HOUSING AND CAGING
Housing of Chinchilla need not be complex. Many new ranchers start in a garage, basement or spare room.
A CHINCHILLA ENJOYING HIS
Solid bottom cages with metal trays and pine shavings allow for the stacking of cages 4-5 rows high. This enables using only 1 ½ square feet of floor space per animal; in other words, 150 sq. ft. of floor space per 100 animals. Cages vary from ranch to ranch; however, an optimum size is 12 high, 15 wide and 24 deep. Cage material can be combination of wood, wire and metal. A polygamous colony of one male and five females utilizing 6 cage openings occupies a space of 1 x 2 x 8.
At the time we entered the Chinchilla Industry caging was a lot different than it is now. We started with a 3 compartment vertical cage made of wire with a ½ x 1 wood frame piece around the front and the back. The male runway was outside the cage and ran up and down. The first time out a male would usually fall down the runway, but very quickly learned to run up and down the wire.
In the 1970s, realizing ranchers needed a more convenient and movable cage, Ralph designed a 3 compartment cage that many ranchers across the country use today. It made it easy for ranchers to transport their cages and set up within their units. In multiples of 3 openings each (within a 4 length) you could then make your colonies as large or as small as you wished. He designed the cage to be one that was easily duplicated by the rancher, thus helping with their equipment expenses.
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