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Natives of the highlands of South America - chinchillas, today are increasingly popular as pets. There are two types of chinchillas in the world: small long-tailed and large short-tailed. Due to the valuable fur, both species were practically exterminated in the wild. In Chile today, these animals are under state protection. Their numbers have not yet recovered. But the animals are not threatened with extinction.
It turned out that they reproduce successfully in captivity. This circumstance made it possible not only to organize farms for breeding animals for the production of valuable fur, but also to keep chinchillas in apartments as pets.
Chinchillas are rodents, but their digestive system is very different from the rats, hamsters or squirrels familiar to Europeans. When buying an animal for an apartment, you need to take into account that it necessarily requires roughage, that is, hay. But it is better not to give juicy feed at all. This is one of the causes of chinchilla diseases.
Also, chinchillas do not tolerate sudden changes in temperature very well. Contrary to logic, these animals with the thickest fur in the world do not tolerate low temperatures very well. If in a room below + 10 ° C, adult animals begin to freeze, and young animals can catch a cold and die.
How many chinchillas live at home
Due to the rarity and secrecy of animals in nature, the features of their existence and life expectancy in nature are unknown. All data were obtained from observations of animals in captivity. A smaller species, the long-tailed chinchilla, is bred in large quantities in captivity.
And even when observing animals in captivity, the data on their life expectancy are very different. According to some reports, long-tailed chinchillas, subject to the conditions of detention, live for more than 30 years. There are cases when chinchillas lived to be 37 years old. But according to the reviews of chinchillas, in fact, these animals live no longer than 20 years, and the usual life span of chinchillas is 6-10 years. With such a wide range of life spans, it can be assumed that the matter is in the living conditions in apartments that are unsuitable for high-mountain animals.
And indeed it is. The optimum temperature for keeping chinchillas is in the range of 18-23 ° C. The minimum should not fall below 14 ° С, and the maximum should not exceed 28 ° С. Temperature extremes are only permissible for a short period of time.
At the same time, caring for a chinchilla at home is not difficult if you take into account the peculiarities of its lifestyle and needs. It will be much more difficult to create conditions for the life of the animal, in fact, subordinating your life to the needs of animals.
How to care for a chinchilla at home
When buying a chinchilla as a pet, and not a material for obtaining a skin, you should first take care of an equipped rodent cage and an air conditioner to maintain the desired temperature in the room. These animals tolerate heat worse than cold, although low temperatures do not contribute to the chinchilla's well-being.
The area of the cage for one individual should be at least 1x0.4 m. And the height is 0.8 m. If you plan to buy two or more animals, the area of the cage increases according to the number of pets.
Chinchillas are mobile animals and require a lot of space for physical activity. At the same time, the height from which the animal can jump should be limited to 20 cm. If the height is too high, the chinchilla can break bones by jumping off the shelf. Therefore, when arranging a cage, it will be necessary to make several "floors" in it so that, having jumped down from above, the animal would land not on the floor of the cage, but on the lower "floor".
Although these animals seem rather large and "plump", but, like any rodent, their body is adapted to penetrate into very narrow crevices. Chinchilla owners admit that if they themselves did not see how the animal escapes from the cage, crawling between the rods, they would not believe in the possibility of such an escape.
But the fact is that usually novice owners of these South American animals do not ask questions about the anatomy of pets. The body of chinchillas is designed in such a way that it can be strongly compressed from the sides. This allows small animals to escape from predators in very narrow crevices. Therefore, it is better to use a fine-mesh metal mesh for the cage.
Caring for the animal is not difficult, but it is recommended to clean the cage once a day. Chinchillas smell much weaker than other domestic rodents, but with rare cleaning, even the cleanest animal will smell. To save on bedding and cleaning time, you can train the chinchilla to the litter box. In this case, only the tray can be cleaned daily, and general cleaning of the cage should be carried out much less frequently.
How to train a chinchilla to the toilet
Accustoming an animal to defecate in a certain place is based on the desire of males to mark territory. Since females also mark the boundaries of their site, they can also be trained to defecate in one place.
When accustoming animals to cope with the needs in the tray, the excrement is collected and put into the tray. Animals re-mark the territory according to the old marks. Therefore, the excrement placed in the tray will be a signal that the territory should be marked again in the same place. Fresh excrement from another animal works best in this case, but if you have only one chinchilla, you can use its own droppings. The effect will be weaker.
Like any herbivore, the act of defecation in a chinchilla is spontaneous.
