Updates Archive - 2010
It feels so empty in here!
We had a record adoption month for December. Fifteen (15) chinchillas went to new homes! My own small herd appreciates being able to spread out a bit now that we have so much extra cage space. We've even been able to open ramps to allow some of the bonded rescue pairs spread out as well. Which reminds me....
We were pleasantly surprised that only two critters came to us this month. Chi-Chi, a single male is under evaluation. So far we're rather pleased that he's so friendly! He's also showing some nice interest in his neighbors. We have hope that he can be bonded to another gentle male.
We also received a call from someone who said they found a "baby chinchilla" on their porch....Let's just say....it wasn't a baby chin.
Merry Christmas to you, from all of us at Whimsy's Menagerie!
It has been a whirlwind of a weekend!
Just this weekend alone, seven (7) chinchillas found new homes just in time for the holidays and several more are on hold for the big Christmas event. Each chin and chin parent pairing is unique. Sometimes the chins amaze us by who they select to go home with. Trust me in this, the people rarely choose the chin. It works the other way around.
We even had lots of folks come to purchase items from our store to spoil their chinnies with. We actually ran out of some things! Don't worry though, the kids and I have been working hard to resupply the store with lots of fun things for your fuzzbutts.
Thank you everyone who has contacted us to order supplies and toys. Your support helps us do what we do here.
On that note... there's still time to take advantage of our holiday package deals. *wink wink*
Done! Donedonedoneydone! Final exams are over!
Back to playing with cute little chinchillas!
Thank you all for your patience with us as we've navigated through this intense past couple of weeks. We're now officially open for "meet the chin" times.
Before I forget, thank you to our Secret Santa somewhere in Lynchburg who sent the very thoughtful gift. Big smiles and hugs to you...whoever you are.
Also, we've done a few updates to the website to reflect the learning curve we've had to experience with operating a rescue group and the associated store and website. Our phone number is now listed at the top, but Whimsy really prefers communicating via email.
We've also made the adoption contract and history forms viewable before downloading. Please be sure you are familiar with those documents before considering adopting or surrendering a chin. It serves as a prescreening device as well as a legal contract.
And finally, we've updated the adoptions page with pictures of available chins and those who have already found homes.
At last count we were at 11 chins claimed for the month of December, but have at least a dozen still waiting to be chosen.
Titus (our mascot) and Whimsy had the most amazing opportunity earlier this week. Whimsy is a special educator who is taking continuing education classes. This semester Whimsy was assigned to work practicum hours at the local high school with students with severe to moderate cognitive and multiple disabilities.
The students at the high school level have a curriculum that is intensely focused on learning vocational skills. This presented a wonderful chance to share with the students how to make chinchilla toys!
Whimsy was given permission to bring Titus the chinchilla to school and teach the students the new skill of assembling toss toys. The small motor tasks, copying patterns, and teamwork presented the students with a fun new task that not only provided them with more work experience, but helped out our little chin rescue too! AND, the students really enjoyed meeting a real live chinchilla. I wish you could have been there to see all the huge gaping smiles. :)
Oh, and check out our sales page for pictures of the toys!
I'd like to take this moment to share with our visitors just why we so strongly believe in responsible chin ownership. A brother/sister pair came in last week in pretty rough shape. The previous owners were told both were boys, but when one of them started having kits, they realized the mistake. Unfortunately, chinchillas go into heat immediately after giving birth, so without separation, chinchillas continue to breed indefinitely.
This is bad for several reasons. In this case, the mated pair of chins were directly related. This weakens the offspring which makes them more prone to health related issues, not to mention just a reduced quality overall. PLUS, breeding back to back takes quite a toll on the mommy chin. It takes quite a bit of energy to carry kits. Imagine how stressful it is to nurse a litter and be pregnant at the same time! By being put into a constant state of pregnancy, this could very quickly wear down the mommy chin. In this case, her condition (and that of her brother mate and remaining kit showed obvious signs of stress in that all of them were pretty severely fur-chewed.
The following video shows a chinchilla birth gone bad. View with caution.
Please people, be kind to your pets and consider carefully the massive numbers of unwanted animals who already need homes. I hate having to tell people who breed their pet chinchillas that the offspring will most likely end up in my shelter within the next couple of years. *sigh*
We spent a good part of the weekend making more toys and supplies for the chins. Whimsy's original idea of pumice stuffed willow balls is a success! Check out the newest in our line of toss toys!
We've also updated our adoptions page. Come check out who's waiting for a new home.
We're just about full to capacity and really need to get these chins placed into loving homes. We WILL hold for Christmas, with a deposit. Come choose your new friend today (no pressure)! :)
Many single chins have come in over the past couple of months. This week we've been working on trying to pair them up. Chinchillas are interesting critters in that they like to choose their own friends, most of the time we have a pretty good idea who will get along with whom. But there have been some surprises in the past.
