A Romantic History | Caging | Breeding | Nutrition


Housing of Chinchilla need not be complex.  Many new ranchers start in a garage, basement or spare room.

Chinchilla buildings throughout the world are quite varied in size, shape and design.  In moderate climates with low humidity, Chinchillas can be successfully raised in semi-open shelter type buildings.   However, in areas ranging from hot humid summers to extremely cold winters, a well insulated building is desired for future housing needs.

Most people start in an existing area such as a basement, spare room or garage with just a very few animals.  This is the easiest and least expensive way to start.  The wise investor invests in quality breeding stock first and more elaborate buildings and equipment later.



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.
We then found larger cages. They were usually 6 openings long in one section and were even made up with 12 and 24 openings within a solid ‘bank’ of cages.  They were made from Ύ” plywood and were very heavy and almost impossible to move once built.

In the 1970’s, 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.


 8 units for a total of 24 openings

 4 units for a total of 12 openings

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