Happy July everyone!
For the month of June, zero (0) chinchillas were surrendered and two (2) chinchillas were adopted. Not to say we haven't had inquiries for surrender...it seems every time we advertise chins for adoption, we get more emails asking about surrender instead! Years of dealing with the same situation has made it so that we are hesitant to post about our adoptables (or surrenders for that matter). And while I'm on the subject....
...there is no other more frustrating excuse than one that claims (cue violin music) the owner "no longer has the time and attention to devote to their pet". This is nothing more than a feel good way for a person to announce they're abandoning their fur friend. Get real people. Do you really think a shelter can provide that for your beloved fur baby? Some of our surrenders are with us for months, if not YEARS before they go to their "forever" home... and then we do see a sizable number of them come back to us within a few years. *sigh*
Without a doubt, we have seen that on the occasions where the person is the most vocal, the most vehement about providing a forever home, are usually the ones who resurrender the fastest! We have seen people absolutely swear with blood, sweat and tears that they would move to a pet friendly place, give up a boyfriend/husband/wife/etc or go without food themselves before they ever considered giving up their pet. But the lame excuse that someone cant pay attention to their animal is just dumbfounding.
We all go through periods of time where we are "busy". That is NO EXCUSE to give up a friendship or responsibilities. Schedules change, suck it up and keep your promise! Don't be one who relies on the sad, tired phrase just to make yourself feel better. Giving up your pet and forcing it to make those kinds of adjustments is much worse than temporary reduced playtime.
Now, on another note, we know sometimes people give up their chins because, frankly, their pet is just not friendly (or is downright dangerous). Please note that we are not a no-kill shelter. If incoming animals prove to be unadoptable due to behavior issues, they will be culled. Perhaps knowing this will make some reconsider their options.
Happy June everyone!
For the month of May, ten (10) chinchillas were surrendered and three (3) chinchillas were adopted. The ten incoming chins were an extra special situation where the former owner had trouble juggling the medical responsibilities to her very large fur family. We learned that the chins were kept in groupings that facilitated breeding. There was a father caged with daughters, a son with a mother, brothers and sisters together, etc. After several email exchanges, the owner decided to give them all up. We were especially thrilled to halt the ongoing saturation of breeding from this individual. We keep females from mixed groups for a minimum of 4 months to make absolute sure they are not pregnant before adoption.
We now have seven females on maternity watch, so if you've ever considered sponsoring a chin, now would be the perfect time.
The new group was surprisingly clean and well fed. Understandably, the housing chosen for them was cramped. Our first order of intake was to move the girls to maternity cages and recombine the boys with boys and girls with girls. Even though we have them in "holding cages", the spacial difference is drastic. Check out the difference between the cages in which they lived to the ones we have them in during their stay here.
Happy May everyone!
For the month of April, eight (8) chinchillas were surrendered and three (3) chinchillas were adopted. Nothing more to say about the month's events other than please spread the word about our adoptables. We have some difficult little personalities here who desperately need a permanent home. Some chins just do better when they have a person of their own. Which reminds me...
We've gotten inquiries int he past regarding how to best bond with a new chin. So we have some really neat handy ideas for how to get to know your new BFF.
Spending time with your new fur buddy is pretty obvious , but how do you hang with someone who is constantly on the go? Chins are prey animals and as such are not generally "snuggly". In an open area a chinchilla is more likely to show their affection for you by using you...as a jungle gym. We always tell our prospective adopters that if a chin likes you, they'll touch you. If a chin is really comfortable with someone, they'll hop into their lap, up on the shoulders or even perch on a head! Being in an open area is stressful for chins. Again, as prey animals, they constantly watch for anything that has the potential to harm them. Knowing their need for security, you can offer them refuge and become their safe place too.
Grasping hands are constricting, which is why so many chins struggle when held. But the soft, yielding security of an oversized pocket, hoodie or baby carrier works very well. One of our local chinnie friends discovered the joys of slinging their chins. Baby sling, that is. Don't panic.
