Breeding Chinchillas: Quick Facts

Before we dive in to the topic of breeding chinchillas, please be aware that 1) we aren't chinchilla breeders ourselves, and 2) we don't recommend that you engage in such activities unless you really, really know what you're doing. There are plenty of unwanted chinchillas out there and there is no need to add to the list.

This is part 1 of our look at breeding chinchillas. Let's start with some important facts:

Litter Size

Chinchillas can have from 1 to 6 kits in a litter although more then 3 is unusual. While chinchillas do have 6 nipples it is very difficult for them to raise any more then 4 kits so you may have to learn a bit about hand rearing.

Birth Weight

The average weight of a newborn chinchilla is 30 – 60 grams (1 – 2 ounces). Kits in the lower range can be a challenge to keep alive and should be watched closely.

Weaning Age

Aim to wean your kits at 8 weeks of age. Two exceptions to this rule would be if it's a large litter and mom is having a hard time with it or if the litter is a single kit who, due to a lack of competition, is fairly large and otherwise mature enough for an early weaning.


Young chinchillas can reach sexual maturity as young as 4 months old so it is important to remove the kits from the family cage by that time if there is any family member of the opposite gender living there. Inbreeding is a very bad practice in chinchillas.

Breeding Age

While young chinchillas are sexually mature at a young age the females should not be bred until they are at least 8-9 months old. It is actually best to wait until they are at least one year old as they are still growing themselves until then! The drawback here is that it's harder to introduce older chinchillas so the ideal set up is to have them in two adjoining cages. If the female is not in heat you certainly can (and should) let them have supervised play time together. On the other end of the age issue is the fact that if a chinchilla has not reproduced by the time it is 2 years old, it probably never will.

Breeding Life

Healthy chinchillas in captivity live for up to 17 years. Until they are about 10 years old they can be in breeding. After that they certainly deserve to enjoy their retirement!

Estrus Cycle

Chinchillas are seasonally polyestrus from about November to May with heat cycles anywhere from 25 – 50 days and an individual heat lasting 3 – 4 days. There is often a mid summer heat as well. When a female is in heat the transverse opening of the vagina, normally not visible, becomes visible, moist, and reddened. She may also expel a small (0.5″) waxy “estrus plug”. Her behavior maybe noticeably different, perhaps more aggressive or more submissive, and urine spraying and fur slip is more common at this time.

Postpartum Estrus

Fertile (40%)


Pregnancy lasts an average of 111 days. During this time the mated pair, and perhaps another female or two, live together harmoniously. By day 90 the female should have abdominal enlargement and her nipples will be swollen and reddened. Avoid palpating her as this can cause harm to the babies. The best way to monitor a pregnancy is by monitoring weight gain. A weight gain of 25 – 30 grams per month is expected initially, increasing in the last month of gestation. A healthy, balanced diet is very important at this point. Supplementing the diet with a sprinkle of Calf Manna in the first two months of pregnancy is beneficial but can be harmful in the last 2 months as kits can get too large. Also, a nest box should be provided on the lower level of the cage along with at least 2 inches of pine shavings. During the final weeks (or month) of pregnancy the mama-to-be will often lie on her side and you may even be able to see signs of the kits moving about.

Note: This breeding-related content comes from Amy of, a website that is no longer active.

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  1. Can a female Chinchilla get pregnant without being in heat??

  2. Hello,

    I own two chinchillas; one is an ebony male and the other is a standard female. Originally I placed them separately in two cages side-by-side. The male would always want to smell her and get as close as possible. The female never showed any interest. One day (as I had been planning to introduce them) I placed them in a neutral territory with chew sticks and gave them a treat so they can relax. They ate their treats, but were afraid to approach each other. The whole time they just avoided each other. The second time I tried doing so, they sniffed their noses really hard and the male made weird noises (a hiccuping sound, not a barking one). I was pretty scared because even though they did not bite each other, it seemed aggressive. At the end of that playtime, he mounted her and it was pretty obvious they mated. I was surprised she let him because they do not even know each other. However, what surprised me was later on that day. I picked her up to spot clean her cage and held her about 1 1/2 ft away from his cage bars. He saw her and ran to the bars and aggressively did a digging motion into the bedding. He seemed desperate and then proceeded to stick an arm out of the cage in hopes to reach her. He made another weird noise (sounded frustrated). I want to know if this might have been him having another urge to mate or might he be displaying some random aggression towards the female now? Does anyone have some Ideas.


