Questions from a first-time degu owner! - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
Degu Discussion Twitching whiskers, curious noses, and all things degu related.

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-12-2005, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 799
 
Question

Hi everyone, this is my first post on here and it's a doozy!

Two weeks ago, I got two degus. They were from a family who were concerned about their kids taking improper care of them (why they let the kids have sole care of them is another story). When I got them, they were in a TINY cage (like, too small for one hamster) with a completely inadequate wheel. The food that the owners gave me was in a ziploc bag so I have no idea what it is (but the pellets are very small, so I assume it's hamster food). They had not had access to any hay whatsoever. The owners also said that they fight a lot. The day after I got them, I went and got them a much bigger, multi-level cage (along with a huuuge wheel). I have not noticed any fighting whatsoever (except a little squabbling over treats). They seem to absolutely love their new cage. I also got them some proper food and timothy hay (it was the cutest thing to see when they got hay for the first time!). They're extremely active and love to cuddle together. They're little piggies too, eating lots of food (they seemed kind of malnourished when we got them, a bit bony...that's fixed now). We THINK they're both males but I'm having a lot of trouble sexing them. Whatever the case, they have the same genitalia, so I'm confident they're the same sex. They won't let me catch them for a good look though (they let me pet them a bit and they'll crawl onto my hand but picking them up is out of the question). Now, some questions:

1. How do you know if degu teeth are overgrown? They both make little grinding noises after they've had a drink, but I read on here that it's normal. Their teeth are orange but I really have no idea how to tell if they're overgrown or not. They have no trouble eating or anything and I've given them lots of things to chew on (even though they prefer chewing on the wires of the cage, haha). I just don't know if I should be worried or not.

2. How much do degus usually drink? Their water bottle is only a tiny 60mL one. Each 24 hour period, they drink about 50mL between them. Is that normal? They don't seem to go to the bottle frequently but when they do go, they drink for quite awhile.

3. Is timothy hay acceptable as the primary bedding in a cage? The degus came with a lot of pine bedding but reading stuff on here made me a little nervous about using it. On the bag of timothy hay, it says "bedding," so I assume it would be okay to use, but I just want to be sure.

4. How often should I give treats? I know it's "occasionally," but does that mean once a day, once a week, once a month? They seem to really love shredded wheat I just don't want to make them unhealthy.

5. Do they only lay on their bellies when they're too hot? I've noticed that they often stretch out and then lay on their bellies to doze (they only do this on their soft cloth bed). They only do this a couple times a day and I don't think my house is too hot (although Canada gets pretty chilly so we keep the heat on).

6. This morning I got a lovely awakening by my degu squeaking like mad for about 30 minutes. I've only ever heard him make this noise when he was asleep (when it looks like he's dreaming). It's a sharp squeak, not a warbling noise. I even gave him a treat and he still kept squeaking (haha, it got a little muffled when he ate the treat though). Should I be worried about this behavior? The other degu didn't seem alarmed by it.

I think that's it for now. Sorry for all the questions but I figured I should make one post as opposed to six! I've never had any experience with degus before and I'd really like to give them a better life than they had before. I'm known to my friends as a "paranoid" pet owner because I need to get answers about every little thing. Thanks in advance for all your help!
DorkyChantelle is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-12-2005, 04:20 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 118
 
Congrats on your new degus
As long as your degus have wood too chew on you shouldn't need to worry about thier teeth being over grown.
For the water i have a 112ml for 3 degus and i change it about every 36 hours so it seems normal too me.
Im not sure about using timothy hay as bedding because ive never used it mainly for bedding. but i'd think it would be safe. ive seen others use it if that helps
I give my degus treats maybe 3 times a week at most. mostly vegetables
Im not 2 sure about 5 or 6 but im sure someone will help ya out more
Welcome to PT
vinamp is offline  
post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-12-2005, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 799
 
Thanks vinamp I'm only worried about their teeth being overgrown because I doubt the family that they were living with gave them anything to chew on. They've got plenty now though, so I guess they should be fine (they're currently working on a walnut, haha).

