Frequently Asked Questions
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Q Do you have any chinchillas for sale?
We usually have babies, adults and shelter chins available in several colors. If we don't have what you are looking for we can reserve a future kit, contact other breeders, or shop at a show for you. Soon you will be able to view chins and equipment at ChinClassifieds.com.
Q How much are they? What's the cheapest one you have?
People who call and ask this question are telling me me that they aren't serious about adopting, and/or probably can't afford to be a responsible owner. To purchase a chinchilla, cage, and accessories will typically cost between $200 and $700. Happily, food is fairly inexpensive, and chins don't need vet care unless they are injured or they are fed improperly.
Prices for chinchillas vary by age, color, pedigree, quality and disposition. When you are shopping for a chinchilla you get what you pay for. MCR's prices are competitive with pet stores, and adopters get knowledgable care information and support for the lifetime of their new pet. Visit ChinClassifieds.com in the future for chins and supplies
Q Do chinchillas need special care?
Chinchillas need a temperature controlled environment. Their room should be kept between 55-70 degrees year round, meaning they need an air-conditioned area. The area should also have low humidity, about 50%.
Never get them wet. Chinchillas bathe themselves with fine dust that removes oil and dirt and keeps their fur fluffy and beautiful. They should be offered a dust bath at least twice a week.
They need a low stress environment. If your cat or dog will spend time stalking the chinchilla cage, your home is not a good place for a chin. Loud noises or music, boisterous children, too much playtime, and erratic schedules will all stress a chin.
Read the Care Information
Q Is a chinchilla the right pet for my child?
Chinchillas are not a good pet for most kids under 12, and not for some under 15. Young teens often have changing interests, but chins live 10-15 years. Parents should be prepared to care for the pet when the child is too busy with other activities or leaves for college.
Chins are independent by nature; a child will quickly lose interest. Chins also do not enjoy being hugged, cuddled, or held for long periods, and can overheat. Their ribs and lungs are small and delicate; proper handling is essential.
If your teen expresses interest in adopting a chinchilla, ask them to read my care information, watch some YouTube videos, and meet a chinchilla before they adopt. My Adoption Application is an educational tool, have your teen complete it.
Q Where are you located? Can I visit?
Maine Chinchilla Ranch is located in Sidney, Maine.
After your application is approved I will contact you to schedule a video care class and schedule a pick up.
Visits to the Ranch and Shelter are BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.
Q What do chinchillas eat?
Chinchilla's eat a very simple, high fiber diet that consists of timothy hay and a low protien alfalfa based pellet. They can be fed a supplement that is predominantly oats, and be offered limited amounts of cheerios, mini shredded wheat, rose hips, or apple sticks as treats. Check my safe foods list here.
Chinchillas should not be fed vegetables, fruits, corn products, baked goods, seeds, nuts, or food meant for guinea pigs, birds, ferrets, degus, or humans.
Q How long do chinchillas live?
Chinchillas have been known to live in captivity for up to 30 years. They average 10-15 for most pet owners. Your chinchilla will live a longer life if you purchase a pedigreed animal, limit exercise, limit stress, provide air conditioning, and feed it properly.
Q What kind of cage do they need?
Chinchillas love to chew, so if you want to keep your chin contained and healthy, you will get an all metal cage with no plastic latches, connectors, or shelves. They chins will chew the plastic and eventually either be loose in your home,or die from an intestinal blockage. A plastic pan is usually ok if the wire walls sit down inside of it. Plastic shelves can be covered with fleece to make them safer, but metal or wood shelves are much better so that chins can form natural calluses to protect their feet from injury.
Chinchillas will poop everywhere but may use a litter pan to urinate. If your cage has a wire floor you should have a litter pan to prevent rust. Litter pans most often are 3 quart glass lasagna pans filled with 1" of pine shavings.
