Chinchilla Care

How to take care of your chinchilla when it is ready for childbirth


The majority of chinchillas will birth their babies during the early morning hours but they can deliver any time of day. Birth is a very natural thing and your female should be able to handle everything on her own. When she is in active labour you may notice her huddled up in an awkward position. She may bend down to check the process from time to time as she begins pushing the baby out. Once the baby is delivered, she will clean it a little and may sit on it to let it nurse. If she is giving birth to multiple babies she will go back into labour again.   


It’s not uncommon for babies to come as much as 45 minutes apart. When the mother is delivering the next kit, the first of the litter is left alone and wet so it is important that the room be a comfortable temperature with no cool drafts. Once all of the babies are delivered the mother should tuck the babies under her and keep them warm as they dry. She will have delivered an afterbirth, (the placenta that held the baby) for each baby she delivered which should be removed from the cage. Many chinchillas will nibble at the afterbirth, which is rich in protein, but they should not be permitted to eat the entire thing. Chinchillas are vegetarians and therefore cannot digest meat. Eating too much of the placenta will cause impaction and other digestive problems. 




Don't be alarmed when you see her nibbling on her brood. To help clear the liquid out of the lungs of her offspring, she may bite her young till they squeak. 


A female can generally have about 3 litters a year, giving birth to about 1 to 4 kits per litter. A maximum of 8 chinchillas can be born at the same time from the same pregnant or mother chinchilla. The chinchilla's gestation period following a successful mating is about 109 to 120 days . However some chinchillas will deliver early and others will go a bit later. 



A sense of sight and a coat of fur can already be noticed in chinchillas right after they are born. For seven weeks or more, baby chinchillas should not be separated from their mother. If you intend to train them to be more accepting of human touch, you can have the chinchillas handled by humans occasionally. 


It’s important to know that the female will go back in heat after delivery and will mate with a male sometime within the next 72 hours if he is not removed from the cage. During this next mating, newborn kits can easily be trampled and killed. If you choose let them breed again right away, it is important to place a small can or box in the cage where the babies can hide and be safe. 


With a new litter of chinchillas, the female is providing lots of milk which requires minerals, fats, and proteins to be pulled from her body. If she is pregnant again she also has to supply nutrients to the growing embryo. You will notice a gradual growth up until about the 60th day and then rapid growth begins. The drain on the mother during the rest of her pregnancy is intense. There is a lot going on inside her as the babies bones begin to harden, hair begins to grow, and muscles are strengthening. If the mother is still nursing kits during this point in her pregnancy she may become run down as her body works to provide for the needs of all of her kits.


For this reason it is best to wean her kits at 6 weeks to give her body the ability to provide everything the new babies need to be born healthy. Once the next litter is born she should be given a long resting period with no mating to give her body time to recover. Kits may die either because of hunger, overheating, or hypothermia. Chinchilla kits quickly mature sexually in about 3 to 4 months, so taking them away from their mother to avoid inbreeding is necessary.