We start by running a soft introduction. We place potential friends in a three compartment carrier that keeps each safe from harm. And then we watch. If either chin shows immediate aggression, then we know the pairing is not likely to work. In the best case scenario, the chins will sniff briefly, then ignore each other. The first sniff is the most important. It's like the chins are trying to measure each other up and decide what to do. Eventually, we'll move the compatible chins together in a neutral cage and keep an eye on them until we're sure they will click. Females typically get along easier and males do great...as long as there are no females around. In an ideal situation, each chin loving home would only contain a single gender.
Yesterday we managed to successfully pair Octavia and Tequila, two adult females who came from separate homes. We're very pleased to know these two have each other to snuggle with now. Octavia is especially thankful and the new friend has really seemed to calm her down. Now, who would like to give these lovely girls a home?
We're gearing up for the holidays! Are you ready to spoil your chinnie? Would you like to finally get your own furball? Contrary to some opinions out there, we believe kids and chins go great together! Assuming, of course, your child is kind and gentle enough to handle these delicate critters. Currently we have 13 wonderful singles and pairs ready to go to a new home and several more that will be ready before Christmas. But aside from that...
...check out our holiday packages! We've been working hard to prepare items just for you and your furry friend. Right now we're ready with three different $50 each package deals. These three packages include shipping, but you can save $15 if you pick them up. Shipped items come with a surprise extra! ;)
**Package 1~ The economy bridge and ledge combo!
We've used rounded pine slats instead of our usual wooden dowels for the bridge. It cuts costs tremendously! We're offering that, plus two 12" ledges complete with jumpholes and all the hardware. Keep in mind, this is made especially for Ferret Nation brand cages, so the bridge length is made in approximately 3 foot lengths.
**Package 2~ The 5 piece ledge with backboards combo!
This is a wonderful start for decorating (or redecorating) a chin friendly enclosure. We include
1 -12" lounging ledge
2- 8" look out ledges
2- 6" leaping ledges
**Package 3~ The chewy play pack!
Includes a chin safe and chewable swing, one large pumice and willow wreath, and a hanging pine wafers toy, in many different colors.
Watch for our pennywise pack, coming soon to the Store!
We're a few days late in posting about our anniversary. Whimsy's Menagerie & Chinchilla Rescue has now been "officially" running for two years! What started out as a homeschool project has morphed into something much grander and more permanent.
We've come a long way since our modest beginnings where we first started out in the dining room...
the chins slowly took over...
Eventually, we had to move the operation into the converted garage where Whimsy had her office and spare room.
Not long after that, Whimsy gave up her office to the chins.
The website has had to grow to accommodate our growing reputation too. We began with Freewebs and the bare minimum with the free budget. Now, our daily visits, updates, store, videos and other information has caused us to continue expanding with help from friends like you. we now have an amazing network of new chinfriends and others who appreciate and encourage the work we do here. Thank you all for your support!
To date, Whimsy's Menagerie has found homes for 58 chinchillas! But we have at least a dozen here who are looking for new homes. Christmas is coming...would you like to place a hold on a single, pair or trio?
Our two invalid chins who have been recovering from two different surgeries are now almost completely healed up. Kismet, the black velvet girl who needed the hind leg amputation is bumping along just fine now. She's learned how to adjust her remaining rear leg to compensate for the loss of the other. She rides low to the ground, but can still manage to hop and jump to the same high ledges as before her accident. Her stump is almost completely covered over by new fur and it's actually quite difficult to notice the loss.
Xanadu, the chin with the uterine prolapse, has been returned to her previous mate. Now that she cannot have any more kits, she can live happily ever after without concern for unplanned pregnancies. Shiloh is thrilled too. ;)
We're nearly caught up on paying off the vet fees. But we thought we'd run an upcoming holiday special to help work those costs off more quickly. If you're looking to treat your pet to some awesome new toys, or if you are looking for a creative gift idea for the chin lover you know, check out our store page. We are working on gift "packages"....so check back often to see what we come up with. :)
Take a look at how much Xanadu has improved even since our last update! She's drinking water and nibbling hay on her own, and her bowel functions are steadily returning to normal. ;)
Running a chinchilla-specific rescue, (and having so many of them as our own pets) has allowed us to have a greater than usual amount of experience with every imaginable potential issue. We have learned from a wide range of...opportunities. I suppose this is why folks often call or email for advice. :)
Most recently though we've had the unfortunate affrontation with a prolapsed uterus. (click for picture - WARNING, graphic image!)
This is the second prolapse we've had to deal with, and both times it has occurred with the sapphire mutation. Our little mommy chin was rushed to the vet where she had to undergo emergency surgery and spay. Fortunately her kits were already 6 weeks old when it happened, so they were able to wean early without too much stress, but I sure hated to have to force them through this so young.
