The daily routine should include checking food, hay and water, wiping off shelves, and making sure that the chinchilla is doing well. It is best to free feed chinchillas so they should have a constant supply of food at all times. Pellets should be provided fresh every day. Unless a gravity feeder (also known as a J
A standard Grey Chinchillafeeder) is used, any food left from the previous day should be thrown away and replaced with fresh. The reason for this is simple. Chinchillas have a tendency to sit in their bowls and defecate or urinate in them, contaminating any feed the bowl contains. The same is true of hay. Fresh hay should be supplied daily. Any hay that has been tossed to the bottom of the cage or is wet with urine should be removed. Hay cubes and chew toys that appear stained, wet or dirty should also be taken out of the cage and thrown away. Additionally, the water bottle should be emptied and refilled with fresh water. Water that is allowed to remain in the bottle can become stagnant, allowing bacteria and algae to grow in the bottle. Another item that needs daily attention is cleaning the poop and bedding off of the shelves and from around the cage. Cages with fleece liners need to have the poop vacuumed regularly. Any bedding that appears damp or dirty should be removed. If the cage has fleece liners and a potty pan, the potty pan should be emptied, cleaned and refilled with fresh litter. While taking care of the items already mentioned, it is a good idea to check the chinchilla for any signs of injury or illness.
Once a week, the litter in the bottom of the cage should be changed and the pan cleaned. Water bottles need to be scrubbed weekly. If the cage has fleece liners and a potty pan instead of bedding, the liners need to be changed at least once a week and washed. Adding a cup of vinegar to the wash water will help with any urine smell present in the liners.
Depending on the humidity, chinchillas need to take dust baths at least once a week (for drier climates) to three times a week (for more humid areas). Another item that may require occasional care is a complete cleaning of the cage. This includes scrubbing, rinsing and drying the entire cage, wire, shelves, pan and accessories. Safe cleaning products for cleaning chinchilla cages include vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and bleach. Vinegar should be mixed with water (one part vinegar to one part water). Both vinegar and peroxide are totally safe and require no rinsing. Bleach should be mixed with water (one cup to a gallon of water) and needs to be thoroughly rinsed and allowed to dry. If wooden shelves or houses are particularly dirty, they can be cleaned with one of the methods already mentioned and then sanded once they are dry to remove any remaining stains.