Updates Archive - 2009
Kaiya and X1 went home with "Sandy Claus" today. It was a sad occasion here at the Menagerie, but we know that the two young ladies receiving them will adore them as much as we have. Sssh, but don't tell... it's a surprise for Christmas Day.
Zephyr is now fully integrated with our other girl chins in the community cage. They've snuggled with and groomed her, so they now seem like lifelong friends.
We were pleased and honored when Karen contacted us about chin-sitting for her over the holidays. Her three chinchillas have been warmly welcomed and have provided a sense of excitement and freshness to our rescue. Karen's offer to compensate for our time is greatly appreciated, as it helps to maintain the operating costs of our Menagerie.
We're hosting an open house today from 10 AM - 4 PM. This is for anyone who wants to visit our chin herd and (possibly) adopt one.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Aria surrendered a standard chinchilla named Cielo to us two weeks ago. Aria stayed a while to chat and check out our other pets. We had lots of fun. Upon closer inspection, we discovered that her little guy is actually a girl! We've renamed her Zephyr, a more feminine name. Now we're working on getting her accustomed to our other girls in the community cage.
Dayne and Ashley were sad to give up their two chins, Hyde (standard) and Seik (mosaic). They have to travel out of the country, and can't take them along. They were relieved to find our rescue, and even more so when we offered them long-term foster care for their boys.
There's a nice family interested in adopting a pair of chins as Christmas gifts for their daughters. We have an idea which pair would be a good match. However, we have several other singles and pairs who are looking for homes. *hint hint*
With the holiday season approaching, the spirit of giving is growing. Anyone who wishes to donate to the Menagerie may do so by clicking our PayPal button on the "Donations" page. We're also in need of FerretNation cages (to consolidate space) and lots of high-quality hay.
X4 went home with Kristen from the Richmond area today.
Kristen had been looking for a new companion for her chinchilla, Wombat, since his previous cage mate, Weebles, passed away last year. X4 has been handled since he was minutes old, and he's been well socialized and taught to play nice by our "auntie" chins. Because of this, we thought they'd get along well.
Good luck to Kristen, Wombat, and X4!
Roo and X2 went home with Tina and Fred today, where we're sure they'll be happily cared for.
It was a pleasure to meet and talk to Tina, Fred, and their nephews. They all enjoyed loving on the animals (Spork the hedgehog was a notable favorite). We had plenty to share with them about chinchillas, and they were eager to listen. These people are true animal lovers.
Check out the new and improved family!
It's been a "medical" week here at the Menagerie. During our usual cage cleaning/grooming/weighing/dusting time, Flowerbud noticed something odd about Eli's underside. We discovered our very first hair ring! A hair ring occurs on boy chins when hair gets wrapped around the shaft of his penis. As you can imagine, it can be quite painful. *cough* No pictures this time in order to spare the squeamish. Anyway, after some very careful manipulation we managed to get the offending member off. Eli is much obliged.
We also had some trouble with our little sapphire girl, Diva. New color mutations are typically weaker than other colors and this one was no exception. Even though she came from a very reputable breeder, Diva just wasn't growing out very well and had continuous "internal" issues that had our exotics vet stumped. Sadly to say, Diva passed over the Rainbow Bridge this week. She was a very sweet and spunky girl. She will be greatly missed by her chinfolk as well as her cagemates. RIP Diva.
Ever wondered what a wet chinchilla looks like?
(Note to self: Keep water out of reach of chinchildren!)
No worries, Miriam is perfectly fine after her little fiasco.
Cara surrendered two more chinchilla brothers to us during our open house. They're both standard males, and their names are Slate and Stringbean. They're both sweet and love to sit in your lap.
Maisie's little standard boy, X4, immediately befriended the brothers. He's successfully moved out of the girls' community cage before puberty hit.
We're hosting a chinchilla open house today for anyone who wishes to meet our herd. More information can be found by following this link: (click here)
It's official. We are now card carrying members of the Chinchilla Mutation Breeders Association. With this membership we strive to learn more about what it takes to improve some of the newest color mutations. Our goal is to strengthen the quality of conformation, fur and size of our future generations by VERY selective matching of highest quality animals. These are the ones we hope to bring to the show ring and offer as superior animals for successful improvement of the breed. We haven't quite decided which mutation we'd like to work with though. Some of the ones we're considering are "to breed a white that doesn't turn yellow with age", focusing on the sapphire mutation, or (ideally) the goldbar or Lowe Recessive White. Before we do that, however, we really need to adopt out some more of the rescues!
We added two male zebra finches to our Menagerie. Flowerbud quickly claimed them and gave them the names Robin and Bobbin. Their colors are beautiful, and they're quite noisy. Pictures coming soon!