Xanadu has not been recovering well and needs some prayerful support. Surprisingly, she's still fighting the effects of her ordeal, and has started drinking on her own! We still have to syringe feed her, but she appears to be more receptive to it. She is very weak, but at least she's started pooing again.
It was nice of Xanadu to hold off on this emergency until we could finish paying off Kismet's amputation costs. :) Now we have a new goal to work toward.
Jimi and Jamie, a mother/daughter pair have successfully passed their 4 month maternity watch! Thankfully, neither one has turned up pregnant by the mixed grouping they came in. *Huge sigh of relief* These girls have really warmed up to people while here and have filled out too! Now all they need is someone to devote the kind of attention to them they are craving.
Eight other chinnies have come in this week from far and wide. A small group from Richmond, and a boy pair brought all the way from Maryland, and super sweet little Chili from the DC area. Let's not forget Puff, the one from Animal Control. We're hoping to match the singles up with a new friend. Is your boy chin looking for a gentle buddy? Let's try a soft intro! Would you like to devote all your time and attention to just one pet chinchilla? We have 4 singles available who just don't get along with other chins, but are people friendly.
So far we've had 3 chins go to new homes this month...but 8 have come in. We would love to balance out those numbers. Would you like to open your home to adopt? How about a sponsorship? Hmmm....now there's a neat new idea.....
We just got in a nice supply of fresh dry hay. If you're ready for a refil, now is the perfect time to come. (I tend to be more generous with the portions when there's an abundance) ;) We have two kinds available right now. We're all excited to try the new organic alfalfa orchard mix. It's a soft third cutting with a bunch of seed heads. Usually this is not what horse people want in their hay, but chins and bunnies love it. Ours are stuffing themselves now.
If you're looking for something richer, we also have straight alfalfa which is perfect for nursing mamas or those who need a calcium boost. If your chin is low on calcium, their teeth will show it. Have you checked your chinnies teeth lately? They should be nice and orange. Like this:
We received a phone call from the local Animal Control office yesterday. *duhn duhn dunnnnn scary music plays* It turns out they asked us to take in a chin someone brought to them. It appears our positive reputation has grown more than we imagined. We are honored to be so positively recognized by "the big guys" now.
The little chinnie they asked us to take is currently under evaluation. Check back for more information about Puff!
As a courtesy to a friend of ours in Richmond, we now have 5 new chinnies available for adoption. These little ones were part of a breeding project, but didn't make the cut for showing well or for continuting a particular line of genetics. They would make wonderful pets though and each needs a loving new home. Check out the adoptions page for more details.
We have also updated our store page with new items and pictures. We're still trying to figure out the most economical way to make and price these things, so please bear with us while we work out the kinks.
Also, check out our new FAQ page. We are currently working on adding all of the most common questions we've been asked here at the Menagerie. If you have a question to submit for us to include, you can contact us through that page.
The little chinnie with the amputation is doing very well! Her incision is nearly healed up, but her fur is very slow to start coming back in to cover the scar. She's eating on her own and has even managed to get to quite a high shelf in her enclosure. I'd say she's adjusting to being a tripod quite nicely.
Also, thanks to all who have supported the menagerie in the past couple of weeks, we've been able to bring in $500 toward paying off Kismet's surgery fees!
Another happy bit of news is that 6 and a half chinnies have found new homes so far this month...
(The half being a chin on maternity watch who is not ready to rehome yet).
And....Karen and Adam are the second family to take us up on the FN for CN cage trade. Thanks Karen and Adam, I can't wait to show off your new split cage tomorrow!
Before I post today's update, please take a moment in remembrance of the victims of 9/11/2001...
It has been a very difficult past couple of weeks. A rescue hamster here developed a particularly aggressive form of cancer. What we thought was a perpetually full cheek pouch, turned out to be a tumor. For the first time ever, we had to have a critter put down. It was a very sad occasion.
Less than two weeks later, one of the chinnies broke her leg. Yesterday (Friday) she went in for surgery to have it amputated. The vet says the surgery went well and we can bring her home this morning.
Now this is where we need some help. The original estimate for the amputation was $1500! (Gasp!) Fortunately for us, our back-up exotics vet had pity and worked a fee that was much, much more within our grasp...but we still need to come up with $600.
If you've been considering upgrading a cage, adopting a chin, or showing your monetary support, now would be a perfect time to do so.
Please keep Kismet in your prayers as she heals up and gets used to being a tri-pod.
