Chinchillas can be sexually capable of breeding by 8 to 10 weeks. This is why it is so important to separate them from opposite sex parents and siblings by 8 weeks if at all possible. Female chins are not big enough yet to safely pass a kit.
So When Should You Breed Chins?
This is one of those questions that, if you ask three people, you may very well get three different answers, though almost everybody agrees that a female should be at least 600 grams prior to breeding. Some breeders put them in as soon as they are large enough, others choose to wait until they have finished growing themselves, which can be different ages with different colors.
Males can go into breeding earlier than females, since they do not have to pass kits through their body. However, it is a good idea to wait until the male is grown out some, so that you know his quality, basic size and what traits need improving so that you can best chose a mate for him. For these reasons, we do not put males into breeding until they at least 6 months, sometimes much older.
Females need to be held back longer. We've already said that it is best to wait until they are at least 600 grams, to know that they can safely deliver a kit. It is usually best to wait until they are at least 8 months and sometimes older, depending on color, to allow them to fully mature. This way, again, you know what the quality and traits are that you need to pair with this particular chin. Many even wait until they are 12 months old.
With either sex, just picking a size or age to put them into breeding is generally not the only way to decide. You need to look at each individual chinchilla and ask yourself if they are still in the growing phase, do they have qualities that you want to pass on to their offspring, or that you can enhance with a particular chin you have in your program. Sometimes a particular chin will be held back because they are obviously still growing at a good rate or they are just obviously not fully mature enough. This is something each breeder must determine for themselves.
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