  3. Hi there

    I would love some advice regarding my male chinchilla, We got him about four months ago and normally he is the most affectionate happy little guy, however we currently house him next door to two females since we got him as the plan is to eventually house them all together. We had him fixed about 3 weeks ago so definitely on the right track. When he has been out for play time he has bit both my partner and I in the last 24 hours and shown signs of aggression when we were near the female cage? Is this normal behavior as I know the females may potentially be in heat at the moment? Despite being fixed does the urge to mate still remain in males? Any advice on how to deal with this issue going forward would be greatly appreciated.

    Jo :-)

  4. Currently, I have a male chinchilla that’s probably around 6 years old. I am considering getting a female chinchilla about 15 years old. Do female chinchillas become infertile with old age? I am not trying to breed and do not want them to mate, but would like a companion for the male chinchilla.

  5. I have a male and a female chinchilla. I dont really know how old the male is but the female is 3 years old. Could i still breed?

    • No. If you do not know genetic history 100% do not breed.

  6. I am thinking on getting 1 male chinchilla and 1 female both 7 months.Should I breed them right away or not?

    • Make sure the introduction is slow, and ideally you should place them in different cages until you are convinced they trust each other. Let them have play time together but you should wait a few months before breeding.

    • wait... im sorry but, am I reading this wrong?
      you're only NOW "thinking of getting a chinchilla," and clearly have done little to no "research" about what you'll need for one, and you're saying you want to get a male and female... by the sounds of it, at an age which they are technically CAPABLE of breeding, but also, aren't "all grown up" yet & will therefore still be "cute babies!" ("7 months" is an odd age to just throw out there... not 6, which is pretty common, not even 8 or 9, which, at LEAST by that age, she'll be close to 1 when she... TRIES giving birth, yay?)
      you've got literal NOVELS worth of research to do just to buy & be a good owner for ONE pet Chin, but, you've literally NEVER EVEN had ONE, and ur just.... deciding on a whim, probably after seeing some adorable, 6-8wk old Extreme Mosaic colored Royal Persian Angora babies on some breeder/shower 's site in Europe where their RPA kits are indeed gorgeous and adorable and... on average about $3,250?!?!
      I am NOT even a chinchilla person myself, they interest me, but I know I wouldn't be right for one... id just want to hold pet and cuddle it CONSTANTLY, Sooo. I'd probably end up with this poor fur covered Pet Rock that hated me with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns & that wished for my death every time it saw me & id start thinking about calling up some taxidermy places to maybe have it stuffed into... an actual stuffed Animal so I'd FINALLY be able to actually HAVE this nice, fuzzy Pet that was nice and let me... PET IT?!
      (yeaaahh, see? this is exactly why I KNOW this is NOT The animal for me and never will be, because I hate them already... Cuz it's NOT OKAY to be THAT soft, TINY, helpless & ADORABLE & To expect to be spoiled rotten and give NOTHING in return, not even a few Hours a day of snuggling!!?? little entitled jerks!!!!).
      ahem. I'll still to my cats and my own 1,200lb EXTREMELY entitled, spoiled rotten brats with FAR bigger egos... ie- my horses?!
      but, damn if your commentS don't alarm ME, cuz I've just been interested in them for a long time so I've honestly probably done more research & know more about Chins than nearly half of the people who own them. (definitely more than 99.9% of the OTHER people who probably SHOULDN'T ever have gotten 1/any & another good % of perfectly well meaning but ignorant owners, too?!)

