Most chins deliver their babies in the early morning hours, and most do so without any complications or needing help from anybody. Occasionally however, complications do arise and help is needed.
For those of you who have never witnessed a chinchilla birth, I thought it might be interesting for you to see.
Click here to see a video of Trixie giving birth to Harley, from her first litter.
Click here to see Trixie having contractions with her second litter.
Most of the time, chin births go very easily. Mother chins know just what to do and they do it very well. So, usually, you should sit back, watch and enjoy.
Chins can be in labor for up to two hours before delivering the first kit, and up to another two between kits, for multiple kit births. If they exceed two hours, and the mother looks like she's struggling, you should call your vet.
Once the kits are out, watch to make sure that the mother cleans them off and starts drying them. She should be cleaning them constantly between births. The kits should nurse pretty quickly as well. For larger litters, three and over, the mother may get tired and you may need to help dry the kits off and warm them up.
Kits are born "ready to rumble". They have all their fur, their eyes are open, and they will amaze you with their climbing abilities the very first day!
One of the most common complications is having a baby born breach. This means the baby is not coming out head first, some other part of its body has presented and it will be harder for the mother to deliver. If you have watched the video of Trixie giving birth, you can see that chin mothers reach down and literally pull the baby out. Well, in the case of a breach birth, she may not be able to do this, and in trying to can actually pull off parts of the babies body, or worse, kill the baby. This is one reason its best to try to be present at all deliveries. This isn't always possible we know. As in the case of Pixie's latest litter, she had them in the late afternoon, when nobody suspected it would happen, and by the time we found them, she had already removed part of Elmers' foot.
If a mother is having a hard time getting a baby out, the best way to help her is to get a soft, damp, warm cloth and gently guide the kit down and out. If you are unable to get the kit out, get to the vet as quickly as possible.
We got very lucky, we found Elmers' just after his birth and took him and his mother and siblings to the vet immediately. Not only had Pixie removed part of his foot, but she had torn a big hole in his back as well. Our vet was able to glue his wounds shut, and today you would never guess that he had such a hard entry into this world!
Labor Not Progressing
You can view the video of Trixie in labor and see what normal chin contractions look like. It is common for a chinchilla to go through labor for an hour, or even two before delivering the first kit. It is also common for her to have contractions for an hour or even two between deliveries for a multiple kit birth. Past two hours though, and you need to become concerned and call your vet. On rare occasion, a chin will need to have a C section to deliver her kits. The earlier this is done, the better the chances of survival for both the mother and the kits.
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