A sling is actually a fantastic tool. It offers a large space for the chin to move around relatively freely, but still within close contact with their human. It's cute to see them poke their little whiskery face out to survey their surrounds, then dart back in to the safety of their sling. A sling is also much cooler in temperature then just holding and petting the little cloud bunnies with hot, sweaty hands.
A chin who becomes acclimated to handling makes for a much better pet! Someone who spends time with and enjoys their pet is less likely to give them up. So if you're at a place where the newness and excitement of your chinnie has worn off, here is a fantastic way to rekindle your lost interest. Give your chinnie a scritch for me and tell them "you're welcome", from Whimsy.
Happy April everyone!
For the month of March, three (3) chinchillas were surrendered and two (2) chinchillas were adopted. It's been a frustrating month where we've had many inquiries for adoption and then the prospective adopters have come unprepared. One person came in a tiny car expecting to squeeze in a full sized chinchilla cage. One person came having just moved in to an apartment (that doesn't allow pets) and another person came with the vehement promise to return for the chins(s) they placed on hold...then dropped off the face of the earth. And another person showed up and oh, just happened to have already picked up a chin from the pet store but wanted to check out our place anyway. Yup! This is the life of a rescue worker. It's no wonder so many start up rescues collapse within a few years. Dealing with people can be so frustrating sometimes!
On a more positive note, we also get the blessed relief of actually meeting some really cool people. Thank you to those of you who present that bright spot of sunshine in our day.
As mentioned previously, we are gearing up to make some (positive) changes. Please forgive Whimsy if replies to emails are especially slow. We're also dealing with tax season (extension filed) and a possible move. We are actively looking for a new, bigger place so that we can allow the chinnies to spread out into the proper sized cages instead of our holding cages. We also want to grow our own hay, plant orchards so we can grow and harvest our own fruit and nut woods and....well, let's just say the dreams and plans sometimes get a bit out of control.
We did get the chance to go visit Rock Spring Farm in person. The owners are wonderful people.Unfortunately, it looks as though the amount of work the place needs to get it move in ready to our specifications is overwhelming. Who would have guessed 35 acres would be too small???
Anyway, onward and upward! We're confident we can find just the right place, at just the right time, for just the right cost. Is "free" even possible? *cough*
Happy March everyone!
For the month of February, five (5) chinchillas were adopted and four (4) chinchillas were surrendered.
Fairly often we get in cases of chinchillas who chew their own fur. Barbering, as it's called, is a stress reaction. RARELY is it actually a genetic cause although chins who are genetically inclined to chew their fur are more likely to do so when under stress than those who come from genetic lines that don't show this behavior. Let me clarify, the genetic component is a trigger, not a cause. Anyway, I want to share with you the causes and cures for fur chewing as we have come to understand it.
We actually love getting in fur chewed chins. They put the "rescue" in Chinchilla Rescue and make fantastic cover stories. ;) Here is one of our more notable before and after situations.
This trio of girls came to us in this condition:
They were overcrowded in a cage too small for even a single chin, with all metal ledges, ramps and a wire cage bottom. They had no place to hide and the height of the cage was too low to allow them to survey their area. We upgraded their cage, gave them one more than twice the size (especially in height) included wooden ledges, lots of places to hide, and unlimited access to a wide variety of chew toys.
Fur chewing chins tend to be nervous pickers, so the best chew toys for them are the soft, shreddy type. Giving them all hard chew toys "that will last longer" actually makes the problem worse. Fur chewers are showing their need when they pluck and shred their fur and that of their cagemates. If you only listen, they will tell you what they desire!
With this particular group, we learned that they loved vine products and fibrous hays. Our Edible Cage Garlands, Hugs & Kisses Garlands, Herbal Bunnies, Spiders(!) Chinchworms and Pinata chew toys were very popular with them. Follow this link to our chew toy store page.
