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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-08-2006, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Fighting degus

I've posted before about my two degus. They're both male and have been raised together since birth. They're usually really good with each other, snuggling and grooming each other. But for the past two days, they've been fighting like CRAZY! They fly around the whole cage when they fight. There has been no blood drawn, and each little "fight" lasts only a few seconds. I've sat and watched what brings on these fights and it's really weird. One degu will just be sitting by himself on one side of the cage and all of a sudden with no provocation, he'll start kicking up shavings and squealing. He flips around the cage until he finds the other degu and then they get into it. I've checked both of them for injuries and besides a small scratch on the ear (no blood or inflammation), they seem fine.

My first instinct is to seperate them but I know that's probably a bad idea. Is this normal behavior? How can I help them get along? It's really strange that this has just starting happening in the past couple days.

Edit: Oh yeah, and after a few hours of off-and-on fighting, I'll catch them cuddled up together again. Weird....
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 07:39 AM
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How old are they? As my first instinct is that it could be a maturity issue and that both are coming of age and both looking to be the boss and maybe the one who is starting the fight is trying to show his power to the other one. They are obviously just little squabbles for now as if they was fighting you would know about it as fur would fly and they wouldn't seperate for nothing. I'd keep a close eye on them they should stop as soon as they started if not i'd take a look at if there is any other factors what could be causing it, such as food, a toy, something you haven't noticed before. Also how big is their cage?

Goodluck with them i hope peace reins again soon

Kirsty


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
 
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I really have no idea how old they are. I got them (rescued them is more like it) from a family who had had them for 3-6 months (vague, I know). That family had in turn gotten them from another family who had them for "several" months. I'm not sure how long they were at the pet store before that. I don't have much experience with degus, so I really don't know by looking how old they might be (although they look full grown to me).

I've noticed that Silent Bob, who tends to instigate the little squabbles has really strange behaviors. He always tries to mate with the other degu (a confirmed male). At first I thought this was a dominance thing but he does it every single day, and it really seems to annoy Jay (other degu). He goes into a period of sharp squeaks after each failed mating attempt (with some whining that sounds like a hurt puppy). I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the fighting though.

I'm at school right now and I don't know the cage measurements off by heart, but it's fairly big. They've recently (within the past month) been upgraded to a much larger cage than what the other family had been keeping them in. It's an extra large guinea pig cage that I customized with different levels and things like that.

After a little fight, Silent Bob jumps quickly up to the 2nd level and stomps his feet around really quickly (like dancing) and his tail twitches like mad (he also squeals at this time). Haha, I wish I were a degu psychologist!
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 02:15 PM
 
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It sounds a lot like you have a male and female. Those are almost all the signs of mating. I'd be concerned that you have a male and a female.

I was told that I had 2 boys, and they would do the same exact thing that yours are doing, and then I woke up one day and there were 5 little ones with them. Males don't usually wiggle their tails unless theres a female around, and the squeaking after is also a big sign. This definately sounds like male and female behavior.

If you do in fact have a male and a female, the babies could come any day now because it can be hard to tell if the female is pregnant. You should start doing research now just to be prepared, i can post a few links for you. A good way to tell if she is pregnant is to look at her belly when she stands up on her back feet, if it bubbles out (pretty much at all) then there's a good chance. You may also notice that she hops more and when she does walk it looks funny. She also may start to get agressive and she may build a nest (you should provide her with peices of paper towel and other nest materials).

While my degu Squirt was pregnant, I still wasn't sure she really was pregnant until the day there were babies hopping around. It is important for you to be prepared for this. If you see signs that she is pregnant, you need to separate them because she can get pregnant on the day that the babies are born.

Here are some pictures of what squirts belly looked like less than a week before she had her babies, and the first pic is what i woke up to one day (just something to look forward too!) .
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 4LilDegus.JPG (39.3 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg SquirtsPreggyBelly.JPG (49.6 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg SquirtsPreggyBelly2.JPG (55.3 KB, 8 views)
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 02:25 PM
 
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Here are a few threads that you should read that might help a little.
This is my thread when I first thought Squirt was pregnant: http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=29794

Here is a thread from someone else that has other links on it: http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=29713

Good luck and I hope everything goes well for your Degus
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
 
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They were sexed by a vet but he admitted that he had little to no experience with degus. I would think that sexing small mammals would be sort of universal though.

I did notice that Jay (er...Jane?) is quite a bit fatter looking than Silent Bob. I'm just about peeing my pants with fear right now, lol. Their cage isn't baby-friendly at the moment (too much space between bars) and they are home alone. Although Jay looks fat, when he stands up, his belly seems to flatten out. He just plain looks on the chubby side. I'll take a closer look when I get home from school though.

If (heaven forbid!) I have a male and a female, what can I do once the babies are born (since it's likely that if they truly are male and female, she's already pregnant)? I don't know of a degu-experienced vet around here to do a neuter but I really would feel awful about seperating them since they've always been together.

