Whimsy's Menagerie

Rescue, adoption , chincformation  & store

2011

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Updates Archive - 2011

(12/23/11)

We've received an unusual number of calls and emails concerning chinchillas with mushy stools. Many times this is due to a sudden change in diet, treats that are much too rich,  too many of the chin-safe variety, stress, and pathogens.

Home interventions work with all but pathogenic causes. The usual course of action is to stop all treats and encourage the chin to eat plenty of hay (even to the point of withdrawing regular feed pellets). In more extreme cases, bite sized shredded wheat cereal (without the sugary frosting) will help firm the stools. But use with caution! Only give 1/2 to 1 mini square per day. More than that can actually throw the little chinnie's system out of whack in the other direction with constipation.

If your pet doesn't respond to home intervention within 3-5 days time. If the poos become more soft or runny, has an odor, mucus, blood or if there is notable weight loss, a visit to the vet is necessary.

Recently we've gotten word from owners who's chins have tested positive for  coccidia, cryptosporidian, and clostridium.  Many times these parasites are passed from contaminated food and water. If your feed is fresh, suspect your water source. Some pathogens survive city water treatments, chlorine and bleach!

While we have never before had an issue with using tap water for the chins, this alarming trend is causing us to reconsider our stand on the matter. To be ultra safe, we recommend using reverse osmosis water for your chins drinking water.

(12/18/11) 

There's just enough time to order something special for your fuzzbutts for Christmas. Are your little beggars in need of some fresh new cage accessories, chew toys, or some interesting treats? It's amazing what we can stuff into a flat rate box. Check out our store pages for ideas. :)

And... by popular demand, we now have gift certificates available in any denomination! Email Whimsy for details.

 

Click each image to see the full size version!

 

(12/10/11)

Happy (late) December, everyone!

For the month of November, two (2) chinchillas were surrendered and seven (7) were adopted. It's been a rather nice imbalance of numbers on a happy side for a short while, however, so far for this month we've already received six (6) more surrenders. 

We've been working on bonding the singles and have had a fair amount of luck. One family found a pair of boys who complement their single fella perfectly. Another family had no such luck finding a compatible female for their lone girl. A second little guy who is boarding here while his owner goes through allergy testing found a new friend too. And we have another adult fella coming to stay for the weekend while we work our magic to find him a snuggle buddy. Perhaps we should rename our site: Whimsy's chinchilla rescue/adoption/store and...matchmaking!

At this time we have about 20 chinchillas who are waiting for permanent homes with several more still under evaluation. We would dearly love to see them off to good homes, especially the "special cases," those who desperately need someone with a soft heart and patience enough to gain their trust. This year we've met some amazing people who have specifically come looking for exactly that sort of challenge. It is truly amazing to see how a troubled little furry personality can blossom in the right environment. If you've been waiting for the holidays to adopt, we'd love to hear from you.  

 

(11/30/11)

 It's the calm before the storm.

This time of year many people hold off on adopting a new pet until the month of December when they can unleash (no pun intended) a dual-purpose new family member and conveniently have a wiggly, furry Christmas present. 

 

It's also the time of year when people tend to scale "up" and get rid of their pocket pets in favor of lap pets. During this season, chinchillas, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, ferrets, etc are often pushed aside to make room for kittens and puppies. 

 

While the choice to give up a pet is a personal one, may I remind everyone of our duty to care and protect these helpless creatures? We are ready and willing. Who would like to join us? Someone's recycled pet could be your new family treasure. 

 

(11/13/11)

The full moon is waning, thank God! We definitely see a difference in behaviors with the full moon, not only in the chins, but in people as well. Either that or sheer volume of inquiries dictates that we receive calls and emails that are sometimes rather... interesting.

Chinnie behavior during a full moon brings out high energy and sometimes subtle aggression. Just like siblings who occasionally have tiffs, chins have their differences too. One way we manage squabbles is with a-- no kidding-- timeout cage. The chaser is placed into a small carrier within the regular cage. This keeps everyone safe, but still in communion. We find that a night in time out is enough to regain the previous harmony. 

For this reason, it is also important that groups, especially males, have a place they can retreat to. Those silly little ceramic "dusters" with the ears is a perfect solution to allow a respite. 

As for human behavior, I'm going to bring this post to a screeching halt to add my latest pet peeve: We are a home-based rescue and as such are open by appointment. We are NOT a pet store.  We do not "sell" chinchillas. Our job is to ensure that each chin(s)  goes to a home that is fully equipped to offer them a better environment than the one we currently do. 

With that being said, we have, and will deny adoption to those who do not read our adoption contract and are not completely prepared to receive them. Non emergency phone calls before 9am or after 8:00 pm will NOT be warmly received as I question the competence of anyone who will make this kind of judgement error. 