      There isn't any animal breed/species in the WORLD that anyone should just.... Immediately go STRAIGHT INTO not only getting one but two & having NO KNOWLEDGE about them, IMMEDIATELY go into BREEDING those animals?! especially... Exotic animals!?

      that's like me just waking up tomorrow morning & saying, "you know what? I think I'd like to get me a male & a female Madagascar Ring Tailed Lemur... definitely two that are juuuuust old enough to breed, cuz omg their babies will be ADORBS!? but still young enough to be cute babies, too! yup. done deal! let's do it! MOMMY!?!! WHERES YOUR CREDIT CAAARD?! CAN I USE THE BLACK AMX AGAIN PLEEEEEASE!? "


  7. I am thinking about getting a chinchilla and I need advice on what type of things to get



    • Metal cage or an all wood cage are the best.

      The lease amount of plastic is the best or else they will chew it and plastic will back them up and make them sick

      My male doesn't chew the plastic I have in his cage but that's because I trained him not to but just to be safe stay away from it. Instead get timothy hay houses for the inside for a nice snack and place to stay:)

      TEETH: Wood. Sticks, blocks, houses, etc. Chinchilla teeth never stop growing so it's important to have chewable things In the cage to grind there teeth down.

      FOOD: chinchilla daily diet, timothy Hay, vitamin C tablets for chinchillas, and water.
      There are a variety of Treat options but it all depends on your chinchilla and what they like. Try not to give to many treats high in sugar as this can be bad for them. (Raisins are high in sugar)

      CLEANING: Dust bath. (Get a container big enough for them to roll in the dust)
      Their thick coat will trap water in and if you don't dry them properly just like any other animal can get hair and skin problems so a dust back 2-3 times a week should keep them happy:)

      EXERCISE: exercise wheel. A metal flying saucer wheel goes for about $70-$80 but they have cheaper ones online. Just make sure it's metal unless you know your chin won't chew it.

      COMFORT: Timothy Hay House, wood toys, hammock.

  8. Hi
    I have a 3 year old male chinchilla and are thinking of getting him a female companion (we we're thinking around 1 but if we should be getting one of a different age please tell me), we are fine with them having a littler and are hoping they do, but is our male too old now to have any possibility of breeding and after 2 years on his own if we did get him a female would he be likely to not accept her.
    Thank you so much

  9. Just a quick question. I have a male chin ( 1 yr 6 months old) and 2 female ( 1 yr 8months old) that have been bonded for 7 months and till date... there are no signs of pregnency... could the male be infertile?or is it normal? He just needs more time?

    • This is normal. Your chins are just taking their time to get ready to be great parents!

    • If you got him from a breeder or rescue they often nueter their chins to prevent irresponsoble breeding. No pedigree don't breed.

      • How do you go about getting a pedigree? Is there a registration with them? I'm new & still in the research stage... no-one I've found thus far has mentioned a pedigree?

  10. I have a pair of chinchillas who mated recently. The odd thing about it is, the male is less than 4 months old. I didn't realize he would mate with the much older and 3 times larger female so soon. I don't know how old she is but most likely more than a year due to her size. I'm pretty certain it was an actual mating and not just play because I found a fairly large sperm plug the next day. I personally don't have a problem with males breeding at less than 4 months since they are not the ones carrying offspring. Is it rare for males to be ready at that age?

    • Hello Andrew,
      It is normal for the male to mate when he isn't fully mature. My beige boy, Louie, is only 12 weeks and already cracking on with my "over-a-year" female standard grey, Chi-Chi.

  11. I just noticed that I have 2 kits. This is the first litter of my chinchillas and i am wondering if i need to separate the male? Will he harm his babies?

    • Yes! Ideally, the male should be separated from both the female and the offspring for about 6 weeks after the birth. This is to prevent more breeding right after pregnancy, which can wear down and tire your female chichilla.

  12. I've always thought I had 3 males. Until April 6 when I noticed 6 very small babies!!! Turns out I had two females and one male! SHOCKER!! I have removed the male and separated the other two females and there little ones. Is there anything I should do besides watching the weight of the babies to make sure they are healthy. Any comments will help!

