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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-19-2005, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
 
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Question New to Degu's

Hello all...

On 12/17 my husband and I took my nine year old out to the pet store to find a Hedgehog. Well once we got to the store my daughter (and us) fell head over heels for the Degu's. I had first thought I'd buy two but the pet store lady told me not to that they wouldn't like people if they had Degu friends. She also talked me out of the big tall cage I first set my eyes on. As we had never heard of Degu before I took this lady's word.
So we bought one Degu, a small cage (think two level gerbil cage), a bag of Chin food (mixed) and some hay. So we got Alex home and I got right online searching out as much info on our new little charge as I could. The next thing I did was order a bigger cage, 32x32x61h inches, Degu food, a dust bath, and lots of toys. All the new stuff should be here in 3 days I feel so sorry for Alex until the new cage is here but at least I'm getting him what he needs to be happy.
I have a couple questions first off should we go back and get him a Degu buddy? I wouldn't mind him having a friend I'd hate to have him get depressed being alone since he used to have 3 friends with him. Next if I do get him a Degu buddy and it's one from the same group he was with will it be really hard to introduce them?
Also Alex nibbles on me when I "play" with him is this normal? Right now we are still in the stage where one of us will put a hand up to the door of the cage and he smells it (then nibbles it enough to leave a mark but not break the skin) after he does that he will climb halfway onto the hand he loves to have time with us and gets so mad when I close up the cage door.
We are very glad we got him and are just really amazed at him, each time we "play" with him he gets a bit more trusting of us. He really loves my daughter she just walks up to the cage whispers "Alex" and he's right up at the door waiting to nibbler her then climb out a little bit.
Any suggestions from you seasoned veterans in Degu care?

Thanks.. M
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-19-2005, 01:56 PM
 
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I think it would be a great idea to get him a friend! Good job with finding him a better cage too.

Question: Does your chin food have little treats in it?? If so, pick them all out because most of the treats aren't good for your degu (make sure you don't forget the raisons!).

My only fear about you getting him a buddy is that you may end up with a boy and a girl because almost every petshop doesn't know how to properly sex degus, and often times people end up with babies 3 months later. I would suggest checking out how to sex degus (it isn't that hard) and check to see if your degu is in fact a male. I would also check the degu that you are getting to make sure it is the same sex as yours -- don't trust the pet shop.
Other than that I wouldn't see a problem with you reunting him with an old friend

The nibbling is very normal for Degus In my opinion it's them showing that they care for you.. Degu kisses! Its good that he has already opened up you you guys and isn't still hiding!

Good luck!!
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-19-2005, 02:08 PM
 
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I found a site for you that shows how to sex Degus, there is a pic on it: http://www.degus.org/english/rozm.htm
The top pic is Male and the bottom is Female.
When you look on a female there should be almost NO space between the two parts. Once you see it on a real degu it will be easier for you to see/understand.
The only hard part is being able to get them to sit still long enough Someone once told me that it helps to put them on something glass and look up.
Good Luck!!
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-19-2005, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
 
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Well he never hid from us.. as a matter a fact on the ride home from the pet store he got out of the cardboard box. He had dug at the bottom until he was able to pop the lid open. My daughter was holding the box when this happened and Alex slowly climbed up her arm while we stopped the car and then got him into the cage. Since being home he's really started to love the attention we have him on the bar in our family room right now where he gets lots of attention as we move about the house.

The Chin food does have the treats in it and yes we are picking just the pellets out for him until his new food arrives. They even gave us a Chin care sheet telling us they were the same as Degu's. That was why I knew I had to research them quickly so he had the proper care. We had the same thing happen when we got our Sulcata the petstore gave us an awful care sheet but we had researched them before buying. Petstores make me mad.

Oh yes I will be checking out the Degu sexing instructions so that I know for sure we don't have a breeding pair as I have no intention of bringing more into the world just enjoying them.

