Urgent Taming Set Back.. Help !
I'm new to this group..
I have a problem with taming the Degus.. I have ni idea what to do about it..
I rescued to Degus from the RSPCA a little while back.. they were handled by the RSPCA and so were semi tame when i had them.. one week after I got them they were cominhg on great.. they would take food out of my hand, crawl up my arm.. come to me etc.. I was really pleased at how well the taming was going with them..
Four days ago I went back to the RSPCA to adopt the last tweo remaining Degus who had been left on their own when I took the first two... I got them took them home, housed them in seperate cages... I gave the same sandbath to both sets, I cleared out both cages with cage disinfectant and then I wiped all the Degus with Degus scented mite wipes... this pretty much got rid of any familar scent... then I put them together...
they fought for a few minutes and then all was fine... they now sleep cuddled up together and get on great..
one degus (stumpy) from the last two I adopted has no tail as he was abused by the previous owner.. he is very nervous of me and is very unfriendly at the moment..
The problem I have is that now, when I talk to them all or go anywhere near the cage, stumpy sends a warning call to the others and they all run as fast as they can to the nest... I cant get to them, I cant pick them up to clean the cage, they wont come to me... it seems like all the taming I did with them has gone out of the window.
Even when Stumpy doesnt send the warning call he still dives into the nest as fast as he can the minute he sees me or anyone.. this frightens the others and again they all take cover..
I'm finding this very upseting because I got so far with the first two.. they were all coming along so well.. it seems so disheartening, I've felt like giving up on them the last few days and leave them alone permanently.. I know he hasnt had that much time to get used to me.. but how can he ever get used to me if he wont even look at me let alone come out of his nest...
To make matters worse... yesterday I had to clean the cage.. I couldnt hold off any longer, I would have just been irresponsible to do that as the cage was really starting to get in a bit of a mess..
so i had no choice but to do it... stumpy dived in the nest - the others followed.. because they did originally trust me a little they were easier to find and put in the bath so i could clean the cage.. however it caused great distress because everytime I moved the nest or box/toys to get to one and pick his up stumpy would dash around the cage terrified and within seconds I had four terrified Degus.. for no reason.. I have cleaned the cage before and had no problems with the first tweo then.. they were happy with me doing it.. but now it seems to cause panic in the cage because of stumpy..
In the end it was a case of five whole minutes trying to catch him.. it turned into a real ordeal.. and when i did catch him he bit me.. not very hard but enough to draw blood..
After cleaning the cage, he is now even worse... he hates me I'm sure.. I gave them all half a peanut each as a treat after I had cleaned the cage... all were very nervous (they never used to be)
one took the peanut, the other two did so after loads of encouragement and very reluctantly.. and stumpy wouldnt even look at what i had.. eventually i had to put the peanut on the cage floor and he took it and dived straight back into the nest..
I cant understand why he is nervous and frightened, but he was handled every day by the RSPCA so he is suppost to be tame.. I can understand a normal amount of nervousness etc but this is extreme .. wouldnt mind if he didnt terrify the other three in the process.. after he sent up the warning call to the group they just dont trust me anymore.. and the more i sit at the cage talking to them, or try to give them a treat etc.. the more nervous they seem..
Does anyone have a suggestion ? I dont have another cage to seperate them again.. besides it doesnt seem fair to seperate them as - as a group they get on well and are now very loving with each other.. but I dont want to end up with four Degus who bite ands wont come near me..
I have bred hampsters for years so I'm used to taming small animals in a general sense.. but not degus... all my hampsters were very tame ... but stumpy is too quick to catch, and he is frightening the rest of the degus which of course you dont get with hampsters.. so i have no idea what to do now,. If i leave them alone then they will never trust me, if i so much as even talk to them they dive in the nest..
Has anyone got any suggestions ?