The family that had them before never reported any babies. Wouldn't they have probably had a litter during those months if they were male and female? I'm just trying to rationalize here, lol.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 03:02 PM
 
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Degus are harder to sex than other rodents and if your vet isn't experienced with degus there is a chance that he may have made a mistake.

When my degus had their babies I felt horrible about splitting them up too but it was something I had to do because I couldn't give up all of their babies. If you don't plan on keeping the babies (which you may change your mind after you see them! ) then you would want to get him neutered (but with an experienced vet!). Maybe when your looking for a vet (you should call around to each one) if you can't find one that is experienced with degus, ask if they're experienced with neutering Chinchillas (someone else put input if I'm wrong!!) because I believe that the process is almost the same, I'm not sure though, hopefully someone can correct me if I'm wrong!

What I did was I split up the dad from the mom for 3 or 4 days after the babies were born and then I let him go back with the mom to help her out with the babies. I split them up again after a few weeks right before the babies were weaned. After I split them up I let the baby boys go and visit their dad for about an hour a day to keep him company and to make sure that they kept their father-son bond because eventually they were going to live with him . I ended up keeping the 2 boys with the dad and 1 of the 3 girls with the mom. Ever since then they've been fine and they don't miss each other very much . Sometimes when I let Nibbles (the dad) out to play I let him give Squirt a sniff to say hello . Here is the thread I made about separating the dad: http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=30128 . And here is the thread that I made the day that Squirt had her babies: http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=30069 . The advice that the fellow PT members gave me on these threads was very great!

If you want to, you can keep one of the parents and a same-sex baby with them and give the rest away, but I just couldn't say goodbye to one of the Degus that I took in because we already had a trust bond. It was hard enough to give up 2 babies!

Let us know if you need any other help. You don't have to be scared either there's still a chance that you may have 2 males. It's just better to be safe than sorry.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
 
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I'm home now and I took a closer look at Jay's belly when he stood up and it appears to be perfectly flat. I can't make out any bump. I guess this is encouraging I've done some more research on pregnant degus and male + female pairs and everything points them them being male and female though! I don't get it. Jay has been hoarding hay and bits of nesting material for the past couple days (much more than he used to) and everything. I guess the lack of bump doesn't mean he (she) is definitely not pregnant though.

I don't know if I would be able to give any babies/parents up if it came down to it. For one, no one around here knows anything about degus. I don't know anyone who would be willing to put in the costs for a decent cage and I just would not feel right about giving a degu to something who I know can't provide an adequate environment for them.

I guess I'll just take it one step at a time for now and see if anything else happens to indicate pregnancy or that Jay isn't male. They're getting along well at the moment. They're running on the wheel and chirping away. I'll just keep my eyes open
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
 
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P.S. - Thanks for all your help!
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 06:25 PM
 
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Good luck and keep us informed!
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-10-2006, 04:46 AM
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I agree don't worry if the worse came to the worse and you had a male / female pairing and babies did arrive as we are all here to help you any way we can. And like Kandy said there is still a 50/50 chance you do have two males and its just a sign of maturity setting in as degu's mature at different ages and you might have nothing to worry about so i'd just keep an eye on them for now

Kirsty


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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-13-2006, 08:52 PM
 
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have any babies arrived yet?, i was given a pair of wrongly sexed degu's, one male and one female, i ended up getting my male neutered while the female was still pregnant so he could help with the babies, luckily i ended up with only 3 babies so i got to keep them all (one boy which i keep with the dad and the 2 babie girls i keep with the mum). my boys have little wrestling matches to try and decide who is the dominant one (while doing this they squeek and wag their tails, but they never harm one another.) they do this more when i get the treats out etc most of the time they just snuggle up to each other! hope they have sorted out their differences, degu hugs to all
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-14-2006, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
 
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Nope, no babies so far I took a good long look at them yesterday to try to determine the sex but it's still pretty ambiguous. I bet them in a clear rodent ball so that I could look at them from underneath. The one trying to mate all the time is clearly a male, has lots of space between the genitals and anus. The other one is still undetermined though. It has less space between the genitals and anus but also has a line connecting them. I read that only males have a line. I really don't know. In any case, he/she is still fatter than the other one but doesn't seem to be developing a belly or anything. I'm still keeping my eyes open though
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-14-2006, 02:53 PM
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I have nothing useful to add, I just wanted to comment that I think a university should take up degus as a mascot for a sports team so they can have the "Fighting Degus!"

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-15-2006, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
 
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*sigh* Back to the original topic, my degus have been fighting again! Blood was shed tonight Lately, they've started fighting by circling each other and then standing on their hind legs and "boxing." So now both of my degus have hurt paws (one from an accident on the wheel and now one from a fight). Oddly, immediately after the fight, they curled up to groom each other. I should just stop trying to understand them, lol.
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