Chinchillas are sturdy but particular animals. When breeding, it is important to have a firm understanding on how their reproduction works. Chinchillas vary from one another, so it is wise to temper information to your specific situation.
The estrus cycle of a chinchilla, the time in which is can get pregnant, is 28 days. They go into heat for 2 days during the cycle. The chances of conception seem to be greater during winter and spring, but they can become pregnant every month. Their breeding activity will slow considerable during summer and fall and this will occur even in a controlled environment where seasonal changes have little to no impact.
Chinchillas have the longest gestation period of any rodent – 111 days exactly. Pregnancy is difficult to detect during the first 3 months and are extremely susceptible to stress during this period. Sufficient stress can cause the chinchilla to terminate its pregnancy.
During gestation, chinchillas can display a wide array of behavior. Normally affectionate chinchillas may become irritable and territorial, defending themselves by spraying urine. Shy chinchillas may become more energetic or even affectionate. At this stage it is important to identify any changes in behavior and accommodate accordingly.
Chinchillas normally have a small litter, predominately giving birth to twins. Because of the long gestation period, babies are born fully furred and with open eyes.
The female will produce after birth for each of her babies. The babies usually nibble of the placenta, which is rich in protein, but it should be removed from the cage as soon as possible. Chinchillas have a very sensitive digestive system and are vegetarian. Proteins can cause severe impaction and digestive problems.
Females will go into heat 72 hours after giving birth and will mate with the male again if he is readily available. They are able to do so without complication. Though birth is a physically demanding process, the female is capable of handling it. Newborns are at risk of trampling if in the same cage.
The mother will begin producing milk after birth, which will require a substantial amount of minerals, fats, and proteins from the body. It is important to make sure she is well nourished during this period so that she can produce quality milk and properly feed her babies.
These are basic guidelines to help you understand the process of chinchilla pregnancy. Each case is unique but this is a good foundation to build upon.