Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Package Deals

So, I wanted to write a quick blog post about package deals, mainly... why we're not able to do them.  I had someone call today, saying they added up the costs of everything, and they have to save up some more, and we got to the discussion of the fact that the chins may not be on sale, when they are ready.

So they asked if we could do some sort of a package deal for a chin, cage, supplies, for a discount. I told her, unfortunately, we are unable to do that.  It sounded like she was starting to cry as we hung up the phone.

Not that I don't want to be nice, but, I wanted to explain why this is incredibly difficult (and, moreso, not really possible, on a cost perspective) for me to do.

Let's ignore the cost of the chins for a moment, cause those go on sale from time to time, and let's focus on the supplies.

Food:
Here -- Tradition $0.75 per pound
Oxbow -- 3 lbs -- $8.92 (not including shipping) -- here at Petsmart -- comes out to $2.97 / pound

Dust:
Here -- $1.25 per pound
Blue Cloud dust -- 13 oz. for $6.29, or 3 lbs for $10.49, here at Petsmart -- that 13 oz. is 3 oz SHORT of 1 lb... for $6.29!  The 3 lbs for $10.49 is still $3.49 per pound

Hay:
Here -- $1.00 per pound
Oxbow hay -- 15 oz. (1 ounce short of a pound) for $4.39, here at Petsmart.  Other sizes include 40 oz. for $9.77, or 90 oz. for $18.69.  Those work out to over $4.39 per pound, $3.90 per pound, and $3.32 per pound.

So, for a direct comparison, let's say you get 3 lbs pellets, 3 lbs dust, and 40 oz (2.5 lb) hay.  From the pet store, this would cost you $28.46 (plus tax and shipping).  From here, that would cost you $8.50.

How much more of a discount would you really like?  That's 70% discount from retail price, and, it's literally the same stuff that you are getting, just not always in such fancy packaging.

I used to tell people, I wish I could do more and help them out more... but what it honestly comes down to is this -- if you can't afford the $8.50 for basically 1-2 months worth of pellets, dust, and hay... a chinchilla may be too expensive of a pet for you.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fun Fact for Life: Chin Age

I've had a lot of people over the years tell me, their chin is 2 years old, they want to find another 2 year old to go with them.  This is fine, of course, if they want to match ages, it doesn't matter.... however... the chins don't know they're the same age.

Now, if you pair up a freshly weaned kit with an adult -- yes, they know that they're different ages.  But when you're pairing up a 4 month old and a 6 month old, or a 1 year and a 3 year old, or a 2 year old and a 10 year old... they have no idea.  It's not quite like people where someone who's 20 can recognize the look of someone who's 60.  To chins, an adult is an adult is an adult.  You may want to give them an exact-same-age-buddy... but they have no idea whether the buddy you gave them is their age, or could be their grandma's age

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fun Fact for Life: Curly Fur

I was asked a bit ago, since curlies are, well, curly, doesn't all the shavings stick to their fur?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  For the ones that have looser curls, which are more rounded, yes, shavings get caught, sometimes, but not at all times.  For the ones with more of a dreadlock / wooly consistency to their fur -- these chins feel more like sheep, but they tend to get matted (dreadlocks on a curly chin!), yet don't get nearly as much shavings stuck to them, as the shavings don't seem to work their way in, past the top layer of fur.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Goldbars and Other MNWI Specific Chins

Occasionally, people ask for specific chins.  They want a goldbar, or an ebony, or what have you -- but they want it bred here, so they can see the parents, and know it's from good lines, and what have you.  All good, no problem there.

Only thing is this -- if you want one that's bred here... it may take longer than if you don't care what breeder it comes from.

Case in point.  When I had those goldbars for sale at the beginning of the month, they went quick.  I had a few people ask about when I'd have more.  In case you missed the word on the street, Jim really did sell out of his goldbars.  I upped my numbers and now have 5 females in my run with my goldbar male, one of Jim's retired breeders, a goldbar who I've named Midas.  I will finish out that run with an additional one eventually.  But anyway, what this boils down to is this -- since Jim doesn't have any goldbars, and hardly anyone breeds goldbars... the only way I will be having goldbars in the future is if they are from my own breeding.  Again, no problem with this... until someone wants one right away.