    • If the females are ok with each others babies you can leave them together until the kits are 8 weeks. After that check who is male and female if not they will breed with mom when they are old enough.

      I have 3 females and 2 males. One of my females gave birtg the day before easter. The babies will do all on there own. You really don't need to weight tge babies look at how well there taiks are curling up. If they are tgey are healthy kits.

  13. Although I do not believe in breeding, As there are so many "Kids" out there that need homes - I feel most important is the health aspect, What is a healthy diet?, what is not? I am not cutting anyone down, just want to promote proper feed/Hay/Chew stuff/ Correct Water/Pumice/Timothy-Alfalfa hay blocks/Toys/Dust/ NO RAMPS, Leaping ledges for safety.
    If anyone would like to contact me, I would be happy to answer any and all questions. Sincerely, Tamara

  14. I am a proud owner of 3 chins- 2 female and 1 male. I have every intentions on babies in the near future but I don't know much about the subject. One of the females has seemed to pair up with the male and they have been breeding. What I wanna know is what's the possibility of pregnancy and delivery complications? I read something about needing to check the male's genitals after he breeds.... is that a necessity? Also, will the male breed with both females eventually? Thanks
    --- kinda clueless---

    • Hello Jessica,
      Yes, it is necessary to check for a "hair ring" as it can cause extreme discomfort if too tight and possibly death. Make sure you do your research on breeding, and whatever happens, DO NOT pick your female chinchilla up by the tail as it could lead to a spontaneous miscarriage.
      Good luck Jessica! x

    • Seperate your chins until you have been mentored by a reputable breeder. Have pver 1000 ready to go for both females for birth problems. Breeding goes bad more then good. You are risking the lives of both females. I understand the appeal of babies but you are more likly going to end up with dead babies or a dead mom.

  15. I now have 7 chinchillas. Not planned exactly but I dont mind. My "breeding" pair had 3 kits with their first litter. The smallest of the kits did end up getting the end of his tail nipped off and his left front foot bitten off. As to who done it we do not know. But he's grown very well and now can climb the sides of the cage along with his siblings. Their father is the only one of my adult chinchillas that I've had do this. I've had alot of inquiries about people wanting to buy them, in part because they are the hetero-beige. We're keeping the 3-footed one because we got attached to him early on.

  16. In response to Tom

    I dont know how old these posts are without dates being shown, I was searching the net and just happened upon this site.
    I have been breeding chinchillas for about 5 years now and (in MY experiance ) I have never had a mother or father chinchilla eat the young ( but i am NOT saying it couldnt happen) I have seen both parents take very good care of the young. But with that being said, new borns can be mobile and ready to go minutes after being born and can escape a cage through holes that you wouldnt think are physicaly possible. I recomend a search around the room.

    • Not knowing the date of this...but I just wanted to agree on searching. We had one escape the first day or two and it took awhile to find it since they can get in such small spaces and hide fairly well. Needless to say we got some wire screening and wrapped it around the outside of the cage to avoid any further escapes. Our kits are now 5mths old today and I have to say it's been wonderful and alot of fun watching them grow and develop their own personalities.

    • Hi

      My chinchilla have just had triplets, as advised by th vets i have taken Dad out is this the correct thing to do



  17. My female chinchilla is aggressive towards the male. She has never acted like this before so we separated them. Now they cry to each other every night and my mom is getting really mad. The female is also getting like a twitch in her stomach. Is she preg? I don't know what to do because I feel really bad but I don't want either chinchilla to get hurt. If you can help me thanks but if not thanks for reading.

    • Hello Alissa!
      Female aggression to the male during pregnancy is normal, so make sure you give your male places to hide if getting attacked. E.g. A cuppa hole or a little house.

