How Should I Introduce a New Chinchilla?

Melinda writes:

Hi there – I have a four-month old female grey and I am looking for a female companion for her. I have a potential chin that I am looking into adopting and she is about 8 weeks old (there is another one I could adopt that is about 3 months). The breeder said because they are both so young, it is ok to put them in the cage together after having changed the bedding – is this ok or do I absolutely need to buy another cage first?

And we suggest:

Melinda,

Because they are young you should have it easy when it comes to introducing them. However, there's no way to tell until you try. You'll know within minutes if they're going to get along right away or will need to be introduced slowly.

Not sure what you can do to avoid buying a second cage. Can you get a loaner from the breeder? Or put some kind of wire divider in your current cage?

Melinda stops by again with a follow-up:

Thanks for your advice! I got a loaner cage from the breeder and I've been working on the two girls. I tried letting them out together at the same time, but they started fighting and chasing, so I stopped it and have been letting them out individually. It's been a couple of days and I let them out again together and I've noticed a significant decrease in chasing and fighting.

My slightly older chin Rosie keeps trying to jump on Isabella, which I know is a dominance thing. They touch teeth when they first meet with no problems, but do I have to worry about Rosie jumping on Bella if Bella doesn't make any distressed sounds?

Our follow-up answer to Melinda:

Melinda,

Glad to hear that the breeder was willing to help you out. Maybe the breeder will make note now that age doesn't guarantee chinchillas will get along. You should see a decrease in fighting as time goes on. If you're not already doing so, keep the cages as close together as possible.

If there are no distress sounds, no loss of fur, or biting, I wouldn't worry about one chin jumping on the other. It too should slowly stop.

Finally, our chinchillas have been together for many years and get along fine. However, we sometimes hear some odd sounds as if they're squabbling. This usually happens for us in the morning as they're settling in to sleep. Almost as if one chinchilla is hogging too much of the house 🙂 Just wanted to let you know in case you experience the same thing.

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53 Comments

  1. Right now I have a male chinchilla named Boba. He is around 1-2 years old. I want to get him a friend and I know someone who is selling a Chin that is about 2 months old. Would it be an issue if I tried to bond them???

    • Kiana Redulla,
      It may be a problem simply because of their size. The 2 month year old may feel threatened by the bigger chin and Boba may feel threatened by the new arrival. However, they may feel protected and happy to have a friend. There is really no way to tell how two chinchillas will react to one another until you put them together. If you acclimate them correctly with patience, you should be able to adjust them to one another. You should also be prepared to keep them separate until the new arrival is full grown ( approx 6-9 months). Hope this helped, best of luck!

  2. Hi, I originay had 2 bonded chinchillas both about 7-8months old. Then, a week ago I got another baby chin which is 4months old from a breeder. They are all the same gender, male. But Im having a hard time introducing them to each other. Everything is fine when they are in their cages ( I left 2inches apart). Even when they switch off for playtime, they just go to the other ones cage and smell each other and it would be fine. I also did trade some objects to let them be used to the scent and switched the houses few times too.

    But the problem is when they come out together at playtime.. 2 days after I recieved the baby chin, for the first time we let them out together in a neutral space. However, my 1st chin showed a little aggressive action. He tried to chase and fight the baby. There was a little fur slip but no injury. But anyway I separated them 2. The 2nd chin and the baby seemed fine. However, since my 1st chin was aggressive, I didnt take them out together for 4 days. And so today, I tried again because after that, when my older chins are out and the baby is inside the cage 1st one would go smell the baby and wont act aggressive. So, I gave it another try but today the BABY was very aggressive!!!! My other 2 chins were busy running away from the baby... Everytime they meet the baby would chase and there was alot of fur loss from both 1st and 2nd.. but nothing from the baby. At first I thought it wasnt serious because they werent making sounds but the fur made me worry so I separated them..