We've matched the number of successful adoptions for July! Eight (8) chinnies have been adopted so far this month. Check out the Adoptions page to see who has sweet talked their way into the heart of a new home.It seems our incoming and outgoing numbers have been relatively consistent though. We have had 13 chins from three different homes surrendered this month for various reasons. It is quite disheartening that ALL of the females have been exposed to males and are therefore on maternity watch. Eight of the thirteen incoming chins are female. Seven are of age to have been bred. It saddens me that so many critters are placed in situations that contribute to this over abundance of pets that will need good and loving homes.
On a more happy note, several months back a nice lady donated a large parrot cage to our rescue. It was in rough shape with lots of rust that had been covered over several times with various colors of spray paint.
It would have been nearly impossible to refinish this by hand, so Whimsy did a bit of research and found Wayne, from Sand Blasting Experts (757) 494-9000 and Tom, from Fusion Powder Coating (757) 645-9396. These guys are awesome! Wayne and Tom work side by side in a building in Chesapeake and do the most amazing work. Wayne and Tom are both very likeable guys who have shown incredible creativity and quality. AND...the fees are quite reasonable! Look at how they've transformed our new community cage!
I'd like to thank Brian for being the first to take us up on the FN for CN cage trade. We had lots of fun building new shelves and (re)decorating the Ferret Nation 142 for its new inhabitants. Here's a sneak peak of the top section of the cage complete with new style shelves and backerboards.
Gizmo and Taz also happen to be going home later this week with Brian, so they are able to check out their new digs even before going home with their new chinparent.
Which reminds me, the current out-going chin count for this month is seven (7)! Do you think we can beat last month's adoption record?
I want to express a hearty THANK YOU to Dawn for the donation of a photo box with lights and all the extras. This will allow us to take more professional looking pictures of the chins, supplies, and the jewelry sold on our sister site, http://www.whimsystreasurebox.webs.com/ .
We have also recently received many individual monetary donations. These have allowed us to stock up on supplies, swap some worn out items with new, add bandwidth to our website and make additional hand crafted chin items for sale on our Supplies and Items page. Check out the updated page! Your purchase(s) helps support the continuation of what we do here at the Menagerie.
I also want to announce that Whimsy's Menagerie & Chinchilla Rescue is now an official affiliate of Adopt a Pet.com. Whoo hoo! We just keep growing...and growing... and growing.
Well, another possibly pregnant chin was surrendered on Monday.
This makes a total of 10 females that are currently with kits or on maternity watch. We are in desperate need of baby safe cages. Sharon Coffey, proprietor of the Chesapeake Guinea Pig Rescue (757-420-2376), was kind enough to offer us one cage that is suitable. Thanks again Sharon! You rock!
Because the chins on maternity watch have gotten so numerous, we're looking for folks who could donate or trade with us for the stackable Critter Nation brand cages. We could offer a Ferret Nation 142 brand cage, fully decked out with extra deep, chin safe wood bedding liners, plenty of hand crafted shelves and leaping ledges, two hanging 6" tubes, food bowls and water bottles. We have 2, possibly 3 of these set ups we could offer for the same number of Critter Nation cages. The best price we've found on what we're looking for can be found here: http://www.ferret.com/item/critter-nation-double-unit-with-stand-36lx24wx63h/650232/
In other words, we'll give you something similar to this....
As you can see, both cages are made by the same company and are almost identical. The Critter Nation's much smaller bar spacing makes it kit proof and better suited to our needs. In exchange, you could get an awesome, chin friendly enclosure completely modified and chin-ready.
We've gotten a bit behind on pictures of the available chinnies. Our motivation, however, has been renewed with the addition of 6 more surrenders that came in Saturday. A mini-herd of standard grey chins arrived looking for new homes. The herd consists of super friendly mommy and daddy chin, 4 month old brother and sister, and 3 week old brother and sister. Daddy and oldest boy are housed together and get along great! But we certainly don't want any more accidental litters or inbreeding to occur. So...now mom and oldest daughter are on maternity watch while they care for the younger kits.
The surrendering family was told by the pet store people that the first two chins were both boys. *cough* Silly pet shop. Wrong!... again.
We have some exciting news today! Check out the video to see the story:
WOW! July was a record setting month! Eight (8!) chinchillas went to new homes. Usually we can expect to rehome a single or a pair per month, with Christmas time being the most popular. However, this July certainly was a winner. Check out the adoptions page for details about who has been adopted and who is still looking for a new home.
It's truly amazing how much our rescue continues to grow.
In the past couple of weeks, four chinchillas have been adopted. It is bittersweet every time we see another of our fuzzbutts go off to a new home. The difficult part is saying good-bye to critters we've cared for, some of whom came to us out of less-than-ideal situations. But it is a joy knowing that they are now part of a family that will love them just as much as-- or even more than-- we have.
And on the subject of adoptions, we have recently been pleasantly surprised. Three more families are scheduled to come visit our Menagerie this weekend, each looking to adopt chinchillas. Even with all of these adoptions, however, we still have many more chins who need homes. Check out the Adoptions page to see who is available. (Note the page may not always be quite up to date.)