      Good luck Alissa! x

  18. Is there any point at which a chinchilla becomes sterile/menopausal? I have a 15-year old male and an 11-year old female (the grand-daughter of the male), and I feel bad that they're both alone (the female had a sister that died a few years ago) and I'd like to put them together, but they're way too old to have babies. Are they still fertile though?

    • I am not positive, but I had done some research that stated they can reproduce up to around 17 years. I am sure that it depends on each chinchilla.

  19. I am concerned I have a couple of Chins that have had 2 litters and I received them in October. She has slowly been getting larger and have a feeling that she may be preg. But her temperment is extreamly mellow and actually does not scatter amoungst the cage like she used to. I have heard their screeches and seen mating but nothing has come of this. How can you tell when they are due if they do become pregnant and it was un-noticed until later on in the pregnancy?

    • Hey
      Look. You put two animals of opposite gender together and yes they will have babies. It's how nature goes. If you don't want this, neutering is the only way to go. Or separating them though it seems as if they are a bonded couple and I would not recommend that.
      She might be preggie. Most of the times chinchillas get all bleh when they are pregnant. Does she spend a lot of the time on the bottom of the cage, or does she jump all over the place like usually? And also, does she lie down on her side more? If so, these are signs that she is going to have babies. If she is lying on her side look carefully as sometimes you might see the baby move.
      If that doesn't help, take her to the vet.
      If she isn't preggie, then she is just getting fat. I recommend cutting all the treats out of her diet
      Hope this helps.

      • I barely give her treats. I would like them to breed I want more chins. They are a bonded couple they are so cute togther he sleeps with his head on her back (from the side) it is really cute.; She is extreamly Blah. I have yet to see her lie on her side.
        Also I obtained a attitude wth you. I did not ask for that what so ever. I am new at this. I was told by the previous owner that they did go a year without reproducing.
        Thanks Anyway.

    • Yeah chinchilla couples are the cutest thing in the world. Welp, wish you luck! One thing you have to watch out for is if you decide that she is preggie, keep them in a place as silent as possible, and with lots of water. Some people sugest providing a water bottle with half water half organic apple juice later in the pregnancy.
      Since she is so blah, as little handling as possible is recomended. Sometimes you can feel the babies in the tummy, but don't poke her too hard because it could be quite dangerous (that's why the vet thing came in)
      And no, no attitude =] just being really blunt. Sorry if taken the wrong way.
      Wish you a hundread lucks with the baby!
      Do you know how old they are? They should supposedly stop reproducing after they are 7 or something like that.

    • To tell you the truth, there is no way to tell when her due date is if you didn't know she was preg. You can tell when it's close when she is very big, she doesn't eat very much, and when she always sleeps on her side. I hope I could be of some help! :)

  20. We thought we had two male chinchillas until a baby showed up this week. This morning I went to check on the mom and baby and there's no baby. Is it common for a female to eat the young and leave absolutely no trace?

    • Chinchillas are the rodent with the longest gestation period. Because of this, they take better care of the babies, and do not eat them very often. They can do so though if they are under a lot of stress. It is recommended not to bug them when they just gave birth.
      I'm sorry about your loss, and I would recommend neutering the male.

      • Hi. I have two female chinchillas. I got the second because I thought my first might be getting lonely, and same-gender companions werre supposed to be the best. The first got the second to do a fur-slip, though, when I let them run together. I thought then that maybe it was better to have a male and a female. Is this true? Or will they fight, too? Do you have any suggestions for bonding my females? And also, since it was a fur-slip and not a tearing of the fur, is that still a bad sign, or was it just dominance mounting? Thanks.

    • Tom: Is it possible that the baby chinchilla slipped out of the cage and scared ran away? They are extremely little and able to wiggle out of the smallest spaces.

      • We bought chinchilla and we had no Idea that she was preg. and when the baby was only days old he would sneek out and we had to put cardboard up around the cage to keep the baby from climbing out and running it is a very good posibility that it snuck out...

    • The babies are escape artists. Look around in all the small spaces in the room. I bet it was hiding somewhere.

