Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Had someone ask the other day about breeding.  Well, actually, happens all the time, but the other day was notable, because they actually asked reasonable questions that would help determine if they wanted to breed.

I believe they decided against it.

But let me share with you just one kind of interesting tidbit on why it's not your get-rich-quick scheme, and it actually is work.

One of my runs is a mosaic male, and he has three standard females.  I got them back sometime in the summer, and they've been in breeding.  Maybe a week or two ago, one of his females littered.  Two babies.  All standard grey. 

For those that don't know, a mosaic x grey pairing should result in about 50% white / 50% grey babies.  Pay attention, this will be important later.

So she has her two babies.  Maybe a week later, another of his females has babies.  Three of them, all standard grey.  So out of 5 babies... all grey... at least two should have been white.  But nope, all five, standard grey.

Now here's where the money part comes in... guess what color flies off the shelves?  I'll give you a hint, it's not grey.  So all those people who would think, ok they stuck these pairings together, going to get lots of white babies to sell for lots of $$$, the world works against you sometimes.

So, the chin that has three babies, one of hers gets out.  The feeder was empty, and the baby literally crawled up the inside of the feeder and out of the cage.  Caught him and put him back.  Filled the feeder up so this can't happen again.  Few days later, I have people here, and they tell me something small ran across the floor, maybe a baby chinchilla.  Sure as shit, same one.  We catch him, put him back.  Turns out, that cage they're in has one small section of wire that's missing a crossbar... yep, the turd got out from there.  So I put more wire on top of that and now he's secure. 

And then a day or so later, one of the three babies die.  Which of course, is sad, but statistically, chinchilla mortality is right around 20-25%, so that's about right, for 1 in 5 to die. 

So even for the person considering that they were going to have 5 standard babies to sell, now it's down to four.  And mind you, again, they're standards.  I love me some standard greys, and one of my customers the other day said something I really liked -- that the standard grey is the "classic" color (haha), I like how he put it -- but pet people often want something unusual.  I'm actually surprised how many violets and whites I've found homes for this year.... but not nearly so many standards.

Some people want the standards because, in general, they tend to be less expensive.  But the grand majority of phone calls I get start out something like, "I want a chinchilla... but do you have something other than grey... I'd like to get an unusual one..."  Just saying, those standards will have a hard time moving.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Colors & Combos and Whatnot

Ok so I know on my ads that it says something like, if we don't have what you're looking for, let us know and we'll see if we can get it.

And often, we can get it something specific.

But I should note, these requests need to be in the realm of possibilities as far as chinchilla genetics.

For example.  Let me share some basics about the color beige, as far as genetics.  The beige gene, in any form, comes with red eyes.

They can be jellybean red, like this...

Or they can be ruby, like this...

...but regardless, they're red.  The beige gene comes with red eyes.  And just so we're all on the same page, that means any color with the beige gene.  Beige comes in two main types, homo (lighter more champagne-y color) and hetero (darker beige).  Tan chinchillas also have a beige gene.  The lighter ones look like a regular beige, where the beige color wraps around the belly... and they extend out to dark tans, which look more brown / chocolate-y in color.  But tans are also beiges, they are beige + ebony gene.  Pink whites, sometimes called beige mosaics, also have a beige gene.  They have beige + white gene.  So, all of these colors are going to have red eyes, which again, can vary from jellybean red to dark ruby red.

... and the point of all of this is that no matter how much you want it, I can't get in a beige / tan / pink white... with black eyes.  It's just not in the realm of possibilities, because genetically, those chins are going to have red eyes. 

Now, I can take pictures to minimize this.  See the tan pictured up above?  If I took pictures with a flash, her eyes would look more red.  In real life, they look like the pic -- but if I flash the pictures, this chin will look completely different.  So even if you think I've somehow come up with a tan with non-red eyes... I haven't.  I've just learned over the years that the glaring red eyes turn people off, and since the eyes often are not nearly so glaringly red in real life... I can take pics to minimize them.

One more color that people have been having fun with lately are the mosaics.  I think of the term mosaic as referring to an actual mosaic, like a white with some grey chinchilla.  But really, just about every color can have a mosaic.  All it is is adding the white gene to an existing color.  So, there is such thing as a beige mosaic (pink white), sapphire mosaic (white sapphire), violet mosaic (white violet), and so on.  They all have varying degrees of the original color on their body, but the base color is white, for mosaics. 

I should note, these are not paint by number chins.  I  have had quite a few people lately who have said, oh well, they'd like one with a white nose.  Oooh but a dark face.  Oh wait, can it have a blaze up the face?  Oh and maybe like a really dark spot somewhere on it's body?  As neat as it would be to custom-color a chin.... again, it's not realistic. 

And neither is getting super stark differentiation between body colors.   Unlike guinea pigs, where you can see red, and then super stark demarcation line, and then black... you don't see that very often in chins.  They tend to have more of a blended look.  Because of that, when you do see one with very stark demarcation between colors, everyone goes OOOOOOOOOH PRETTYYYY.  Like this:

...you may recognize her as Owl, one of my chins.  If I had a penny for every time someone said, oh well when she has a baby that looks like her, I want it... I could have retired years ago.  It's unusual.  It's a fluke, and it doesn't reproduce itself.  She's had I think three babies here so far.  I'd have to check my herd book, to be certain, but they've all been just your average chin.  The current one is here, growing out for show, and he's just your average pink white.  Mostly white, has a light beige spot on his rump.  But the point is... none of them have looked like her, or even had super unusual coloring... you just get what you get. 

Again, all this said, someone looking for a blazed mosaic... I can probably find that.  Someone looking for a silver mosaic, I can find that.  But not your blazed, spotted, white nosed, zebra striped chin... if it exists, I probably can't find it....