Does a chinchilla need a pair
Due to the high price for an individual, chinchillas are often kept alone, but this has a bad effect on the psyche of animals. In nature, rodents live in colonies, forming monogamous pairs. If the animal owner does not want to engage in pedigree breeding of chinchillas, it is better for him to buy a same-sex couple. If you want to start breeding chinchillas for sale or for skins, you need to learn how to distinguish the sex of animals in order to form pairs.
How to determine the sex of a chinchilla, photo
If you want to buy a same-sex couple, you first need to decide which gender the chinchillas will live in the house. Males have an unpleasant tendency to mark with urine all surfaces in sight. Females are calmer, but during the hunt they begin to refuse food and scatter food around. Refusal to eat is unpleasant in that in this case it is easy to miss the onset of a serious illness, writing off everything to the hunt. When it becomes clear which is better: tags or garbage are everywhere, you can go to the breeder and ask for the animals of the right gender.
The gender of chinchillas is determined by the location of the anus and urinary openings relative to each other. In the female, the urethra is located just below the anus and there is no distance between them. In the male, the penis and anus are located farther apart than in the female. According to the expression of chinchilla breeders, "the male has a longitudinal jumper between the penis and the anus." In the photo, you can see the difference between a male and a female. The top photo is the male, the bottom photo is the female.
Interesting! In female chinchillas, the genital opening is completely closed during the rest period and only the urethra is visible. The vulva only opens during the hunt.
Breeders usually sell chinchillates at the age of 3 months either singly or in batches already formed. It is useful for those wishing to engage in further breeding of chinchillas to know how to distinguish cubs by sex in the first days after birth.
How to determine the gender of a chinchilla at an early age
In newborn chinchillates, sex is determined in the same way as in adult animals. But there is a nuance: immediately after birth, the genitals of chinchillas are often swollen and it is difficult to understand which sex the cub is. We'll have to wait a few days.
Puberty in chinchillas occurs at 7 months. For a year, rodents are able to bring 2-3 litters per year from 1 to 5 puppies in each. Chinchillas breed very well at home, but the female needs a shelter where she can give birth to offspring.
Important! Swelling of the genitals and changes in behavior are signs of hunting in the female: lack of appetite and scattering of food on the sides.
Since it is possible to breed chinchillas in captivity, not forming monogamous pairs, but families of 4-8 females per male, breeding rodents can be a good extra job even if one family is kept in an apartment. The cost of a live animal is almost equal to the cost of the skin and is directly proportional to the color, so you can predict costs and profits depending on the initial investment.
Chinchilla colors can be natural or caused by mutation in captivity. Natural color is the most common and an animal with the agouti gene is valued below any other.
Interesting! Rabbits of the "Chinchilla" breed are called so because of the similarity of their color with the color of South American rodents.
Breeding chinchillas as a business
Whether it is profitable to breed chinchillas for sale as pets depends on the place of residence of the chinchilla breeder. If in large cities the incomes of the population are higher and people can afford to buy an animal costing from $ 60, then in villages no one will spend money on a “mouse” at that price. Moreover, with improper care, chinchillas die.
Chinchilla nurseries selling pets are aimed at the urban population with high incomes, and the cost of an animal directly depends on the color of the rodent and can go up to $ 500.
Interesting! Of all fur farms, chinchilla is the most profitable enterprise.
It is hardly profitable for novice owners to breed chinchillas in large quantities for the sake of business. It is better to "get your hands on" at first on breeding a small number of animals, which will recoup the costs. After finding out the nuances of keeping South American rodents, you can think about a chinchilla farm and draw up a business plan for breeding chinchillas.
A real business plan should be drawn up based on local living conditions and laws. In the general case, one can only estimate the approximate costs and potential profits.
purchase of breeding stock in the amount of 20 animals
$ 1,200 to $ 10,000
shed for chinchillas for 20 heads
from 350 USD
hay for 7 months from buying animals at the age of 3 months to having puppies
30 kg. The cost depends on the region and climatic conditions of a particular year
grain feed for 7 months.
150 kg. The cost may also vary in different regions.
you can dial for free
grindstone for teeth
$ 1 per piece. Can be replaced with solid wood
top dressing from dried fruits
10 kg and again the price will depend on the region
250 ml, cost about $ 8
5 kg. Since most often it is milk powder, the price again depends on the region.
climate control if the farm is located in non-residential premises
from $ 250
registration of individual entrepreneurship
registration of a veterinary certificate
obtaining permission to set up a farm
These are upfront costs and cannot be recouped immediately.
Pictured is a block of 3 chinchilla cages with trays for garbage and droppings.
Chinchillas give on average 3 puppies per litter. Puppies are taken away at the age of 2 months, puppies can be sold as early as 3 months. If there is a high steady demand for animals, it is better to sell young animals, since the cost of a chinchilla is equal to the cost of an adult animal's skin. Maintenance costs when selling in 3 months. will be lower.