We also learned that they viewed their food bowl as half empty, not half full. A half empty bowl caused them to become nervous and start chewing again. Since their former home was inconsistent in their care, they never knew when their food supply would run out. Within a few weeks of steady, regular care, their fur began coming back in again. When chinchilla fur grows back, it comes in patchy and uneven, like this:
Some people advocate that daily, out of cage playtime as mandatory for chinchilla well being. I'd like to debunk that. Interaction with our pet chinchillas should be a pleasant one, not a daily chore! In actuality, chinchillas view their home as their safe haven. (Assuming their cage is large enough and properly equipped). Obviously a small cage does not afford them the necessary exercise or stimulation. OVERSTIMULATION can contribute to stress that leads to fur chewing. Some chinchillas thrive on out of cage playtime, others become nervous wrecks. Once again it's very important to know your pet and their individual preferences. In the case of the three girls, they had zero out of cage playtime while at our rescue. They did, however, have basic care with particular attention to their particular needs. After a few months, the girls fur was completely grown in and they were ready for adoption. How's this for a happy ending?
Happy February everyone!
I know this is probably the latest post EVER. But I wanted to get in a quick update before the month changes. Thank you Leap Year!
Anyway, for the month of January, three (3) chinchillas were surrendered and two (2) chinchillas were adopted.Our numbers are under good control now but we're still keeping a strict limit on incoming surrenders. Taking care of 70 chinchillas is so much easier than 110! Although, the amount of care needed for a small herd is basically the same as for a single, especially if they're bonded and share a cage. Thing is, we're taking care of 46 cages full of chinchillas!
We've managed to combine some of our single chins and pairs into small herds of up to 6 chinchillas. Once again, Whimsy always advocates for keeping chins in pairs or groups to provide them with their natural need for snuggles and grooming only their own kind can provide. And once again we do have our own singles here who are not safe to keep with other chins. In a cage, a victim has no place to run and hide from an aggressor... at least not very far. But I digress.
We're working on some exciting changes here at the Menagerie. Our little operation has slowly grown to the point where we seriously have to consider how we're going to continue at the current rate of growth. Had we won the contest to win Rock Spring Farm, the issue would have been moot.
Currently we are working towards implementing some new bookkeeping programs, watch for some subtle changes over the next year. The new technology has been an eye opener. For example, we spent over $12,000 just on feed last year! When people ask us how much food a chinchilla eats in a month, the question stumps me. I do know that we easily go through about 20 or more pounds of pellets and about the same in hay each day.
So for all of you who have been long term supporters, and all of you who have stumbled upon our website, thank you for your help! Keep those orders coming. Our supply store sales keep the rescue work going. Collectively we help our little niche of unwanted, but favorite furry pets.
Happy January everyone! And Happy New Year!!
For the month of December, three (3) chinchillas were surrendered and three (3) chinchillas were adopted. For the entire year of 2015 that brings us to 32 chinchillas surrendered with 36 chinchillas adopted. We do have 4 chinchillas expected in this month, but we finally have carved out enough space for that elusive clothes washer and dryer.
After the holidays we've spent as much time as we can muster toward fixing up the secondary chin (laundry) room. We'll still have space in there for four triple stacked cages, but now we're going to take back one wall for combined use. ;) The primary chin room holds 12 triple stacked cages.
In our space saving venture, we've had some wonderful success with pairbonding and larger group bonding with our own chins as well as with those who seek to find a friend for their own fur baby. Which has really helped consolidate the little space we have. The latest success story came with a male who had spent his life with a female cagemate who accepted a male friend with no issues. *cue all kinds of social agenda jokes*
But the point is, just because a male and female chinchilla "love each other" is no reason to keep them in a situation that could lead to the procreation of more chinchillas... who will eventually need more homes.
We have paired mothers with daughters, fathers with sons in an effort to keep the snuggle factor, without the risk of pregnancy. Of course the bonding has everything to do with compatibility. We have also pairbonded chins who have never been in the company of another chin since weaning. We've pairbonded a 17 year old chin with a 10 year old, breeding chins with same gender chins, babies with unrelated adults, so there is really no "magic" age or indicator that a single chin will or will not accept a friend. (Although pairbonding weanlings is by far the easiest).
The degree of friendliness a chin has for humans or even the family dog or cat is NOT an indicator of whether or not a chin will pairbond. The only way to know for sure is how they react to other chinchillas. Keep in mind, chinchillas do like to choose their own friends, so just because a chinchilla hates another chin does not necessarily mean they will hate all chins.
