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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2005, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Hello All!

Hi everybody, I have just joined the forum and thought I would say hello, tell you about my boys and ask a couple of questions if thats ok.

I have two male Degus, Harry and Belial. I got them about 6 weeks ago when they were 7 weeks old. They are identical twins and almost impossible to tell apart by looking at them, although Belial is starting to get a lighter coat then Harry so it is getting easier!
They have different characteristics so I use that to tell them apart mostly.

I spend a lot of time with them and am slowly getting them more and more used to me, they still refuse to be picked up but they will sit on my hand and when they are let out they climb all over me - as long as I don't move too quick!
It was very funny to watch them when they were first allowed free roam of the room, them took each step very very slowly, now they run round like mad! Belial in particular seems to want to get as high up as possible and can often be found trying to climb a bookcase.

They love to climb around inside my clothes, if I wear a dressing gown and lift the sleeve up to the cage door they will both climb in and happily snuggle up inside. As they won't let me hold them I have to use this method or put a tube up to the cage to let them out.

Now a few questions if you don't mind.

1. After I had had the boys for a couple of weeks I started to get a runny nose and very very itchy eyes, something about them is causing an allergic reaction in me, I am hoping it is the sawdust in the bedding that lines the bottom of the cage. I was wondering what alternatives people could suggest that contain less dust?

2. Reading through comments everyone seems to say how much Degus love to run in a wheel, mine have NEVER set foot on there wheel, much less used it. Is there any reason they may not like it? or do they just not know what it is for?

3. Is it safe to give them toilet roll tubes, cardboard or paper to chew up? they like piling up carboard tubes but I have so far been taking them away when they are left alone.

4. At the moment they are in my spare room, with the door open I can see and talk to them from the hallway so they get plenty of attention, however I am thinking of moving them into the living room (once I degu proof any wires!) will they be ok with noises like the TV and stereo or do they prefer a bit of peice and quiet after they have been out to nap?

I think thats it, hopefully you lot will know the answers!

Many thanks
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2005, 03:26 PM
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Hi and welcome to PT! Always great to have another Brit and fellow degu owner on here..
In answer to your questions...
I use a sawdust from Pets at Home that seems to be ok for me, I had the same symptoms as you when I first got mine..
What sort of wheel do you use.. When I got my first 2 degus, they never used theirs, the babies came along and they taught the older ones how to use them..
I give mine toilet roll cardboard and the ones from kitchen rolls, I tear them first. as I am worried they may get trapped inside..
My cage is in my dining room, and its next to a TV, they dont seem to mind the noise...


Cant wait to see some pics..

Steph ~ Owned by 4 bunnies and 5 degus..


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2005, 03:51 PM
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Your allergic reactions are probablly from the dust in your bedding. I get like that too if im around my cage for a long, long time.

Have your degus been exposed to wheels in the pet store you bought them from? If not, that may be the case. You may have to somehow teach them how it works. I usually put treats or tissue paper on their wheel and each time they get them, they come to realise how it works and may learn to use it.

Yes, it is safe to give them cardboard tubes and and cardboard. Just make sure there are no dyes or chemicals on them. Avoid paper, unless of course its tissue paper. Degus tear them up and use them for nests often.

They will be just fine in a room with a T.V and such. Just make sure it isnt BLARING loud. Also, the additional noise and prescence of you will make your degus happier!
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2005, 04:03 PM
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my degus love thier wheel, at first i placed one in the wheel and he caught right on to it and taught the other. i have 2 so they can both run in separate wheels. for the bedding i use newspaper because its always around and just gonna be thrown out anyways but not coloured newspaper. as for the noise i agree with purplebunny, mine dont seem to mind the noise one bit.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2005, 04:23 PM
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What sort of bedding are you using? I use Aspen and there isn't much dust. You could always switch to a paper-based bedding such as CareFresh.

They probably don't know what the wheel is for. I can't really help you with that, as mine had one in the petstore cage so they know how to use it.

Cardboard tubes are safe and are great toys ^_^. Mine love destroying them, lol.

I think it should be fine having them near the TV.




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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2005, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasami
What sort of bedding are you using? I use Aspen and there isn't much dust. You could always switch to a paper-based bedding such as CareFresh.

They probably don't know what the wheel is for. I can't really help you with that, as mine had one in the petstore cage so they know how to use it.