If  you don't already have a suitable habitat, we offer complete cage setups available for purchase that are much, much cheaper (not to mention chin-ready) than anything available in a pet store. 

Catharsis. I'm better now. Thanks. :)

 

(11/9/11)

Can you imagine living out your life on your very own island? Imagine living on a beautiful tropical paradise, with plenty of food, shelter, water, the perfect temperature. All your needs are met, but you are completely alone (except for the native wildlife).

Many pet situations are just like this. In a home where all their basic needs are met, but the owners simply want "one" of whatever. We have heard the excuses; "I can only afford one," "I want to bond and spoil just one," "I didn't think they could get along with the same gender and didn't want to chance having babies," etc.

What these reasons don't take into account is the fact that chinchillas, and many other species, live their lives in groups. Much like horses, chinchillas are herd animals. In fact, chinchillas snuggle and pile together for comfort and safety. They groom one another and generally keep each other content.

We have seen and heard innumerable cases of chinchillas raised in isolation who have simply turned neurotic; they start to chew their fur, bark or call a lot, are much more hyper than usual, and can even expire prematurely. Do you blame them? Not to say that all chins stress out by being an only pet, but a truly concerned pet owner will consider the pet's needs before their  personal preferences.


Don't believe the myth that having two or more will cause them to bond more strongly to one another than to you. While that is true of birds, it simply is not the case with chinchillas. Actually, we have found that paired chins are more friendly and interactive since their basic comfort needs are met. 

At our rescue, we work very diligently to spread the word about chinchillas' needs, and do our best to ensure that each single chin has a snuggle buddy before they are adopted to a new home.

But it's not as easy as it sounds. Chinchillas like to choose their own friends and sometimes it's quite apparent that certain chins simply HATE each other. Group dynamics can be tricky, which is why we do all the hard work first.  ;)

 

(11/1/11)

Happy November everyone!

And Happy Anniversary to us!!!

Whimsy's Menagerie & Chinchilla rescue started on this day in 2008. 

What began as a homeschool project has now become a serious full time job!

Operating the only chinchilla-specific small animal rescue in almost a 500 mile radius means we serve those who are willing to drive several hours to adopt, or surrender chinchillas. We've had people come as far as Richmond, Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania and as far south as North Carolina, South Carolina and even Tennessee! We have found homes for more than 200 fuzzbutts to date. We take pride in the fact that we are able to help chinchillas and their owners by offering such specialized care. 

For the month of October, 13 chinchillas were surrendered and 8 were adopted. On any given month it is not unusual to have an average of 10 chinchillas in and 10 adopted. We've even received and found homes for mass surrenders from various animal control facilities, breeders who have decided to call it quits, and many, many "oops" litters. 

Our work here is fully funded by adoption fees, cage and supplies sales, and donations.  We were giddy with delight by the fact that folks literally started begging us to make our cage accessories and chew toys available for their chins. It's been a wonderful creative outlet working to determine the BEST and safest combinations and designs for the little critters. And as always, we couldn't have done it without the support from all of you who have found your way to our humble little website. So from the bottom of our hearts (humans and chinchillas alike) we say thank you. :)

(10/19/11)

We have more new toys!

As some of you already know, we've started offering rosehip-stuffed willow balls as both toss toys and, what we've been calling, our new Orb-bits Lite. These have been especially popular with the chinnies who absolutely adore the treat filled globes. 

 

Rose hips are essential to a chinchilla's diet in that they add highly palpable, easy to digest vitamin C, which helps strengthen the connective tissue in their gums. Because chinchilla's teeth are free floating, having strong tissue to support them is most important to help ward off malocclusion. Our toys are carefully designed to accommodate your gnawing pet's unique needs and preferences. 

We also offer loose rose hips by the pound for the little beggars. ;) 

 

(10/16/11)

The past couple of weeks have been filled with medical questions and emergencies.

We often receive phone calls and emails from chin owners who have questions about health, hygiene,  and behavior, with conflicting information gleaned from the internet, pet stores and even their veterinarians!

So we'd like to offer chinnyhealth 101: chinchillas are prey animals and as such will mask their symptoms. So how do you know when your chin needs vet care? The pet's owner is in the very best position to recognize a change in behavior, but  sometimes psychological optimism keeps owners from taking action in a timely manner. Some of the things to watch for (in order of seriousness) include:

  • change in behavior
  • change in poops (especially if there's blood, mucus, or a foul smell)
  • hunched back
  • continuing loss of weight
  • breathing trouble (including discharge or breathing you can "hear")
  • drooling
  • limping
  • seizures
  • lethargy

Now, not to be alarmist, but I do want to call attention to the seriousness of getting medical intervention before a treatable symptom gets out of control. For this reason it is imperative that you have a knowledgeable exotics vet already chosen. Many vets "can" see and treat exotics, but not all vets specialize in them. Please be sure your chosen veterinarian knows and understands about the special needs of chinchillas.