We do, however, know how to recognize an alpha. Those are the ones who are simply too aggressive to pairbond and have proven aggressive towards their own kind as a general rule, not as a single episode. We have on occasion met with chins who were too aggressive to pairbond. Our own mascot, Titus, is one of those. So while we will always push for keeping chins in pairs or groups, realistically speaking, it's just not always possible.
We could only hope that if this is your situation, it's with the chins best interest in mind that he or she is single and not simply for convenience or cost.
Happy December everyone!
For the month of November, two (2) chinchillas were surrendered and three (3) chinchillas were adopted. Christmas is just around the corner and we’re eagerly anticipating the start of a new year. Thanksgiving came and the chinnies received an extra special gift that day from one of our chinnie friends. Thank you George and family for your continued support and generous surprises.
Now. We have some very, very important news to share. The people from the Rock Spring Farm contest that we entered to win the farm, contacted us the day before Thanksgiving to let us know that our essay was chosen as one of the finalists. In the next sentence, however, we read that the target number of entries did not come in, so the contest is canceled.
*cue panicked music*
Pan out on person, hanging off the edge of a cliff…
Zoom in on hands outstretched…reaching…reaching towards a saviors hand…fingertips barely touching…
…then plummeting off the edge.
Yup. That’s how Whimsy feels right about now. It’s been rather depressing to say the least. (Actually, there was a day or two of hysterical sobbing). It’s one thing to learn the contest is over and we didn’t win. It’s quite another thing to learn we were one of the “chosen ones” and had a very VERY good chance at winning.
But the saga continues. The owners have extended an offer to purchase the property at a reduced price. So, if anyone happens to have a spare $615,000 that they don’t need, just let us know.
The property has a rental cottage that would help apply towards the mortgage payment. We also learned that some of the contestants have expressed the willingness to donate their entry fee to help someone from the contest purchase the farm. If everyone from the contest donated their entry fee, it would make a HUGE down payment. We have been talking with a mortgage lender and are considering starting a “Go Fund Me” page to help with this dream…but Whimsy thinks that’s kinda tacky. What do y’all think?
Happy November everyone!
For the month of October, one (1) chinchilla was surrendered and two (2) chinchillas were adopted. We still have a waiting list for surrenders and adoptions continue to be low. We have had quite a large number of people come to us for our matchmaking service which is both helpful and frustrating. It's helpful in the sense that adoptable chins are going home, but frustrating that only the most docile chins are eligible. We have lots and LOTS of single males who are friendly, but can't be caged with another chin who absolutely need good, permanent homes. *sigh*
Anywho...the topic of this month's post is:
Just Because You Can, Doesn't Mean You Should
For some strange reason, this month we've experienced quite a large number of shocking bits of information. All of it has come with the disclaimer that the chins "never had very much", "it was an emergency", "they do fine", "it was never for very long", or Whimsy's personal favorite, "I didn't know". Those are just some of this month's highlights. Welcome to our world.
We are always wary of people who claim they have researched chin care or who get advice from pet stores. The internet is full of chin-information, much of it simply reflects the beliefs of the writer who is seeking to justify their practices. Yes, this includes our website as well. However, we will never advocate anything that is contrary to what is closest to natural for ours and your pets. For example, even though we continuously stress the importance of a highfiber/lowprotein/nofat/nosugar diet, we still see chins who are fed dried fruits, nuts, and yogurt candy drops!
Here's another example, the picture of this pet store treat specifies that it's for chinchillas. The ingredients, however, state that this plastic-like, carrot shaped lump is made of rice, pineapple, starch, palm oil, gelatin and artificial colors. Just...no.
Pet stores advocate a plethora of dangerous items, including food, treats, plastic exercise balls, hanging wire hay balls, etc. Your job is to weed through the bling and choose the best. (Which is another reason why our web store began. We do our very best to offer affordable, healthy items! Don't even get me started on those who offer flavored and colored loofahs!)
