Many ranchers do not appreciate the importance of proper lighting in their Chinchilla units.  Proper lighting makes the work area more enjoyable to work in. It also helps you to enjoy your animals more, but more importantly it is more healthful to the animals themselves.


Think how you feel in a dark dreary environment.  Many have found that by using daylight bulbs (not cool white – which are yellow), or the popular Vita-Lite bulb by Duro-Test, there is an improvement in the growth and health of the animals.  So put in 4’ or 8’ fluorescent fixtures and have good lighting.  It will be more enjoyable working with your animals and you’ll feel better too!


Length of time that the lights are left on in a unit is another topic of discussion.  We have found over the years that young animals growing up do not require much additional light other than when you are working in their area.  We have found that too much light for young growing animals can be a stress to them and can affect their growth.


We have found that extra light is important to the breeding animals.  We usually leave the lights on in the breeding rooms from about 7 a.m. to 12 noon or so.  This seems to help production somewhat.  Any more than that is not cost efficient and can possibly also be stressful to the animals.  For those areas where we have both breeders and young animals in the same room we try to leave the lights on about ˝ the normal time to try to benefit both types of animals in that area.


Another important thing can be of importance in raising Chinchilla … is the color white.  In the Midwest keeping our buildings cool enough in the summer is one of the most important considerations.  White is the most reflective color from heat and sun.


White walls and ceilings in your rooms are also preferred as animals are more easily seen.  When you look into a cage the animal is more easily seen with a white wall for the background than if you had a dark brown or gray or even yellowish wall.  I think you utilize your lighting more efficiently also as a white wall and ceiling seems to reflect the light back making the whole environment more bright and cheery.  Nothing is more depressing than to go into someone’s Chinchilla unit with dark walls and only a few light bulbs hanging here and there.  You wonder how they could enjoy working with their animals at all when they really can’t see them very well.


Clearness of color is an important characteristic in all fur.  With adequate light (daylight bulbs are preferred) animals can be accurately evaluated for clearness of color in their own environment.


This is also why our shows are judged on tables with white paper and daylight bulbs with the judges also wearing white coats.  This eliminates the reflection of other colors nearby into the fur.



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