I had someone that was wanting to get one in August, and sent me an email telling her to be sure to let her know when I had one that would be ready by the day in August she'd be able to pick up.  Now, I don't know if there was a miscommunication or what, but somewhere along the lines, something must not have been communicated right, because those two kits I sold earlier this month were the only baby goldbars I had.  Previous to that, I retired a goldbar female who wasn't breeding (Pearl), and got in three new chins from Jim for the goldbar run (prior to him selling out the goldbars).  One was a goldbar, another was a blocky standard goldbar carrier, the last was an ebony goldbar carrier (because apparently another breeder had chinchillas.com convinced that goldbar wraps would be a big thing...that chin was left around from when that didn't go anywhere...but hey, she carries goldbar, so hey, I can use her, and she's actually a decent looking ebony).  Those three were just opened up to Midas in the run.  Then, the mom of the two kits that were just sold got really run down from this pregnancy, so she's currently closed off from breeding until she regains her weight and looks better.  So.. at the time, that leaves only one female in that run who was open to Midas for any length of time recently... so, there will not likely be any goldbar babies anytime soon.

The reason I mention this all though, is because I told this person (and this applies to any chins that I don't currently have)... if it's not already born, it won't be ready by mid-August.  I mean, think about this.  A chin born today isn't weaned til early September, and ready at the earliest, a week or so after that.  This is where getting MNWI chins can take more time.  If someone wants a baby of a certain color & gender, and I already have one, I can mentally note that, and let them know when it's ready to go... but if it's not born yet... we all just have to wait for it to be born!  Unfortunately, I can't will these chins into existence... as nice as that would be!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Saturday 7/9

So, I was talking with some people about what goes on at the rescue, and about, when I tell people, oh it's been a busy day... yet they saw just a few chins listed, not much else done.. what actually went on?  So here and there I'm gonna start blogging about certain days and what went on, so you can all see how it goes.  And since these blog posts are sometimes scheduled out for the future (so I don't have 3 in one day, and then none for a week, which has definitely happened in the past, lol), I'll post the day as the title.

So for Saturday the 9th (today, as I write this)...

Started out the morning, up around 9ish.  Took the dogs out, gave Kailey her meds and both the dogs  a can of food.

Checked emails, my 10 am appointment emailed saying they were going to be 15 minutes late, so I sat down and actually answered a few emails, then went downstairs.  Filled up the water filter, and took the water that was already filtered and put it in a jug (so it doesn't overflow, since the top was filled).  Used that water to refill some of the water bottles that were getting low.

I already knew which chin these people were getting, since they put down a deposit, so I wrote out their adoption paperwork ahead of time.  I get that done, and so I get their bag of food that comes with the chin ready, as well as the kit bag (chews / munchies that are age appropriate and go home with the babies).

Still waiting for them to get here, so I go upstairs and wash some dishes.  Doorbell rings, they're here.  I ask them to go around the side, they do.  This is about 10:30.  They spend some time looking at the various chins, and then ask where theirs is.  I show them, and they're holding her and loving on her, and they mention they need all sorts of supplies.  So I tell them, we'll go down the list.  So, we start with the cage, and they pick out a cage, and we go over the list of everything else as well.  By the time I've gotten their supplies together, they've paid and packed the car, it's almost noon.

I go to sit back down and look at emails, and I see I have a message from someone who dropped off a bag they wanted filled with hay, a few days ago, when I wasn't home.  I had filled it yesterday, informed them it'd be $4, and they were messaging asking about what time they could pick it up today.  We settled on 1 pm.

Between 12 and 1, I listed two chins, the blue diamond female and the predominantly white mosaic male.  While still waiting for the hay people to come, I figured I would work on orders for a bit.  Went downstairs to start packaging up stuff.  Realized, I am still out of gallon-size ziploc bags, as I have been for two days.  Darn it, they didn't magically materialize as I'd been hoping.  Went back upstairs.

About that time, I get a message that the people for the hay are on their way, so I go downstairs and grab some copies of my invoice paper, so I can write out the orders that are new, while waiting.  While down there, I replenish the copies needed (of all the adoption paperwork pages) in my folder that I keep out (I have a stash of copies elsewhere), and then put that away.  I get upstairs with the copies of the blank invoices, and the hay people show up.

The guy brought one of his kids along, who wanted to see the chins.  I said sure, but let's please make it quick, as I have somewhere to go.  You know where this is going.  I stayed upstairs with the guy, the kid went downstairs, and later came up and informed me that she was opening the cages and petting the chins.  Do kids not ask before they do anything anymore?  Guess not.  So I'm talking with the dad, and he's waiting on the kid to come back upstairs.  She eventually comes back up, asks for water, so I get her water.  She asks to take it with, sure, whatever, I gave it to her in a taco bell cup so it doesn't matter.  So it was around 2 pm when they left.