    I really dont know what to do because I think introducing a 3rd one is different then a pair.. It was very easy to bond the first 2 chons for me. And I really dont understand why the baby became so aggressive when he wasnt at first.. please help me!!

    • Hannah Woo,
      This is a tricky situation. The behavior does somewhat make sense. First the bigger chins are aggressive to the baby and then the baby is aggressive in response to stand up for itself. Since the rest of the introduction process went really well (Besides the actual introduction) my best advice is wait or try again when the baby is full grown. (Usually 6-9 months). It might just be that the older chins want to show the baby who's boss, and the baby feels threatened in response.

      Another possibility is it just takes time. My two chins constantly fought and seemed to hate each other until one day they just didn't and instead cuddled together and they've been fine since. Perhaps the just need some time to adjust.

      Good Luck!

  3. I have a 6 month old chinchilla. Well she's about 6 months and I've had her for 2months now. She's really hyper, but gets lonely I think. She doesn't mind being tickled when she's in her cage but when shes out she runs away from any movement.

    I'm thinking of getting another chinchilla, but I've heard I should get another female. What age and how should I introduce them? I don't know if i can get another cage so I don't know. I've heard it will be really good for my chinchilla now because she probably won't be as timid if she has a friend.

    • Edwina,
      It is true that a friend will probably be good for her. However you will almost definitely need another cage to introduce them or house one if they don't get along. You can get either gender - although female will be easier and you won't have to worry about babies. As long as they are both at least 6 months there should be no problem with them living/being together, but I think it is more enjoyable to the chin to have a friend their age.

      There are two ways to introduce chinchillas - the side by side cages and cage in a cage method.

  4. I have a 2 year old male chinchilla named Kiwi. I love him to death, but he looks lonely because I'm not always there. I was thinking of getting another one to give him company but I'm not sure if I should get a male, female, young or old. Thanks!

    • Teagan,
      I agree that a friend sounds good for him! You can get either a male or female - although a male will be easiest and you won't have to worry about babies.
      As for age I would say anything at least a year will be fine, but the closer s/he is to Kiwi's age the better probably - there are always exceptions.

  5. Hi, I have a five year old male chinchilla and was concidering getting another one. I have read that he is compatible with both genders but i would like to know if there is a better choice between genders for him. And what age would work, around the same age as my male or younger (juvenile?)

    Thanks,

    Alex+Chili

    • Alex and Chili
      Most chinchillas can have either gender as a companion however same sex chinchillas are usually easier to introduce and you don't have to worry about babies. As for the age - I would not go younger than a year. Anything else should work fine, personally I would try to get one the relatively close to the same age.

  6. I have an 8 month old female & I am wanting to get another girl I have found a breeder. I haven't the slightest clue when they will be born or how far along she is.Will it be harder to introduce them the older Pebbles ( my 8 month old ) gets? Also if you have any good advice on the intro or anything about pairing let me know. :)

    • Barley,
      Yes. It will be harder to introduce as Pebble's gets older. Once she reaches a year I would not try to pair with a baby chin. In fact I would be hesitant even introducing a 8 month old and a baby However, if you were to get a chin closer to Pebble's age then it should work out fine.

  7. Hi,
    I have a 3yr old standard male chinchilla called Cheeky and I've had him on his own since he was 4 months old with a rare couple of visits to my friend who had 2 females. He was fine meeting them but when he was with both females they bullied him, he was fine with 1 and then the other which I thought was pretty normal.
    Recently I bought a 2yr old charcoal female named Cinders and I have them in seperate cages. When I got Cinders I let her out on her own so she could get used to her new surroundings and she was intrigued by cheeky in his cage, but every time she went up to his cage, he threw himself at the bars and tried to bite her through it. The same thing happened last night when i let cheeky out on his own, he tried to bite her through her cage. Is this normal and how can i try to get them to get along? Please help

    • Melissa,
      Yes I would say this is normal behavior for chinchillas who are first meeting. If you want them to get along I would keep their cages close - about two inches apart - so they are near each other but can't bite each other. Eventually when the rough behavior calms down, I would have them switch cages for maybe an hour or so and share dust baths so they get used to each other scents. If the behavior doesn't worsen have them meet in a neutral territory under supervision.

