The First Few Days
Chinchillas are born fully developed and independent, with a coat of fur, a full set of teeth, and opened eyes. Chinchillas mother are quiet self-supporting so you usually do not need to help her delivery. If the mother has more than one baby, and she is busy delivering the second or third so the first kit may not be kept warm enough, the kit could die of hypothermia. You may need to pick the kit out of the cage and use a warm towel to cover its body, warm it in your hand. Breath on it until it is dry. As soon as the mother is finished up with the second or third delivery, give it back to the mother. Most of the time, the father may also take the job of warming up the kits. However, if the kit is stiff and appears dead, DO NOT GIVE IT UP! Try to revive it. Put the kit in a warm water in about four to seven minutes may turn the kit come to life again! Once the kit has turned into scolding and has warmed by the water, dry it with a towel, warm it in your hand, and breath on it until it is dry. When the kit is fully recovered, give it back to its mother. Also, kits' eye may not born to be open if the mother was not clean the kit properly. You may carefully full the lids apart to open its eyes. If you failed to do that, the kit may not see in the rest of its life!
Immediately after a couple hours, kits will trying to climb up and down in the cage. As a result, in order to prevent injuries of the kits (chinchilla's babies are called kits), all the stories, wheels and mesh must be removed before they were born. Kits are smaller than your palm's size, so remove the wheels and mesh will prevent leg injuries. Kits about six to eight days old will try to climb up the cage and to hop up the stories. Removing all the stories will prevent injuries from falling down from the stories. In the first few days, if the chinchilla mother is tame and trusting, try to touch the kits with your hand to let them familiar with your hands. Most of the chinchilla mothers are kind and will let you to pick up her babies. (I once heard that a chinchilla mother urinate on its owner's face when he tried to pick up her babies) But it is best to wait until they are dried off before checking them.
The very first things most of the kits do is to find a nipple for their own. Since kits are born with a full set of teeth, and if there are more than one baby, they may fight for the milk that will cause biting or scratching when they nurse. You may need to trim the kits' nails and teeth only there are a nursing problem. You can know that by checking the mother's nipples to see they are scratched. Also the kits should always be checked to see if they are getting enough milk. There are possible to have this kind of problem either the mother does not have enough milk nor the kits just fail to fight for the milk. So it is possible to see a smaller one in the same litter. Well-fed kits can started to chew on hard surface within two or three days after birth.
Hand-feed the Newborns
If the mother dies (rare case, don't worry!) or cannot provide enough milk for the young, you should hand-feed the kits. You should help the mother to provide milk for the kits; otherwise, the kits will bite her mother's nipple to seek for milk. Warm soybean milk works fine for kits. To hand-feed the kits, simply suck the milk up to a little dropper and hold the kit in an upright position. BE PATIENT! MILK SHOULD NEVER BE FORCED INTO THE KIT'S MOUTH. REMEMBER, FOR THE KITS, ONE DROP OF MILK MEANS A LOT. Liquid will go right into its lung and will cause death. You will realize when it is full by turning its head away from the dropper and starting to clean its mouth off with its tongue. More often, it takes lots of patient for the first time, but will get easier each time. Provide enough milk for the kits every three to four hours and leave a bottle of fresh milk outside of the cage bar when you are leaving at night. Try to give the kit as much milk as it want until it starts to eat the pellets. When the kit start to eat the pellet, limit the provide of milk to one or two drops each time, so they will eat the pellets. Normally, kits will come to the regular diet of adult chins within a week, add small quantities of hay and pellets to the kits' diet. But they still need rearing milk until they are five or six weeks old, simply limit the quantities as days pass. Newborns should not leave its mother until they are at least eight weeks old.
Usually mothers begin the weaning process when the kits are about six weeks old. By that time the babies should be eating solids and drinking plenty of water. &nbps;Some ranchers wean babies at the earliest possible time, four or five weeks old, hoping to get two litters a year from each female. However, where production isn't paramount there is no harm in leaving the babies with the mother for as long as eight weeks. Actually, if the babies are quiet small an extra two weeks of mother's milk may be quiet beneficial even if her milk flow has decreased to some degree.
When weaned and taken from their mother, litter mates can be housed together. In fact, keeping them together seems to ease the stress weaning sometimes causes. Check the mother for the first day or two after weaning has taken place, and if she still has milk, take the kits back for one or two feedings. Weaners need to be watched and fed carefully. They have a tendency to over-eat or eat only what they like best, treats and suppliments. Check droppings regularly and modify the kits' diet if either diarrhea or constipation occurs. Most of them settle down to an adult diet within a week or two without problems. Because chins may need special care after weaning, babies should not be given or sold to new owners until they have been away from their mother for at least one week, preferably two, and are eating well.
Before allowing another breeding, examine the female to make sure she is, as ranchers say, "in good flest" and eating well. Some ranchers give their breeding females a month's rest after weaning before allowing another mating. Sometimes the mother seems to make the decision to take a vacation all by herself. A female chin when extremely tired, ill, or run down simply stops coming into heat and will not breed. It's nature's way of protecting the mother and giving the potential offspring a good chance at survival.