Even though I really needed to leave to go get those gallon-size bags (so I could do orders), I sat down at the kitchen table and figured, first I would write out the orders, so they'd be ready to take downstairs and get the items together and all that, when I got back.  Couldn't have been sitting 5 minutes, I get a call from the people who were just here, the kid needs to use the bathroom.  So she comes back in, pets the dog, goes potty, pets the dog again, and leaves.

I finish filling out the invoices, and then leave for Meijer.  Even though the ziploc bags are at the back of the grocery side, I park on the general merchandise side, cause apparently I'm stupid like that and don't know how to keep a cheap shopping trip from turning into an expensive one, if my life depended on it.  So, I walk in the door -- school supplies!  Well, elmer's glue is only 50 cents, limit 10, so I have to get 10.  I start walking past the office supplies section, and realize, I'm almost out of packaging tape.  So I get two packs of that.  Then I realize, the last time I printed, it said I was almost out of ink, so back to electronics to get the ink.  From there, I ALMOST make it to the ziploc bags, but get sidetracked by toilet wipes, that are in the same aisle, and I'm also, almost out of.  Then to the ziploc bags.  I usually get 4 boxes of the gallon size meijer ziploc bags, but I seem to be going through them like water, and there's only like 38 to a pack, so I decide to get 8 this time, almost clearing off the shelf, while the lady next to me surely wonders what in the world I need that many for.  I don't go shopping that often, so I better grab them while I'm out, because I hate to make a trip for one thing.  Then to checkout, and back to the car.  While needing a few packs of $4ish gallon size bags, I left with $100ish worth of stuff.

Load the car, then to the ATM.  See, I went to the ATM by my house a few days ago, to get money to pay the fence guy, but there's something wrong with that ATM, and it'll allow you to do the entire transaction, but then when it is ready to give you your money, it comes up with some error.  That's the second time that's happened with that ATM, but Meijer is by another of my bank locations, so I go there and withdraw the money for the fence guy.

Get home, unload the car.  Realize that if I'm going to pay the fence guy, I need to find my invoice for the fence, so he can mark that payment, paid.  Go find the invoice.  It's now about 4:30.  Called the fence guy, he came over and I paid him.  Now 5 pm.

Moving along, I sat and went over quite a few emails, until about 6ish.  Went downstairs and gave more chins water from the filter, and added more water to the filter.  Jim called, so I talked with him while taking pics of some rescue chins (their previous home wanted to know how they were doing) and moving around cages.  Got the two newest rescues settled in, one being a female named Fluffy from Evanston Animal Shelter.  Got off the phone, went upstairs to have a bit to eat.  Heated up some leftover pizza, and a friend called.  Talked with her while eating dinner.  By the time I got off the phone, 9 pm.

Back to the phone, went through the pics taken of the rescue chins, so I could send the actually clear ones to the family.  Got that done around 9:20ish, sent them over, along with an email on how things are going with the chins.

Went through a few more emails, noticed I had one asking about if I had any double cages for sale. I figured they meant ferret nation / critter nation cages, and I currently have a FN 142 in the garage.  They wanted a pic texted to them, so out to the garage, open the garage door so I have enough room to step back for the pic, take the pic, close the door, back in the house, send pic.

Decided to take a break from all the chin stuff and work on the gecko care packet for a bit.  Can't re-home the geckos without it!  So... I started editing.  Usually when I do care packets, if it's just an update, I'll go over the whole thing once.  If I'm writing one from scratch, it takes multiple revisions.  Many of the early revisions are moving things around to find where I like them, re-wording things, and so on....and catching oddball things that should have been taken out long ago.  For example, here's a screenshot from part of my gecko packet:



Let's play... which of these is not like the other...ooooh yeah the guinea pig water part in the middle of the gecko care packet.  Truth be told -- it's easiest to start with an existing care packet, and use it as a template to make another packet, as the general "sections" are the same, with some tweaking.

So I went through and edited the entire packet once, and then created a coverpage.  10:20 pm.

Then, yesterday, I did hammock inventory.  Hammock inventory is where I go hammock by hammock and mark down how many of each I have.  I use these numbers to then later update the listings on the webstore, as these items are set to only show a certain number available.  So yesterday, I wrote down which ones were still available, and how many.  Today, I went and edited those.  Out of all the hammocks available, I only am sold out of Taco Dog and Donuts, so those were removed.  The other hammocks, all 21+ of them, were edited and amount in stock corrected.  Now, it is 10:56.