      Chasing, humming, urinating, and sounds are all normal in this process - however if there is biting, fur loss, or weight loss separate them and start again.

      Know that there is no guarantee they will get along. Go slowly and hopefully it will work out.

  8. hello and i have a chinchilla called milly and she is about 3 or 4 years old and she is a girl and my friend has a chinchilla called elliot and hes a boy and he is younger then my chinchilla i tryed to put them to gether but my chinchilla went to bite hes noes or i dunno but she was kkeep on runing away from him so shud i try again me cause me and my friend want like a thing where she can bring her chinchilla up mine wen she comes and they can play together ?? is that posibul

    • Sophie,
      It may not be possible. The introduction process is meant to happen slowly and takes time. If the chinchillas live separately, it may be impossible to put in the time to pair them. You will need to have a separate cage and a neutral territory and constant supervision. Ideally they'd be together 24/7, because once paired the stress of them not being there could be detrimental. You can try, but there would have to be a schedule on when they met that was never broken and the same every day. I don't see it working out, but I don't know your schedule, good luck!

  9. I have a gray male chinchilla and he looks lonely I wonted to get a white female is It ok to put them in a big cage out in my barn next to my rabbits and chickens.

    • Tanner,
      Eventually, that should be fine. However, to start you will need them in separate cages until they are properly introduced. Also, I would not let them interact with the bunnies and chickens and I'd make sure the bunnies are healthy, because they can be carriers of a sickness that chinchillas can get. Best of Luck!

  10. Vanessa as long as you have a big enough cage they should be okay. Just give them a little time to get to know each other.

  11. I have had my chinchilla for over a year and i just got another one and I'll just keep this runon sentence because I don't know what to do theya re not getting along at all. The person I got it from said she meets new chinchillas all the time and she is fine with it but they hate eachother aaaaa I do NOT have another cage whatsoever and I'm freaking out and any reply sometime soon would be awesome
    what they are doing is rubbing their butt on the floor and rubbing their teeth and making weird sounds. How will I make these gladiators chill?

    • The teeth chattering is normal for chinchillas to do. My two boy chinchillas fight a lot because of food dominence and territory. I'm not sure of the butt thing but I'd keep and eye on them. If you start noticing weird things that they are doing i'd talk to a vet about it Maybe they would be able to help. Hope the advice is helpful! Good Luck with them!

  12. we hav had a girl chinchilla for a year now and we just got a boy one but when we got them out togather the girl was fighting and attaching th boy he seemed fine with her but she not wot shall i do???????

  13. HI EVERYONE

    I have 2 male chinchillas, i first bought one at the age of 3 months and a half, about 10 days later i went and bought another male (his genetical brother), i introduced them slowly and now they get along PERFECTLY WELL, and are very comfortable in my house. They are almost 6 months old now.

    I was told about this shelter in which there are abandoned or forbidden animals that try to enter mexico (i did not know that chinchillas were forbidden here), they told me they could get me chinchillas if i can proove i can take care of them.

    My question is: is it a bad idea to get one or maybe 2 more male chinchillas? Would these new ones affect my actual chinchillas? I would love to have more, and i would have so much care at introducing them.
    But i have some concerns, i believe that the new chinchillas may have been at custom houses and could have been affected by the environment.
    If it were possible to have 1 or 2 more male chinchillas, for what signs should i look for to know if they are "healthy" to bring home... and about what age should i try to find them? About the same age as the actual ones? Maybe younger?
    THANK YOU VERY MUCH EVERYONE

    • Okay, so I might be getting a chinchilla for Christmas. But, the only way I can get one is if I don't need to get another cage. My chinchilla right now is about 9 months old. She's a girl. I'd be getting another girl, so would they get along? I think they would. But, just incase what do I do if they don't? I mean I'd have Christmas break, and if they didn't get along I'd watch the all week, and work with them. I don't wanna end up givng on away! What should i do to try to make them get along, when I do get the chinchilla? Please email me, because I have no idea how to get back to this website, It just randomly popped up. (woka4445@aol.com) & I do have another one. Woka4445 is my main one, and I check that one more.