These adoptions are coming just in the nick of time. A while back, a family of six chinchillas came to us. The father, mother, and baby daughter had all been kept together in one cage, with an older sister/brother pair from a previous litter in another cage. Unfortunately, both the mother and the older sister were pregnant when they came to us. Sadly, the first kit did not survive. a few days later the second female had her own kit who is doing nicely.
It is very difficult to tell whether a female chin is pregnant. Chinchillas of opposite genders, unless spayed or neutered, WILL breed. It is only a matter of time. We only adopt out chinchillas as same-gender pairs, or for a same-gender cagemate. Our adoption contract requires that an adopted chin, male or female, will not be put in a situation where a breeding is possible. We encourage all chinparents to practice responsible pet ownership and do not house male and female chins together.
With all that said, we would like to give a huge thank-you to Brian for his generous donation to the Menagerie. Because of that, we were able to purchase some additional bandwidth for the website, and will be able to keep it running strong. Even so, we still appreciate all donations, which go towards the care and upkeep of the Menagerie, so we can continue to provide a safe haven for chins in need.
Recently, we came across a notice from Webs (our free website hosting service) that our website is over the bandwidth limit. Because of this, the Menagerie's website is in danger of being taken down-- permanently.
We need your help. With the budget tight as it is, it will be difficult for us to pay to upgrade our account from a free site to one with more bandwidth. At the same time, we desperately want to keep the site up and running so that we can be found more easily by those with chins in need, or who are looking to adopt.
So we're asking for all of you to help us keep our website. You can do this by donating through PayPal. There is a button on the Donations page where you can do so. It will cost at least $20 to keep the site running for a year. Every little bit helps.
A warm thank you to everyone who helps keep our website going strong.
The two lonely single boys who came to our menagerie have been successfully introduced! Bucky and Buffalo Bill were both nervous fur chewers who desperately needed a friend. They came here out of concern by their former owners who intuitively knew their little guys needed some form of intervention.
We were worried that they, being older boys who had not been with their own kind, would deter the possibility of a bond. However, after several months of watching and whiskering behind the safety of the side by side cages, these two boys are now fast friends.
The first meeting was adorable! Bucky in particular was thrilled to have a new friend to groom. Up until the meeting with Buffalo Bill, Bucky would snuggle with a variety of stuffed toys including a hedgehog and a beanbag bunny. Buffalo Bill has a ....buffalo beanie baby! But it's quite obvious that the two chins now prefer the company of each other better than their forgotten toys.
Check out this video of their first official introduction:
What a fun and exciting update today!
Last year on the college campus, in the Fall of 2009, we came across the biggest, most bright green caterpillar we had ever seen. We took it home with us to find out more about this unique critter as a potential science project. As Whimsy says, "We homeschoolers are a curious bunch." After researching on the internet, we discovered that the little guy we found was a Polyphemus Moth caterpillar. It is a type of silk moth, and in the same family as the Luna Moth (a family favorite).
In our research, we also found that the caterpillars of this type of moth go through 5 different molt stages (or instar), and our caterpillar was in its final stage! It must have been wandering around the campus looking for a place to build its cocoon. So we set up a terrarium for the little critter, and within hours it had created a cocoon.
Months later, it still hadn't hatched from its silk cocoon. We were beginning to think that perhaps it wouldn't hatch at all... until today.
We had nearly forgotten about the Polyphemus caterpillar when Whimsy pulled out the terrarium that it had been housed in. There it was, sitting in all its splendor, a full-fledged moth.
After refreshing our memories with a bit of additional research, we determined that our now grown moth is a female. (Males have "bushier" looking antennae, whereas females' are thinner; females also have larger abdomens.) Adult Polyphemus moths do not eat, and therefore only live less than a week, during which they find a mate and lay eggs.
Polyphemus moths are not an endangered species, but certainly are rare. We intend to return this beautiful girl to the campus where we found her as a caterpillar, so that she can hopefully attract a mate and carry on the "circle of life" as nature intended.
To learn more about the Polyphemus moth, check out the Wikipedia page:
One of the chinchillas ate through the shopvac cord. We tried electrical taping the thing together. No luck. The cord needs complete replacement. Is there anyone out there who can fix it for us?
