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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2006, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
 
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Question

Hi everyone,

I just got a couple degus (2 males) and thought that this would be a good place to learn how to keep them happy and safe. When we (my girlfriend and I) bought them, the pet store people really didn't know anything about them (i.e. how to sex them) so they just gave us two. I had read things about them beforehand, but it wasn't until after we bought them that I learned how to sex them. Since then, I've learned that they are both males (a relief since I didn't want any babies). I've read that males can be very aggressive towards one another, and in the past few days they've been fighting a lot, one mostly dominating the other. I know they are trying to establish territorial dominance, but I was wondering if I should stop this fighting or not. The one that seems to be more dominant is also more active, while the other likes to just sit around and basically do nothing. Is there something wrong with him, or is he just being subservient to the other.

Thanks for your help.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2006, 05:46 PM
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Unless one is injured or there is blood I wouldn't worry about it. Males can usually live together quite happily .

How big is the cage? Alot of times it seems males fight because there isn't enough room. I'm not sure what the petstore told you, but degus need a large multi-level cage.

If you have any more questions feel free to ask .

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2006, 05:52 PM
 
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I have two male degus and they generally get along quite well. They used to have pretty severe dominance fights (there was blood drawn but no bad injuries) but always went back to normal afterwards. They still have little dominance issues when their cage is cleaned but they resolve it pretty quickly. Most of the time, they're very loving with each other. They chirp and clean each other (and sleep cuddled up together). I think it's best to let them fight it out unless someone gets injured because then they resolve whatever conflict they were having. I've found that if I seperate them for awhile, they just pick up where they left off when I put them back together.

I would advise having two of most things in the cage (water bottles, food dishes, toys) because they will probably have issues with sharing food and water (mine have little squabbles but the submissive one always waits until the dominant one is done).

Good luck!
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2006, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
 
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Well it seems that they're getting along a little better as of today. The less active one, Lemon, is moving around more and more, but is still getting picked on by the other one, Newo.

The cage has 3 levels and seems fairly large...I'm not sure the exact dimensions. My girlfriend used to use it for her rats, and this is my first time having a rodent-like pet, so I have nothing really to compare it to.

I really like them so far though, so I'm thinking about investing in a much larger cage and getting 1 or 2 more degus. If any of you know any good discount websites where I could buy a big enough used cage that would be awesome. I've found 1 or 2 and I constantly browse ebay, but anything else would help.

Thanks for all your help.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2006, 11:41 PM
 
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My boys have never been big fighters. Occasionally Quinny mounts Beebo and begins messing up his hair, and Beebo climbs up on the bars and squeaks for me to save his life, but that's either because Quinny has a strange interest in other males (100% sure Beebo is male) or because he wants to prove his manliness...They really only do this in their smaller play cage, though. They used to have kangaroo play fights and often do. They don't really fight over water or food, but they can sometimes squeak and push each other away...But they resolve it. They take turns on the wheel, and squeak to remind the other when it's their turn if they've gone on too long...Just watch them, scoop them up instead of grabbing them when picking them up, and they CANNOT digest sugars, so feed timothy hay pellets to them. Vegetables are great for them, too. Just make sure they're fresh and clean. The cage needs to be cleaned about once a week, depending on how messy they are...And they can be truly messy! My boys live in a multi-leveled, two-foot high cage that is INCREDIBLY heavy. We built it ourselves, and it was hard. They also eat a lot of food, and drink a lot of water. A big, leak-proof water bottle is best, and fill it up regularly with clean water, like bottled water. Just make sure it's not tap water. I give them small meals each day, because they then don't fight as much, get as messy, or over eat. They usually get breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a few snacks, of course. Degus can become very rewarding, affectionate pets if you trust them, and talk to them softly every day. They are moody, and can one moment absolutely adore you, and groom your eyebrows, and then suddenly start squealing to be put back and try to run away. It's best that you do not bother them, and respect them. Degus will sometimes nibble at first, but when they get used to you, it's alright. Just make sure you have patience with them....

Be gentle.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2006, 04:45 AM
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Welcome to PT and to the mad world of degu ownership

I have been keeping degu's for the last 8 years and i have never had a problem with boys living together, they can and do get along fine.The problems tend to occur when there are females around. I have 7 degu's in total, all males and i don't have a problem with any of them fighting etc... Obviously there are the few squabbles over food or when someones sat where someone else wants too but you get that with any degu male or female. There is always going to be one dominant degu in any partnership and they tend to work it out between them. When you say fighting do you mean boxing? Where they stand on their hind legs and push each other around? Or do you mean rolling around in a ball kind of fighting? Or is it just noise? As degu's are very vocal and let each other know when one has upset the other. They also display a lot of body language so they can be easy to read at times as to the mood and what is going on.