Maisie's kits have been weaned, and the two standards grays are available for adoption, bringing our number of available chins up to 12. We've decided to keep the beige girl and name her Miriam. The little ones are so friendly and have had a nice smooth transition from their doting mother to the community cage where all their new "aunts" have taught them well how to play nice with others. Our little utopia is getting rather crowded and after much deliberation, we have decided to pair off some of the girls to go to pet homes.
The adoptions page is going through a major overhaul. The new layout features clickable thumbnail pictures of the available chins, and we hope to have video introductions too!
It's been a long time since our last update and so much has happened! We have moved the chins into their very own room and no longer fill our dining room. Instead, they now reside in our converted garage! This new space is ideal to provide a living environment and play space for the chins. With the new spread, the "chin room" looks a lot like a pet shop! We currently have 10 cages that house 21 chinchillas total.
Yesterday, our numbers were reduced by one when three lovely young ladies came to meet the menagerie and possibly adopt. I'm thrilled to announce that Timothy went home with Katelyn. What a perfect pair! It always helps to know that the fuzz bottoms are going to a home that will cherish them.
Another exciting event that took place this month was our "official membership" to the MCBA (Mutation Chinchilla Breeder's Association). With this membership we promise to improve and strengthen the newer color mutations. Now we just need to decide which mutation to focus on. We have not started the breeding endeavor quite yet. Our own high quality females are still much too young. We are slowly building our herd from superb animals from all over the country and are even working toward a partnership with a Canadian breeder! We are eagerly looking forward to adding our offspring to the show ring in the near future. We'll let you know how it goes.
Please welcome our new arrivals... Maisie had triplets! There are two standards (male and female) and a beige (female). At birth, they weighed 62, 52, and 44 grams (respectively). Mom and babies are all doing very well.
Maisie's kits aren't the only new chins around. We also took in another rescue. He's a black velvet with pale ears and a sweet personality. We're calling him Mordecai. He and Petra look very similar except for the difference in ear color.
We added another chin to our Menagerie. She came to us from Shelli (Chinchildren) of North Carolina. She's a white violet, but there are no markings on her at all, so she almost looks like a pink white. We've named her Davi, which is Hebrew for "beloved" and the feminine form of David. We plan on entering her in the show ring in the future. A big thank you to Shelli for our darling little girl! (Picture coming soon)
Cute picture of the day:
So about those new additions...
Two weeks ago we took a trip to Ohio to take part in another chinchilla show. This time we brought along a couple of our own to show off. Silly us. We had NO IDEA what it takes to show our own chins and ours looked rather scruffy after the extremely long ride. Fortunately for us, this particular show was supposed to be a "field day" for newbies like us. A very kind woman named Hope taught us how to groom our chins. Groom chins? You mean there's more to it than just offering a dust bath? Yes! And the difference is amazing. We're now proud owners of two professional grade grooming combs and are much more prepared for the next show. By the way, one of our chins (Dove) took a second place ribbon in her class. The judge said she'd have gotten a first place if it weren't for some fur slip on her backside.
While we were in Ohio at the nationally known Ryersons' Chinchilla Ranch, we were determined to find a new color mutation called "sapphire" to add to our herd. We found the sweetest little girl. She's just about the same age as Bubbles and the two of them get along like best friends. Picture coming soon!
Also, while we were at the Ryersons' Ranch, I was supposed to meet up with JAGS for a violet male that had won Color Phase Champion at the York Show. He was formerly known as "T33". We now call him Aaron. Surprisingly, he gets along very well with Petra, the other champ from the York Show.
Now, originally, I wrote about new additions. This update wouldn't be complete without mentioning Bindi. The kids have been asking for a kitten, but Whimsy really doesn't like cats. She's waiting for Paisley to pass over the rainbow bridge. Whimsy stupidly made a seemingly impossible opening by stating that she'd only consider getting another cat if it were a munchkin cat. So here's my testimony that ANYTHING can be found on craigslist.
Meet Aaron and Bindi:
It's been quite an eventful month here at the Menagerie. We've had some exciting new additions and some sad losses as well. First the bad news. A handful of the chins began slowly losing weight. It's not always easy to tell when a chin is on a self imposed diet. All that lofty plushy fur hides it well. We do make it a habit here, however, to regularly check the chin's weights and record them. With the weight loss, we first figured it must have something to do with the feed. Many other chin friends across the nation had reported weight loss on the same feed we were using, so we tried switching to another high quality show formula. When that made no effect, I thought perhaps we had gotten a bad bale of hay. With that change, there was still no positive effect. When two cagemates passed away within a week of each other, even while seemingly enjoying the new feed, I knew it was not an isolated case. We quickly started supplement/syringe feeding Oxbow Critical Care for herbivores to the skinny chins to keep their strength up and brought in one little guy for blood and fecal tests. Dr. Peake, a highly recommended local exotics veterinarian prescribed a wide spectrum antibiotic for the herd while we waited for the results to come back from the lab. Unfortunately it was too late for two more chins. The poor little test chin passed within hours of his vet visit, while another fought hard for another three days. The antibiotic seemed to be working, but she was just too weak to make it through.