The guilty little chinnie is fine and has suffered no ill effects. ;)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,.... 16, 17, 18, 19!! We have 19 chinchillas looking for new homes! It's been an incredibly busy month here! Just this weekend alone, eight more fuzzbutts came in. The sad thing is, none of them were abused or neglected. ALL are much loved pets whose owners, whether it be life changes, allergies, or unemployment, simply could not keep their beloved pets any longer. These guys and gals need the same loving attention they received previously. Most of our available chins are paired in same gender groups of two. We also have some singles, who just don't play nicely with their own kind. We even have a trio or two. Check out our "Chins for Adoption" page to see some of the chins that we currently have available for adoption. Won't you consider opening your heart and home to a few of these? :)
A while ago, we took in a chinchilla who had excessively chewed his fur. When he came to us, in fact, he had chewed off every bit of fur that he could reach-- in some places, down to his very skin. We constantly commented on how he looked-- like half a chin, like a kangaroo, and so on. We dubbed him Buffalo Bill.
Now, three months later to the day, Buffalo Bill is beginning to show his improvement. He enjoys hanging out near the boy chin in the next cage over. He has stopped chewing his fur and you can see it's growing back in tufts. This pattern of fur growth is completely normal. In just a few more months, he will look like a regular, fluffy chinchilla again. Check out how he's coming along!
Please visit the Archives for older updates. :)
We adopted out two more chinchillas today. Kelly brought over her chin, Dollface, for a soft introduction with Kaiya and X1. Everything worked out great, and Chloe and Cameron (their new names) went home with their new friends. Check out this pic of the trio!
Last week Whimsy found out that a fellow chinthusiast had to get out of the chinchilla business. Adult onset of allergies is to blame for this one. It's sad, but worked out well in the end. He just happened to have two chins that Whimsy had had her eye on. One is a white sapphire carrier and the other is her daughter, a sapphire. It looks like we're getting into that mutation after all. :)
(Momma inside the house, with standard baby on top-- see below.)
(The sapphire girl, enjoying one of our hand-made bridges.)
Two others that came along for the ride are sister to the sapphire, a little standard grey girl (who is with her momma in the picture above), and an ebony boy named Spencer. They are both teeny tiny, but the ebony especially. I've not seen a full grown chin this small before. Whimsy tried pairing Spencer with Chip, a rescue who came in with Doby. Doby had turned aggressive, and poor Chip has been without a good buddy for a while now. It looks like Spencer has become his new best friend. They get along great! Both are total sweeties and super passive. What a perfect boy pair.
(Chip to the left, Spencer on the right.)
We're working with the sister chin (standard) to get her acclimated and accepted into the community cage with the other girls. Since this community is growing so nicely, it may be time to either split the herd, or get a larger cage.
Oh! Speaking of larger cages, I forgot to mention how much the chin room continues to change. It has gotten to the point where the chins have kicked Whimsy's office out of the room. Now she works from the laundry room right outside the chin room door! Here, take a look at how we've grown!
So today was cage cleaning day for the Aunties in the "community cage." After vacuuming out the used bedding and wiping everything down, we usually sprinkle some dust in the bottom of the cage and let the girls roll around in it. This time, we let all of the kits join in the dust party fun! Everyone had a blast, popcorning everywhere and running around. Take a look at these fun clips we took:
As a side note: no, the kits do not live in the same cage as in the video. They all have separate, baby-safe homes with their mommies.
Alex came looking to adopt a bonded pair of chins on Thursday. I told him we had a wonderful father/son duo who would be excellent candidates for adoption. (Actually, it was our hope that they could go to a new home that did not have female chins so that they could remain together without fighting for breeding dominance).
Alex proudly showed off pictures of his three bunnies while he was here and assured us that the chins would be a welcome addition to his growing furfamily. Check out the boys in their happy new home! Can you tell the bunnies from the chins?
When Whimsy went to the York PA chinchilla show two weekends ago, we had the great honor of bringing back two new additions. We wanted to add the sapphire mutation to our herd since Diva passed on with a prolapse earlier this year. What a pleasant surprise to find one of our favorite fellow MCBA members (Silkrheins) had this gorgeous guy available! Whimsy had her eye on him from the very beginning of the day and laid claim to him prior to the start of the show. Wouldn't you know it, the little guy won color class champion!
Another amazing addition happened with our very first Shoots extra dark standard. The standard gray (natural) chinchilla is the backbone of any good breeding program. Our second little guy has absolutely the most amazing depth of color and clarity and a nice sharp belly line. As a matter of fact, he is so dark that several people have mistaken him for a black velvet! For this reason we acquired him to put with our Bowen's black velvet female. We're expecting amazing results for this pair by the time next year's show season starts back up.
As usual, it's been another exciting week here. First I would like to welcome x4 and Wombat back. Earlier this year one of our rescue babies went off to a new home as a same gender cagemate for another chin who had lost his buddy. Now the two of them are here for a four month visit while their chinmom completes her internship. It's been neat to see how little x4 has grown in size and personality!
We also have another new addition. Our beige and violet pair had their first litter. Z4 was born on Thursday and was followed by a sibling that didn't make it. The second in the litter turned out to be our first experience with a mummified kit. This is where the fetus dies in the womb and is reabsorbed.