(10/2/11)

Happy October everyone!

For the month of September, 5 chinchillas were surrendered and 11 were adopted. I'm also happy to announce that the single boy who came in was successfully paired with another single. Ricochet and Walter were lonely boys and Ricochet had actually taken to chewing his own fur. The introduction of the two was amazingly heartfelt. Walter was sooo excited to have a friend. He immediately started grooming Ricochet who at first was taken aback by the ministrations, but quickly relaxed.  Now the two are deeply bonded and Ricochet's fur is starting to grow back. :)

And speaking of growing...our homegrown loofah looks amazing! The vines have spread across the dividing fence between ours and our neighbor's yard, but is quickly trying to overtake both homes. Harvest time is starting and we're learning how to time it just right. 

And also speaking of growing....our generator challenge has been a remarkable success! In only one month's time we have almost met our goal.  As of today we have just over $2500 towards our $3000 end. We did not expect to meet this endeavor so quickly, but this is all thanks to our returning and new friends. Thank you everyone for the encouraging outpouring of support!

(9/19/11)

Oftentimes when chinchillas are surrendered, they come in cages that are too small, chewed up, rusted through or otherwise entirely inadequate to house a curious chin. For this reason Whimsy's gathers and fixes cages to make available to people looking to house a newly adopted chin or to upgrade their preexisting cage. With all the cool items we have available in our store, decorating cages is one of the most enjoyable jobs here. Take a look at one of our start to finish cages. Thank you to Flowerbud and Mandolin for their untiring work putting together this stop motion video. 

(9/3/11)

Happy September everyone!

For the month of August, six (6) chinchillas were brought in and a whopping sixteen (16) were adopted!  That breaks our previous high adoption record of fifteen (15). Once again we're back to having plenty of spare room and several empty cages. 

If you've been following us on Facebook, you'll see nearly up to the minute details of our daily news. One fun thing we've been posting has been the quickly climbing goal to reach $3000 for an emergency standby generator. As of the time of this post, we have already brought in $360 toward our goal! Thanks to all our new and old friends we have come to know through this endeavor. Your support is, and continues to be, amazing! Cyber hugs to you all.

Our positive reputation has spread with word of mouth recommendations for adoptions, surrenders, advice, and items from our store. And speaking of items....

We had another brainstorm of an idea. Our new "Chill Out Hang Out" came as a result of a request for a daybed-like accessory (thanks for the motivation, Laura!). Bucky was the first to try our beta version.

Whimsy had been toying with a chiller topped hidey house with varying degrees of success, but the stone cold, chiller ledge is a winner for sure! These sturdy cage additions come with TWO (2) stone chillers; one to place in the ledge, and one to keep handy in your freezer, ready to swap out  in seconds. Check out the cage accessories page for more details. :)

 

(8/30/11)

Earthquake,

Hurricane,

Broken Contract...

It has been a very eventful month! 

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for their well wishes and prayers during Hurricane Irene. We were shocked to experience it without loss of power. Our attempts to locate a generator in time went without success, but fortunately didn't need it...this time. However, the reality of the situation has caused us to take a serious look at our setup.

Our efforts are therefore going to concentrate on building a fund to cover the cost of an emergency standby generator large enough to keep the air conditioning and heat operable in the event of a power outage. We simply cannot risk 70 + little furry lives who depend on us to keep them safe and secure. We also endeavor to remain a safe place for those in need who find themselves in dire straights. With that being said...our new goal is to bring in $3000 (above and beyond our normal operating costs) to have a generator installed. 

This is a prime time to take advantage of our store items for sale. New releases coming very, very soon. Watch for our next in a summer series of creative items!

Or, if you would like to donate to this cause through PayPal, you may do so from our donations/payments page.

Please state whether you would prefer to remain anonymous or if we may publicly thank you. :)

 

(8/3/11)

We finally did it!

We are constantly looking for ways to improve our numerous toy and cage accessory designs. Our suspension bridges are one thing that has gone through several revamps throughout the years, but I think we’ve finally hit on a winner.

~*~ Bridges with Bling! ~*~

Our newest version of these fun cage accessories now come with mixed gemstone spacer beads. That’s right, gemstones! Previously, the wooden beads made tempting chews for chins, which destroyed the function and safety of our beautiful design. Now, with rock hard gemstones (the same relative hardness as chew-proof glass water bottles) we have a stunning new and improved version that we expect to last! 

Our extra wide, 8” bridges come in ready made lengths of approximately 3 feet long, but you can custom order any length (or color as available) to perfectly match your cage setup. See our Store page for more details.

