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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-26-2006, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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When to seperate fighting degus?

Hi all, yet another question from me

This morning, my two boys got in their worst fight yet. Usually around once a week they get into a fight. They circle each other and box with their arms. Then they swing their back end out and whack the other one with it (usually sending that one flying into whatever happens to be behind him). They usually settle themselves within five minutes though. This morning they did that for a good 20 minutes though. And once or twice they REALLY got into it (think just one big ball of fur, claws, and teeth rolling around the cage). I know you aren't supposed to seperate them unless it's REALLY serious, but I don't know when to draw that line. I made the mistake of putting my hand in the cage when they were taking a break from fighting. They decided to resume fighting at that time and my hand got caught in the middle. I got a really deep (but not long) scratch on my thumb but it's already starting to close itself up. After that, I seperated them once or twice with a towel. In the end, I let them fight it out. No blood was shed (that I could see) but afterwards, both degus went to opposite ends of the cage (one of the 2nd level) and laid flat out on their bellies with their eyes half open. It scared me because I thought maybe they had internal injuries or something but I think they were just exhausted. I had to go to school but my mom was home from work so she checked on them every few minutes. I called (I'm still at school) and she said that they're doing fine and they're cuddled up together. I guess I made the right decision not to seperate them this time, but how will I know for future fights whether or not they're REALLY serious about it.

Can anyone tell me exactly what to look for to tell that it's a real war, not just a regular fight? This morning looked awful to me but I imagine there are worse fights. I just don't want to cause more harm than good by putting them in seperate cages for awhile.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-27-2006, 05:02 AM
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I've been in that situation myself and its always hard to judge when or if to seperate. All degu's wrestle with one another its perfectly normal but rolling around in a ball fighting isn't thats real fighting. As i'm not a witness to it, its hard to say how bad it was but if they are rolling around and not seperating within seconds then even though no blood has been drawn (well not that you have seen) this time its verging on real fighting. I've also in my time made the mistake of sticking my hand in to seperate them and i got a nasty bite for my troubles so using a towel or something is a good idea. I think you will need to keep a close eye on them and try and find out what is causing the fighting. Could it be over food or space? There normally has to be a cause so if you can try and get to the bottom of it there might be a chance of resolving whatever is causing them to fight. The laying flat out is a way they use to cool down as degu's cannot sweat so when they are hot they will lay flat out so they can cool their bellies down and lower their temperature. Its a tough one to call as they have ceased fighting for now i would keep a close eye on them and see if you can find out whats causing the fights as there has to be something. If they fight again and it doesn't stop within seconds i would maybe consider seperating them temporarily. Seperation is the extreme solution but sometimes its the only option and for the best of both parties. It is harder to put them back together afterwards but if they continue to fight one or both could be seriously injured so you do have to draw the line somewhere. Use your instincts if you think the fighting is bad then seperate them and work on it from there. Goodluck and keep us posted


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-27-2006, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your info As we speak, they're fighting again. It doesn't seem to be quite as bad as yesterday, but it's really worrying me that they're fighting this often now. After the big fight yesterday, I came home from school and they were cuddled up like normal. Just a few minutes ago, I got out of bed and went to the bathroom and by the time I came back, they were at it again. I'm finding that if I stay through the entire fight and dangle a hand towel in when they get near each other, it pretty much diffuses the situation. I really can't think of why they've started fighting though Nothing in their environment has changed. I have been cutting down on the pellets and increasing the hay (one degu has been getting fat). I suppose they could be fighting over who gets the last pellets, but when they started fighting a minute ago, there were no pellets left (I just woke up and haven't changed their food yet). Hmmm.

Haha, I actually laughed during this fight because it looked like a kung fu movie. One kicked the other and he literally did a flying back flip across the cage. He didn't hit anything but I couldn't help laughing because it just looked so crazy.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-27-2006, 02:41 PM
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My boys fight over food even if they have a full bowl. Sometimes when food is limited they hold food in their cheek like little chipmunks and it's possible that maybe one sees the other one eating some food that he'd stashed for a little bit. Maybe this could be the problem?

Also, some may disagree with me, but personally I don't think its fair to limit the food when you have more than one degu. This may just cause more problems (maybe even the fights) because chubby one might still over eat while the other is playing and there might not be enough for the little one.

Good luck with the fighting, I hope no one gets hurt
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-27-2006, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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I haven't limited the food to an extreme amount. I cut down the pellets a bit, but they have plenty of hay at all times. I'm just really worried about them getting diabetes because one is getting pretty large. I don't really know what else to do (besides cut down on treats) to help the bigger one stay healthy. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears

They've seemed to calm down since my last post. Today was cage-cleaning day, so they fought a bit because they were anxious to get back into their big cage (they go into a smaller cage while I clean the big one). They just seem really touchy lately.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-27-2006, 03:09 PM
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With my boys i put 2 food bowls in or there is usually some disagreement when i fill them up. one of my boys is neutered so they are not so agressive. hope they sort out their differences... keep us posted x
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-29-2006, 12:52 AM
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Some of the most terrible fights i have seen have been between degu's and over the last few years i have had over twenty degu's. There was a population problem as pet stores didnt know how to sex them and i ended up with all of the rescues from my town to 100 miles away. I can tell you that the biggest and baddest fights ive ever witnessed were over food, lady degus, wheels, treats, and just degu boxing gone out of control. If they are fighting for real and im positive that they are from your description of the fights, then you should give them two food bowls, two water bottles etc. I know it sounds a little extreme but it has always worked for me. Male degu fights get really rowdy, really fast and an arguement over something small like a banana chip can quickly escalate into a full tilt battle, which usually results in blood and injury. I once had 3 degus who were brothers and two of them fought and both were injured badly, one with a missing claw and the other with a torn up ear . When injuries came about i would rinse out the wounds with warm water and a very mild antibacterial soap and usually the wound would clear up fast (this is what my vet told me to do). I would try to find a really good brand of guinea pig food as well as a premium chinchilla food, another tip i can give you is to get foods that dont have any little extras in it, a lot of chin foods will have bits of fruit and such, these can cause wars. I have found that the better quality food tends to have less fat in it.

Being a happy, chubby lil degu is probably a lot more fun than being an injured angry lil degu right? Good luck
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doing fine, food bowl, food bowls, guinea pig, guinea pig food, pet store, pet stores, pig food, seperate cages

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