Click here for pictures and commentary on the Chins-n-Hedgies forum. (Warning: not for the squeamish!)
On Saturday, Whimsy went to a chin show in Pennsylvania. We didn't show any chins this time around, but did get in touch with another long time chin owner who loves a challenge. She adopted Frida, Wallace, and Ross! I had concerns for those three. Since they are known to bite, I did not want to offer them for adoption to someone new to chins. Thankfully there is someone for everyone and this is no exception! Thank you, Ange, for offering a home for these three.
I thought that rehoming four chins this weekend would free up a lot of cage space. I was wrong. When Whimsy returned from the show we found an email from another local family who needed to rehome their fuzzfamily of 5. Mommy, Daddy, 6 month brother and sister and tiny baby sister are all settling in nicely here where they are under quarantine and evaluation. We have father and son sharing a cage and mom and her two daughters in another. The same gender split is working out nicely.
We need your help.
For anyone who feels so inclined, we have a rescue chin who needs a tail amputation. She has nerve damage that has not resolved. We would like to schedule her for surgery and have her spayed at the same time so that we may introduce her to Bucky, an unneutered male. This is elective at the moment, but we have noticed that she is starting to fuss with her tail. The vet says we should be concerned if she starts to chew it. Well... she's starting to chew.
Donations can be made via our PayPal button (on the Donations page), OR to Banfield Veterinary Clinic with Dr. Peake in Virginia Beach. Please notate any donations made to the vet as "for help with Whimsy's Menagerie & Chinchilla Rescue".
On a more positive note, I want to thank Kelly and her family for coming to visit the Menagerie! It was a pleasure meeting them and "talkin' chinchillas". We had a wonderful time finally meeting in person after several emails and phone calls about concerns with her chinchilla named Doll Face. Thanks again Kelly for the bale of hay and the huge bag of pine bedding! Folks like you make rescue work a pleasure. :)
Things sure have been "hoppin'" here at the menagerie. We've had our first litter of Z babies born in our effort to work with variations of the violet mutation. As members of the Mutation Chinchilla Breeder's Association, we're very careful about breeding selection. Please keep in mind, we are NOT breeding chins to sell. Our goal is to work toward show quality/breed standard mutations in cooperation with our fellow members. With that in mind, occasionally there will be chins born who do not quite measure up in quality. Those are generally the tiny runts or those who do not have the characteristics we are working toward. While some chins will not meet certain "quality" standards, they are still deserving of love! If any babies born here are placed for adoption, they will only go in same gender pairs or as a proven buddy for another same gender chin. Ok, now that I'm off my soapbox, wanna see the new babies? :)
We had a very interesting case come to the Menagerie this past weekend. Another owner, concerned with her chin's fur chewing, contacted us. Stephanie and her vet tried everything they could think of to make this little guy happy. The vet determined his fur chewing was caused by stress, so he perscribed Prozac! Obviously, it didn't work. :P Anyway, he's joined our little sanctuary and seems to be very interested in the activity here. He's shown a good, healthy, non-aggressive curiosity toward the chins in adjoining enclosures. We're hoping to introduce him to Bucky once the quarantine period is over. As an aside, we've been referring to him as "Buffalo Bill". Can you guess why?
We have had such an exciting couple of weeks here at the Menagerie!
About a year ago, one of our hamsters, Oreo, had a litter of babies, who were eventually all adopted out to loving homes. One of Oreo's babies, dubbed Moomoo, was adopted by Sammie. Due to life circumstances, Sammie contacted us about returning Moomoo to the Menagerie, along with a Campbell's Russian dwarf hamster named Hammy. Both of the little guys receive plenty of attention by the Menagerie's youngest helper, Flowerbud, and are doing swimmingly. See if you can identify Moomoo's younger self at the bottom of the Adoptions page. ;)
(Picture of Hammy coming soon!)
Last Sunday, we were contacted by Elena, who was looking to surrender her two chins, Doby and Chip. She was very relieved to have found our rescue. The two boys have now settled into their new home. Sometimes, when we have two male cagemates come into the Menagerie, it is necessary to separate them because of the scent of so many females in the same room. Doby (Mosaic) and Chip (Standard), despite a minor early scuffle, do not have that problem, and are still best buds as ever. Once their quarantine/evaluation period is passed, these guys will make a wonderful pet pair for someone.
A while back, we heard from Holly, who had concerns about Bucky. Holly said that he had developed a fur problem. It was a while before Holly was ready to give Bucky up, but he eventually made it to our little chin-sanctuary. Bucky came to us along with his huge cage and toys, and we immediately put together the entire setup as to allow Bucky the easiest transition into his new home. As it turns out, thankfully, Bucky does not have fungus as Holly suspected. Instead, he had been chewing on his fur as a sign of stress. We have put a fun chinchilla wheel in his cage, and treated him to tasty apple branch sticks and chinchilla cookies so that he will not chew on his fur. So far, our efforts seem to be working. After his quarantine period, we're hoping to introduce him to a new same gender cagemate.
