The number of visitors to our website is approaching 25,000. The Gathering Supplies, Links and Basic Care pages have been updated. The Tips page has been added to and reformatted.
A new page, Store, has been added. We have organic apple chew sticks, fleece cuddle buddies, Blue Cloud dust and rose hips available at good prices. For example, a mixed box of sticks, twigs and twiglets, 100+ count and about ¾ pound, is available for $15 including priority mail shipping. The same is available for $10 lb plus shipping. All wood is washed and baked and comes from an organic orchard. All proceeds benefit the rescue. You can visit our store at: Web Store. The adoption application is also now available online at our website.
There have been several adoptions since the holidays. Tofu, Doctor, Willy, Pierson, and Rica from here, as well as Wally & Eddy and Casey in Texas, have all found great new homes. Sadly, there is still a nice selection of adoptable chins available here in Avondale, LA as well as in Houston and Lubbock, Texas. For individual listings, photos and videos, please see all our chinchillas on Petfinder.com.
Peggy and Jan are doing a great job fostering. Mackenzie will be helping soon. Texas sure needs them and more foster homes would be great.
Matilde’s Mission has been a great help with the vet bills we incurred in accepting several chins from a Houston shelter. Thank you, Hugo.
Chin-proofing a room can be divided into 2 major considerations. First, the safety of the chin: there may be many things present that can be potentially harmful to a chinchilla. Probably the most dangerous are power cords. Chins can bite into the wire almost effortlessly. This can result in severe burns and/or death. Other potential dangers are fasteners sticking down from furniture, spaces under beds where chins can be trapped or squished, paint or varnish, plastic, etc. Chinchillas will chew most anything, which brings up the second major consideration - the safety of the room and its furnishings. Chins will chew furniture legs, wall paint, dry wall, doors and door trim. To summarize, chins will chew everything available.
Power cords should be covered with split coil tubing, available from auto parts stores. Walls can be lined with cardboard. Alternately, 2 or more wire exercise pens can be combined to provide a large play area. Make sure there are toys and other chew items available. Sit in the area with your chin and it will love to climb on you and play games. If you include a wall in the play area, you will be able to watch your fuzzbutt wall-surf.
If you have problems handling your chin, here are a couple pointers. Chins need to be tamed to the hand. Let your chin get used to your hand outside the cage and then inside. The goal is to get it to climb onto your hands to be carried. The first step is to get it to let you give ‘scritches’- scratching the chin chest or head. If you need a treat to start the process, use a whole oat or a pinch of Quaker Oats. Note: many chins are ‘overs’ or else ‘unders’ – they only want to be scratched on top of or below their head. In the beginning, don’t try touching their back. You may need to start the scritching through the bars, but once they accept your attentions, the chance of success in hand taming is quite high, although it may take time. Another trick is to try this at different times of day. In the morning when they are sleepy is often a good time- they tend to forget to be defensive.
Don’t ever chase a chin around its cage. Either move the cage to the play area and let your chin come out on its own or else use the dust house, a catch tube and anything else that will allow the chin to be carried to the play area. Once there, sit quietly and soon the chin’s natural curiosity will have it playing around you. If possible, catch and release your chin a few times. Catching can be a game, but make sure you talk reassuringly and remain positive. Yelling and frustrations can ruin what has been accomplished. There should never be more discipline than the word ‘NO’ spoken calmly. Watch for patterns that you can use to reinforce positive traits. Most of our chins have a preferred spot to be picked up from when leaving their cage- generally they climb on top of a tunnel or sleep tube.
I hope to have these updates out on a regular basis this year, but for more current news, join us on Facebook.