Your cage sounds perfectly big enough for your pair. I would be careful about adding more degu's to your existing pair as they are males and males that are in a bonded pair often find it hard to accept any new degu's. If you was to think about it then i would suggest only adding one as they are more likely to accept one than two and also make sure you pick a baby one as again they are more likely to accept an unmature male than a mature one. I'd also follow all the guide lines on introductions. There are a few posts on here that i have made about introducing adult males as i have done it a few times with success and if you want anymore advice on the subject feel free to ask or pm me

Kirsty


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2006, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethystbelle
When you say fighting do you mean boxing? Where they stand on their hind legs and push each other around? Or do you mean rolling around in a ball kind of fighting? Or is it just noise? As degu's are very vocal and let each other know when one has upset the other. They also display a lot of body language so they can be easy to read at times as to the mood and what is going on.
The "fighting" I'm seeing is mostly standing on their hind legs and pushing each other around (boxing). One will then run away and the other will chase and mount it. Then they'll be calm for 20 or 30 seconds, after which they go at it again. It seems like they'll go through this kind of behavior for one or two minutes then rest for 30 minutes to an hour, and start up again, but sometimes its just random. And there is a lot of talking between the two (tons of different sounds, from sqeualing to squeaking to chirping).

I measured the cage today and its 22" long x 20" tall x 16" deep. According to what I've seen some people say, it should be a bit bigger, especially the height. Also, it seems like its getting a bit cramped since I put in a wheel, a hay feeder cage, and some toys.

Thanks for all your help, you guys are awesome. Thanks from Newo and Lemon too .
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2006, 06:56 AM
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I wouldn't worry too much about that kind of fighting my boys do it all the time. Its like young boys play fighting and its all about establishing who is in charge mainly and its mainly just playing and a lot of noise. It sounds worse than it is

The cage is ok for a pair for now. They do prefer height in as cage so they can have lots of different levels as they are naturally rock hoppers so by giving them height you can create a environment where they can have some sense of a natural environment. I use leap ledges in my cage instead of full shelves so they can leap around and they amaze you at their agility. If you are worried about the size of the cage you could also try letting them out (if you can and it is safe to do so) once a day as they will love this and gives them an environment outside their own home

Kirsty


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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2006, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethystbelle
I wouldn't worry too much about that kind of fighting my boys do it all the time. Its like young boys play fighting and its all about establishing who is in charge mainly and its mainly just playing and a lot of noise. It sounds worse than it is
Alright, thanks for clearing that up - I wasn't sure if they were hurting each other or not, because, as you said, it sounds pretty violent.

Quote:
The cage is ok for a pair for now. They do prefer height in as cage so they can have lots of different levels as they are naturally rock hoppers so by giving them height you can create a environment where they can have some sense of a natural environment. I use leap ledges in my cage instead of full shelves so they can leap around and they amaze you at their agility. If you are worried about the size of the cage you could also try letting them out (if you can and it is safe to do so) once a day as they will love this and gives them an environment outside their own home
The levels in the cage aren't full shelves so they do have room to jump around and what not. I have been able to take them out by just putting my hand in the cage and letting them crawl out onto my arm, though one does it more than the other. I take Newo out more often because he seems to have a better ability at judging distance to the floor, and I can let him roam around my desk or bed without having to worry about him taking a leap of faith. Lemon, on the other hand, has jumped to the floor a couple times, and though he didn;t show any signs of being hurt and he kept moving just fine, I wouldn't want to risk him breaking anything. When I am able to take him out, I let him roam around on the floor and he goes exploring my room.

Also, to anyone who also has a dog: does your dog pay much attention to the degus or does he or she not really care much. I have a tiny cockapoo terrier (coker spaniel + poodle + terrier) who seems to think that she is the degus' mother . I had Newo in my hand once and she just looked at him and then licked his coat (it was pretty cute). I don't want her hurting them though, and they also might be scared of her, so I don't generally let them see each other. However, when she's in my room she just stares at the cage (it's on my dresser above her eye level) and if I look down at her she starts whining at me like she wants to see them. It's really strange, so I was wondering if it's ever happened to anyone else with a dog and their degus (or even hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, etc.)

Thanks again for all your help guys, I'm really enjoying the degus so far. They're a blast.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2006, 01:32 PM
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I have dogs, cats and degus and they all get a long fine. Infact the degu's probably rule the roost so to speak as the dogs ignore them and the cats are scared of them after a few incidents of being attacked by them. I wouldn't worry too much if they are out of her way and safely in they're cage as they will soon get used to one another and her interest is probably just because they are new and she'll soon forget they are there

Kirsty


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2006, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, she's just getting really annoying coming in my room and whining at me. Hopefully she'll soon forget about them.
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food dishes, guinea pig, hind legs, level cage, pet store, tap water, timothy hay


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