Bucky has the absolute sweetest personality of any chin we have ever met. He loves skritches under the chin and behind the ears, and he even smiles when his tummy is scratched. It is obvious that Holly took wonderful care of him. He is quite the spoiled little boy. ;)
Seik went to his new home today! We are so pleased to share the news that this little guy has gone to a home with a couple who are sure to smother him with love and attention. Chris was particularly thrilled with this little guy. I think they're going to be good buddies. ;) Take a look at the happy new family! Yay!
Last week was quite an eventful one. Steve, in Delaware donated a Ferret Nation 142 cage! It was a bit of a drive to pick it up, but we were able to also collect a second FN 142 on the return trip. Remarkably, Sarah in Maryland offered us an amazing deal on the second cage.
Now that we're switching over from the wide variety of pet cages over to Ferret Nation cages, we have a bunch of unneeded cages listed for sale on our new "items for sale" page. We managed to sell two of them last week, which made up for the FN pick up and gas to make the round trip!
For those of you who aren't familiar with Ferret Nation cages, here's a stock photo. Of course, ours are all decked out with lots of toys, swings, hammocks, etc.
Today, Caitlin brought over her own chinchilla, Smoky, to meet some of our available chins and possibly find a new friend. Smoky and our violet boy, Dane, quickly became best buddies. It seemed like the pair was meant to be. Have fun at your new home, Dane! We'll miss you.
Caitlin, holding Smoky (left) and Dane (right).
It's amazing just how many different positions the chins can strike during their nap times. Raisin here has shown us some of the wackiest poses; from folding herself completely over inside her tube, to reaching for an invisible treat she dropped on the cage floor in her sleep.
Raisin is not the only one with these interesting sleeping habits. For example, Kismet likes to sleep up next to the side of the cage, holding a bar in between her teeth! Many times we nearly have a heart attack, because a chinchilla will appear dead, rather than simply sleeping (which is especially true when they sleep with their eyes open).
As a side note, we are having another open house today. See our Craigslist posting for more info:
This weekend was an exciting one. Whimsy took six of our chins to a show in Statesville, North Carolina. We were curious to see how Judge Ralph Shoots would grade our little girls and boys. It was quite sobering going up against so many gorgeous animals. At the same time it was quite a learning experience that will help serve our growing knowledge. Our little fuzzbutts managed to bring home two second place ribbons, two third place and, just for fun we also entered two of the rescue chins (they each earned a fifth place ribbon).
Something else exciting happened this weekend. Today a nice family came over looking for a new cagemate/friend for their baby boy chin who had unfortunately lost his brother. They brought their little guy over to run a "safe intro" with two of our potential adoptables. Mr. Wilson was the lucky guy who was chosen to go home with them where I'm sure will wind up stealing all hearts who come in contact with him. Which brings up an interesting point...
The question was posed to me whether a single chin, by his very singleness, will bond with its human companion better than a paired chin. The answer: No.
Chins are herd animals by nature and need the companionship of their kind. I explained that people cannot be around to provide that same companionship 24/7. Additionally, because of this instinctual nature, paired chins tend to be more at ease in their environment, which makes for a happier chin.
If at all possible, I encourage adoptions of pairs or as a companion for another chin. (There are rare exceptions where certain chins are just too aggressive to pair off). Paired chins can still bond with their owner and people can still successfully own single chins. However, paired or same gender groups are by far a more favorable option, not to mention double or triple the fun!
Levi went to his new home tonight! He was waiting for just the right person to come claim him when along came Autumn. Autumn is a lucky 13 year old birthday girl who had her eyes on Levi from the moment she stepped into our chin room. I have to admit, I was rather surprised that she chose this exceptionally energetic little guy. But Autumn quickly learned how Levi likes to be held and by the second visit, the two seemed like a perfect match. Thanks Autumn and Donna for giving Levi a good new home. I'm sure he'll get plenty of love from your family, and especially from Autumn.
Happy New Year everyone!
Last week, a couple contacted us about taking in their chinchilla, Rose, after "she" started attacking "her" cagemate. After taking a closer look, we discovered that Rose was actually a boy. He'd become overly aggressive when he smelled the female chin in the next cage. The mating instinct kicked in, and he turned on his cagemate.
Since this is the second chin in a row to come misidentified, a mini lesson on gender ID is in order. It's easy for long-time chin owners and even pet stores to misidentify the gender of a chinchilla. The female cone looks similar to a male penis. The difference is the spacing between that and the anus. Baby chins are especially difficult to determine. The pictures below illustrate the difference between an adult male and female, respectively.