I got thrown into the deep end of Degu ownership having had 2 boys dumped on me, I've had rats, hamsters, mice and currently have a Guinea pig and 2 rabbits (along with numerous reptiles, dogs and cats) but never degus.
I need to get them a bigger cage or expand the one they have and I want to ideally have them on as natural diet as possible which I have started.
So far they have had some carrot, cucumber, lettuce, dandelion, plantain and beech. All has gone down very well and whilst still fresh, they have also had some seeds, oats and a couple of pea flakes as treats, once again all loved!
Welcome (again) to the forum feffie. It is great that you are planning to get them a bigger cage and a good balanced diet. Sounds like you have a wide variety of animal experience. We are here to help you with any questions you may have or advice you may need. In the meantime, it will be interesting to follow this blog as you keep track of Dante and Nero's progress.
No idea how old they are but i believe they are pretty young, they don't seem fully grown to me, even though I don't know how big an adult Degu is.
Went out today and bought some millet sprays, nyger seeds, monkey nuts (as an occasional treat only) a bag of small animal salad containing lots of nice goodies and a bag of bird seed containing kibbled maize, wheat, naked oats, black sunflower, sunflower hearts, white millet, striped sunflower and canary seed, I'm aware there's a few oily seeds so to not give them too much.
I also have an order coming from chinchillas2shop as well in the next few days.
Hoping to try making some mixes with everything plus the things I foraged yesterday. They have had a try of oak and love it. Most of what I got yesterday has already dried so planning on drying some veg as well so I can include that.
Quick question is dried or fresh food better? I'm guessing fresh as dried looses some nutrients but dried is easier as you can store it?
Moderate quantities of oil seeds aren't bad unless the degu is very overweight and as long as there is a good variety of oil seeds, they are quite an important component of the diet. It's the cereal grains you need to limit, wheat, maize, millet, oats, canary grass seed should only be fed in small amounts.
So to put things extra simply, basically keep everything in moderation and it should be fine? I've noticed that they tend to limit themselves to different foods as it is, they will nibble q couple of seeds, then go onto some fresh fresh forage, then they might have a couple of pellets, then they might have a nibble on some various tree leaves, I haven't yet seen them eat all of one yet.
I've looked on Hansemanns but as I only have my phone to go on the internet I can't translate any of it unfortunately.
I've had a break through in Dante's behaviour today, all of a sudden over night he will happily climb and sit on my hands, climb up my arms and sit on my shoulder quite happily, he will even accept some ear scratches as well.
Nero is still pretty much the same, he seems far too curious in everything to stay still for longer than 2 seconds at a time, though he will quite happily climb on my hands.
Also when out today with the dogs did some more foraging, got some dandelions, plantain, a load of different grasses, wild rose leaves and hips, st Johns wort flowers, white clover leaves and flowers, blackberry leaves. A long with the oak and beech leaves I got the other day.
I'm wondering how do you make mixes? Do you just put X y z amount of X y z into a tub, can you make one huge mix of lots of different ingredients or is it better to make separate mixes?
Yes, you can mix up anything you like, but keep things of similar size and weight together otherwise it will be difficult to keep them evenly mixed. Keep flowers separate as they can attract moths, you can mix and keep all leaves together, things like dried veg can be mixed. I would keep cereal grains and oil seeds separate, and don't buy any more things with wheat, millet, oats and other grains in, especially depending on what pellets you are feeding as they may contain cereals too, in which case they may be getting a bit much. You can buy an oil seed mix which will balance out the high phosphorus of the cereals and provide other nutrients, things like fennel, nigella (black cumin), cumin, sesame, poppy, dill, celery are all high calcium and good, you make your own mix sourcing things individually or you can buy a mix from Ratrations.com if Hansemanns is awkward for you.
Thank you, think I will have a go at making some this evening.
The locust beans are only for very occasional treats along with a few other of the packs I bought are for mainly treats as well.
I currently have a mix of dandelions flowers and leaves and stems, plantain, blackberry leaves, mallow leaves and flowers, nettles, clover leaves and flowers and wild rose leaves drying in the oven.
Earlier today as well I found a lot of valerian, is this ok for degus in small amounts? I know it's used in animals and humans as a calming herb but no idea if it's suitable for them to eat occasionally?
I always burn them if I put leaves in the oven, I tend to just lay things out on a big sheet of cardboard.
I can't find records of other people feeding valerian (centranthus ruber), but it isn't generally known to be poisonous, so you could try it carefully. It's not the same as medicinal valerian as that seems to be valeriana officinalis.
I've checked St Johns Wort for you and that is safe.
I've had these little guys for nearly a week now and thought that I would list what I've learned so far about them.
They do not appreciate you missing their 9pm treat time, it doesn't matter why you're late they don't care, you come into the room and they are both at the front of the cage they are staring at you as you come in with that look as if to say where the hell do you think you've been!
Do not fall asleep with the light on when it is Degu bedtime, they do not appreciate this and become a very efficient alarm by squeaking at you until you wake up and turn the light off, then just to further express their annoyance they will continue to squeak for a further 5-10 minutes when you are trying to sleep.
Do not leave anything anywhere near the cage, they are thieves and will try their best to pull everything in their cage and chew it, this morning I found my favourite bra had a strap chewed off and I'm sure it wasn't anywhere near the little monsters!
Thy like throwing sticks at you if they want attention and they aren't getting it. They have a bunch of willow sticks in their cage for them to chew, however they much prefer carrying them about, poking them through the bars of the cage and launching them at you.
In pretty sure they already have me running errands, earlier today they were both just staring at me for about 5-10minutes, went and got their dust bath, they jumped in, rolled around for 5 minutes or so and then went about their normal business!
So they are using telepathy on you now, eh? Hypnosis comes next. Oh you poor, poor soul! If you come to yourself one morning to find that all your skirting board is chewed, there are shells from nuts all over the floors, and the cage is full of unusual items such as keys, a shoe, tea towel, roll of loo paper (maybe two or three even), newspaper, utensils, etc. well . . . you might have just thrown them a party and been completely unaware!
1 Bichon/Shi-t-zu Ollie (b'gollie), 1 Standard poodle, Indie
They are rather difficult to get a picture of, Nero decided he didn't like his bowl where it was so tipped the food out and was dragging it all over the cage, Dante came out for an adventure and Nero was quite concerned he wasn't coming back!