A chinchilla cage should be a minimum of 4x4x3 feet (two floors of 12 square feet each). Chinchillas need room for jumping, playing, and exploring. Having a large chinchilla cage setup is essential to keep your pet healthy.
Chinchillas love playing, which is why they need plenty of living space.
Even though chinchillas are small, their space requirements are large.
If you are planning to keep a chinchilla as your next pet, you should know about the cage requirements of your chin.
This guide discusses the proper chinchilla cage setup and gives you tips to make your chinchilla content with its new home.
Chinchilla Cage Setup Overview
A chinchilla cage should be around 4 x 4 x 3 feet or around 24 cubic feet. Your chinchilla’s cage should be made of metal and must have at least one inch of space between each bar.
|Bar Spacing||1 inch|
Chinchillas are curious animals which means they tend to explore their surroundings. A cage that offers ample space to play and rest is great for their health.
The cage should be made of metal instead of plastic to provide better durability. Chinchillas love chewing, and having a plastic cage is not ideal as your chin can bite through it.
There are multiple ways to set up a chinchilla cage. You can choose to set up a single-floor cage or a multilevel cage setup.
Several floors allow them to run up and down and separate their litter and sleeping areas.
What Is a Multilevel Chinchilla Cage?
A multilevel chinchilla cage involves different compartments in a single cage which helps keep all the chinchillas separate from each other while also maintaining social interactions.
This helps prevent fighting or accidental mating, which are not healthy situations for chinchillas.
It also allows them to use one area as a litter box, and another area for sleeping, eating, etc.
This type of chinchilla cage is preferred over a single-floor cage, as the chins can easily communicate with each other while maintaining a safe distance.
Chinchilla Cage Setup
There are several types of chinchilla cages that you can use for your chinchillas. A typical chinchilla cage setup involves finding the perfect size, proper bars, and the ideal room temperature.
A proper chinchilla cage is one of the most important parts of having a pet chinchilla. The chinchilla cage must be durable and strong so as not to allow your pet to chew through it.
There are certain things you need to look for when setting up a chinchilla cage:
- Bar spacing
- Size of the cage
- Room placement
Bar spacing is important when choosing your chinchilla cage. Chins are small rodents that can easily get out of small spaces and nooks.
Having a small bar spacing is needed to keep your chinchilla inside the cage.
The standard bar spacing for a chinchilla cage is around one inch. The bars should be placed horizontally instead of the common vertical ones, preferably both.
This helps in placing the different accessories inside the cage easily. It also helps chins climb up or down with ease as there is enough space for their hands.
Chins need ample amounts of space in their cages to explore, play, and jump around. A chinchilla cage should be a minimum of 4 x 3 x 3 feet or 24 cubic feet in volume.
Chinchillas love climbing which means that they need a tall cage to serve this purpose. They need more vertical length than guinea pigs or degus.
Providing a big cage also keeps your pet satisfied and healthy due to the extra space for playing.
The Ideal Room
Chinchillas have one of the smoothest furs in the animal kingdom. Their dense fur helps keep their bodies warm and protects them from the harsh climate of the mountains.
This means that chins are not suitable for living in a warm climate.
Chinchillas heat up fast and suffer from heatstroke if their cage is too warm. This can be fatal. Their cage should be placed in a room with a temperature between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit to keep their bodies cool and away from the heat.
Air conditioning can help keep your chinchilla at ideal room temperatures and reduce the risk of heatstroke.
Apart from keeping your chin at ideal room temperatures, the room should also have adequate sunlight. Chins sleep during the day, and lack of natural light can disturb their sleep cycle.
It is also important to keep your chinchillas in a separate room from where you sleep. Keeping your chinchilla in your bedroom is not advised because they are nocturnal. Their nightly activities can affect your sleep.
Choose a room without a rug to make it easy for you to clean the surface due to poop or hay fallout.
Chinchillas don’t need a bed, but they do need bedding. Choosing the right bedding is essential to accompany the cage.
Several factors affect your decision for bedding:
- Tolerance for odor
- Cleaning requirements
You can use newspaper as your chinchilla bedding, but it is not recommended because of the ink. Ink can be poisonous, resulting in medical issues.
Here are some of the best bedding options for a chinchilla cage setup:
- Aspen shavings
- Shredded dried pine
- Corn cob
- Fleece liners
Aspen Shavings for Bedding
Aspen shavings are the most common as they are cheap and easily available. But they are also the messiest and most difficult to deal with.
Aspen shavings do not absorb urine well and can be smelly. The flakes also fall out of the cage on the floor, which makes cleaning that more tedious.
Fleece Liners for Bedding
Using fleece liners is a more reasonable option as they are easy to clean, do not fall out of the cage, and absorb urine well.
They are not compatible with every chinchilla cage, which is why you should look for a cage option that allows fleece liners to be set up.
