Two very common questions are:
1) How many babies do chinchillas have?
Answer: Chinchillas usually have two babies.
2) How many babies can a chinchilla have?
Answer: 1 – 6 babies (although having six babies is rare).
A quick note before we continue. Chinchilla babies are actually called kits and not babies, so from here on, let’s refer to them as kits.
Chinchillas have one of the longest pregnancies (gestation periods) of all rodents, 111 days on average. This explains why the kits are born fully furred, and with open eyes and ears. Weighing 45 grams on average, they are active right from the get-go.
Delivery usually takes place in the early morning hours, and the length of it varies a lot, mainly depending on the size of the litter. Delivery can take anything from a few minutes to several hours.
The mother should normally be able to handle the birth without help, so all you need to do is give her some peace and quiet, and to monitor the situation.
She will clean and dry the kits, keep them warm, and provide them with milk.
If complications do arise, contact a veterinarian immediately.
To give you an idea of what it looks like, here’s a video of a chinchilla giving birth to two kits:
There’s one placenta per kit. If there are two kits but only one placenta, then they are twins!
Kits usually start to eat solid food after a week, and then gradually replace their mother’s milk with solid food. At 8 weeks, it’s time to start the weaning process.
Unfortunately, survival rate of kits are only 70-80%. Here’s how you can improve the chances for your kits to survive:
Word of Advice
Before you decide to start breeding chinchillas, be aware that it’s not an easy task, and that it’s actually discouraged by The Chinchilla Club.
…chinchillas should never be intentionally bred without extensive knowledge of proper breeding practices. To increase chance of survival it may be best to recommend getting advice from experienced breeders. There are many unusual circumstances that can emerge that must be dealt with quickly.