Thank you to Cheryl Graham from Che’ Chinchillas (http://www.chechinchillas.com/) for the brainstorming sessions and awesome name for our new product.

 

(8/1/11)

For the month of July, fourteen (14) chinchillas were surrendered and eleven (11) were adopted. Four (4) kits were also born this month from two different rescue mommies who were on maternity watch. Green stripe, one of the chins  mentioned in an earlier post, proved pregnant as suspected.

We’re beginning to feel the strain of a positive inflow, but will not compromise our standards. We are committed to the welfare of the chins in our care AND our promise to the former owners to find good and loving homes for the chinchillas they surrender. Whimsy’s personal motto is that anyone seeking to adopt from us should be able to provide a better home than we can. While we provide excellent, individualized care and attention, an adopter who wants to devote all of their attention to building and developing a relationship with their new pet(s) is in an even better position to provide it.

This past weekend was our trip to Pennsylvania to the Keystone Grange 2 Fair. It was our first experience with setting up a “booth” and we were rather pleased with the results. While it was much too hot to bring any live animals, we did bring along a computer that played a neat slideshow of some of our chinnies. *Waves* to those of you from Pennsylvania who took a business card and are reading this right now.

 

(7/19/11)

We received a very curious and uplifting email this week from the people at Pet Care Veterinary Hospital. We were invited to come to their seminar and set up a booth to sell our toys! They would also like to showcase our toys in the clinic itself. 

We also received an email from the co-chairperson in charge of making arrangements for a state fair in Pennsylvania. They have also invited us to come set up a booth to show off our chew toys and cage accessories. In both cases we were referred by people with rave reviews.  We are honored, with giddy delight. :)

And speaking of toys... we have a new wreath design, now available in our store! This one is made of unadulterated pumice, pecan wood coins and loofah stars. Not only do the chinchillas love this combination, it's also good for bunnies, rats, hamsters, and other gnawing/nibbling pets. Parrots love our toys too!

 

(7/16/11)

Baby chinchillas are adorable. 

But there are several reasons why we don't advocate seeking specifically to adopt baby chins. First, the nature/nurture debate is most obviously on the side of genetics when it comes to chins. We've seen way too many examples of chins who simply grow up mean, no matter how much loving kindness they receive. Like people, some chinchillas are just plain jerks. 

With adult chinchillas, the personality characteristics are already developed and apparent. An adult chin who is naturally friendly and inquisitive can only get better with attention and proper handling. Chinchillas with behavior problems are more likely to turn their owners off rather than endear them...which can lead to neglect.

Our goal, therefore, is to help introduce chins with compatible new owners. We encourage folks to visit and interact with the available singles and groups and not be romanticized by the idea of owning a special color or cute little baby. Only by interacting can one truly get a feel for another living creature. Who knows? You just may be the person some of our "problem chins" have been waiting for. 

(7/1/11)

I was chatting with the local guinea pig and rabbit rescue lady recently where she was lamenting the summer as "dumping season" for rescue animals. Summer is generally when people lose interest of their Christmas pets, go on vacation, and unload the animals beforehand. Because our incoming and outgoing numbers are fairly consistent, I found this statement curious, until the actual numbers for June hit like a ton of bricks. For the month of June, we received seventeen (17) new surrenders and found homes for nine (9) chinchillas. 

At this time we have a plethora of chinchillas available for adoption. We will be working on updating the adoptions page with some of the new additions.

We WILL be open for the 4th of July weekend.

We will NOT be open the following weekend.

We are open by appointment during the days and some evenings.  Please schedule early. Weekend time slots fill quickly!

(6/13/11)

Whimsy once received an email from an anonymous person asking how a single mom, who homeschools her children AND is a full time student, could possibly have the time to devote to, and operate a home-based small animal rescue. The answer: come on over and we'll show you! We never heard from that person again, but we decided to put together this video to share just how we weave this endeavor into our home education lifestyle.

Recluses we are not! We are also deeply involved with the local public high school where we have a mutually beneficial relationship. We work with the students there to teach them some unique vocational skills, and they help keep our store stocked with chinchilla chew toys. Recently, two different  classes we job-coach took a field trip to our home to visit the chinchilla rescue! It was so much fun! :)

(6/7/11)

Remember the last mass surrender we posted about back in April? I'm happy to announce that all but the remaining group of 5 under maternity watch have found new homes. It was an especially interesting bunch because every single one of them was standard grey in color. The individuals and duos and even a group of 5 females were different enough in features to tell apart. One had a missing toe. One big girl was easily three times the size of a "regular" chin. One had a nick in his ear, etc. But this remaining group had us stumped. They all look like carbon copies of each other! We had to use some creative intervention to determine who is who. So with the help of a pair of scissors to trim tails and a colored marker, we notated the ears of the different chins in the group. We've been watching and taking notes and have come up with the following:

Cut tail groomed red heart

green stripe suspected pregnant 

Cut tail snuggles with red heart

green stripe bit at red heart

orange star LOVES happy face

While we would love for this group to be adopted and kept together, we understand it's a long shot. So with this system we hope to keep track of which are especially fond of each other, so we can keep them together.