Among doing the hammocks, I'm texting back and forth with a potential adopter about when they're looking to pick up their chins.  While doing that, I figured I'd work on the adoption form for the crested geckos, as oddly enough, the adoption forms are not all that difficult to work on, and I get that done while still texting with the potential adopter.  By 11:20ish, I have a deposit down for 2 chins, set for pickup at the next expo, and the adoption form done for crested geckos.  Maybe the care packet will get done tomorrow, and then I can actually list the geckos.  I technically could list early, but I know that if I list now, without it ready, someone will pounce and I'll have to scramble for it.  Naturally, if I wait to have it ready, no one will be interested... but at least I'll be ready!

So, in cleaning off my desk to find a piece of paper I was looking for (that I did not find), I found the little rebate slips that needed to be sent in for Menards' most recent 11% rebate.  With the last day for mailing approaching, I got everything together for mine and Jim's (he forgot his receipts for Menards here) and got those ready for mailing.  11:38.

Checked back into emails... that was a mistake.  Lots of quick-to-answer emails... but lots of them.  Answered a few of them quickly, and was going to work on getting some orders together, but kept getting side tracked with people emailing and facebook messages from people with chin questions, so I decided to stay upstairs and clean, so I could answer those and still be productive.  And that was my Saturday.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Flight Attendant

If you talked to me recently, you heard that we had a flight attendant stop by and pick up two chins.  Someone who lives in North Carolina.

They had originally messaged me, telling me they wanted to get some chins, and I had responded saying, you know, not able to ship this time of years, yadda yadda... but they'd already told me they were a flight attendant, so I asked if it was different for them.  They responded that they could take them in-cabin, no problem....  Awesome!

So they came the other day to pick up their chins!  Two sweet girls, both bred here, a mosaic and a goldbar.




They flew from home to Amsterdam, then back to New York, then over to Chicago, rented a car and drove here.  Due to flight connections and delays (apparently NY weather was all sorts of stormy), they got here... oh... 1 am.  After picking up chins, they drove back to the airport-area, where they had a hotel, to fly back in the morning.

So this person was super nice, will be giving a great home to these girls!  She said she would get here and make it happen, and she sure did!

And a side little perk for me -- she brought me food and stuff from Amsterdam!



And of course, a pic of the awesome person and her two new chins!


Just goes to show, there's people out there that will put forth a lot of effort to get what they're wanting!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Shipping & Temps

So, as you may have noticed if you've talked with me recently, we're unable to ship at the moment.  It's too hot outside, and airline regulations prohibit us from shipping if the temps are over 80.  Just to give you a quick recap of Chicago temp, the high today is 86, Monday is 83, Tuesday 84, Wednesday 90, Thursday 85, and so on... all over 80.

This is for the safety of the chinchillas.  Even though the entire areas that the chins are in for shipping are temperature controlled, it's still hot outside and they still have to be transported to the plane.... and we don't want them developing heatstroke and dying.  So... they can't ship if it's over 80.

Now, in theory, I could sit and watch the temps every day and wait for that one day when the high is supposed to be 79, and pray that when I get to the airport, their temp doesn't read 81 instead of 79, and then get denied being able to ship... but to be honest, I don't have that kind of spare time, or the ability to drop everything I have going on, if one day did happen to be cool enough to ship.

Therefore, we are not shipping again until the fall, when the temperatures cool down.

What are your alternatives?  Driving here, in a vehicle with air conditioning.  Or, coming by in the evening when it is cooler, if you do not have AC in your vehicle.  Or, meet us at an expo, after having put down a deposit on the chinchilla (required for us to bring you the chin).

I had a kid call me the other day (and you all know how much I love that, lol), asking about having a chin shipped.  I explained how it's too hot this time of year, but that if they were really interested, to check back in the fall.  So, they asked how much shipping was, and I explained, and the kid innocently told me that they didn't want to pay $200 to ship a chin (right? it's expensive, I acknowledge that, but that's just what it costs)... and asked if I couldn't stick the chin in a box and mail it to him.  Sorry, no can do, if you want a live arrival (plus, the whole, illegal to ship live animals other than like reptiles though the mail).  This time of the year... you just have to pick up or meet us at an expo.  For the safety of the chins.