New slightly worried Degu Owner

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    Hi there,

    I’ve just adopted two lovely male degu’s from a pet shop. They had been abandoned in a shoebox at the shop about a week before i saw them. One of them, Bill has cataracts, whereas Ben is very nervous and skittish. The pet shop advised me to have one food bowl and water bottle and one of everything else.

    I have had them at home for just over a week now and in that time they have had two big fights. I separated them into separate boxes and gave them some time to calm down, before putting them both in the bath and seeing how they got on. Each time this has worked well and after a little minor squabbling seemed to be ok.

    After the first fight i took out the food bowl and now put small piles of the degu pellets in each corner and sprinkle some across the cage a couple of times a day, they also have a constant supply of timothy hay. I took out everything else that i thought they might be fighting over. They also had a minor fight over the water bottle so I have bought a second one, as well as two exercise wheels and some other toys for them to chew on.

    Although bill only took a few days before he was happy to come onto my hands, ben only did this for the first time a couple of days ago. I try to take them out for a little while everyday, even if its just for a run around next to their cage. I am going to build them a play pen so i can give them a larger area to run in. I have just found a local vet that has a little experience with them, and will be taking them for a check up in the next few weeks.

    They both drink alot of water, and their teeth don’t seem to be as orange as they were when I first brought them home. I’m just a little worried, is there anything else i should get for them or should be doing? The degu pellets say they have everything they need, apart from needing hay.

    Sorry for the long post, but there aren’t many degu experts around and I was just looking for some reassurance or advice.

    Thanks Kel



    You two boys appear to be having dominance fights, which would be my guess. When I first brought home R.C. her and Slinky had a few of these before determing who was the ‘alpha.’ It is a natural thing for degus and all animals to have these minor fights although they can get ugly so keep an eye on them whenever you hear them go at it (but you should be past this stage by now hopefully!)

    As you can tell, your degus have different personalities and will take some time adjusting. Slinky will glady crawl all over me the second I open their cage. Her favourites places are sitting on my shoulder or when I am wearing a hoodie, she likes to be in the pouch sleeping or having her head hang out, same with me hoodie sleeves. Ben probably just needs some more time to adjust to you!

    If you are feeding them the “degu mix” you buy at the store that is probably your problem right there. The degu food mixes dont actually supply them everything they need. You should be feeding them a mixture of guinea pig pellets and chinchilla pellets at a 1:1 ratio (one cup guinea pig pellets, one cup chinchilla pellets) this is the best way to get a food mixture for them! But beware with the chinchilla pellets, some of them may be a mix of treats and such but do NOT feed these to your degus. Too much sugar in foods can easily cause them to become diabetic, so if the treats are in the chinchilla food take them out. I have this problem when I buy food and I pick the treats out and make sure they only get the actual pellets and the little pieces of barley that comes with. You can also feed them alfalfa hay, I give my girls both kinds of hay, but more of the timothy than the alfalfa. I can also get you a list of foods (fruits and veggies) that are okay to feed them, I give them to my girls every now and then as a treat.

    Sorry this took so long to reply to, I have been inactive for a VERY long time, whoops! my bad! 🙂
    Hope it helps! If you have any more questions, ask away!

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