Now for the good news... The antibiotics and regular syringe feedings paid off! The skinny chinnies are rapidly gaining weight and the poos are nice and firm again. Hooray! Everyone is enjoying their pellets and fresh dried Timothy and botanical hay. Now the hard part will be to get those spoiled chins to give up their syringe feedings!
Phoebe's kits are 9 weeks old today. It's amazing how fast time flies! We moved them into a separate cage for weaning. They've gotten big enough so they won't escape through the bars.
Happy Mother's Day everyone!
We just wanted to share today's cute photo of three of our girls snuggling together (Dove, Bubbles, Layla). It's the epitome of our happy home.
We also wanted to finally post about the completion of our macaw cage. We have been working diligently to make it a fun haven for our girls. After much work and creativity, it's finally finished... for the most part. We still need to put the wood bridge up for them, but at least it's functional now. See? Remember: Bigger IS better.
So there I was, minding my own business, scrolling through craigslist looking for cage upgrades when I came across a post about our Menagerie! Imagine our pleasure when we read the following posted by an anonymous writer:
"I have had personal experience with the new chinchilla rescue. and she was great. very sweet, and caring. she keeps he facilities VERY clean. and takes time to allow all the animals in her care attention and out of cage time. if you need to find your chinchilla a new home. or if you are looking to adopt, then i would definitely suggest you check her out first. i will defiantly be keeping in touch with her so that next time i wish to adopt or am looking for support with anything i can contact her!"
I wrote a quick thank you note to the poster and asked who they were. Just so happens she was a young lady who had visited with her father and purchased a couple of cages from us. They were quite nice and were a wealth of information about ferrets! It's always nice to talk shop with other animal lovers. Thanks again for the good word Carol!
Our first extra dark ebony joined our chinchilla herd. Thanks to Liz for Levi! We're currently trying to acquaint him with Petra, our black velvet male, along with Titus and Eli, our white males.
We also added a brand new kind of animal to our Menagerie; Nymph the vegetarian ferret! This girl has such a sweet personality and, apparently, doesn't eat meat! If she trusts you enough, she'll just let go of you when being held as if to say "Catch me!"
Mandolin's dream of owning her own hedgehog finally came true. Thanks to JoAnna, we brought home Spork. He's a 4-month-old African Pygmy hedgehog.
Well, it was quite a weekend. We attended our very first honest to goodness chinchilla show. There were many amazing animals there. We got to meet some new friends and learned quite a bit about judging by chinchilla show standards. And... we couldn't help but add one of these superb animals to our collection. Whimsy picked up a class champion black velvet bred by Silkrhine Chinchillas of Pennsylvania. The little fuzzbutt is built like a rock! He's massive with very dense heavy fur. We've named him
Pictures of Kiki and Layla are finally here! Aren't they darling? We found Kiki folded over in the play log grooming herself. Layla came to investigate.
Two more chinchillas were surrendered to us. They're both standard females, and their names are Kiki and Layla. They're both very sweet, and Layla has the most adorable bunny face. Pictures will be posted soon!
We're sad to say that one of our three new kits passed away.
We're now supplement-feeding his brother, who wasn't gaining weight as he should've been. He readily takes the organic goat's milk we dropper-feed him and is healthily gaining weight. His big sister still dwarfs him, however, and is 10+ grams heavier. You can clearly see the size difference when they're side by side! Both are growing up to be healthy lil' handfuls.
Cute picture of the day.
Phoebe's newborn kits are doing very well! Check out this picture of them at two days old.
Jericho and Timothy went to a new home, where they will be loved by a lucky 11-year-old birthday girl.
We are proud to announce that our first litter of kits was born this year. Phoebe finally gave birth just moments ago!
There are three, and they're all standards... two boys and a girl! Their weights are very good for triplets. At 44, 45 and 47 grams all three are robust and healthy. Because there were no beige kits, we're almost certain that Timothy is the father.
Right now, Phoebe, Dove (her favorite cagemate), and the kits are all together in a whelping cage. Dove helps clean and keep the kits warm. It's a beautiful sight. Check it out!
Last night, another surrender came to our Menagerie. She's the tiniest little ebony I've seen yet! Her previous owner was concerned that he didn't have the time and attention to devote to her any longer and was especially concerned that she'd recently started chewing her own fur. Fur chewing can stem from many different sources. It may be related to a fungal infection. It could be caused by environmental stress, boredom, starvation, or simply a genetic condition. In this case, I'm convinced environmental stress was the trigger for her. Case in point, this is the picture of her encrusted cage as it was delivered to us.
