full-term chinchillas are born with erupted teeth, sighted, covered with wool and capable of independent movement. A week after birth, the puppy is already trying food, but continues to feed on milk for 1.5–2 months.
While feeding babies, the chinchilla is prone to losing weight, so she needs to provide very good nutrition. You can add milk to the diet.
The first 2 weeks are considered critical for the cubs. The temperature in the room must be maintained at about 20 ° C.
Young animals are separated from their mothers at the age of two months, while the weight of the babies is 200–250 grams. In general, chinchillas are very good mothers, and problems with caring for offspring are rare. Healthy kids are peppy, calm, twirling with ponytails. The weak have no appetite, they are lethargic. The reason for this may be the lack of milk in mom chinchilla. In this case, the cubs are fed artificially. Unfortunately, there are also situations where babies are left orphans due to the death of the mother or the female is lacking milk (this can happen due to stress or illness), and hungry babies squeak and weaken. If this happens, then you have to feed the puppies yourself – for this you need to prepare a mixture similar in fat content to chinchilla milk. For these purposes, it is better to choose lactose-free infant formula or milk powder for kittens. You can also feed chinchillates and boiled cow’s milk, and preferably goat’s milk, adding a drop of butter. When bloating is recommended to do a light massage.
Chinchillas are fed from a pipette or from a syringe without a needle, it is more convenient to use an insulin syringe. Calculate the mixture in this way: 10 ml per 50 grams of the baby’s weight. That is, when feeding every two hours, a 50 gram chinchilla should receive about 0.8–0.9 ml of the mixture at a time. If the mixture is suitable, then the babies begin to gain weight, they should not have diarrhea or constipation. The first week of puppies is fed every two hours, in the second week of life, the interval between feedings can be increased to three hours. If the puppies are orphaned, then they additionally need heating with a heating pad or a bottle of warm water.
Should a male be removed from a female after childbirth? Males are different and may be aggressive towards babies. And even the kindest male can crush or cripple the chinchilla by negligence, simply jumping unsuccessfully. Plus, almost after delivery, the male can cover the female again, and this, of course, will not do her any good. It is undesirable to allow multiple births of offspring in the female, since frequent childbirth depletes the body. Of course, the female is able to bring offspring three times a year, but the cubs can be born weak and non-viable.
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