Hello Everyone....I'm an accidental degu owner - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
Degu Discussion Twitching whiskers, curious noses, and all things degu related.

 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-23-2007, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
 
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Hello Everyone....I'm an accidental degu owner

And am thrilled to find a group of people who have them, know what they are and have experience

I am new to the board adn only discovered it as I was searching for cages suitable for Scatawampus the Chimichanga.

She (I now know! Thank you again) is a degu who came to me via the way everything comes to me. Somebody else didn't want it. I teach science and a parent delivered it to the classroom thinking I love critters and would somehow help it.

This lovely, scratchable, whistling critter has been with me since June (when I put it in the hot car to bring it home from school ). I've learned a lot about her by paying close attention but know that I have so much more to learn (and it may be a him).

The Chimichanga (I knew it looked sort of like a cross between a rat, squirrel and chinchilla but no one knew what it was) came in a foot-square cage. Problem number one. I bought her what appeared to be a Taj Mahal complete with lots of chew toys, wood blocks and nesting balls. It did have a plastic bottom however and while she/he loved it for several weeks she began chewing holes the day I found this site (hence the desperate cage search).

Scatawampus the Chimichanga is temporarily back in her mini-prison and I am hoping some of you will have advice about where to find suitable cages.

Also, I read that they can be housed with rabbits? Is this true? I have an amazingly docile blind bunny but she's ENOURMOUS and am a bit trepidatious to put her heft with Scat though I don't think she'd be vicious.

Okay.....there is my ramble......I apologize for my ignorance as I seek knowledge about this new member to my family. I am in awe of how endearing she is.....and aghast as I scratch behind her ears and she rolls over and lifts a front leg to get the full underbelly scratch. Even more aghast when, as I laughed and scratched, I heard myself say the words "Nothin' says lovin' like a Chimichanga".

Thanks so much for listening and any advice/resources/sites/supply stores would make both of us very grateful!

Lynne and Scatawampus the Chimichanga
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-23-2007, 08:34 PM
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Welcome to PT and congrats on your new buddy!

I would go for a cage with a metal bottom...I've seen many nice ones in petstores. I don't know of any websites since I got mine at PetsMart and it isn't listed on their page.

It's not a good idea to house degus and rabbits together. The rabbit could easily injure or kill the degu by accident (not to mention the different dietary needs). The only good cage mates for a degu are more degus. I would actually see if any are for sale where you live since degus are highly social and do best in groups. But for now just give her plenty of attention and I'm sure she'll be fine .

What is she eating? Degus need a diet with little or no sugar, unlimited timothy hay, high-quality degu/guinea pig/chinchilla pellets, and fresh herbs and vegetables.

Here's a website you can check out: DEGU guide

I hope that helped .




~Stephanie

"We weep for a bird's cry, but not for a fish's blood. Blessed are those with a voice."


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-23-2007, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much. I will consider another Degu as soon as I get this one settled. I got the now-depitated Taj Mahal from Petsmart and I searched their site for wire bottom cages too. I shall head into the city tomorrow and check their store for something more appropriate.

What about wire floors and wire spacing for feet? Her feet look so tiny compared to most mesh I've seen? I hate her being back in the small cage so I'm on a quest and would love all advice possible.

Thanks for the link. I shall check it out and I know you're right. I'll not bunk the Chimichanga with the rabbit, Hoppinero.

How is it that I've never seen/heard of a degu before? I mean....really.....not in a pet store...not in seven years of experience as a vet tech.? Are they relatively new to the states? Do vets see/treat them?

Oh....and I'm SO GLAD to know that orange teeth are GOOD!

Thanks again....I'm so eager to get her properly housed and cared for...so if I seem a bit overzealous....well.....I am
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-23-2007, 09:36 PM
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Congrats on you new addition!

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-23-2007, 11:18 PM
 
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Congrats on your new friend!

I have to agree with you completely - there is something extra special about Degus. They are totally and 100% endearing in everyway! They are the best little creatures around!

As you mentioned their tiny little feet - they are very prone to developing "bumble foot" if they have to walk on wire mesh. So it's best to find a cage with a solid bottom. Of course, if you can't find one, you can create a solid bottom on top of the wire mesh with layers of newspaper, cardboard, metal, etc.

I had the same problem with the cages with plastic bottoms! So now, I took one of the "Small Animal Playpens" you can get at WalMart (or some such place) and reinforced the plastic bottom. I basically put it around the sides of the plastic bottom, so the actual plastic can't be chewed through.

It's very hard to describe, but perhaps you can see in this photo what I mean (click on it to see it bigger):



The green bars from the play pen keep the naughty Degu from chewing through her plastic. So, that's just one idea, if you can't find a suitable cage with a metal bottom.