Fleece liners are soft and can cover the entire cage. This makes it safe for chinchillas to walk without developing any foot diseases and injuries such as bumblefoot.
Cleaning the fleece liners is easy and simply requires you to wash them once or twice a week. This reduces the smell from the chinchilla cage and keeps your chin healthy.
Essential Chinchilla Cage Supplies
Chinchillas need a safe space for their naps. They also require an uninterrupted supply of water attached to their cages along with a food bowl.
Chinchillas are easy to keep and maintain. A chinchilla cage with all the essential supplies is important to keep your chin happy and healthy.
You can decorate your chinchilla cage as per your preference. It is the most fun part of setting up the cage. Here are some of the most important parts which you should be aware of.
One of the most vital parts of a chinchilla cage is the chinchilla nest. Chinchillas need nests as their hiding spots.
A nest functions as a safe place for chinchillas and helps them hide in case of a threat. They also use their nest to nap.
Your chinchilla should not be afraid of you, but there are many things that can scare it. Other people, pets, or even the sound of a vacuum can startle a chinchilla.
Chins run to their hiding spot inside the cage when they feel vulnerable. A cozy next box can serve as the perfect hiding spot for your chinchilla.
Chinchillas need food throughout the day to remain healthy. They take multiple short munching breaks every few minutes.
Set up a food bowl for their daily pellet intake. The food bowl helps hold the pellets in one place and reduces spillage.
Buy a food bowl that is heavy and made of durable material. This prevents it from tipping over when your chinchilla is eating and ensures your pet doesn’t break it if they chew on it.
Chinchillas drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and keep their bodies cool. Your chinchilla should always have an uninterrupted supply of water.
It is recommended to have at least two water bottles. Two water bottles are used instead of one as it ensures that your chinchilla has access to clean water even if one bottle breaks down.
Set up bottles made of glass as plastic water bottles can cause poisoning.
Lack of proper hydration leads to kidney stones in chinchillas, which is why it’s so important to set up water bottles properly.
Chinchillas rely on two major food sources: hay and pellets. You can use a food bowl for the pellets, but you need a separate container for the hay.
Your chinchilla should always have access to hay. Use a rack and attach it to the bars of your chinchilla’s cage.
Ensure the rack does not allow food wastage and spillage to reduce the amount of cleaning required.
How to Build a Chinchilla Cage Step by Step
If you don’t want to buy a cage, you can make your own DIY chinchilla cage at home. Building a chinchilla cage requires wooden panels, shredded paper, nails, mesh, and tools.
There are tons of chinchilla cages available in the market. You can buy a cage that is suited to your chinchilla’s needs.
But if you don’t want to spend the money, and you decide to build your own chinchilla cage, there are certain steps you should follow:
- Assemble all the essential materials such as wooden panels, nails, shredded paper, screwdrivers, and mesh.
- Construct the base of your cage with 2 x 4 wooden panels on the back and sides of the cage.
- There are going to be five panels for the back, left, right, roof, and floor.
- Cut the mesh correctly and attach it to all the panels in the cage.
- Screw all the panels together.
- Install the shelves for climbing and jumping.
- Connect the top to the assembled cage.
- Place the shredded paper as the bedding, or you can use a fleece liner.
- Add accessories and toys for your chinchilla to play with.
Chinchillas need a spacious cage of 4x4x3 feet or 24 cubic feet. A good cage setup includes feeders and drinking water bottles. The cage should also have bedding to provide your chin with soft ground to walk on.
Chinchillas need low room temperatures to live. Placing the cage in an air-conditioned room helps keep its body temperature low to avoid heatstroke. You can also put toys in your chinchilla cage to make your chinchilla engaged and busy.
What Type of Toys Can I Put in a Chinchilla Cage?
You can put chew toys such as toys made from apple and pine wood. These wood are safe for chinchillas to chew on and do not affect their health. Hang them from the roof of your chinchilla cage to give your chin something to play with. An exercise wheel is also great.
Where Should You Place a Chinchilla Cage in the House?
Chinchillas need a cool place to live, so keeping the cage in a cold part of the house helps keep your chin cool. Look for a place that is secluded and quiet to ensure zero disturbance to your chinchilla during the day as it is time for its rest. A basement or an unused room with sunlight are ideal places for a chinchilla cage.
Should I Cover My Chinchilla Cage?
No, you should not cover your chinchilla cage at any time. Covering the cage can disrupt your chin’s sleep cycle due to the darkness. It also reduces the ventilation, which can overheat your chinchilla leading to heatstroke.
How Often Should I Clean My Chinchilla Cage?
Keep your chinchilla cage as clean as possible. Cleaning the chinchilla cage at least once a week is ideal. Ensure that you keep the bedding clean and free from any odor. Regular bottle cleaning is needed to ensure an uninterrupted supply of water to your pet. Bacteria can grow inside the bottle dispenser and should be removed as often as possible.