Chins are naturally very clean animals. They depend on their chinparents to care for their needs and to make sure those needs are met. Here at our Menagerie, we have a daily routine that includes vacuuming the ledges and chinroom daily (sometimes even several times a day). The ledges are wiped down with a special disinfectant/fungicide EVERY DAY and given a thorough cleaning and bedding change every week. Since the little fuzzbutts reside in our dining room, it not only keeps them healthy and stimulated, but also keeps our home nice and clean and fresh smelling.
The little chin mentioned previously is now housed in a new clean enclosure and has a new friend to snuggle with. She's a sweet little thing despite the fur chewing. So far she has only chewed on the plethora of chin treats offered her. We are sure her fur will grow back and she'll be good as new in a couple of months.
Last month, Terri donated a HUGE macaw cage to the Menagerie. It was an older model and needed quite a bit of cleaning up. That was only part of the deal, though. She donated, but we had to make it usable. Two weekends ago the weather was perfect for working on that project. We got together with friends and cleaned and refinished the cage and sanded the rusted spots. Whimsy cut off the play top with a hacksaw and added Plexiglas panels to the lower 1/3 of the cage to help keep flying Aspen bedding (and small kits) inside. Now we're working on decorating the cage with home made kiln dried pine shelves, ledges, a bridge and some cute fleece items. We hope to move the girls into this utopia by the end of the month. Check out pictures of the early progress!
Kimberly was very relieved to find our rescue organization. She felt her two little ones needed more attention than she could give them. She brought her two fuzz bottoms to us this week; a male and a female. Their names are Chico and Chili (respectively) and they're both standards. Chili is a big girl and her little buddy is just adorable with his huge Dumbo ears. The little guy is a tripod-- he's missing a hind leg from an accident he suffered previously. Kimberly took amazing care of these two. It's especially evident in their sweet personalities and robust good health. Chili and Chico are very welcome here and are settling in quite nicely.
We added another chinchilla to our permanent Menagerie. Her coloring is called "white violet" and she's absolutely beautiful. We're calling her Lunabelle, or Luna for short. We're working with her to get along with our four other little girls. It's going well, but we had to cut the whiskers of our Alpha female, Dove, so that they could more quickly learn to get along. (Cutting the whiskers temporarily reduces aggression by making them just a little bit insecure. The whiskers grow back and by then they have learned to get along.)
This past weekend, Whimsy brought Fluffy, the rabbit we got last month, to Sharon Coffey's Guinea Pig Rescue. (She also has rabbits.) When Whimsy got there, Sharon and her husband first took Fluffy out of the cage and flipped her over on her back. She calmed down, and they were able to get the mats out of her fur. This was actually the same thing we did in the picture of Whimsy clipping her nails (see below), and we didn't even know that that was the way to trance a rabbit! When they finished with that, they put her back in the cage. Every now and then, Sharon would reach in and try to pet her. Fluffy would hop around, stomping her feet, trying to get away. Then, Sharon would put her hand on the back of the rabbit's neck and make a quick growl noise. Fluffy would freeze in her tracks, allowing Sharon to pet her.
Sharon is the true "rabbit whisperer". If you're interested in adopting Fluffy or any of her available rabbits/guinea pigs, you can contact her at 757-420-2376.
Three more critters came to us. Two of them are male chinchillas named Tom and Jerry. The third is a first for us; a rabbit. She has long white-and-brown fur and dark brown ears, eyes, and nose. Her previous owner called her Fluffy.
Tom and Jerry were housed in the same cage, so they're best buds (unlike their namesakes). They're not used to being handled often, so they're a little iffy until you get them out of their cage. They both have nice light-colored bellies, and it looks like Jerry actually has dark eyes instead of red.
Fluffy is a bit skittish about being taken out of her cage and being handled, but she holds very still. The first thing we did when we brought her home was trim her very long nails. She also has some mats in her fur that we're working on brushing out.
Overall, however, our newest three pets were well cared for.
During Chin Time, we decided to name our possibly pregnant standard girl Maisie.
We took in another rescue. She's a standard gray and VERY big. We're pretty sure she's pregnant, and we're trying to think of a name for her.
Jericho and Timothy are also on hold for the same family. They're going home with a girl as birthday presents.
Micah has, for the most part, stopped barking and spitting at us. Moses is coming along at a slower pace, but he's getting there. He's also living up to his name; he likes to hang out in the basket in our giant green cage.
We're now calling our newest chinchillas Moses (beige) and Micah (mosaic). Everybody seems to prefer those names over the ones we had before.
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