Your cage should be made of 1" wire bars or wire mesh with a slide out pan for easy cleaning. There should be several wood shelves and/or perches because chins like to hop and climb, and often sleep in the highest place. A typical cage will be 2' tall, 3' wide and 2' deep. Sometimes we have refurbished and remodeled cages available at great prices!
Chinchilla's natural homes were rock crevices and burrows, so they enjoy a small hiding place such as a wood house or under a low shelf. Professional chinchilla breeders use smaller cages because chins feel more secure, and they are safer for babies.
Q How do I choose a new chinchilla?
I will help you during your visit! :D Female and male pet chinchillas have generally the same dispositions. The notable exception is that a very fearful female will spray you with urine as a defense. I usually only see this behavior with shelter chins and some breeding females, and a spraying chin won't be offered as a pet.
We always try to adopt chinchillas in pairs because they transition better to a new home, feel more secure with companionship, and are overall more interactive, better pets for their owners. There's an exception to every rule, and there are always chins who prefer to be alone.
Q Can I adopt just one chinchilla? Why are yours in pairs?
Chinchillas are herd animals and are healthier, happier, better pets for their owners when they are in pairs. Chins with a companion are less anxious and have a higher resistance to illnesses. Pairs also transition better into new homes and live longer healthier lives.
If you already own a chin and would like to adopt a chinny companion, we can find a baby and sometimes we break up pairs. Most importantly, I will explain the introduction process to insure a smooth transition!
Some chins just like to be alone, and we often have singles available. They are often older chins who were surrendered as singles, or retired breeders.
Q How do I adopt from Maine Chinchilla Ranch?
1. Browse this site to learn more about chinchilla environment, diet, activity, and care.
3. Attend the free Chinchilla Care 101 class via Zoom or facebook video. The class is about an hour and usually held on Wednesday evenings.
4. Choose your chinchillas during an individual video meeting and schedule pickup, delivery, or shipping. You will meet chinchillas chosen as the best fit for you and your lifestyle, have opportunity to ask questions, and receive individualized care instruction.
5. Visit Maine Chinchilla Ranch to pick up your new furry friend, or meet for a delivery. Bring a small cat carrier to transport your chins home, cash for payment, and a truck or van if you're purchasing a large cage. Delivery, setup, and personalized instruction in your home can be arranged from $200 and based on your location. Shipping via Delta cargo to an airport near you is available from $800, and must be paid in advance.
5. After your chinchillas are settled in, call, text, facebook, or email Marianne or Kate with any questions! We want you and your chins to be happy together for many years ahead!
Q How do I surrender my chinchillas?
I understand this is a very difficult decision and and I will make the transfer as easy as possible. Only adult owners over 18 may surrender animals. If you have more than three chins please contact me first.
We ask that chins arrive with their hay, food, water, dust, and $40 donation. We offer the option to donate a clean, rust free cage in lieu of a cash donation. Having their own food and water smooths the transition and reduces stress. Please donate wheels, balls, paper bedding, or plastic houses to your local rat or guinea pig shelter.
During the transfer I will ask questions about your chinchilla and you will sign a surrender form as required by the state of Maine. Surrendering owner information is private and confidential.
Q How do I know you're legit?
Maine Chinchilla Shelter is a Maine licensed and inspected shelter facility license # F1346. We are proud to be the only licensed chinchilla shelter in the United States! We have a specific intake process, and an adoption process and contract similar to other licensed shelters. Surrendering owners can be assured their chinchillas will be in a safe environment, receive any medical care they need, and be carefully placed with a new owner only when they are ready.
Q Our shelter received a chinchilla, how do we keep it healthy?
We routinely accept transfers from other shelters because of chinchilla's specific dietary, medical, and environmental needs. If your facility would enjoy a presentation on caring for chinchillas in a shelter environment please contact me to schedule a time that works for you and your staff. MCR regularly teaches chinchilla care to audiences worldwide and can provide instruction and materials tailored to your group.