Another big pet peeve are people who say their single chins do just fine alone. *nods* Yup, even we have chins kept in single cages...for their safety. Chins are herd animals and being alone is unnatural. However, if they are highly aggressive towards their own kind, there is no escape for the underdog in an attack, in a cage. We will always advocate for pairbonding same sex chins if they are receptive to it.
Moderation is key, but if we want to keep our fur babies healthy and safe, we will have to be wise about their care. As their guardians, we should ask ourselves whether a certain food or care practice is acceptable, or beneficial. *hint* Our goal is to encourage people to choose beneficial over acceptable.
Happy October everyone!
For the month of September, zero (0) chinchillas were surrendered and three (3) chinchillas were adopted. We still have a waiting list for incoming surrenders as we struggle to reclaim space so that Whimsy's family can once again have a clothes washer and dryer in the house. At this time we have taken in 26 for the year, and 28 have been adopted. We still have rescues who have been with us from previous years who seriously need a permanent home of their own.
We recently softened our adoption contract. Some families have questioned the strict policy of returning adoptive chins to our facility if the adoptive owner could not keep them for any reason. They have inquired about passing ownership of the chinchillas from one sibling to another. For this reason we now have a "right of first refusal" clause. Each situation is unique, but not necessarily uncommon. Our priority is to ensure the chinnies once in our care continue to receive the same, if not better, lovingkindness that we promised them. And speaking of adoptable chinchillas...
We've had six rescue females on maternity watch since the summer who have successfully passed their four months mandatory time here. Only one of them had a litter. The result was a kit with one head and two bodies. It did not survive. We're excited to announce that the girls are now all available for adoption! We have a trio, a pair and a single with potential to bond with another female. Watch and wait for upcoming information about them. *cough* We have been very slow about keeping the available chins' information up to date on our website and we generally have many more available than we have listed. Please do NOT contact Whimsy inquiring about a certain color. While we understand the attraction, it is frustrating to see so many standard colored chins left behind simply because of the color of their fur! I can totally see a meme here...grey lives matter...all lives matter...
Reflecting back on the earlier statement about reclaiming space...the essay contest to win the farm has extended their submission date. The new date is October 31 where entries must be postmarked by the end of this month. Many of our loyal customers and chinnie friends have inquired as to how they can support our dream to win this property. The contest is based on skill and heart. We have submitted our essay which outlines our plans, confirms our strengths, and highlights our needs. If any of you are so inclined, you are welcome to submit an essay (plus entry fee and forms) on our behalf. Every entry counts towards their 5000 entry goal. *Sshhhhh* So even if your essay is secretly for your own benefit, it will still help ensure the contest runs. ;) Here's the handy-dandy link with all the information one could possibly need. Rock Spring Farm Essay Contest
Good luck and happy writing!
Happy September everyone!
For the month of August, one (1) chinchilla was surrendered and two (2) chinchillas were adopted. We're getting very close to reclaiming space to have a clothes washer and dryer again. Our current chin count is 74 with 21 available for adoption and 3 long term boarders. One pair of boarders are males who have been together since weaning (and may be brothers, I don't quite remember the story). Boys can be incredibly difficult to keep together in the same home where female chinchillas live. It's been a very rocky three years... There are, however, rumors going around that all of our boarders will finally go home soon.
On a similar note, we've still have quite a few inquires for our matchmaking service. We only bond same gender cage mates. It is a myth that only male/female pairs are compatible. On occasion, a chinchilla bond doesn't last. There are ways to intercept a souring relationship and potentially salvage it!
Some signs to watch for are general discontent; chasing, kacking, spitting, urine spraying (in females), and barking are subtle clues that one or the other is unhappy. These minor reactions are harmless and simply a way to establish boundaries. Watch for escalation in these behaviors. The key point being how the underdog reacts toward his or her cage mate. Little nibbles around the face are grooming behaviors. Do not mistake these for aggressive biting.
Any event that causes physical or psychological harm will affect a bond. The more alarming symptoms of a shaky bond is; rising on the hind legs showing teeth or teeth chattering, chasing with fur pulling or biting, and ambushing (sudden unprovoked attacks). At this point you can intervene. Keep reading for information about when and how to play peacemaker.
