Using the Baby Nursery

Empress Chinchilla BREEDER October 2016
By JoAnne Craner (Craner Family Chinchillas)

The arrival of new babies on any chinchilla ranch is nearly always a time for excitement. This is validated not only by my own experience but by the number of baby chinchilla pictures on social media. This excitement is sometimes followed by periods of anxiety if the rancher isn’t properly prepared to care for the new litter.nursery2

One of the handiest pieces of ranch equipment, we use to care for the newborn, is the baby nursery. Last month there was an article in the September Breeder with instructions on how to build a simple single unit nursery, with the promise that we would discuss how and when we use the nursery? We use the nursery most of all for separating the babies from their mother during the first few hours/days after their birth. This helps both the kits and the mom in several ways. On our ranches we use a polygamous method of breeding and usually aim for breed backs on our females. By taking the babies out of the mother’s cage you eliminate the risk of a baby getting trampled by either parent during the breeding activity. While many males are quite docile and care for the kits as well as the mom, they often forget this errand during the actual breeding process. Mom can also become overly excited and step on a little one. The kits can be removed late in the evening and left in the nursery until early the next morning. The male is then locked out during the daytime. We repeat this process for three nights at which time the male is permanently locked out of the female’s cage until the kits are weaned. This also prevents kits from getting in the runway and traveling to another female’s cage with the risk of getting injured…

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