      • Lindsey,
        I know you said to email, but in case others have the same question:

        You will need a cage. Maybe you could get a loner cage from a breeder? It is simply not possible to pair them without a cage and even if paired correctly there is no guarantee they will get along.

    • Vanessa,
      It may be true that they might not be healthy. That is a risk you have to decide if you take. I don't know about this shelter, but if they happen to have the chins medical history or genetic history that is something I would check up on. If you do decide to adopt - maybe have a bag of lifeline food and know a veterinarian.

      As for how many I would definitely do two and male, if you only get one your current two will most likely gang up on him, and if they don't get along he will be lonely. Getting two ensures that no matter what each will have a friend and it evens the playing field. If you get females, the males will fight over them and there is a chance they could kill each other over the girls.

      I would get the same age as your current ones, however as long as they are not crazy young or super old they should be able to get along.

      Good Luck!

  14. I have two boy chinchillas. They get along great because one of them is the dad and the other is the son. I was thinking of bringing them to my school because one of the teachers there has two boys also. I kind of wanted to see if all four boys could get along together in the same cage. Any advice as to what I could do?

    • Madison,
      I would recommend against this. Chinchillas can die of stress and a commute plus new surroundings and two new chinchillas may be a lot to handle, especially if they are not going to be together for life. The introduction process takes time and patience and just putting new chinchillas together in a cage can lead to death or serious injury. ( wouldn't you attack an intruder in your home? )

  15. I have a 10 month old male chinchilla and I want to get him a friend. Does it matter if they are both males or if one is a male and the other a female? I want to get the right companion for him. Also, I have seen that most people say they should be kept in separate cages and taken out daily for "play dates." How long should they be kept in separate cages before they can both be put in the main cage?

    • Becca,
      A friend sounds like a great idea! The introduction will be much easier if they are both males, however a male and a female will also work - but you have to worry about babies and the territorial female behaviors. You will definitely want to keep them in separate cages first and have them meet in neutral territory. But as soon as they feel comfortable with each other you can move them to live together. Just keep an eye on them the first night together.

  16. I have a 10 month old male chinchilla and he seems lonely. I was looking into getting him a friend to keep him company. I don't have a preference about getting another male or getting a female. Would the introduction be better if they were both males or if there was a male and a female? I also have been reading that they should be kept in separate and come together to bond each day. About how long should they have "play dates" before they can be put into the same cage?

  17. I have one chinchilla who is 1 year old and it is a female. She looked lonely so I got her a male...and another female. They are all from the same breeder so I didn't think there would be a problem. But my new chinchillas, (the boy and girl) are only 6 weeks old. I try to put them all together but the girls get very protective of the boy. I want them all to get along but at the same time, don't want them to get hurt. Also, the male and 6 week old female share a cage. The male keeps trying to mate with her. Should I move the 6 week old into the 1 year old females cage to prevent babies at such a young age? Even though the girls don't get along? Please help.

    • Micayla,
      Wow, this is a very tricky situation. To start I would definitely separate the girl and boy - mating that young would be dangerous. However, I would not put the 6 month girl with the 1 year girl. Is it possible to split one of the cages into two? Or get a third cage?

      It sounds like the introduction process was rushed. I would put the two girls into separate cages about two inches apart and when they stop snapping at each other through the bars move them to neutral territory and have them meet with supervision.
      Chasing, humping, sounds and the like are all very normal. However if there is full on biting, fur loss, or weight loss then I would separate them and try again in a couple days.