  21. Hello,
    I had Chinchillias 8 years ago and when the mother gave birth she was fine but the father would attack us if we went near her or the babies. he was very protective. Now after all these years 9 months ago I bought a male n today a female they both like to be held n petted especially on the head. I am worried that the father might get violent again after they mate. What should I do ? I do not want to lose the sweetness they now have since my 6 year old doughter plays with them daily. Thanks

    • My male is the sweetest boy 90% of the time- he watches tv with us in bed and loves to climb into my shirt. He is a wonderful daddy and cares for his babies along with mama once they go back in the cage (we take them out for a month to prevent back breeding). When his babies reach 12-16 weeks and I start to look for new homes for them, daddy becomes hostile and angry, biting me (only me-he is fine with my bf because he never gives the babies to the new owners). Once his babies go to new homes (or new cages if we are keeping them), he goes back to being his fluffy lovable self...I just consider it part of him being a great daddy and avoid holding him during this time.

  22. Hi;
    I have recently obtained 2 chinchillas 1 male and 1 female not related. 10-12 months old. They are excellent friends no babies yet. But is it okay to keep the male in while babies are born? After we remove him for 5 days to prevent breed back? Or if he has to be kept separate for the duration of 2 months or until the kits are fully weaned is there going to be a need for a reintroducing period or can they be placed together again? Would like to know before breeding happens hopefully. These two have been cage mates for 6 months great companions we have had for 5 days. Bought from a groomer who due to housing was unable to keep them in an apartment we have had them 5 days doing well, friendly, and have gotten a new full wall cage. Thank you in advance for any information you are able to give.

  23. hi i have just recently got my female a male as she was aggressive and was advised to do so. so the outcome will be for her to have a litter of kits and then get one of them done which would be better to get done him or her? as she is the aggressive one and not him?

    also can i keep the male in with her throughout the whole of the pregnancy?

  24. we recently acquired 2 baby chins, a male and a female. AT what point do we need to separate them? Is it true that siblings should not mate? If by accident what is the risk/outcome?

  25. how can tell if my chinchilla is in heat? she is in a home w/ a male

    • you should see a bit of blood on her bedding and a chinchilla goes into heat every six months or when they are born they also go into heat at four months so if u see the female like playing with her self then shes proably in heat.

      • my baby male wants 2 ride my arm, y is that? he is about 6 to 7 months. help

  26. I have a question...i have 4 chins...two females ( mother & daughter) and two males.....i am trying to mate two of them and so far it is going very well...they get along great...the other pair not so much lol My question is should i keep the happy couple together all the time? Or would it be ok to keep the mom with her daughter? The daughter and the new male DO NOT get along...but the mom and daughter get along im unsure of what to do...thanks

    • Well, give the baby daughter and the new male some time
      Give them a couple weeks to get used to eachother
      And if they don't then sure keep the mommy with her. I tried this thing, it's called the "butt to butt" method and it worked with my two chinchillas that were being assholes to eachother. Wish you luck!

    • Okay first of all if u are wanting to breed the chinchillas then u should keep the male and female together. Due to when the female gives birth the male can help with parenting.Second if ur other male and female dont get along then u should reintroduce them in a mutual place. Dont ever try to place the male into the females cage or vice versa do to they are pretty territorial. They will fight from the get so my advice would be to place them together in say the living room with u close by so if anything goes wrong u are there to stop it. If they start fighting then u have to place them separate. If the other female is already pregnant u can't place the yoyunger female with her due to she will be killed when the mother gives birth. She might kill the babies or mother during the fight thus the babies will die as well. So get another cage. Also remember it only take a second for them to mate so if shes been with the male longer than two hours shes already pregnant.

    • Oh ya i forgot if the daughter isn't old enought then don't place the male with her due to she will just kill him. Or he will get her pregnant before she is ready Then just giving birth will kill her. She must be at least seven months old before u try to mate her,any earlier will kill her ,or him if shes not ready.

    • Please think carefully before breeding. There are many unwanted chins in rescues. Especially if you have standard greys.

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