1. The birth of Etherdale Chinchillas

Home... Contents... 1.Birth Of... 2.Improving & Est... 3.Our Start... 4.Our Units... 5.Our Involvement... 6.Show Success...

Our start in chinchilla goes back to 1986 when Richard’s sister Elizabeth spotted a pair of chinchilla at the pet shop in the local town. This interest lit a spark in her father Eddie, who promptly set about refurbishing a recently emptied budgerigar breeding unit to accommodate the new acquisitions. This was a rekindled interest as he had first seen and been excited by American imported chinchilla in the late 1950’s but could not afford the extremely high prices asked at the time. (A trio would cost as much as a small family car.) Eddie did purchase a "Ranchers Handbook" issued by The Allied Fur Traders Inc. printed in 1955 and is still one of the best chinchilla books we possess today.

Eddie has had an interest in various animals throughout his life, keenly interested in Racing Pigeons and having kept and bred Tropical fish, Border Terrier and Boxer dogs, and most importantly Budgerigars in which he became a Champion exhibitor and judge. This previous knowledge of animals and breeding methods played an important part in our start in chinchillas, which was to begin with the best we could afford. With this in mind we obtained our first pair from a successful local breeder, Bob Oxley, now sadly deceased. Bob introduced us to the Chinchilla organisation known as "The Chinchilla Fur Breeders Association" or CFBA in 1986, later to become "The National Chinchilla Society" in 1993. We soon increased our numbers with further additions from Bob and Otto Magitis who, in those early days, became our mentor. During 1987 we had a total of 10 chinchilla in breeding, 9 standards and a beige female which was named Birtles, goodness knows why? Nine babies were born in that year to the newly formed "Etherdale Chinchillas", the name being derived from the river Etherow, a tributary of the river Mersey, flowing through the Longdendale Valley to the east of Manchester, where we live. These chinchillas were all allotted names, as were those born up until 1990, when the overhead of thinking up many names became too much, but right from the start, our ranch brand of ED prefaced all the numbers allocated to the kits born with us.

Our first visit to a show was daunting to both Richard and Elizabeth (11 and 9 years old at the time) as we were not showing animals on this occasion; father was trying to get a feel for the exhibiting. Our first opportunity to exhibit our own animals came in 1987 when we journeyed to the local show, a trip of 2 hours duration.

We were instructed to enter into specific classes according to sex and age, they were all standards. Needless to say that we were either ill instructed or became confused, as a female was in the male class and vice versa. This was corrected and we won several ribbons and also Reserve Best Young Standard Male, a Special at our first show. This inspired us to press on with breeding and exhibiting chinchillas, and justified the help, advice and support we had been given up to this point by our mentors of the time.


Home... Contents... 1.Birth Of... 2.Improving & Est... 3.Our Start... 4.Our Units... 5.Our Involvement... 6.Show Success...