Chinchilla bites happen in typical ways. A bite to the back of the neck or throat is a kill stroke. These chins are INCOMPATIBLE. Do NOT attempt to keep them together.
Another type of bite is "death from a thousand wounds". An aggressor will inflict multiple bites beginning with fur pulling that escalates to countless slashes along the backside. Once again, this is a completely broken bond. These chins are also INCOMPATIBLE and must remain separate from each other. Chinchillas are bipolar. You can have chins that have issues during the night and snuggle during the day. They are users. Like a codependent relationship, sometimes they will exhibit behaviors that appear completely irrational.
We have developed a method that helps chins recover from discontent before a major blowout. This method does NOT work with chins who have already drawn blood and inflicted wounds. If you catch an issue before it gets to the point of bloodshed, you can potentially salvage the relationship. Taken from parenting advice, we employ the Timeout Method.
We move the aggressor into a travel cage (with food and water). The cage must be small enough to fit inside the regular cage where the chins can remain close enough to interact, but safe behind bars. The aggressor stays in the holding cage for a minimum of 12 hours. If after 12 hours there are still signs of discontent between the cage mates, the underdog then goes into the safety of the holding cage. If after that time there are still issues between the cage mates, the aggressor returns to the holding cage. This separation allows for a cooling off period and keeps them safe, especially if no one is around to stop a fight. In general, this method helps divert an escalating fight before it becomes beyond repair.
The longest we've had to employ this method has been a three day interval. Generally a day or two is all that is necessary for the chins to calm down and forget their angst. For particularly uptight pairs, you may have to use the Timeout Method as needed. If after three consecutive days there is still significant trouble, give up. Seriously. Know that you have saved your chins from a fight to the death.
We have shared this information with others who have needed advice. We will refer any further inquiries to this post. If you feel bad for the chin in the holding cage and decide to cut the time out period shorter, you risk exacerbating the problem. If the aggressor is uptight, biting on the bars or trying hard to get out, you can be assured he'll use that energy and focus it on his target. Until the aggressor has settled down and submitted to the confines of the holding cage, there is still too much pent up aggression.
As with human relationships, sometimes a chinchilla friendship just doesn't last. As chin owners we should always be prepared for a worst case scenario. Strongly bonded chins can lose their bond. This is sometimes due to a cage that is too small, inconsistent access to food and water, stress from moving, or the addition of new chinchillas in the home, particularly mixed gender groupings. Be ever watchful, be prepared, and trust your instincts.
Happy August everyone!
For the month of July, two (2) chinchillas were surrendered and two (2) chinchillas were adopted. Last month we turned away a whopping 19 requests for surrender! We've found that our adoptions have dropped sharply since our lawyer stepped in to give our contract more "bite". So we're looking in to softening the rules at bit. Watch for upcoming changes in our contract and please, spread the word about adopting recycled pets.
Now, for those of you who already own a chinchilla or several, let us challenge your knowledge. We never take seriously those who claim to be long term chin owners. We have learned the hard way that radically different degrees of knowledge exist within the small subculture of those who own chinchillas (or any other animal for that matter). The internet is full of misinformation. We hope to dispel some myths and give good, sound reasons for our advice.
With that being said, we received an interesting email from someone this week who erroneously believed that vine chew toys were "treats". In a nutshell (no pun intended) a "treat" would be any food item that a chinchilla would not normally find in abundance in their natural habitat.
A chinchilla's natural habitat is high desert. Desert is a biome that simply refers to the degree of precipitation, not degree of heat! A desert biome grows vegetation that is high in fiber with very little moisture. So a chinchilla diet should also be high in fiber, low protein, with practically zero fats and sugars. If your chinnie is getting plump off of high sugar/ high fat treats, you run the risk of killing it with kindness by contributing to fatty liver disease. If you choose to purchase processed treats, at the very least be cognizant of the ingredients list! The closer to single ingredient items you can give, the better. The infamous pet store fare (certain flower-type green disks) generally contains a list of ingredients that clearly is NOT healthy for your pet.