(6/1/11)

We're beginning to gear up for the summertime here at Whimsy's Menagerie & Chinchilla Rescue. Now is the time when people move, go on vacation, and we generally have lots of inquiries into surrendering, boarding, and adopting chinchillas. We currently have approximately thirty (30) chinchillas who are available (or will soon be) for adoption with at least four (4) of them on hold. For the month of May, six (6) chinchillas were surrendered and seven (7) were adopted.

I'm sorry to say that one of the very sick chinchillas that came from North Carolina didn't make it. His nasal infection cleared up, his hair ring was taken care of, but he had malocclusion that was too far advanced to continue. At least he passed in comfort. RIP Ziggy. You were a sweetheart. 

Doing rescue work is full of challenges and excitement. We have the pleasure of helping both chinchillas and people with a need that is customized . Because we specialize in only chinchillas, we can provide very specific care for these exotic pets. Funding the work we do here comes from adoption fees, donations, and sales of cages, accessories and supplies. Which reminds me!

We have a new chinchilla toy! We've taken the ever-popular pumice stuffed willow ball, super sized it, and made a cool new chew. This rather galactic-looking hanging toy is the first of our line with a jingle bell. When I first heard that one of the surrenders "loves his bell" I was a bit confused and skeptical. But when I actually saw the little guy ringing and pawing his tinkling toy I was amused. We've since heard of at least two other chins with the same passion for bells. Is yours one of those? Would you like to try out our new toy and support our cause at the same time? Yes, this is a shameless sales pitch. But we wouldn't do it if we didn't care. ;) 

(5/28/11)

We often get inquiries about what sort of treats are safe to give pet chinchillas. Whimsy has been known to visibly cringe when told what some people give their critters. Snacks from pet stores are notoriously unhealthy, even though they contain "natural" foods such as sweetened dried fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and flowers. Just because a pet store item has a picture of a chinchilla on it, doesn't necessarily mean it's safe to give your pet chinchilla.

So if these foods are not safe, just what is

Well...think about a chinchilla's natural habitat. They originally come from the very cold, arid (dry desert-like) biosphere of the Andes Mountains in South America.

This habitat produces foods that are high in fiber, moderate in protein, very low in fat, with almost nonexistent sugars. A wild chinchilla's diet is very dry and bland. With that in mind, a health-conscious owner will try to mimic those conditions as closely as possible. The best chinchilla treats are those with little to no processing, added sugars, or fats.  

Plain Cheerios, unfrosted shredded wheat cereal, steamed crimped oats, rolled barley, old fashioned oats, dried rose hips,  select wood sticks and twigs and pumice stones are some widely accepted good choices for treats and snacks. 

 

And for those who have been asking, we finally have our supply of whole rose hips back in stock. Check out our new(er) store layout for those and other chin-safe treats and toys.

(5/24/11)

Well THAT was a complete and utter failure. Our new store layout didn't account for shipping costs, so we're back to the old format. If you'd like to place an order, simply email Whimsy with your shopping list. We can work out the best options for shipping together. 

As an aside, our chew toys and other accessories are great for other gnawing pets too! Bunnies, guinea pigs, rats, mice, hamsters and even parrots can enjoy our hand made items. Our supplies are carefully chosen to ensure the utmost safety for yours (and our) sensitive pets.

We believe organically grown and minimally processed is the best. As a matter of fact, this year we've endeavored to grow our own organic loofah and kiwi! The chins help us out by producing the naturally *cough* fertilized mulch that makes our garden flourish. Check out how our garden is growing as a result.

(5/20/11)

Lately, we've been trying a new layout for our store. We're doing our best to keep up with technology, learn some new things to help our ever expanding business, and make ordering easier. The proceeds from our store help keep our cause going strong. Check out our new "add to cart" feature! 

We've also been working on some new store items. We now have a wonderful pile of organic grapevine rings and sticks. The chins here are in heaven nibbling and carrying these new tote-able chew toys around. Some of our local friends have gotten a head start on trying these out with their own chinnies with rave reviews. 

With the sales of our cage accessories and other rodent supplies, we are able to maintain the work we do here to ensure the chinchillas in our care are very well provided for and receive any necessary medical intervention. Remember the sick chins who came in last week? One has made a full and quick recovery, the other still concerns us. It looks like we'll have to bring him back to the vet for x-rays to rule out malocclusion. The poor little one is eating like crazy, but still losing weight and drooling. At least his runny little nose has cleared up. 

