Births - Complications - And When To Panic!

Female chinchillas always seem to have their litters in the early hours of the morning. You may first notice that her chest and forepaws are soaking wet, this is due to the waters breaking. The female will also be licking repeatedly at her undercarriage too.

Contractions are usually quite visible. During these, the female may arch her back, strain a little and even cry out. The kits are delivered headfirst and the female reaches down and uses her teeth to pull them free.

Because of this, big kits that have got a bit stuck in the birth canal, may get terribly mutilated by the females teeth. If you see this happening - then call a vet immediately!!

Veterinary assistance is also required immediately if you see any fresh blood during the birth. A normal chinchilla birth is clean and blood-free (the only blood coming from eating the afterbirth afterwards).

There may be a couple of hours between kits being born - BUT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD A FEMALE BE ALLOWED TO STRAIN OR LABOUR IN VAIN FOR LONGER THAN 3-4 HOURS WITHOUT PRODUCING ANYTHING!!! If she does - then IMMEDIATE veterinary advice should be sought!!

When the birth is over, within an hour or two the female will start expelling the afterbirths (there may be over two hour delay, so just keep an eye out). There is usually 1 per kit, but occasionally kits share a placenta, so this is not a hard and fast rule.

If you do not witness the expulsion of the afterbirths, the usual evidence is a bl00dy snout, forepaws and a bl00dy patch in the cage (there should be no fresh blood running from the mothers gential opening).

Within a week or two after the birth, if the female produces tiny droppings (gets constipated), goes off her food, shows signs of abdominal pain (stretching and pressing belly on the cage floor) or has a discharge from her genitals - then, once again, do not delay in calling a vet!!

All this said, most females do not have any problems, so try not to worry, just keep a calm head and let the female get on with things as undisturbed as possible (especially if she is first-time mother). Only act if something seems amiss.

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