With this in mind, we've made a handy-dandy food pyramid to show you the types and amount of foods your chinchilla should have. We would strongly prefer nothing from the uppermost level of the pyramid. This is the "treat" section. But if you must, remember: the smaller the section of the pyramid equals offering smaller amounts to your chin.
The largest section at the bottom contains a list of food items that your chin can eat without restriction and is actually naturally healthy for them. Items from the lower portion of the list can excite your chin as a healthy alternative to treats if you hand feed them. It's all in the mindset. We know of one person whose chins get excited about wooden clothespins! So study the list, be smart and enjoy!
Happy July everyone!
For the month of June, ten (10) chinchillas were surrendered and zero (0) chinchillas were adopted. We have a whole lot of folks interested in matchmaking, but the majority of our current chins are either already pair bonded or are too hormonal to house with another chin. What we desperately need are people who want to adopt and spoil. Please spread the word.
On a totally different note I wanted to share with y'all the appreciation we have for those of you who support our rescue through your store purchases. To help you out, here are some helpful tips we've gleaned regarding how to place a mail order to your best advantage.
How to place an order the smart way.
As a single mother of four, it became very important to learn ways to manage and save money. As an educator, I like to share that knowledge. Shipping costs are determined by the size, weight and distance the box has to travel. When we receive mail orders, sometimes a slight modification can save a lot on the cost of shipping. For example, the package deals we offer make the best use of flat rate boxes that contain heavy, dense items that are usually cheap to buy, but expensive to ship. In those boxes we’ve combined the most popular items packed in a way that would maximize the use of the space therein.
Size. Items over 12” automatically require an oversized box. This means an oversized shipping cost, which may or may not be terrible. If size is coupled with heavy weight or distance, then the shipping cost naturally rises. If the number of items ordered fills a box that is larger than 12”x12”x12”, that is also considered “oversized”.
Weight. Heavy items such as pellets, dust, supplies by the pound, etc. can add a surprising charge to the shipping cost. Again, this is especially true if coupled with size or distance. Sometimes adding on a single bag of pellets to get an order to the minimum cost makes the shipping more expensive than the actual item! We have in the past let our customers know when certain items throw an order off when it comes to making the shipping affordable. Even though our recommendation to omit an item from an order results in a net loss to us, the peace of mind sharing the knowledge is priceless.
Distance. Orders coming in within 300 miles of our facility are generally fairly inexpensive to send. Certain major cities are also a less expensive delivery option because the shipping route for the post office is short and direct.
Combined orders. Small orders placed often is actually more expensive to our customers in the long run. Monthly $30 minimum orders still carry the postal service base rate, plus the adjustments for size, weight, distance and handling. Sounds confusing, eh? Here’s an example: one customer orders a bag of pellets, rosehips, hay cubes and cookies one month, then the next month an assortment of chew toys. Instead of paying shipping twice on two very different orders, by combining the basics with the chew toys the cost of shipping could have been the same as just shipping out the first box! The cost of the chew toys added on to the heavy items wouldn’t make a substantial difference, but the cost of sending chew toys alone can nearly double the shipping price. Make more sense now?
Information ambushing. Incoming emails are sorted according to priority or difficulty. Our favorite emails are adoption inquiries, but store orders rank a very close second. When an order is cleverly disguised as a request for basic chinchilla care questions, it’s like throwing sand in Whimsy’s gears. Likewise, the assurance of sending in an order “soon” after posing a difficult question really comes across as an empty promise. Once again, our website is chock full of information. It may take a little bit of digging, but so many gems of information are found along the way. ;)
Incomplete orders. Whimsy is not a mind reader. Vague emails requesting “those red, round things” or “some” ledges are frustrating. Our website has pictures and item names, use them. We can get your package on its way much, much faster if we don’t have to play email ping-pong asking for clarification. Also, please include the zip code or shipping address. The only address we know by heart is for Grandma and Grandpa.
I hope this information is helpful. With the above tips in mind, happy shopping! And no, we really don't ship live animals in boxes. :P