I did have 3 female degus that I adopted from the RSCPA. One escaped last summer and I haven't seen her since.
The other two were getting along fine but in November they started fighting. I understand that this is normal behavior for ladies in breeding season. It is now March and it has not stopped. I had to separate them because it was getting so bad and now they wont be together. All they do is squeek at each other through the cages. I get the feeling I wont be able to put them back together. Any advice?
Ok, I dont really know how old they are or if they are related but I would say they are full grown alduts. They do fight little scubbles about food and the wheel but it is over very quickly and not violent at all. The violent fighting is very random and not over anything particular but there is blood, alot of it. The big one, Pepper always goes for the tail of Cotton who is also blind due to Cateracts. Her tail is in a bad way which is why I am seeking advice before putting them back together. They have a lot of room to play, there is one standard size rat cage and my partner built a massive run for them that the cage attaches to via a tube. He can fit in the run to give you an idea of the size. There are alot of sticks and tubes in there as well as a wheel. I always put in fresh hay and food is always there.
At the moment one is in the run and the other in the cage. I swap them around every day but I am gonne start doing it every other day now because when I do swap them they become unsettled again.
My partner reckons that Pepper may be mentally disturbed as she is very unfriendly and legs it when ever you go near the cage.
I hope I have put enough in xx
Hmm, there's a chance it's due to the cataracts. Sometimes degus pick on others if they don't act "right" (blindness, illness, etc.). If the fighting is that bloody and truly random, I wouldn't risk putting them back together . It's rare that females can't be bonded but at the same time, cataracts aren't common in wild degus so who knows how that might change social interactions.
Did they seem closely bonded before the fighting? Any cuddling or grooming?
They were very close, always grooming and playing. I would assume they have always got on before as they dont seem to have any previous war wounds.
We thought it may be because one ran away and she was the one keeping the peace.
That's possible, too, sometimes it's hard to say .
If you try again, I'd wait until the injuries heal. Do very, very short (minute or two) meetings in neutral territory like a closet, bathtub, etc. Any small place they can be confined in that they don't normally go. Also let them share a dust bath...place it with one degu for a while and then switch off. Increase the meeting times if there's no fighting (some chasing and squeaking is OK but a ton of it means the meeting may have been too long). The fact that they were so close before means there's a little hope they can be re-bonded. But at the same time, I'd separate them permanently if there's any more real fighting.