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Fur Chewing


Debbie

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Fur chewing is a vice that affects a small percentage of chinchillas. Chinchillas can do it to themselves - and/or other chins sharing the same cage. They chew the top layer off the fur - leaving the undercoat exposed and giving an untidy appearance

It has many suspected causes ................

Stress

Boredom

Dietary

Genetic

Hormonal

There are a few old records stating that one theory was that chins that fur-chewed consistantly were deficient in Arachidonic essential fatty acid. This is mainly found in animal-based sources - so ranchers would hang bacon rind in the cages for the chins to chew. This appeared to work in many cases?? I am not sure how advisable this is though - seeing as chinchillas are herbivores (and I am not recommending it as such - only stating it as a historic fact).

Other sources state that it is an inherited vice (a dominant gene) that is responsible for fur-chewing (Kline).

Another theory is that affected chinchillas could be deficient in certain amino acids.

And finally some sources state that it may be a hormonal anomaly (Kraft).

Basically - no one seems to be 100% sure!!

There is no 100% effective treatment but the following may help some cases:

Just provide a good, balanced diet - peace and quiet during the day - and plenty of mental and physical stimulation when the chins are active.

Flowers of Sulphur or a pet-safe bitter-spray can also put a chinchilla off chewing it's fur in mild cases.

It is also wise not to breed from affected chins or continue to breed from chins who's offspring have shown inclination towards the vice.

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