Breeding Chinchillas

Most females mature at about 7 months of age and may be put into breeding at this time. Males should be placed into breeding when they are approximately 7 or 8 months old. Chinchillas should be placed into breeding before they turn 2 years old for optimum ability to breed.

A chinchilla’s gestation period is 111 days. A female is capable of breeding back (conceiving) anytime within the first 72 hours after she has littered.

Introducing Mates

You can do this by placing the cage of each chinchilla (2 females, 2 males or a female & and male) next to each other to observe their reaction. You may put some essential oil between the 2 cages to mask the smell of the other chinchilla if you want. Let them out to play with each other during their playtime and observe their reactions. If there is no hostility, you can then put one chinchilla into a small cage. Place this smaller cage into the bigger cage and observe their reactions again. If there is no hostility, you may proceed to open the door of the smaller cage and observe their interaction. If one chinchilla is being aggressive to another, you can punish that chinchilla by placing it into the smaller cage. Assuming that all went well, you can have both chinchillas living in one cage. But do make sure the cage is sufficiently big for them. Getting related pairs (except mating pair) reduces the chances of mismatched.


On average, a female chinchilla can mate up to 3 times a year, giving birth to an average of 1-2 babies per litter and up to a maximum of 4 in rare cases. Make sure your female is around a year old or standard grey (slighter older for other color mutants) before you attempt impregnating her. Some allow females of an age of 9-10 months to start mating. The female tends to be more aggressive than the male; do keep an eye on them to prevent the female from nipping off any part(s) of the male. Be very sure you are capable of handling the responsibility, not merely because "The babies are so cute!" You should check that the female's pelvic area is big enough - about the size of the thumb. Females with small pelvic areas will have birth difficulty. Caesarean operation is very complicated and dangerous. To check, hold the female by the base of the tip, place your thumb below the tail. The little round depression is the pelvic bone.

After mating the male should be checked for the presence of a hair ring. Most males are very careful about cleaning the penis after each mating, but due to the often large amount of hair loss during mating it can be hard for him to remove all of the loose fur that can accumulate inside the penile sheath. This can create a ring of fur that will act as a constricting band around the penis resulting in pain, difficulty urinating and eventually prolapse, swelling, and damage of the entrapped organ. This can lead to excessive grooming which leads to further damage. If hair rings are present the penis should be gently lubricated with petroleum jelly. The hair ring should then be carefully teased open and cut off (VERY CAREFULLY) with fine scissors.

Labor and Delivery

A few days before the due date, be sure to remove the dust bath. The night before delivery the female may become aggressive toward the male and any other cage mates. She may also refuse food or become more passive. Most births take place in the night or the early morning hours and are generally a quick process. If you have the privilege of witnessing the birth make yourself as invisible as possible! Preliminary contractions and the loss of amniotic fluid announce the onset of labor. The female may groan, writhe, stretch, and make sounds of pain and her genitals, mouth, and nose will appear wet. The strenuous phase is usually brief - about 1/2 hour - and you are justified in being concerned if it lasts for more than an hour. Finally, the female will carefully pull out the kit. In multiple births the entire process can take several hours. Each kit has its own placenta and this afterbirth can be delivered after each kit or perhaps all of them at once. The female will eat it and this is actually good for her. While it may be messy, let nature run its course. She will be busy cleaning herself and the kits for quite awhile after this and would love to have a dust bath. DON'T give her one for at least a week. She will now warm and dry the kits, probably also nipping them to the point of squealing (her way of stimulating them and helping to clear fluid from the lungs) and then you'll be glad to know more about the development of the young.


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Please Note: Exotic Nutrition is not in a position to provide specific health and care guidelines on an individual basis. Please visit our animal info tabs or consider purchasing a care guide book for additional information. If you have a health or pet emergency issue, please notify your veterinarian or a specialized technician.

Comments (1)


Chinchillas should not be bred until age 5, in order to reduce the prevalence of malocclusion. This is because the serious genetic form of malocclusion typical presents before age 5. However, many breeders like to breed chinchillas young, before age 2, in order to produce more offspring, and to display optimum coat quality at shows.

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