      Hopefully once the girls get along they will stop fighting over the male, if not you will also have to do the pairing process with the male and the one year old.

      Keep in mind that there is never a guarantee that chinchillas will get along - I hope it works out! Good luck!

  18. I just got a Male Chinchilla who is 5 yrs old. I already have 2 feamle chinchillas that are 1 yr. They are both sisters. The male is from another breadder. Anyway, I have tried introducing them several times in the past month. One of the females visiously attacks him without giving up everytime she gets near him. And he just tries to get away never defends himself at all. And my other female is always nuzzling with him and being just as nice as he is. And then after they have their time together. the other female will attack her in the same way. Which after she has lost hair and started becoming shy of being around my male. Its kind of like the other is punking her and caring her from being around the male. I really want to have them all in one cage. I have 1 very large cage big enough for all of them. And at the time haveing to put my male in a smaller guinnee pig cage. Which I am not happy with at all. Please tell me that there is something that I can do. O do I need to find a home for the misbehaving female?

    • Summer,
      Wow this is a very tricky situation!
      To start, let me say that the female is not attacking the other female because she hangs out with the male, she attacks her because she smells like the male and the first female doesn't recognize her. To fix this problem just give the female a dust bath after she hangs out with the male hopefully to mask the scent.

      If the pairing process doesn't work then it may be that they just won't get along. A couple tricks though:
      Have the chinchillas switch cages so they are with whoever they are usually housed with, but surrounded by the other chins scent.

      Put the cages very close together so they are near each other, but can't attack each other.
      Have them meet in neutral territory several times a week, and have all three of them together and maybe the sweet girl will be able to calm the viscous girl.

      Good luck!

  19. Hey Chinchilla Planet,
    I have a male chinchilla that is about 8/9 months old. I'm thinking about getting a companion and I have laid my eyes on a female chinchilla, but she's about 3 months. How should I introduce them together, should I not let them see each other until the female is 8 months? What should I do?

    • What I would do is, because the female is so young, I would wait 'til shes at least six months. You should have another pen or choose one of the cages, and let them play together. Do it at least once a day so they will enjoy coming out of their cages and excited to see each other. This will strengthen the chinchillas bond with each other.

  20. Hi i just got another chinchilla about four months and my other one is about 10 months and i put them together right away and they started fighting so i seperated them how do i get them to stop fighting and will they ever get along

    • Jimmy,
      Great question! They most likely will get along, four months is a little young to be put with a 10 month old but it should work out if the pairing process is done correctly.

      To start, never just put a chinchilla in a cage with another chinchilla, they will instantly attack. Wouldn't you if an intruder just walked into your home?

      Instead, you will need two cages. Put them about two inches apart and one chin in each. This will allow them to be near each other, but not hurt each other. It is natural for them to throw themselves against the side. Eventually they should calm down and be comfortable snuggling up against the side. At this point have them meet in neutral territory and watch closely. Chasing, hiding, urinating, even humping is normal behavior. However, full on biting, fur loss and weight loss are not, if these occur they should be separated and you can try again in a couple days.

      Hopefully they should warm up to each other and can be housed together. If there is any trouble a couple tricks include
      Having them switch cages for an hour to a day and Moving the cages farther apart and starting over.

      Good luck!

  21. hi i have 2 female chinchillas and i want a baby chinchilla but im afraid they might pick on it my chinchillas are very friendly and i think they would get a long with it but i dont really no how to introduce them to it and my chinchillas are 2 1/2 and 1 1/2 and i have enough room for another one in the cage that i have for mine but the only other cage i have is guinea pig cage that is from my wrist to my shoulder long and from my elbow to my fingers long what do i do?

    • Chinchilla Lover,
      Your concern is well placed. It is not recommended to pair babies and adults and it is not recommended to pair one with two. However both are possible so if you are up for the challenge and can put the time in I think you could do it.

