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Degu Discussion Twitching whiskers, curious noses, and all things degu related.

 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-11-2009, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
 
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New Degus and new here

I'm so glad I found this forum. We just adopted 2 degus last week. We have a male and a female, who seems to be pregnant. The humane society was not familiar with degus, but they were fortunate enough to find a vet student who was willing to foster them. We adopted them last week and are working on socialization. It is going very well and they are warming up to us quickly, but we know it will take time for us to gain their trust. The only thing we know about their background is that they were rescued by a caring sole who did not want to see them used as snake food and brought them to our local shelter. They are very sweet and are very attached to each other. No one is sure when the female is due, if she is in fact pregnant, but she is extremely rolly polly. She has also been taking hay up to their hammock. Thinking I should move the hammock lower to the ground just in case. They also like their new cage. I do have a question about it...we had a rat previously that lived in this cage so it is fortified with wire mesh around the outside (1cm sq openings) so that she could not escape. The bars of the cage are 2.5 cms apart...would it be ok to take the outer mesh off, or should I leave it on? I know my female cannot get out of the 2.5 as he face is wider than that, but my male I'm not so sure about yet. If she is preggo, then we'll have to have our male neutered as I don't want to separate them due to their attachment. Any suggestions, opinions, or tips would be greatly appreciated, as these are my first degus. I have had rabbits, squirrels, hampsters, gerbils, mice, and rats in the past, so I know about small animals and socialization, but am learning and reading as much as I can get my hands on for these precious creatures. Sorry so long, thanks for reading.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-11-2009, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Smile Photo of our degus...

Sorry I meant to include a photo in my original post. Here is the picture of Thumper and Darwin.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-11-2009, 07:01 PM
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-11-2009, 07:56 PM
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Welcome to Paw-Talk!

Yeah, I would lower the hammock--you don't want babies falling out if she makes her nest there! Leave the mesh on, too, as the babies could probably squeeze out otherwise (degus are born very developed and able to move around, they aren't helpless like rat babies). By the way, if she looks pregnant then she's probably very far along. Expect her to give birth in the next week or so if she is indeed pregnant.

What are you feeding them? One of the most important parts of degu care is making sure they have a proper diet. They shouldn't have any sugar (that includes fruit sugar, molasses, cane juice, etc.). Check the pellets to make sure there isn't any hidden sugar. If possible, try to get a diet specially formulated for degus (the one by Sun Seed is often considered the best). They also need unlimited access to fresh hay (Grass hay, timothy hay, meadow hay, etc. Just no alfalfa!). Vegetables (leafy greens), fresh grasses, flowers, and herbs are all great diet supplements. I give my own degus a small salad every evening.

Other important things are making sure they have a lot of stuff to chew, get plenty of out-of-cage time, and have regular access to a dust bath.

They're very cute, by the way!




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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-11-2009, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the info Sasami. The girl that had them gave us a huge bag of Timothy hay, a bag of chinchilla pellets, also a bag of "Salad Style" Grass Hay Blend. The hay blend says it has Western Timothy and Orchard Grass Hay and it's chopped up. We have also been giving them some sweet potato everyday...very small amounts though. I found a site that said no more than a 1" cube each per day of it, so we have stuck to that.

Umm...the Chinchilla pellets has Cane Molasses 8th in the ingredients list. Guessing that is not a good thing. I won't give them anymore of this. I had already thrown out other food that I had been given with them. She had been feeding them a hampster mix with corn and seeds/nuts in it. Fortunately they were picking out the corn and not eating it, but I'm not sure about the other stuff. She was also giving them way more carrots per day than they were suppose to have. I hope this hasn't caused any problems. There does not seem to be any ill effects from it. I'll find some better pellets for them tomorrow.

What kind of flowers and herbs can they have? How much leafy greens can they have a day??? I don't want to give them too much.

One more question...how often should we do the dust bath? Due to one of my children having severe asthma, I don't keep the dust bath in their cage. We take them to my tub and let them have fun in the dust bath there.

Like I said before trying to learn all we can quickly. I'm not sure what a pregnant degu looks like, but did read that they get very round and clumsy. She isn't very clumsy yet, but is very round.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-11-2009, 10:10 PM
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Yup, I would find a food without molasses. It's not easy but maybe you'll be able to find actual degu pellets (any good degu food isn't going to have ANY sugar).

You've kept rabbits, right? As far as I know, any flowers/veggies a rabbit can have, a degu can have (I have rabbits, too). You just want to avoid fruit and large amounts of high-calcium vegetables like kale and spinach (small amounts are fine but don't feed too much). Romaine lettuce, chicory, carrot greens, parsley, dandelion greens, clovers, marigolds, and arugula are some favorites of my degus. It's hard to over-feed them vegetables unless you're giving them ones that are high in calcium or sugary. If you're nervous, mostly feed them grasses and herbs (since that's the closest you can get to a natural diet).

I would offer a dust bath at least once or twice a week. As far as the clumsiness goes, I don't know if that's true of all pregnant degus. A couple weeks ago, a pregnant degu leaped out of a tank and into my lap at a pet store .




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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-11-2009, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
 
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That's hilarious about the degu jumping out in your lap :-)!

Thank you so very much for all the info. I will make a trip to the grocery tomorrow for some fresh greens and check out the pet store for some good degu pellets.
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