This page is intended as a guide to what we feel are worthwhile products for chinchillas that we have found to be good values and worth the investment for your pet chinchilla.
Carrier -- Marchioro Clipper 1. This carrier is our favorite and most used in our "collection". It is often on sale for $9.99 at Meijer. The regular price for this carrier is $19.99. We like this carrier because of its small size, and the fact that the door does not rattle as some do.
Pine Litter -- Brown's 5 cubic foot bale. This is the most economical litter we've found at nearby popular stores. It is often on sale at Meijer for $4.99, regular selling price is $6.49
Pine Litter -- Tractor Supply 7.5 cubic foot bale. We recommend this ONLY for cages with pull out pans where there is a wire floor above the litter. There is a possibility there could be other woods mixed in with the pine. This is the litter we use most here, as almost all of our cages have wire floors above the litter trays. Very economical, and worth the trip if you stock up with a couple bales at a time (if you have the storage space), especially if you have multiple chins. Regular price at our local Tractor Supply store is $4.67.
Pellets -- Mazuri Chinchilla Pellets. We feed and recommend Mazuri (made by Purina Mills). It is a high-quality pellet, specifically formulated for chinchillas of all life-stages. We gradually change the diet of all chinchillas that arrive here to Mazuri, and they seem to prefer it, often picking out the Mazuri and eating it first when it's mixed in with their old brand. Mazuri is becomming more easy to find, now that customers are requesting stores carry it. If your local store does not carry it, you may be able to special order it through them (inform them that Purina makes it, and they should be able to look it up). It is also available mail order through some chinchilla specialty companies.
Bathing Dust -- Blue Cloud. We highly recommend Blue Cloud dust for bathing your chinchilla. Blue Cloud is the dust that people who show their chinchillas use for their show animals. This is the only dust we use here at Second Chance Chins. It makes the chins fur irresistably beautiful. It also seems to cause less eye irritation than some cheaper pet-store brands. Unfortunately, this dust is available mail-order only and shipping is quite expensive. If you are thrifty with your dust, and sift it out occasionally and do not allow your chin free access to it (which can dry out their skin anyway, and shouldn't be allowed), a small amount should last you a long time. We suggest starting out with approximately 10 pounds, which sounds like a lot, but really is not. This stuff is about like dry concrete mix...very heavy
Water Bottle -- SuperPet Flat Bac bottle, 16 ounce size. This is the bottle with the little duckie in it. It is a "no-drip" bottle, but we caution users to make sure the water level goes down by placing a piece of masking tape on the bottle at the water level. We have found a few defective bottles in our purchases of these bottles. Make sure that the water is going down due to the chin drinking and not that it is leaking. If at all possible, watch the chin when he/she is drinking. You should see air bubbles going up as he or she is drinking. We recommend keeping your receipt and the packaging until you are positive the bottle is ok, so you may return it to the store for replacement if defective. We discard the plastic mounting bracket and replace it with a bale made of a piece of wire coathanger, cut and bent to shape, to hang the bottle on the outside of the cage. We also fashion a chew guard out of flashing or sheet metal which goes from the top of the bottle to past the plastic portion of the spout. It wraps around both sides by about a half inch. We've had a lot of bottles ruined by very interested chins!
Wheel -- 15" Chin Spin Wheel from Quality Cage. We feel this wheel is by far the best value for the money. Yes, it is a bit more expensive than the plastic variety you see in pet stores, but it will last you a very long time, and it is as safe as can be for chins, and an appropriate size. This wheel is also quiet (you'll hear rattling from the cage itself when the chin runs), and runs very smoothly. For an active chin, there is no substitute for a good wheel, unless you can let them out to play for several hours every evening. We have recommended this wheel to many clients, and have not had any complaint feedback.
Hay Feeder -- Bass Equipment, "Econo", 7-1/2" wide model. Hay feeders absolutley must hang on the outside of the cage for chinchillas, or serious injury could result. The use of a hay feeder allows the chin access to an ample amount of hay, which is kept clean because it is not on the floor of the cage. This style feeder hangs on the outside of the cage, and the chin pulls the hay through the mesh of the cage wall to eat it. With some cages, it may be necessary to actually cut larger holes in the cage, and file or grind the cut edges smooth, which may be undesirable to some. We have found that most chins can access the hay through 1"x1" mesh, but openings of 1"x2" are optimal for easiest access. Mesh of 1/2"x1" is nearly impossible for the chin to access the hay though. We have both the Bass Equipment hay feeders as well as the Quality Cage model. We prefer the Bass Equipment model by a narrow margin over the Quality Cage version. It's a little narrower and fits our cages a little better. We also like the reinforcement bar across the top edge of the Bass Equipment model. We have yet to figure out why the mounting wire is bent the way it is on each of these models. We use a pair of pliers to bend it from a "Z" shape to an "L" so that it loops around a wire on the cage and comes back OUT of the cage so there is no chance of a chin getting poked by the end of the mounting wire. When mounted to the cage, both these feeders should be tight to the side of the cage.
Hay Feeder -- Quality Cage. See above entry for most information regarding mounting. This is a nice hay feeder. You may find that you need to bend the metal prongs at the bottom of the feeder so they do not stick out into the cage, but go flat against the wires of the cage, to avoid injury. We have found difficulty in mounting these hay feeders to Martin's Cages, or any cage that is of 1/2"x1" wire, as the bottom metal prongs are 1/2" wide or a slight bit bigger and won't go through the mesh of the cage without bending the wire of the mesh slightly.
Hammock -- ForCHINate Chins. Excellent quality, handmade hammocks specially designed for chinchillas. You are able to customize your hammocks to your taste or decor with their large selection of fabrics. Each hammock is custom made just for you and your chin! These hammocks are well constructed and very reasonably priced. We recommend purchasing at least two, so you can rotate them out for cleaning. We recommend that you not remove items from your chins cage overnight, as chinchillas "learn" their cage and might try to jump into a hammock that isn't there!
Cage -- Martin's Cages, Highrise model. This is our favorite cage. Almost all of our permanent rescue housing is this model cage. It is easy to clean with the slide-out tray. We prefer to "gut" the cage of all the upper shelves and ramps and outfit it with custom wooden shelves we build ourselves. A 15" Chin Spin or a Flying Saucer wheel will fit nicely into one of these models, and still leave plenty of play room.
Cage -- CBC cages, 24x24x46 (1x1 wire model). This cage is made of quality materials and is well constructed. For the size, it is an extremely good value. The slide out tray makes for easy cleaning. We recommend requesting 1/2"x1/2" flooring (available upon request for no additional charge). We also recommend "gutting" this cage and adding your own wooden shelving (we have instructions for making your own, or we can make them for you). If you request the upper floors and ramps be omitted, you will receive a discount on the cage. We would like to see different placement of the doors, and for them to be a little larger, but the clients who have purchased this cage so far are overall happy with it. A 15" Chin Spin will fit in this cage, but it must be "built" into it, as it will not fit through the doors. It will take up one whole wall of the cage.