      Good Luck!

  22. i`m sorry about your chinchilla being lonly,you should buy A new one that is
    the same age as it. they perobly will get along after time. All you have to do is
    let them see each other and benear each other for a little while and they should be able to get along with each other. I wan`t A chinchilla what would
    you advice for me to get as in female or male and what kind of chinchilla is best??

    • Shelbie,
      Both genders have their perks, but in the end it comes down to the personality of the individual chin. Females are more territorial, but they can also be more snuggly. Males are easier to pair. I would meet the chinchilla your looking into first and if it's not right for you keep looking.

      My one request is please do your research!!
      There are too many inadequate chinchilla parents. They are not just cute and soft, they require a lot of care and an immense amount of time. You have to be ready to commit and have all the proper knowledge.

  23. Hello there
    I have a chinchilla that is a year now
    and i just got a new chinchilla that is about 3months. My older one has tryed fighting with the baby one. and everytime i bring him near hes cage (the new one,. near the older ones cage) he like flips out. will they become friend in time? Or will it they never get along ?

    • Julieta,
      There is really no way to tell if they will get a long. However I think it can be done if you slow down the process.

      To start it is very very hard to pair a young chin with a year old chin - it may be easier when they both exceed a year.

      Best of Luck!

  24. Chris Celnar

    Randi,

    Sorry to hear that one of your chinchillas got hurt. It does complicate the introducing process as you suspected. It would seem to us that if your two chinchillas weren't getting along before the accident that they won't afterwards and so you'll have to take it slowly. However, in the long run there shouldn't be any issue with an injured chinchilla coexisting with a non-injured one.

    Although it's impossible to be 100% safe, the most common injuries are due to wire cage bottoms and wire wheels. Such surfaces that allow a chinchilla's foot to slip through will inevitably lead to injury at some point.

  25. Hi i was in the process of introducing my 2 male chinchillas. we were about 3 weeks into it when the newest one had an accident. (he got his foot caught in his ramp to go to the 4th story) well we are having to keep him confined in a 1 story cage until he heals. his splint comes off in a week, but there will still be a bit of recovery time before i can let him out on daily runs again. well anyways after such a long break from the introductory process is it safe to just start over? even if the 3 weeks we were introducing they were still not getting along? also for the rest of the newest ones life his leg will be straighter than other. and that will make running and jumping more difficult. should i maybe just keep them seperate? so no injuries can occur?

  26. i have a male chinchilla and he is almost one year old but he doesnt like people he doesnt like to be held or played with at all, i feel bad because he is always in his cage alone because he doesnt like to be played with. he has a very large cage it is about 5 feet tall 3 feet wide and 2 1/2 feet deep with 4 different levels. i want to get him another male so he isnt alone all the time but it dont know if hes to old or how to do it?

  27. Chris Celnar

    We don't think your chinchilla is to old for a friend. The new chinchilla can go in to a smaller cage since it is temporary. That's what we did. The age of the second chinchilla shouldn't matter too much as long as he is fully grown i.e. not a baby.

  28. Hello,
    I have a male chinchilla that is 3 years old. I would really like to get another one and put them in the same cage. Is he too old to introduce a new one? I know that it would be best to keep them in seperate cages and slowly let them interact. Does it matter what size the cage is that I put my new chinchilla in? And should I look for an older chinchilla or a younger one to introduce? Thank you so much!

  29. Chris Celnar

    Hannah,

    You don't need two chinchillas, but they do seem to enjoy having company. We have two chinchillas that are both females and they get along just fine.

  30. Hi i have been wanting a chinchilla for a while now and i might be getting one soon.Is it best to get two chinchillas that are females or just one female.I dont want to have stress about them fighting. What shuld i do????

  31. I am planning to get me another one so my chinchilla Charley can have a friend to play with. Thank you for that information we probably would have just stuck them together and hoped they get along.

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