Happy to join the forum. I have 4 degu brothers, 8 months old. All happy till last week when some fighting started, last night 'Harry' was bitten in a big way by 'Captain' with big gash in neck and blood ++. Recovering well and remains active. Having kept the group together with minor fighting, last night injury was severe so opted to put mesh between 2 floors of cage and separate them. Essentially put 'Harry' with 'Rory' (very calm and rather passive), and 'Captain' with 'Mouse' - both of them are very active and both have had odd scuffles in the past. I'm not sure what to do next ? They frequently come out of the cage and love running around the room - all are usually very sociable. Should I try this in the next few days ? Should I leave apart but maybe give time with different brothers. Advice would be appreciated. Thank you
Welcome to the forum I'm sorry to hear that your boys are fighting so severely.
Firstly, what are the dimensions of the cage that they will be living in? Could you show us any photos? This will help us give you advice based on your own set up etc.
Secondly I would urge you to read our beginners guide - your boys have hit puberty which can lead to intense fighting until they reach a hierarchy that they can live with. Unfortunately it can last until until they are around 18 months so you will need plenty of patience.
Hello,Nlkdegu1!! I have included a link here to our forums cage size recommendations/number of degus being housed in that cage. deguworld.proboards.com/thread/9396/forums-cage-size-recommendations Now, I have worked out that your cage will have about 17,388 square cm of surface running space. You need to have at a bare minimum 19,000 square cm. Now . . . your full levels are about 5,796 square cm, and if you were to make the half levels into full levels, you will have increased your surface space all the way up to 23,184 square cm, which will be excellent! This will be important for your degus, whether they have to remain in pairs, or if they are successfully reintegrated. If you can make two more trays like the half ones, and just notch out a little opening so they can travel from one level to the next, you will have it all accomplished.
Now, increasing the space is not going to immediately reduce, or cure, the fighting, because your degus are right smack in the heated beginning of what we call adolescent/young adult domination fighting, which I will cover shortly. Having a cage with adequate running space is very important for the health and happiness of your degus. Just like animals in zoos that are in enclosures that are too small and lacking in stimulation, begin to display irregular or alarming behavior and health issues, degus do as well, and they can become extremely aggressive with each other, or neurotic, or depressed, all of which lead to poor health problems. So you are investing in a happy future by making this simple increase.
Next, their age . . . the adolescent/young adult stage typically starts around the 6 months age and may last as long as up to 18 months age. During this time, degus are in their prime and are flush with hormones and the raging desire to be top degu in their colony. This position comes with first rights to mating, food, best sleeping position, and . . . well . . . whatever else makes a degu feel like a king or queen, LOL. This is most often settled through some pretty rough fighting, and you have begun to see this, with Henry having received a nasty injury to his neck. In my opinion, you need to keep them apart from Captain at the very least until his neck wound is fully healed. After that . . . well . . . then you can work at trying to reintroduce, or you can leave them apart for a time. This winter will be their first full winter, and degus in the UK and in Europe seem to go through a rather agitated mating season during the winter. This can reduce with age, but the first two years can be pretty intense for some. Introductions/re-introducing is also intense and difficult for us owners, and I am going to recommend that you first read through two of our introductory guides so that you learn a bit of what you are going to be facing. Then you can ask any and every question on your mind, and you can weigh your options.