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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We got 4 female degus about 5 weeks ago who had all previously been homed together. When my husband and I came home from work about 2 weeks ago we found 3 of the 4 degus with bleeding scratches. Two of the degus with scratches seemed to be taking care of one another so we left them together. The other injured one we had by herself in the bottom half of the cage. The trouble maker we separated in another cage.

We don't know what could have caused the fighting, the cage is about 5 feet tall with loads of room and levels. They have a million toys and things to chew on, a few food bowls, 2 hay stations, a wheel, numerous hiding boxes...

As of now we have 3 of them somewhat getting along (just lots of bickering it seems). One of the degus we moved to the bottom floor who was attacked is terrified of letting any of the other degus get near her, to the point that she is bouncing and running so frantically she hurts herself, it makes the teeth chattering begin, fur flies and we need to separate them. I'm not sure why after all this time their behavior changed so suddenly. If anyone has any info they can pass along we would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!
 

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Hmm, it's hard to say what happened. Has anything in their environment changed recently?

For now all you can really do is watch them :(. Try to figure out why the fights are breaking out and make sure no one gets seriously injured.

I'm sorry that I can't offer more advice, this seems to be a growing problem with degus and I just can't seem to figure out the connection yet. I have to wonder if poor genetics are at play.

Good luck and please keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The girl we got them from said two of them were rescues. The one rescue has a half tail she's the low girl on the totem pole from what I can tell in their hierarchy. I'm not sure which the other is, it's quite possible the one who I think gave out the injuries is the other rescue. I almost wonder now that I think about it, if something reminded her of her bad situation and she just attacked?

The only environmental change we did was getting the very large cage for them the week after we got them. It was actually the same type cage they were living in when we picked them up. They were fine living in it for a couple weeks before the big fight.
 

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Do you know their background? Or were they just abandoned?

How are they doing now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not too certain of their history. It very well could be genetics. The girl we got them from thought the 2 rescues might have been taunted by a cat. She seemed uncertain of what happened to them with the previous owners. The 4 of them are all very sweet with us. They don't seem to enjoy being picked up, but occasionally one of them will step onto my hands for a moment and hop back in. They of course love their treats they all run to the cage doors as soon as they hear us get their supplies. Most of them will groom my hands, it's the cutest thing when they do!


At the moment, we still have our terrified girl Nipper separated in the bottom half of the cage. We divided the cage in half by pulling up the ramp to the top floor, so the 3 up top can still see Nipper and vice versa. I have noticed something interesting though over the past few days. Nipper has been standing on top of a box to “talk” with the other degus she was scared to death of. She climbs the sides of the cage to get closer to touch noses and the sounds from both of them sound rather friendly. I wonder if she has missed her friends and is ready to be reintroduced with them. Perhaps I will try putting them together in the bathtub to see how they get along. The problem with Nipper has been that she is so scared to let any of the other degus get near her since that fight and causes herself more injuries running away. Quite strange, but we'll try again as I feel awful that she is kind of alone.
 

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It sounds like they're already warming up to you, awesome :). As time goes on you should be able to handle them more.

Yup, introducing them in the bathtub is a good plan. Even if they get along, though, I wouldn't put them back together immediately. Make sure they're ok after multiple meetings in neutral territory first. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you! Your advice has been wonderful!

When trying to reintroduce them in the bath tub, should I leave it empty or bring in some boxes and tubes for them to play/hide in?

I'll keep you posted on how they do. :)
 

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Thank you! Your advice has been wonderful!

When trying to reintroduce them in the bath tub, should I leave it empty or bring in some boxes and tubes for them to play/hide in?

I'll keep you posted on how they do. :)
I usually put some boxes in so that a more nervous degu can hide if they want :). I also put in a dust bath because degus in the wild bond through bathing. A family of degus will all take a dust bath in the same area and it keeps them smelling the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Some good news, I put Nipper and our half tailed degu Eleanor Rigby (as she is not aggressive) in the bath tub last night and they were completely fine. Saw some grooming, heard some talking. Funny thing was that the 2 left upstairs in the cage were having a panic attack wondering where their friend went. My next step is to try reintroducing the other ones in the tub.
 

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That's great to hear :).
 

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They may be getting territorial from food, I know my two females do so I have to put down two separate foodbowls on different tiers/levels of my cage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I forgot to do an update on these guys. We finally had a little success. 2 and 2 are able to get along and they have all been doing well since. No one is alone now and it seems the hostility issues have dissipated :) Thanks everyone for the advice. It's been very helpful!!
 

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I forgot to do an update on these guys. We finally had a little success. 2 and 2 are able to get along and they have all been doing well since. No one is alone now and it seems the hostility issues have dissipated :) Thanks everyone for the advice. It's been very helpful!!
That's great to hear :).
 
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