 

(5/13/11)

We have new arrivals!

Let's see...our last girl chin from the Northern Virginia mass surrender in January proved to be pregnant. She had a single male kit earlier this week. It is unfortunate that the little mommy didn't have a girl to stay with her. While she was suspected pregnant, our efforts to bond her with another female rescue went unsuccessful. We're hoping the increase in hormones is to blame as we carefully consider who might get along with this black velvet girl when she weans her little boy. 

The little guy will have plenty of playmates to choose from, though!  The chins that came in from the Saluda mass surrender of 17 had a group of 5 adult females with 2 kits sharing a cage with a single adult male (a chin we lovingly named Don Juan).  Another one of the females of that bunch gave birth to a little boy, too.

And here is where the "rescue" part of our rescue work comes in...

...We also received a pair of adult males who were surrendered after their owner became overwhelmed by their medical issues. The owners did their best to treat the little guys. But after a week and a half of hand feeding, and the loss of one already, they sought our help. We discovered a pretty serious hair ring on the penis of one chin who had started chewing the tip off in his effort to release the band. His fur was encrusted with mucus and old food and he has some nasal and eye discharge. No wonder his owner was overwhelmed! 

Hand feeding can be a very messy task and the little guy had the remains of those efforts stuck in his fur. We really had no choice but to water bathe him. NOT RECOMMENDED EXCEPT UNDER EXTREME CIRCUMSTANCES.

Please send healing wishes their way and for their surrendering owners as these boys continue on their road to recovery. We'll have more updates after our veterinarian has a chance to look into their more serious nasal and eye discharge issues.

(5/1/11)

Happy May everyone!

I just have to share the good news! For the month of April,  fifteen (15) chinchillas were adopted. That meets our current high number of fuzzbutts who found new homes in a single month. Check out the Adoptions page for pictures of the happy new and improved families.

It's been such a neat experience meeting new people and "talkin' chins." But one of the disturbing popular lines of questions revolve around the use of the giant plastic exercise ball, or as we call it... THE DEATH BALL [insert horror scream here].

I'd like to use this teachable moment to explain why you should take that plastic sphere and pulverize it. 

Take one high density furred chinchilla, and one mini greenhouse. Put them together for some fast action fun and-- voila!-- one overheated and possibly dead pet. 

Chinchillas don't regulate their body temperature well, especially when  imprisoned in this chamber. (Really folks, they're not "having a lot of fun" in that ball. They're trying to get OUT.) Overheating can cause seizures, which can lead to irreparable brain damage or a surprisingly fast demise.

Don't take the chance. BAN THE DEATH BALL!

(4/19/11)

Last week we received an email from another animal rescue organization asking us to take in some chinchillas they had acquired over the years. This weekend we received 17 new surrenders. All have been gender identified and regrouped to prevent any further breeding.

The chins are currently under quarantine and evaluation while we watch for signs of illness, pregnancy, or behavioral issues. 

In the near future we expect to offer a bonded pair of males and a related group of 5 females. Also in are two single males who we're hoping to bond with other single males who have been waiting for a same gender friend. A second large group had a male among them, so the entire mini-herd is on maternity watch for the next 4 months. Two kits are among the group. 

In the meantime, we currently have well over a dozen chins available for adoption. We are offering many of them complete with cages. Fortunately, we have lots of spare cages, but our most pressing need at the moment is for large, Super Pet brand glass water bottles. 

We keep our rescue group going with adoption fees, cage sales, store items and donations. Would you like to be a part of our good works?  

 

(4/15/11)

Last weekend Whimsy went to a chinchilla show in Pennsylvania.  We brought some of our own chins and were very eager to see how they would be graded. Imagine our shock when three of our standard chinchillas won color phase champion, reserve color phase champion and  first place ribbons! These were from a Shoots extra dark standard male and a sapphire female from Mish Irish's lines.

It just so happens these three were the very same kits whose mother had the uterine prolapse when they were just 6 weeks old. Unfortunately, their mother died post surgery from the complications. The kits were taken in by a surrogate mommy chin whose own kits were nearly the same age. Although she didn't nurse them, she did snuggle and groom them. 

We are all very happy to see how Zaporah, ZaraLinda and Zaine have grown!  Their mother did leave a legacy after all.

(4/8/11)

Bucky has a new friend!

Every now and then we get in a surrender who just steals our hearts. Bucky is one of those.  Bucky came to us more than a year ago from an owner who was heartbroken over her decision to let him go. But she knew that Bucky was unhappy where he was. He had started to chew his fur, and his owner felt the daycare center she had in her home was not conducive to a chin's happiness.