When breeding chinchillas for skins, animals need to grow to an adult state. That is, up to 7 months. When forming a polygamous family of 4 females and 1 male, there will be 4 families and 48 heads of young animals at the same time on the farm. For young animals, additional cages are needed, but the number of chinchillates in a cage may be higher. Nevertheless, it will take at least 3 more blocks of 4 cages for the animals to grow up in peace. Ideally, it is better to populate these blocks with same-sex chinchillas. The cost of another 3 blocks from $ 80 per block.
Thus, the total cost of initial costs, taking into account unforeseen expenses, will be from $ 2,100.
Semi-annual feed consumption for a total livestock of 70 individuals
Even with a rough estimate, it is clear that the cost of maintaining a chinchilla farm is low (the cost of water and electricity for climate control is not taken into account).
You do not have to buy special mineral stones, but pick them up in the area or replace them with hard types of wood.
The income from the sale of 48-50 skins will range from $ 2,880 to $ 25,000. But the latter is possible only in the case of breeding chinchillas with a very rare and expensive color, so you should not count on such income in reality. The income is likely to be lower. However, even at the lowest price per skin, over $ 5,000 could be obtained per year. The cost of setting up a farm and obtaining permits will pay off in one year. Further it will be possible to already receive a net profit.
There are also pitfalls that can cause a beginner to breed chinchillas to fail. This is a high sensitivity of chinchillas to adverse factors. As a result of improper maintenance, all purchased animals may die.
There are certain "no" that must be observed when breeding chinchillas:
- you cannot bathe in water. Instead of water, use sand;
- overheating / hypothermia should not be allowed;
- do not give juicy feed and nuts;
- you cannot drastically change the type of feed;
- do not feed rabbits, hamsters or guinea pigs;
- do not put a female younger than 6 months with a male;
- chinchillas should not be kept in a noisy room;
- oak cannot be used as shavings for bedding or toys for grinding teeth;
- you should not give branches of stone fruit trees that contain hydrocyanic acid;
- you can not give water from the tap without having defended it;
- chinchillates should not be removed from the female earlier than they reach 3 months.
These are the general "no's" that need to be applied to both chinchillas on a fur farm and pets.
Whether breeding chinchillas will be profitable as a business or not depends on two factors:
- compliance with the rules for keeping chinchillas;
- availability of a market for live individuals or skins.
For the sale of the skins, it will be necessary to learn how to slaughter animals and harvest the skins.
Important! Chinchillas of Russian breeding are not valued on the world market due to the low quality of their fur.
For the successful production of fur and a decent profit, you will have to import animals of dark colors from abroad. This will significantly increase the costs of the initial organization of production and reduce revenues.
Since today the Russian pet market is already saturated with chinchillas, the breeding of rodents for sale to exotic lovers has come to naught. Today it makes sense to breed only high-quality animals and only to obtain raw materials for fur products.
When keeping animals as pets, there are additional reasons why chinchillas die at home.
What should not be allowed in the apartment
All of the above prohibitions must be observed not only on the farm, but also in the apartment. But on the farm, there are usually no other factors that are found in the apartment. So, when keeping pets, there are much more bans:
- chinchillas should not be kept in the same cage with other animals;
- you can not chase animals (especially for children);
- chinchillas should not be left alone with domestic predators: cats, dogs or ferrets;
- you can not take pictures with flash;
- you can not immediately plant a new chinchilla with an old one. We must give them time to get used to each other while living in different cells. At the same time, the terms of quarantine will be respected;
- can not be put in a walking ball, like a rabbit or a hamster;
- you can not wake up during the day;
- you can not walk on a leash like a rabbit;
- dangerous objects should not be left: paper, foil, beads, polyethylene, threads, etc., if the animal is released into the room for a walk. The chinchilla can eat these things out of curiosity;
- you cannot abruptly grab the animal;
- cannot be kept in a noisy room. It is better to place the TV in another room;
- you should not be allowed to walk around the room unattended;
- cannot be kept in a small cage.
There are much more rules for keeping pets than for farms, because on farms few people are interested in the inner world of a chinchilla, and keeping conditions are provided to a minimum. Under such conditions, animals can exist, but their lifespan is much shorter, since breeding females are slaughtered as soon as their productivity decreases.
According to the real reviews of the owners of these animals, in fact, keeping the animals is not so difficult. At least the stress tolerance of chinchillas is higher than reported on the websites. But individuals are different. If you come across an animal with a weak nervous system, it can really die from stress. Therefore, it is better to create the recommended conditions first, and then the content can be adjusted. Some chinchillas even like to watch TV.