Thanks.. M
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-19-2005, 05:42 PM
 
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i hate to say this but all the advice you had from the pet store was wrong. degus should be kept in pairs as they get depressed without company of thier own kind so i would get him a friend as soon as poss, also the bigger the cage the better degus have lots of energy and love to run and jump and climb they will often spend most of thier time at the highest part of the cage so a big cage with lots of platforms etc is a must, they also love chinchilla hammocks to snuggle up in and exercise wheels to have a good run( tho dont buy a plastic one as it will magically disappear within hours hee hee). you will need to make sure that you have plenty of chew toys in the cage as a degu loves nothing better than wreaking destruction.
a friend for your degu wont mean that he wont love to spend time with you it just stops him being lonely when you arent there, they should always be kept together whenever possible. if you can section off a part of the cage for the new degu so they can see and smell each other it gives them time to get used to each others smells and perhaps even remember each other, another trick is to give them the same dust bath so they both smell of each others scent this helps them to bond. keeping degus in pairs is not only healthy for the degus but its also fun for you as you watch them interact with each other!
this may sound strict but if it was me i would make a complaint to the petstore about the advice you recieved, so others do not end up in the same situation as you, the advice you were given really isnt in the best interests of the degus it would be a shame if the other degus suffered because of this ladys bad advice.
hope you have loads of fun with your new furball(s) !!!!
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-19-2005, 05:45 PM
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It seems your questions have been answered, I'd get a friend for him as soon as you can since the older they are the harder the introductions.

Good luck and welcome to PT!




~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 #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-19-2005, 05:51 PM
 
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oh degus love a couple of raisins every now and again as treat but i wouldnt feed them as part of thier food, degus are prone to diabeties which is the reason they were imported in the first place, all degu pet stock comes from a set of lab animals that were imported to study the effects of diabeties so they should have a sugar free diet they also dont handle fats very well so things like peanuts as a food are a no no, for treats i feed my degus maybe 2 raisins a week, a hazelnut every once in a while in its shell so they have to chew thru to get the treat, they also love shredded wheat, good as it is sugar free, dried carrot slices and pumpkin seeds(thier favorite mine will do anything for a pumpkin seed ive even taught them to give me a kiss!!!) i found dried peas are good too.
hope this helps
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-20-2005, 11:03 AM
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Great advice already been given but just wanted to add a few things especially regarding introducing him to a new friend.

Everybody else is correct he would be a lot better off with a friend, they can be kept alone and infact i have one lone male but thats because he chooses to be that way and doesn't get on with other degu's but a single degu is a lot of hard work and they need a lot of time spending on them and attention to keep them truly happy. And also no matter how much love you give them it doesn't make up for the fact they don't have another degu to preen them and snuggle up to at night. It doesn't change them at all i have 7 degu's in total one of his own and another group of 2 boys and a group of four boys and all are equally as loving, whenever i open the door they are all there waiting for kisses and to have lots of attention lavished on them and the lone one is no different to the others in the love he gives me back!

If you was to get him a friend you have two things on your side, one is you haven't had him too long and two he is a baby (i assume) so introducing him to another degu should be easy. I agree with the others unless you intend to breed you want to make sure you get another male. I'd probably also not introduce them on the same day you get another i'd wait a day or so and let the new one settle down and let them see each other for a start and maybe scent them up a little by allowing them to use the same sand and pick up each others smells and then i would introduce them in a neutral area and see how you get on and hopefully fingers crossed they will become the best of buddies

The nibbling on your hand is a greeting that degu's use, if you watch them in groups its a interaction they use between them selves and by Alex nibbling you it means he accepts you as part of his group. Alex will learn eventually how hard to chew you they just sometimes get a little carried away as i know my four baby boys do at the moment but it does pass and they learn not to nibble so hard. But the nibbling is a good sign

Welcome to PT and goodluck with your babies

Kirsty


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-20-2005, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
 
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<img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v299/mom2two/DSCN0766.jpg" alt="Image hosted by Photobucket.com">