Our primary goal was to find him a gentle, same-gender friend to alleviate his stress. His first friend, Buffalo Bill (another fur chewer) and he got along well for many months...but Bill couldn't stand the temptation of being in the same room with females in heat. So he turned on Bucky. Buffalo Bill was adopted out as a single chin back during the Christmas season. Bucky had to resign himself to snuggling with his stuffed puppy until we could find him a suitable new friend.

Like people, chinchillas are social creatures and are much happier with a friend. (We strongly recommend that chins have a same-gender buddy unless they prove too aggressive to do so.)

Recently, a group of 8 chinchillas were surrendered as breeding pairs.  While we hate breaking up bonded pairs, we equally despise indiscriminate breeding!

Amid the group was an older male with a severe seizure disorder. His condition and gentle disposition made him a prime candidate to introduce to our Bucky.

Bucky and Methuselah have been together for a good , solid month now and are doing very well! We often find them snuggling and grooming each other, acting like lifelong friends. What a happy ending. :)

 

(4/2/11)

Happy April everyone! Don'cha just love spring?

This is the time of year when fresh newness and regeneration happens. This is the time of year when we hear about orphaned and injured wildlife. Bunnies, squirrels, baby birds are all adorable, but taking care of them requires special consideration.

The folks who work as trained, certified wildlife rehabilitation experts have what it takes to care for these unfortunate little ones...not to mention the certain legal qualifications. 

If you find an orphaned or injured wild animal, don't make the mistake of assuming care for it yourself. Some soft-hearted people have actually killed the little ones with kindness by trying to feed these critters similar, but deadly wrong foods.

 

If you live in the Hampton Roads area, check out http://www.wildliferesponse.org/ and call 757-543-7000 for help.

 

(3/8/11)

As usual, it was another exciting week. 12 chinchillas were surrendered from three different homes.

The first pair actually found a new home within days. It was one of the fastest turn arounds we've ever seen! It was a good thing too. Sometimes when bonded males come in together, once they catch the scent of females, they turn on their cagemate and fight for perceived mating privileges. Within two days this pair began the tell tale signs of a souring relationship. We were very happy when someone inquired about the boys the very day we posted them as available. Shadow and Twitter are now settling down in a new home surprisingly like their old one.

The same day, we received a phone call inquiring about surrendering 8 chinchillas. All the females were housed with males, so they are now on maternity watch while we try bonding the males. So far it's working out surprisingly well.

With this being said... we have lots of available chins. Prior to this weekend, we had over a dozen awaiting new homes. Our biggest concern is in rehoming some of the fuzzbutts who are ready to go. As we have a plethora of used cages available now, we are temporarily offering cages with a select few. Check out the adoptions page for more details.  

(3/4/11)

 Spring is in the air!

It's time to harvest wood for the chinnies and their toys. Lately we've been working on cutting and preparing apple, crabapple and pear woods to make new toys. I'm sure our neighbors wonder why we come home with our van full of branches!

It takes quite a bit of work to cut the pieces to size, boil, then bake the wood, but it's also a nice time to sit around, talk and laugh. We often find this chore a nice bonding time, kinda like knitting circles or bean snapping back when families used to do that sort of thing.

We're especially excited with the new "coins" we were able to make out of the larger branches. Look at what we've done!

 

(2/28/11)

Rehome, reuse, and recycle.

Whimsy’s Menagerie & Chinchilla Rescue supports going green. As a business run by a single mom, the idea of reusing and recycling items is a natural and fun challenge. One way we like to conserve is by using the chin’s old bedding in our organic garden. We’ve gotten lots of nice compliments on our “mulch” and have seen the lasting effects of its built-in fertilizer on our shrubbery and flowers. We have big plans this year to grow our own loofah for the chins along with our usual veggies.

Speaking of loofah, this weekend we’ve designed a new chinchilla chew toy! Many folks said to us that their chins especially love the softer, shred-like chews. So we’ve put together the topmost, highly consumable favorites (loofah, willow balls and fruit wood sticks) into a single fun treat. Check out our new SuperChew Softie!

Of course we let our own chins try out the new toys. Watching them devour the new chew toy was like watching a fluffy piranha attack!

(2/23/11)

We at the Menagerie have been keeping busy!

What started as a simple homeschool project has become nearly a full fledged business. We receive several emails and phone calls each week asking about chins for adoption, supplies, questions about chinchillas, and inquiries to surrender. It's really been remarkable the learning opportunities our love for the critters has afforded our humble family. We especially love the new friendships we've gleaned with all who we've meet this special way.

On Monday, we went back to the local high school to work with the students with cognitive disabilities to make more chinchilla toys. We were all thrilled that the students rose to the challenge of making our suspension bridges and swings!