So glad you have now joined the Degu Club! lol I guess they must be very uncommon still, we had to look all over to find an exotics vet that knew about Degus and their treatment. I guess they just aren't very mainstream yet. Which makes them all the more special!
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-24-2007, 11:53 AM
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Hello and Degus are relatively new to the pet market and have only been around for the last 10-12 years. Any vet with chinchilla experience should be able to treat a degu as they are closely related

A solid bottomed cage is best and as you have found out metal is also best for the base as they are gnawers

Kirsty


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-24-2007, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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YEA! Scatawampus has a new and improved Taj Mahal :)

Never mind that it took about five hours of driving around to various places and no one had ever heard of a degu (can't blame them....I hadn't either.....but Kentuckians will soon be educated ).

I settled finally on a chinchilla starter kit/cage. It has a metal floor /tray that slides out and sits under a wire floor piece so it took some remodeling. I left the wire bottome out and used double jointed snaps to keep the metal tray in. Then I used cardboard all around the outside about three inches high to keep her from throwing her bedding all over the place (any other ideas for this?)

The cage has three levels and the upper two are wire mesh so I lined with cardboard. The only portion that is still wire mesh is the ladder from the second floor to the third. Although, come to think of it she has no ladder to the second floor and has no problem getting there. Can I leave the ladder out altogether?

She also got a wheel and is already in it I don't know that I'll be able to take her back to school....but then I spend more time there than at home so ....and I can teach the kids about them.

Sorry for the novel.....I'm just excited.

One question: the kit came with liquid multivitamins. Is that something I should be providing or not?

Okay, two questions: is there anything seemingly common that is toxic to them? For instance, I offer everything from the garden to her and the chicken and the rabbit and the birds but I know that avacado is toxic to the birds......

Thanks so much for all the help everyone! I really appreciate it!

Lynne

p.s. I think she might be a he.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-24-2007, 07:54 PM
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You don't have to leave the ladder in...they are pretty good at climbing .

I wouldn't use the multivitamins as they aren't designed for degus and we still aren't 100% sure on what degus need.

There aren't many common things that are toxic to them but there are a lot of foods that are bad for them or dangerous in larger amounts. They shouldn't have too much food that's high in calcium like spinach or kale. A very small piece as a treat is fine. They also can't tolerate sugar very well and that includes natural sugars like from carrots. The best vegetables/herbs to feed are ones low in/lacking sugar and calcium. Romaine lettuce is almost a must . Avoid iceberg lettuce.

Oh, and yeah, degus are very uncommon in the US. No one around here has heard of them either . I'm lucky I have a great vet, though.




~Stephanie

"We weep for a bird's cry, but not for a fish's blood. Blessed are those with a voice."


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-24-2007, 09:06 PM
 
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Wow, you've done a great job outfitting your cage! Great!

Yes, much agreed, you can EASILY leave the ladders out. Degus have built-in ladders! lol

I don't know if your cage has a hammock in it, but that might be 1 cage "essential". You can buy them pre-made, or make your own (like me) out of maybe an old pair of denim jeans, or something like that.

The different lettuces have all been a BIG hit here - Romaine, red leaf, green leaf, all those special things. Peas and green beans are another BIG favorite around these parts.

It's best to stay away from most fruit, nuts, seeds and starchy treats, even naturally ocurring sugars are no good for out little angels.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-25-2007, 02:21 AM
 
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awsome new goos have fun......
they are not as hard as it may seem to take care of them.....
im sure your doibg a good job so far
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-25-2007, 10:43 AM
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I would definately leave off giving the multi vitamins as if you feed a good correct varied diet i don't think there is any need to feed multi vitamins. The only vitamin that really is essential to make sure degus have is vitamin c but this is found in most good quality guinea pig foods so something you don't really need to add to the diet.

Things to avoid that haven't already been mentioned are alfalfa which is ok as a treat once in a while but not something for everyday feeding due to the calcium levels that are found in it.

Kirsty


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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-25-2007, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! I would have considered alfalfa....and was going to ask about just using the hay I use for my horses (it's a mixed grass...mostly timothy,fescue, orchard grass etc.) but I think I'll just play it safe for the goo.

Why is the calcium "bad"? I will try to do some more research as these sort of things interest me tremendously.

Again, thank you!
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-25-2007, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortfat View Post
Thank you! I would have considered alfalfa....and was going to ask about just using the hay I use for my horses (it's a mixed grass...mostly timothy,fescue, orchard grass etc.) but I think I'll just play it safe for the goo.

Why is the calcium "bad"? I will try to do some more research as these sort of things interest me tremendously.

Again, thank you!
This thread should help, although it's pretty old:
http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/f12/t...alfa-5199.html




~Stephanie

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 09:02 AM
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I feed my guys mixed hay as its better for their teeth then just plain old hay as in mixed hay you get different thickness, textures etc... that all help to keep the degus teeth ground down as they work the teeth differently. Alfalfa is ok occasionally, i buy it for my chinchillas so the degus are allowed a little as a treat once in a while but its not something that should be used with them over a long period of time

Kirsty


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cage mate, chew toy, chew toys, chinchilla pellets, guinea pig, guinea pig food, pet store, pig food, romaine lettuce, timothy hay, vet tech, wire mesh


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