Thats our Alex! I'm not sure how old he is but I don't think he's a baby any more. Thank you all for your advice, yes I know now that I've done my own research the pet store lady was way off. I don't know how much I can fault her since the info she spit out to me is most likely what her boss the owner told her.
Our plan for going back to get another is to wait until the new cage is here, then go back and get a same sex friend for Alex. I'll buy another cage like Alex is in then put them side by side in the small cages for a couple of days. Switching the sand bath back and forth for them. After a couple days I'll put them in the bath tub together and see what happens. Once they are both getting along we will put them both into the new cage. I was thinking this would prevent either one having claimed the new big cage as their own before adding the other.
Does that sound like it would work? I can only hope right or maybe I'll just go down today and get the second one since I won't be using the big cage until I get them used to each other.

Thanks again.. I'm glad I found a place to ask questions and get answers as I have quite a bit to learn.

Michele
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-20-2005, 12:40 PM
 
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very good advice given

congrats on your degu and welcome to pt
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-20-2005, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
 
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Okay now maybe the above will work..

Michele
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-20-2005, 07:15 PM
 
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Great advice so far.. Welcome to PT and the mad world of degu ownership!!!
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-20-2005, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twokps
<img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v299/mom2two/DSCN0766.jpg" alt="Image hosted by Photobucket.com">

Thats our Alex! I'm not sure how old he is but I don't think he's a baby any more. Thank you all for your advice, yes I know now that I've done my own research the pet store lady was way off. I don't know how much I can fault her since the info she spit out to me is most likely what her boss the owner told her.
Our plan for going back to get another is to wait until the new cage is here, then go back and get a same sex friend for Alex. I'll buy another cage like Alex is in then put them side by side in the small cages for a couple of days. Switching the sand bath back and forth for them. After a couple days I'll put them in the bath tub together and see what happens. Once they are both getting along we will put them both into the new cage. I was thinking this would prevent either one having claimed the new big cage as their own before adding the other.
Does that sound like it would work? I can only hope right or maybe I'll just go down today and get the second one since I won't be using the big cage until I get them used to each other.

Thanks again.. I'm glad I found a place to ask questions and get answers as I have quite a bit to learn.

Michele

He looks older in the picture, so it might be more tricky, but things usually work out in the end .

The plan you have is fine, that's actually what I do! Another thing is you can get scented dust (or add a drop of vanilla extract) and let them all bathe in it so they smell the same.




~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 #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-21-2005, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twokps
<img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v299/mom2two/DSCN0766.jpg" alt="Image hosted by Photobucket.com">

Thats our Alex! I'm not sure how old he is but I don't think he's a baby any more. Thank you all for your advice, yes I know now that I've done my own research the pet store lady was way off. I don't know how much I can fault her since the info she spit out to me is most likely what her boss the owner told her.
Our plan for going back to get another is to wait until the new cage is here, then go back and get a same sex friend for Alex. I'll buy another cage like Alex is in then put them side by side in the small cages for a couple of days. Switching the sand bath back and forth for them. After a couple days I'll put them in the bath tub together and see what happens. Once they are both getting along we will put them both into the new cage. I was thinking this would prevent either one having claimed the new big cage as their own before adding the other.
Does that sound like it would work? I can only hope right or maybe I'll just go down today and get the second one since I won't be using the big cage until I get them used to each other.

Thanks again.. I'm glad I found a place to ask questions and get answers as I have quite a bit to learn.

Michele
Your plan is an excellent one and perfect as thats normally the best way round it all. Alex does look older than a baby but i don't think he is fully grown yet but i could be wrong. If it doesn't happen the first time keep on trying as sometimes degu's can take a little while to like each other. Goodluck and keep us posted

Kirsty


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breeding pair, cardboard box, chew toy, chew toys, degu care, degu food, dust bath, pet shop, pet store, pumpkin seeds, shredded wheat, sit still


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