Degus? Anyone have any?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by L&Schickens, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. L&Schickens

    L&Schickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2008
    Washington State
    I am thinking about getting 2 or 3 for my son. All the same sex of course. What ones are better, boys or girls?
     
  2. NewHopePoultry

    NewHopePoultry Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 9, 2007
    Troy,Missouri
    I used to have some and I didnt really like them.
    They require a different diet then most other small animals, and they seemed to only want to paly with each other, not with people.
     
  3. L&Schickens

    L&Schickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2008
    Washington State
    OK, good to know. I was told they were friendly and liked people.
     
  4. NewHopePoultry

    NewHopePoultry Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 9, 2007
    Troy,Missouri
    Im sure if you got them from the right source then they may be people friendly,but mine were rescues(& inbred).
    I didnt like them much becouse I had to buy a different diet for them then what I did for my rats(& since I make my own food,they costed me more then I wanted)

    I wouldnt go by what just I said, I'm sure others have had them and loved them.
     
  5. L&Schickens

    L&Schickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2008
    Washington State
    What did you feed yours? I like to make my own foods for my animals when I can too.
     
  6. NewHopePoultry

    NewHopePoultry Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 9, 2007
    Troy,Missouri
    I know that you have to be careful about feeding them sugars and fats,they can only have a low limit. Hamster food is a no-no(consists of seeds, nuts, and other fatty foods).

    I fed:
    Daily-
    - hay and alfalfa at discretion
    - 4-6 green-beans /day
    - 1-2 leaves of salad /day
    - 1-2 little pieces of carrot /day
    - a small container of mix of guinea pigs/chinchillas/rabbit pellets

    Snacks :
    - a small piece of apple once a week
    - a small piece of nut every 2-3 weeks
    - a corn bit once every few weeks
    - rolled oats every now and then

    One of mine had diabetes, so I was real careful about what I fed them.
     
  7. Chickndaddy

    Chickndaddy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2007
    East Texas
    Their care is similar to that of a chinchilla if I'm not mistaken. My chin isn't hard to take care of at all. However, I've been at a pet store for nearly two years now, and I still haven't got one in the store yet.
     
  8. L&Schickens

    L&Schickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2008
    Washington State
    Thank you so much. This will really help.
     
  9. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    Jun 15, 2008
    Degus aren't the best pets. The best diet for them is actually quite strict. They really should not have any fruit or pellets with molasses. They develop diabetes very easily. They also shouldn't have too many starchy foods or grains. A molasses free guinea pig or chinchilla pellet with unlimited grass hay and fresh veggies/greens (low in sugar meaning carrots aren't actually good) daily is the best diet. Hay is more important to guinea pigs, degus, and chinchillas than pellets are. Pellets should only be used to provide vitamins, minerals, and some extra energy should they need it while hay should provide the bulk of their nutrition. The fiber in hay and chewing action required keeps the digestive tract moving and the teeth worn down properly. It's also lower in fat than pellets and obesity is often a big problem with small caged pets. These animals are grazers much like many livestock and do best with constant low energy food versus concentrated foods like pellets or grains being fed in meals.

    The best pellets and hay I found are from www.kmshayloft.com . These do include a small bit of molasses but she actually tested the overall sugar content just for some of us degu owners who were wondering and it came out lower than most pellets that are molasses free.

    Second they aren't always the easiest to tame. The tame degu that can easily be handled is actually somewhat uncommon and requires constant handling. Mine were never very tame and usually required taking their whole cage apart to catch them. Even if you eventually tame them they are extremely hyper and so can be difficult to handle. I thought being bigger they'd be easier to hold onto than gerbils but I found them to be 10times worse. I didn't know anything could be more hyper than a gerbil.

    The third problem with degus is that they are high energy and do best with lots of space. I used a 90gallon tank which is 48"x18"x24"h and it sometimes seemed too small for 2 of them. When not given enough space to explore and toys degus will start chewing on their cage and these guys are like chainsaws with fur. They took the hard plastic rim off my aquarium and were actually scraping away at the glass. They also went through 5 water bottles before I got a glass bottle with a metal cap and a metal cover.

    Last in the US degus are highly inbred and have a much shorter lifespan with a very high rate of health issues. That is because only a few pairs were imported and nearly all our degus come from those few. Plus people have bred and cared for them poorly only adding to the problem. Mine barely made 6years and went through several health issues where I nearly lost them. Wild degus and those from better breedings can live 10years and sometimes 15 but here in the US 5years is often all they get to.

    Honestly they are cute and fun to watch but the problems just aren't worth it. Until some better breeders come along to breed for health and temperament and create a more domesticated, easily handled animal they are not a pet I would reccommend to most people. Get some gerbils or a chinchilla depending what it is you like about the degu.
     
  10. L&Schickens

    L&Schickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2008
    Washington State
    Akane,
    That is some good info for me. The lady at the pet store mad them sound like the perfect "Pocket Pet". Maybe I will jsut spend the extra money and get a chinchilla instead. I will keep my eye out for one.
    Feeding hay is not a problem. I have 5 hroses!![​IMG]
     

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