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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone! I am new to the forum. I just recently started looking into Degus more seriously. A friend of mine has one and after giving up my rabbits, I feel like I am ready for another small animal. I have looked into them a lot, I really want an interactive creature, which is why I have settled on a Degu. I have had zero luck finding a breeder in Maryland. I have thought about adopting but I really hate the intense screening process most rescues have. I have two rescued dogs and it is just the most annoying thing ever. I always feel like I am going to be turned away for something stupid.

Anyway, I decided I wanted two degus either two males or two females. To keep each other company. I was wondering at what time do they fully mature? I am left kind of confused from my google research. If you can even call it that lol. Also do you separate moma and babies from dad when they are born? I didnt understand that part either. I dont want to breed, just confused. I was also wondering about how long they live? and what vet care and other stuff is required. I know Ferrets have to have certain vacs, is it the same with Degus? Also how are they with food? Do you guys find your degus loving treats and responding well to food or no? (maybe you cant tell im a dog trainer :giggle:)

I really would like to venture and get one sometime this summer or fall. No real rush, but I would love to get in contact with a breeder or someone in my area wanting to rehome their degus.

Diane
 

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Two is definitly your best option, just one seems cruel.. I dont know when they fully mature or if there is any specific vet treatment that is manditory but from what I understand you seperate the father from the mom after birth because she is very likely to become prego within hours of giving birth which is bad because of how hard it is on her body...so you give her a few days to go into Mom mode before you put him back... I hear they can live up to ten years if kept really healthy... and as for food and treats all my little fellas love their treats and will give me an earful if I forget there morning treats=) but I wouldn't have it any other way..
 

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I would still look into rescues, reputable breeders are few and far between. Also look out on craigslist and Petfinder. Keep in mind, either way, that it might take a while to locate a pair. Use that time to do lots of research and get an enclosure ready.

You might be confused about maturity ages because males mature faster than females? Either way, it shouldn't matter if you're just looking for pets :). After breeding the male must be removed to prevent him from getting the female pregnant again. But again, you're not breeding so don't worry about that.

Average lifespan right now seems to be about 5-7 years in the U.S. and sadly I've noticed it dropping due to poor breeding and incorrect husbandry. They have the potential to live over 10 years, though, so that's something to keep in mind.

Degus don't require vaccines or anything so the only vet care needed would be if one got sick/injured. Being exotics, it's extremely important that you locate a good vet experienced with degus before bringing some home. Make sure you have a good vet fund ready--degus are fairly hardy creatures but if they do get sick, the vet bills will be high because they're exotics. I know this firsthand--I had a degu who needed surgery.

Degus love treats but you have to be very careful since degus are so prone to diet-related disease. Select healthy treats such as leafy green vegetables--avoid over-feeding of sugary vegetables like carrots and fatty foods like nuts. I've found that degus respond well to clicker training, like most small animals.

Let me know if you have any other questions and good luck on your degu search! :) Have you looked into cages yet or will you be building your own?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There is one girl a few hours from me who is rehoming her degu, if I take him then I wont focus on a cage just yet. There is also a person in NJ who has young babies, and I dont know about that. I also heard of another person in MD who is giving away her male Degu, I dont know if he is still available though. I have checked craigslist and briefly scanned petfinder. There really arent too many close to me. I am still looking though. I hope to have two by the end of the summer, but I am realizing I might not get a pair until the end of the year. I am really trying to stay away from online websites lol.

I work at Petco so I get 20% off on everything. I was looking into cages there but I am pretty handy so I might build it! It would probably be cheaper and I could make it super fancy. I have also given thought to just decking out a dog kennel, lord knows I have like a billion.

I really wish there was a breeder close by. My schedule rarely matches up with my moms (I live at home and take the bus everywhere), she would be the one to drive me anywhere else.

I keep looking at pictures and I want one so bad! lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I dont know if this is a stupid question, but can I keep a Degu with a Chinchilla? Like not a Male and Female (Inter-species breeding kind of scares me). I mean like to keep each other company? I have been trying to find a cage, and most of them come with either a ferret or a Chinchilla. The thought briefly crossed my mind. I have heard Degus be referred to as mini chinchillas. I am thinking its a bad idea but I wanted to ask anyway.
 

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There is one girl a few hours from me who is rehoming her degu, if I take him then I wont focus on a cage just yet. There is also a person in NJ who has young babies, and I dont know about that. I also heard of another person in MD who is giving away her male Degu, I dont know if he is still available though. I have checked craigslist and briefly scanned petfinder. There really arent too many close to me. I am still looking though. I hope to have two by the end of the summer, but I am realizing I might not get a pair until the end of the year. I am really trying to stay away from online websites lol.
I don't necessarily want to dissuade you from checking out the adults you mentioned but for a new degu owner, I would recommend a pair/small group already living together (and younger, socialized degus being the best). That way you don't have to go through the stresses of introducing two adults--sometimes it's very easy, others never learn to tolerate each other (usually unrelated males).

I dont know if this is a stupid question, but can I keep a Degu with a Chinchilla? Like not a Male and Female (Inter-species breeding kind of scares me). I mean like to keep each other company? I have been trying to find a cage, and most of them come with either a ferret or a Chinchilla. The thought briefly crossed my mind. I have heard Degus be referred to as mini chinchillas. I am thinking its a bad idea but I wanted to ask anyway.
You couldn't breed them together even if you tried...they're completely different species.

Anyways, no, you can't really do that. Being different animals, they "speak different languages" and would most likely become frustrated. A chinchilla would be no substitute for another degu and the degu would be just as lonely. Not to mention other issues such as chinchillas being nocturnal (degus are more active during the day) and the different diets they have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That makes a lot of sense. I think I am going to try and look for a younger pair. The males I was looking into were both much older and lived by themselves. I keep waiting for this one person to get back to me but it isnt happening. I guess I really am going to have to wait lol.

Is there a way you can tell a responsible/reputable breeder from a bad breeder? I mean IMO its quite easy with Dogs and even with Rabbits (both animals I was very involved in), but what are the red Flags with Degus? I am starting to venture out of state for a 'good' breeder who can sell me two young males/females to keep together. I found out they sell Degu food where I work too, which made me really excited lol!
 

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Is there a way you can tell a responsible/reputable breeder from a bad breeder? I mean IMO its quite easy with Dogs and even with Rabbits (both animals I was very involved in), but what are the red Flags with Degus? I am starting to venture out of state for a 'good' breeder who can sell me two young males/females to keep together. I found out they sell Degu food where I work too, which made me really excited lol!
Your best bet would be to ask questions about degus and see how they respond. Ask about diet, cage size, temperament, etc. Also find out how often they breed a female and what age they wean the babies.
 

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I have babies for sale but I'm in Indiana. I have females of all ages that are ready to go and are still quite young. One pair born March 20th, 2010 the other paid born March 25th, 2010 and the pair that's not ready yet were just born June 5th, 2010 They won't be ready for another 2 weeks. I try to have them weened in 4 weeks but always go 5 with momma just to be safe :).
 

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I also have someone from Maine looking for degu's for sale. Maybe you might be able to refer me to someone for her. Or check out my facebook fan page, I Love Degus! I'm trying to outreach more people there and also Craigslist. Thinking about swap meets but want to weed out who exactly is buying the degu's to make sure they go to good homes, so I just keep them cause I know I'm a good momma :) I have one more litter on the way and then that's all. I'm not breeding anymore cause I can't find good homes for them around Indiana. I have 3 cages already and am needing a 4th. I'm actaully making my own cages now as they work best for the babies not to escape.
 
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