Cardboard tubes are safe and are great toys ^_^. Mine love destroying them, lol.

I think it should be fine having them near the TV.
Heh, mine shredded the giant igloo they got in one night.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2005, 08:22 AM
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Already great answers been given but just have a few things to add. Don't worry too much about them not letting you pick them up as degu's tend to not like being picked up all that much they much prefer to come to you and be lifted in the palm of your hand or to scamper up you as they don't like to feel enclosed. I sometimes use the tube method myself or sleeve with one of mine and i've had him nearly 5 years and he still don't like being picked up. In answer to your questions:

1. I would try swapping the bedding you are using as some degus can be allergic to saw dust and you are much better using shavings such as kiln dried pine. If they still snuffle and sneeze then have a look in your local pet shops for carefresh it is available over here in the UK now but can be hard to find but worth while looking for if problems continue. If after changing the bedding the symptoms still persist i'd take a look to make sure its nothing like air freshners in your environment as that can cause them to snuffle and sneeze also especially the more pungent ones

2. All of mine love their wheels and i've never had a degu yet that hasn't. But its personal preference and if they decide they don't like something they won't use it. My two rescues had never had a wheel before in their lives and i was told they hated wheels but i gave them one and they love it now and can't be parted. If they want to use it they will as degu's are very intelligent and can figure out how stuff works very easily so give them a little time

3. Yes, they can have cardboard tubes but like Steph (Purplebunny) said please slit them length ways as degu's can and will get stuck in them. One of my first degu's got stuck and he started to panic and i had to cut him out which was tricky so ever since i have cut them to air on the side of caution and i've had no more problems. Mine also have empty boxes which they love to shread and take into their nests.

4. I keep my degu's in the living room and they love all the attention they get as they are in the core part of my house, the tv and stereo doesn't seem to bother them at all infact i think they like it Plus being in the main living area they will get a lot more attention from you and they love to nosey at what you are doing so they are never bored.

Congratulations on becoming a degu owner and welcome to PT, look forward to seeing you around

Kirsty


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2005, 11:59 AM
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Just wanted to say Welcome!

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2005, 03:47 PM
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Welcome to PT! You've gotten great replies so far but I just want to add one thing about the wheel. I got my degu a new wheel and at first I didn't think she liked it but she just needed some encouragement! How I got her to finally use it was by bribing her with a treat. First I made her follow the treat into the wheel, and then I put the treat on the outside of the wheel and when she tried to get it the wheel would move. It sounds cruel but of course I gave her the treats I used. I did that 2 or 3 times with her and now she understands how it works Good luck!

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-13-2005, 07:22 AM
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how are they getting on with their wheel now? when mine first had a wheel they had no idea how to use it, they used to stand at the side of it and move it round with their paws!! but they eventually got the hang of actually getting in it in their own time! mine are in the living room too, they are a bit naughty though, as soon as i sit down and watch the tv, they start squeeking and scratching their bars as if to say "you cant watch tv, give us some more attention!!!"
but at least they get loads of attention in the living room as thats where i am most of the time!

Jo x x x


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-14-2005, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the kind responses! Went out shopping the other day and ended up only getting things for the boys!
The woman who worked at the pet shop I went into had Degus too and she reccomended a certain type of cat litter as being good for lining the bottom of the cage so I got some of that and it seems pretty good - its basically recylcled paper mashed together.

We also looked at another cage for the boys, having got there cage from friends secondhand we wanted to make it bigger and figured the easiest way was to add a second cage the same size on to the top of the existing one but IO just couldn't afford £69 at the time. Then as luck would have it I was talking to the lady who runs a charity shop next door to my shop and I noticed a cage in the corner, turns out to be exactly the same as the ones we were looking at and she only wanted £3 for it!! So I took it home, cleaned it up and attached the two cages together, also added a small comfy bed for them and they are so happy! They love having 4 large levels instead of 3 small ones and they adore the new bed, both of them snuggled up together was so cute

As a result I took the wheel out and forgot to put it back in, they found it whilst out for there daily run and crawled inside (it was on its side) typical! I shall try and put it back in and see how they react this time!
Had guests over for the weekend so I put the boys cage in the kitchen for the night, they seemed to really love the amount of attention they got by being in a room with constant traffic of people coming through! So plans are afoot to finish getting the living room ready and then the big move!

I shall let you know how it all goes! Thanks for all your help.
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