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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-23-2005, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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My first Degu...and questions, too.

My first Degu! I brought her 4 month-old self home on Oct. 21. I'm so excited! I will be welcoming two 6 week-olds into my life on Oct. 27, today (Oct.23) is my Birthday, this is my present to myself. I want to do right be these litlle fellas. I know about their sugar intolerance, that they may have yams, sweet potatoes, and carrots (w/o skins) and a mix of chin/gerbil pellets. OK, Questions: Is it ok to feed dry oatmeal. My scared liitle one wouldn't come out from hiding until I broke out the oatmeal. I tried Rabbit pellets, Rat blocks, hay, veggies, and Gerbil pellets for nearly two days. I thought she was going to starve! Now, as if the spell's been broken, she nearly begs me to open the door when I walk into the room. She presses her cute little paws and face into the door until I open it and she jumps (ready or not!) into my hands...for oatmeal! Now, she is eating some gerbil pellets, alfalfa cube, carrot, yam, and cage bars! Question 2: Chinchilla pellets seem to be loaded with Degu no-no's so why give them to her? Question 3: May I place the two 6 week-old babies with the 4 month-old youngster?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-23-2005, 05:00 PM
 
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Congrats on the new Degu! You should feed your Degu a mix of Chin/Guinea Pig pellets, I'm not sure about the gerbil pellets.. If you're buying the petstore Chin food with all of the treats you have to take all of the litle treats out and it will be fine to feed your degus. If you can find Chin pellets without the treats it would be easier for you
As for the new baby Degus, you might want to take it slow introducing them to the older one. Let them sniff each other through the cage bars first that way you can control whether or not they fight.
If they seem like they don't like each other (loud squeaking at each other) or if they're trying to fight don't put them with her at first. If this happens and you have a spare cage, you can put them in a seperate cage next to hers that way they can get used to each other, and introduce them slowly.
If at first (while your holding them) they seem to like each other and make they're grooming sound (sounds like a bunch of little birds chirping) you can try to put them together but watch them closely for an hour or so
If they get along well and you keep them together remember that Degus play-fight alot (standing up on they're back legs) which is ok but if they ever make each other bleed seperate them immediately.
Another snack that your Degu will like is Shredded Wheat (100% whole wheat, no frosting or added sugar). You can also try cutting up the carrots and leaving them out to dry for 3 days, that's the way my Degus like they're carrots.
Also, if you didn't get one already, don't forget to get your Degu a wheel so she can get her exercise!
Good luck with you're Degus!!
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-23-2005, 06:45 PM
 
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Congrats on your new degu! Kandy has given great advice.. I give mine a mix of guinea pig pellets and food.. I take out all the glucose bits and once a month I break a capsule of Evening Primrose oil into their food bowl, advice given to me by a fellow PTer.. This helps keep their coats in tip top condition.. Also you may or may not know that degus also need to have sandbaths like chinchillas do! I use a chinchilla sand and have a big bowl for them to roll in.. They should have access to it every day, mine do once a day while I tidy their cage out.. They also like to have loads of toys, wooden ones are the best, so they can play and chew! You should avoid alfalfa hay as its not the best to feed them.. There is a thread on here that has a list of suitable foods.. I will try and find it for you and post it on here!
Good luck and look forward to seeing some pics!
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-23-2005, 06:50 PM
 
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Heres a list of suitable foods and why not to feed alfalfa:

http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=5199
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-24-2005, 11:06 AM
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I wouldnít continue using the rolled oatís as they donít contain the nutrients a degu needs to stay fit and healthy, you also really shouldn't feed your degu gerbil food itís too high in sugars and starches for the degu to digest properly as is hamster food, rat food or rabbit food (which can be toxic to degus). You should also be wary with chinchilla food as it contains a lot of sugars that degu's cannot tolerate. Ideally you should feed them guinea pig pellets and a little guinea pig mix with the molasses removed. There is also ready-made degu food out there, which isnít too bad and worth looking out for and chinchilla pellets are ok in small amounts. I also suggest some good quality hay for roughage and a little dried grass is good too. As for veggies with the sweet potato Iíd feed that sparingly like a small cube once every few days and make sure there is no skin on it at all as thatís extremely toxic. They do like small pieces of carrot (although a lot seem to prefer it dried) and mine go mad for broccoli and the odd piece of cucumber or tomato, you can also try cauliflower, cabbage, green beans, peas and spring onions but again all sparingly as too much can cause things such as bloat. Some deguís will eat veggies and some wonít its all about preference so donít worry too much if yours wonít eat them. They also can have the odd piece of apple but that should only be for a treat once every so often as its sugary, other good treats are the odd raison or peanut, shredded wheat, corn flakes, rice puffs, puffed wheatís, sunflower seed or pumpkin seed and for a special treat they like whole nuts in the shell like walnuts, hazelnuts and brazil nuts. Like Steph (Purplebunny) mentioned you can add evening primrose oil to their food once a month which helps keep their coat shiny and healthy. They also need fresh water daily.


As for the introduction whatever you do please don't rush it. I've introduced degu's a few times and it can be hit and miss but normally it all tends to work out and everything is fine. You have females so thatís always easier and a plus point plus they are all young and the new ones are younger than your existing one so that is good too. I wouldn't suggest putting them together immediately you want to take your time and let them get used to one anotherís scents so what I suggest doing is placing the new ones in a cage next to your existing degu place it close so they can see and smell each other and let them settle in for a few days like this. Start getting them out individually and I always suggest using wool gloves when you handle them so you pick up their scent and when you handle the next one it passes on to them and so on, I suggest doing this for a week so they start to smell like one another. I also suggest swapping their sand baths around again they pick up each others scent so when they eventually do meet there will be less friction as they will smell alike. Another tip some people use is to put a tiny drop of vanilla essence into the chinchilla sand and mix it in so again they will smell alike, its all about creating the illusion they are from the same group. I'd leave it about a week before you try to introduce them and when you do you want to do it in a neutral area and put them in together and see how they go on. Normally they will sniff one another and sometimes there is the odd bit of fighting but thatís all to do with leadership so to be expected. The good signs are them generally getting on with no fighting, maybe grooming one another and just getting on with things in general like nothing new has happened. They might also make a low whistling/chattering noise that you hear them make to one another when they are communicating. If they do fight then I suggest waiting a while longer and continue the scenting with the gloves etcÖ and try the introduction again a few days later as sometimes it can take more than one introduction for deguís to get along but you will get there. Plus itís easier with females and yours are babies so they should get along fine. If they get on ok then I suggest putting them into cage together and seeing how they get on (just make sure the cage is clean and doesnít smell of either of them). Keep a close eye on them for a day or two and at the first sign of any major fighting (and thatís fighting that doesnít resolve itself within seconds) separate them as degu fights can turn nasty very quickly.

Good luck with the introduction and congratulations on becoming a degu owner

Kirsty


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alfalfa hay, baby degus, cage bars, chinchilla pellets, degu food, food bowl, guinea pig, guinea pig mix, guinea pig pellets, hamster food, rabbit food, rabbit pellets, rat food, shredded wheat


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