P.S. - I'm originally from St. Catharines! I was born there and I lived there for a couple years. I still go back every year to visit relatives.
DorkyChantelle is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-12-2005, 05:37 PM
Resident Aquarium Nerd
 
Sasami's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
Age: 28
Posts: 9,930
   
1. How do you know if degu teeth are overgrown? They both make little grinding noises after they've had a drink, but I read on here that it's normal. Their teeth are orange but I really have no idea how to tell if they're overgrown or not. They have no trouble eating or anything and I've given them lots of things to chew on (even though they prefer chewing on the wires of the cage, haha). I just don't know if I should be worried or not.

It sounds to me that they have fine teeth, but if you're worried you could ask the vet. As long as they're eating and drinking and have plenty of chew toys they're teeth should be ok.

2. How much do degus usually drink? Their water bottle is only a tiny 60mL one. Each 24 hour period, they drink about 50mL between them. Is that normal? They don't seem to go to the bottle frequently but when they do go, they drink for quite awhile.

That's normal, alot of times degus only drink once or twice a day instead of making frequent trips. In fact, I have read that some degus don't even drink water but get all their water from veggies.

3. Is timothy hay acceptable as the primary bedding in a cage? The degus came with a lot of pine bedding but reading stuff on here made me a little nervous about using it. On the bag of timothy hay, it says "bedding," so I assume it would be okay to use, but I just want to be sure.

It's acceptable, but messy and hard to clean. If you do that, be prepared to change it alot. I would use Aspen shavings as they're easy to clean, absorb well, and are perfectly safe .

4. How often should I give treats? I know it's "occasionally," but does that mean once a day, once a week, once a month? They seem to really love shredded wheat I just don't want to make them unhealthy.

Every night before bed I give my degus each a small treat like a carrot slice. Once a week they get a larger treat like a nut and a few times a week they get veggies. Hope that helped.

5. Do they only lay on their bellies when they're too hot? I've noticed that they often stretch out and then lay on their bellies to doze (they only do this on their soft cloth bed). They only do this a couple times a day and I don't think my house is too hot (although Canada gets pretty chilly so we keep the heat on).

Nah, I think it's normal. But what temperature is your house, to make sure?

6. This morning I got a lovely awakening by my degu squeaking like mad for about 30 minutes. I've only ever heard him make this noise when he was asleep (when it looks like he's dreaming). It's a sharp squeak, not a warbling noise. I even gave him a treat and he still kept squeaking (haha, it got a little muffled when he ate the treat though). Should I be worried about this behavior? The other degu didn't seem alarmed by it.

He might have been spooked by something. Degus do that alot when they're in a new home, often at night or early morning.




~Stephanie

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


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




Sasami is offline  
post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-12-2005, 07:38 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 320
 
hmm just a quick one a male degu will spend an awful lot of time squeaking after they have mated successfully, it seems they like to boast about it. if you havent properly sexed your degus it could be that you have a male and a female its often difficult to tell from a quick glance what sex they are as they can look quite similar, you need to find a way to check for sure if you dont want babies, its also not a good idea for them to breed if the pair are brother and sister as degus suffer from diabeties which can be encouraged through inter breeding.
fluffball is offline  
post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-12-2005, 07:41 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 5,284
  
Welcome to PT, great to have another degu owner on here.. Great advice already given, if you need any more help etc just ask?
Purplebunny is offline  
post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-12-2005, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 799
 
Thanks everyone Your advice really helped.

