Helping you care for your chinnie

Pairing chinchillas young

There is a lot that is still unknown about chinchillas. I don’t believe the answers are a given for various reasons.
I breed mostly Standard and Beige. Where I breed with mutations it is a “single” mutation, it carries one Standard gene. The few exceptions are recessives and Homo Beige. In almost all my mutation pairs, the male is the mutation and the female is Standard. If the female is a mutation, she is Hetero Beige. I have one pair that are 2 mutations, it was a “mercy” pairing and each of the 2 carries a Standard gene.
I pair them when the girls are older than 8 months. I will keep Spring girls and pair them with Autumn boys. If I keep a Spring boy, I wait. The reason I do this is to prevent too early pregnancies. I also breed Ebony and very few Whites. With Ebony I know from experience that they are sexually mature later than Std and Beige. A Std or Beige girl will give her first litter when she is older than 12 months, usually 14-16 months. If I pair an 8 month old girl with a 4 month old boy, she will be pregnant before she is 10 months old. If I pair a Std girl with a young Ebony boy, it takes months longer.
I believe the mutations influence the age at which they are sexually mature. I can’t put an age to this and it will differ. I also noticed a difference between Costina and La Plata. A Costina girl will fall pregnant a lot quicker than a La Plata girl. Since I pair them older it is not that obvious but I keep records of everything. A La Plata girl will have her first litter at an older age, they seem to take longer to fall pregnant. They also breed slower.
There is also herd dynamics. A young pair, say 9 months old, will fall in with the herd, she will have babies later to fit in with the time everyone have babies. This only happens with monogamous breeding. You get baby seasons with polygamous breeding too but the breeders will simply prevent winter babies by keeping the males away. The breeder controls baby season, in a herd like mine it becomes a natural cycle. Winter babies are rare.
As with any theory, we test it. Willie tested this over 4 years. He pairs La Plata with La Plata because one of the parents were Costina. I work on 2 generations, then breed back to Costina. If not, you end up with huge chinchillas that gives one baby a year. They need the “good mother” properties.
We built up what we have now with careful planning. We kept the right babies. I got RPA and others from Willie and I gave him pure Standard, Ebony, White and Tan. One of the parents is Costina and the other La Plata or it is a first generation La Plata pair. Willie pairs mutation with mutation, all safe pairings. He uses Ebony, Tan, TOV etc. A lot are also paired with pure Std females. They are La Plata.
Right from the start, over 4 years ago, he paired this way. The female will be about 6 weeks older than the male. If there is less than a month difference, they are not paired. Never is a female paired with an older male. In all the years, between all the pairs there was not a single young pregnancy and no miscarriages. They all give birth when they are over 12 months old. I know this because we plan together and we keep records the same way. There was never an exception.
There is no scientific proof for this. I have just seen it often with my own young pairs that the girl will simply prevent the boy from mating with her because she is bigger. She will chase him away. This is why they often only fall pregnant when they are 10-12 months old. If the boy is bigger, he will force her. It happened to Scarlett. When the girl is ready, she will allow him to mate with her.
Chinchillas have an ovulation cycle, like humans. They ovulate roughly every 38 days. There is just a huge difference. An animal like a dog or cat will not fall pregnant if she is not in heat. They will only mate when she is in heat. Rabbits ovulate as a result of mating. Chinchillas do both. They can ovulate as a result of mating, regardless the cycle.
The colony tendency is that they will all ovulate fairly close to each other. It even happens with humans. A house full of females will menstruate at roughly the same time. When a female gives birth, she ovulates again. It excites the males. They will mate with the females that are not pregnant and 16 weeks later there are a bunch of babies. This is also what causes a “second” pregnancy. She is pregnant in one uterus, a female gives birth, the male gets exited and mate with her again.
This causes the other uterus to ovulate. When she gives birth the hormones that triggers the labor process doesn’t distinguish between the 2. All the babies are born. The ones that were carried full term will be fine. The other will be weeks premature, it differs. The “second” pregnancy baby will not live. The few times it happened here they were about 6-8 weeks premature. It didn’t happen for a few years now because of the herd cycle. I know of only one case where the “second” baby was not born with the others but was born healthy just over 80 days later. The birth records proved it but I know of no other.
I believe that because of herd dynamics, the mutation factor, the La Plata properties and the fact that the male is smaller than the female, there are no young pregnancies. There is no way to prove why. It just doesn’t happen. With Standard and Beige it will happen. She will ovulate way too young and you will have a problem.
I don’t think the influence of mutations is fully understood. I’m not aware of any studies into it. The mutation females I know of that got pregnant too young were all Costina, not La Plata. I obviously won’t know of them all.
I am just of the opinion that if things could’ve gone wrong it would’ve. It is not one or 2 pairs. It is about 30 pairs. All mutation pairs and not a single young pregnancy. I can’t say why, I can just share what I have learned and observed over the ears. The difference between Costina and La Plata is not understood. Most people don’t even know about it. Really experienced breeders do and they use it. This I have proved in my own herd.
Because of what I breed I can’t do this. I must pair them older. Since there was never a mishap I must look at the advantages. The biggest advantage is that they grow up together and there is no problem pairing a difficult girl later. The male is not at risk.
I can’t say it will work for everyone. What I can say is that if you do not have the knowledge to pair the right 2 chinchillas, you will end up with a girl that will give birth when she is 8 or 10 months old. This can be fatal.
I am convinced that a combination of all these factors prevents early pregnancies. I am also convinced that if you mess up with how you pair, it will turn out bad. This was a calculated risk, based on the knowledge of all the contributing factors.
Because of this knowledge it proved to work for Willie but it will never work for me. I know it won’t work for Standard and Beige so I won’t even test it. I pair adults.