Which reminds me... at this time, I'd like to honor our volunteer, Clarissa.  This plucky little girl is quick to jump in and help! We look forward to her visits to the Menagerie where she helps us clean cages, prepare items for the store, hand out hay and supplement, dust baths for the chins, fill water and food bowls and socialize the baby chinchillas.  Thank you for your time and energy,  Clarissa!

(2/12/11)

We have a lovely family of five here who would like to stay together. Check out our adoptions page for more information on Muddy, NuNu, Little Dude, Spawn and Pickles.

Is there a family who has been waiting for just the right group of chins for them?This small herd is already proven compatible, so no troubles trying to bond multiple chins.  The hard part is already done!

If you have a large family who each wants their own pet chinchilla, I have a deal for you!

For anyone who is willing to adopt this family and keep them together, I will provide you with a FREE EXTRA LARGE CAGE to accommodate the whole group. 

 Adoption fee for 5 chinchillas, plus the FREE cage, 10lbs feed pellets, a full flake of hay, and lots of goodies: $300. Making yours and this furry family happy: priceless.

(2/7/11)

Happy Monday, everyone!

I'm very pleased to announce that many caring individuals have stepped in with offers of help for the latest group of chinchillas that have come in. Some have adopted, some have donated cages, others have provided monetary cash donations towards extra feed. A warm and hearty thank you, especially to those who have followed through with their promises.

We've had a fun time helping new chins and new owners meet. For the month of January, fifteen (15) more chinchillas went off to new homes. That's a match of our high record in December!

So far this month, eight (8) chinchillas have gone to new homes. Our numbers are back to the pre-mass count, but we still have approximately 20 chins who need homes. During the recent wave of adoptions, some from the mass surrender were chosen, and some of our previous chins found new homes. In the meantime, other surrenders still continue to come in. Needless to say, we have lots to choose from.

 

(1/27/11)

 *URGENT*   CALLING ALL ALTRUISTS!

An animal control office in Northern Virginia asked for our help. 25 chinchillas were surrendered by an individual this past weekend. We need to find permanent placement for bunches and bunches of new chins. Most of them are single males who were previously housed for breeding, so they do not combine well with other boys. We also have a pair and a trio of young boys (presumably littermates) whom we're hoping to place in a new home WITHOUT females, so they can continue to live together as a bonded group.

Each chin has their own unique personality, and we've got a few absolute dolls here!

*cough* we would heartily welcome extra cages and other item donations at this time. Our most pressing need is for larger, chinchilla type cages. We currently have the chins housed in smaller overflows, but would like to move them into our regular Ferret Nation/Critter Nation brand cages. If you have one or some of these you can donate, we and the chins would be forever grateful.

We need to move these chins! If you can adopt a single, a pair or a group, now is the time!

 

(1/24/11)

We had a creative weekend here at the Menagerie. Pairing chinchillas is like an art form. Sort of like finding the right color combination for a newly remodeled bedroom, matching chin personalities is just as intriguing. This weekend we had very nice success in pairing two different chins with two different singles who came with their owners looking for a same gender cagemate. After a couple of carefully considered tries, the chins themselves really make the final choice. Check out the adoptions page to see who went home to their new families!

We also have a brand new chew toy available in our store. It's called "Bones 'n' Stones." Well....it's not really made of bones. It's natural pumice with deer antler tips! 

In the wild, when deer shed their antlers little rodents and other mammals go to work to gnaw and devour the fallen racks. For rodents, this helps keep their teeth nice and trim, plus it adds highly digestible and natural calcium and trace minerals. If your chin constantly goes after your fingernails, he or she may be trying to tell you they would benefit from our new toy. *wink, hint*

 (1/17/11) 

Well, Happy (late) New Year everyone!  

I thought the ramped up holiday season activity would slow down after the New Year, but I was wrong. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. ;)

We've had a lot of folks make the most of our holiday package deals in the store. And return customers know the bargains they can get here as opposed to pet store prices. We've even gotten an inquiry from the UK from someone interested in our suspension bridge and ledge combo! (Does this mean we’re world famous?)

And, we're still continuing to receive calls and emails from individuals interested in learning about chin ownership and inquiring about adopting. So far this month, four (4) chins have been adopted, and six (6) more on hold!The overall numbers here have remained relatively consistent though. Just this weekend, six (6) chinnies were surrendered from two different homes.

Now, I would like to take this moment to dispel any preconceived ideas one may have about rescue work. Rarely have we ever encountered animals that truly need "rescuing". Most of the time, unforeseen life circumstances are the reason people end up rehoming their pets. We completely understand, and that's why we're here. We are the liaisons for pets and their owners looking for someone who can provide what is currently impossible. To me, Whimsy's Menagerie & Chinchilla Rescue runs more like an adoption center. Hmmm.....maybe we should change our name.....