I have succesfully hand-reared many kits on the evaporated milk formula to date, even though chinchillas are lactose-intolerant. However, if you do get problems (such as the kits getting upset tummies) then try kitten milk instead of evaporated milk.

Here is my method - although other chinnie owners may have other methods that work equally well:


  • One part evaporated milk
  • Two parts cooled boiled water
  • One pinch of glucose
  • One drop of abidec vitamins

(Optional: you can also add a pinch of probiotics to the formula if necessary - to maintain a healthy gut flora)

N.B. Some websites appear to recommend using condensed milk!!! This is completely wrong - and only evaporated milk should be used!!!

I keep the evaporated milk in a sterile sealed tuppaware container in the refrigerator - it will keep fresh for 3 days this way. I always make up a fresh formula with each feed (the kits seem to prefer this) and never re-warm a formula for another feed. I also sterilise all the equipment, containers and pipettes between each feed with milton fluid (according to the instructions) just as you would for a human baby. Make sure you are sterilising everything thoroughly - as milk is an excellent breeding-ground for bacteria.

If your kits do develop diarrhoea you can give them a few drops of paediatric kaolin before each feed - this usually sorts it out quickly - or try diluting the milk a little more until their tummies are back to normal. If all this fails then you may have to try them on kitten milk instead. Diarrhoea can dehydrate kits very quickly - which will make them feel unwell so they wont feel like drinking any fluids - which makes things worse - a kind of "catch 22" situation. So you need to sort out any diarrhoea VERY quickly - i.e within six hours if possible.

Bring the formula up to blood temperature when feeding - I do this by standing the formula in a bowl of warm water to warm up slightly - if you feed the milk too cold it can give them tummy-ache. I also "top & tail" the kits with every feed using a dampened cotton wool ball.

After the first week I make solid food available to the kits - if they wish to try eating it. At two weeks old I have observed kits "tasting" water from mums water bottle - so you can at least offer orphans a water bottle at this age - even if they ignore it.

Make sure you are sitting somewhere comfortable and have everything you need to hand. If you are relaxed and settled the kits seem to sense this and will drink more. Give them as much formula as they will happily drink - once they start pushing the pipette away - then stop - they have had enough.

Avoid getting milk into their noses at all costs. If they start blowing milk-bubbles from the nose - that means they have breathed some milk in - you may have fed the milk too quickly - if this happens - stop feeding them - wipe the milk away from their nose - and return them to their "home" to recover for half an hour before trying again.

  • First two weeks: Every two hours they will need a feed.
  • Two to four weeks: Every three to four hours (depending on the kits appetite and weight-gain).
  • Four to six weeks: Every four to six hours (you can start cutting out the night feeds).
  • Six to eight weeks: Every six hours (four feeds a day). You can also start gradually diluting the formula with more water to start to wean the kits off the milk.
  • By eight weeks: They should be virtually weaned off milk by now but if they still want a feed or two a day then you can continue until they are ten weeks old.
  • I usually try to wean them by eight to ten weeks - but usually they decide when to wean themselves!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.