As for the sexes, I'm still working on figuring it out. I managed to get a good peek at one of them today and it is definitely a male (well, I'm no expert but it fits with all the degu sexing info I've found on the Internet). I got a quick look at the other one a few minutes ago and it looks exactly the same as the other one. I guess it's still not an "official" opinion, but I'm pretty confident. I've watched them and they've had no behaviors that would be consistent with mating (although the dominant one kind of gets on the back of the other one but nothing else went on). The previous owners said that this pair have been together since birth and have had no babies yet, so I think I'm safe (famous last words, eh?). I'll do my best to get a better look though.
DorkyChantelle is offline  
post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-12-2005, 08:23 PM
Resident Aquarium Nerd
 
Sasami's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
Age: 28
Posts: 9,930
   
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffball
hmm just a quick one a male degu will spend an awful lot of time squeaking after they have mated successfully, it seems they like to boast about it. if you havent properly sexed your degus it could be that you have a male and a female its often difficult to tell from a quick glance what sex they are as they can look quite similar, you need to find a way to check for sure if you dont want babies, its also not a good idea for them to breed if the pair are brother and sister as degus suffer from diabeties which can be encouraged through inter breeding.
Yes, that's true.

Although, it seems many same-sex degu pairs make mating noises when they first become mature...because of that I orginally thought Hikaru was a male.

You should ask the vet to sex them for you...they need a check up, anyway, right?




~Stephanie

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


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




Sasami is offline  
post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-12-2005, 08:25 PM
Resident Aquarium Nerd
 
Sasami's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
Age: 28
Posts: 9,930
   
Hehe, you posted at the same time as me...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DorkyChantelle
Thanks everyone Your advice really helped.

As for the sexes, I'm still working on figuring it out. I managed to get a good peek at one of them today and it is definitely a male (well, I'm no expert but it fits with all the degu sexing info I've found on the Internet). I got a quick look at the other one a few minutes ago and it looks exactly the same as the other one. I guess it's still not an "official" opinion, but I'm pretty confident. I've watched them and they've had no behaviors that would be consistent with mating (although the dominant one kind of gets on the back of the other one but nothing else went on). The previous owners said that this pair have been together since birth and have had no babies yet, so I think I'm safe (famous last words, eh?). I'll do my best to get a better look though.
More then likely if the pair has been together that long then they are probably the same sex. But since degus take so long to become mature, you never know. But you're more then likely safe.

Good luck with them!




~Stephanie

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


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




Sasami is offline  
post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-12-2005, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 799
 
Yeah, when they go in for their first checkup (well, first checkup with me), I'll find out for sure if I'm right about the sexes.

Oh, I forgot to answer a question earlier. The heater in my house is set to 20 degrees celcius (so...68 or so fahrenheit) but my room is small so it tends to be a few degrees warmer (so maybe add 5 degrees at the most). They don't seem to be too warm but then again, I don't really know what to look for yet.
DorkyChantelle is offline  
post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-12-2005, 11:28 PM
Resident Aquarium Nerd
 
Sasami's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
Age: 28
Posts: 9,930
   
Quote:
Originally Posted by DorkyChantelle
Yeah, when they go in for their first checkup (well, first checkup with me), I'll find out for sure if I'm right about the sexes.

Oh, I forgot to answer a question earlier. The heater in my house is set to 20 degrees celcius (so...68 or so fahrenheit) but my room is small so it tends to be a few degrees warmer (so maybe add 5 degrees at the most). They don't seem to be too warm but then again, I don't really know what to look for yet.
That sounds like a normal temperature to me. I've heard of putting stones in degu cages so they can lie on them to cool down...maybe you could do that?




~Stephanie

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


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




Sasami is offline  
post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-13-2005, 08:10 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 118
 
Quote:
P.S. - I'm originally from St. Catharines! I was born there and I lived there for a couple years. I still go back every year to visit relatives.
are you? awesome thats a long journey 2 me every year. i would never be able 2 do it. you can come visit my degus next time lol. thier having thier little food fight right now sqeaking everywhere
vinamp is offline  
Reply

Tags
aspen shavings, chew toy, chew toys, hamster food, level cage, pet owner, pine bedding, shredded wheat, timothy hay


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome