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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2005, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Question Questions from a new degu owner

I have 3 questions. 1. How come my Degus itch themselves so much, is it normal? They seem to be itching themselve constantly. And they also roll around a lot on the wood chips in their cage. 2. What is a dust bath, and how do you give a Degu a dust bath? 3. I have my Degus in my room, and at night I take the wheel out of their cage because I cant sleep with it in their cage, its just too noisey. Is that OK to do?

If someone could answer these questions for me that would be great, thanks.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2005, 08:13 PM
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hi there, degus need dust baths to keep themselves healthy and clean. you need to purchase some chinchilla dust from your pet shop, you can also buy specialist baths to put the dust in, though any largish dish with low sides will do. if you havent been giving your degus a bath this could be why they are scratching alot (are you using scented wood chip or very cheap bedding as degus can be allergic to these things) you should give the bath to the degus once or twice a day (although some people find they only need to put it in every other day depending on the habits of their degus) never leave the dust bath in the cage as your degus will eventually start to use it as a toilet and its not very hygenic.most degus absolutely love to take a dust bath but don't worry if they don't jump straight in as they will need some time to get used to it, you should leave the bath in for about 20-30 minutes at a time.
degus are not noctural animals but they tend to sleep only for short periods mixed in with a scamper about so this is why they are keeping you awake at night. it will not harm your degus to remove the wheel over night, but have you considered moving your degus to the hub of the household they are very nosy creatures and appreciate being at the centre of everything, they like to watch people go about their lives and if they aren't in your bedroom they won't keep you awake. just another piece of information degus are most active first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening, in between this time they will mix snoozing with play. it is good you have more than one degus as they get very depressed if they are left alone but they still love lots of human attention as they are easily bored. anyway good luck and have fun watching your degus take their first dust bath it's great to watch!!!!!!


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2005, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Well, thank you for the info. I did give them a dust bath today but they didn't seem to use it. I watched them for 30 minutes and all they did was use it as a toilet as you said. But I'm not sure if I'm using the right container for the bath. It's like a yogourt container but wider and shorter, is that OK? And if they are allergic to the wood chips in their cage, will they get sick, or is itching the only thing that will happen?
And as for the moving them to a different location, I think keeping them in my room will be fine if they like to be around people, because I'm in my room alot, and give them lots of attention. And I just like having them with me, as you said, their fun to watch. But once I get back to school, I will probably move them to a better place in the house so they get more attention.
Thanks for your reply.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2005, 09:23 AM
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if your degu can easily fit in the dish lying down then it should be fine, what happens is they roll around in it, flick up the sand and make a dreadful mess ha ha!! don't worry about them getting used to , as they eventually will if they start to use it as a toilet remove it then try again later. if they are allergic to the wood chips it's not a very good idea to continue using it as they will develop rashes and skin complaints. are you using store bought wood chips? they need to be as free of dust as poss so wood chips from a mill are no good. also check that the hay you use for bedding is good quality as it forms an integral part of their diet too. hope this helps


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2005, 11:19 AM
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Great info already been given but a few things to add

My guess could be the itchiness of your degu's is down to them maybe not having a sandbath and as they couldn't bathe they couldn't loosen their coats inorder for them to moult properly hence them scratching a lot to loosen the hair that way. If after a few days of still using the sand bath they are still scratching then i would take a look at what bedding materials you are using for them as thats the most common cause of allergies in small animals. Normally they scratch and in some cases they sneeze as well if they are allergic to bedding materials so its about eliminatiing things as you go along as if it is something in their surroundings it might just be one thing or could be any number of things. If the sand baths don't help i'd take a look at their bedding material and go on from there. If you change everything and still no improvement or they get worse i'd take them to see your vet as wouldn't hurt to get them checked out incase of an infestation of some kind which is a long shot but something worth keeping in mind! In my opinion its either going to be moulting making them itch or something in their cage so work on it from there

As for an ideal sand bath, if you want something inexpensive to use get hold of a stainless steal dog bowl they tend to do the job pretty well or an old ice cream tub, anything thats got a little depth and room for two to fit in as they tend to like to bathe together. Mine have theres in their cages all day everyday and they are pretty good about keeping the sand clean, the novelty of using it as a toilet has worn off

As for the wheel, when you say it is noisy is it something that could be stopped without taking the wheel out? Like if its a squeaking noise could the wheel be greased to stop it squeaking or is it just the noise they make banging around in it? It doesn't hurt them taking the wheel out every night its just hassle for you really, degu's tend to fit into your life pattern and normally sleep at night anyway!

Goodluck with your guys and hope they bring you as much enjoyment as mine bring me

Kirsty


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2005, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I think the bedding they have is fine, its store bought and they dont seem to be sneezing, so I think they're itcing because they don't have a sand bath. They dont seem to use it, but I'll keep trying anyway. But does the sand bath need to be a dusty knid of sand, or will just any clean sand work?
And as for the wheel, they just make all the noise bouncing up and down on it. I tried to make it better by weighting it down, but they still make a lot of noise. I think I'll just stick to taking it out every night.
Thanks everyone for helpin me out
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-05-2005, 05:59 AM
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You need chinchilla sand for a degu's sand bath, its quite cheap and available from most pet stores etc.....

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-07-2005, 04:52 PM
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if you use any clean sand it can cause serious skin problems for the degus, and for the wheel i have a open bar wheel ( not the ideal) but i take it out at night for 2 reason 1) so that they do not have it unsupervised (WE DONT WANT ANY ACCIDENTS WITH THEIR TAILS NOW DO WE ) and 2) because if i didnt they would use it none stop and i dont like to think of them getting to shattered.
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