Hiya, so yesterday the babies turned six weeks old so we have separated boys from girls. Dad dave just keeps trying to ‘bonk’ the babies! Is this normal? Are the babies likely to get hurt? He doesn’t seem to be hurting them and the babies still run back to him, but he just won’t leave them alone. We separated dave to top half of cage when we went to bed as we didn’t want to leave them unattended just in case, we open the cage up for them when we are around. Any advice would be gratefully received as I don’t want to endanger the babies after surviving this far. Also what age can the babies be castrated? My vet has said about 12months of age but that seems a very long time for them to be separated from mum and sisters cheers guys
I'm no baby expert, but I think what you are doing is probably the right thing for now, having dad with them while you are around to supervise. I guess dad's behaviour is to do with dominance, rather than sexual per se, but it can turn into the same thing so can be best to protect the babies while they are so much smaller than dad. Am I right in thinking that dad has been castrated but has been alone the last six weeks anyway while he runs dry? In which case it might be quite overwhelming for him to have his space suddenly overflowing with babies and that's why he is running around trying to get them in order.
The lowest risk to development time for having males neutered is indeed 12 months because that is when they are fully adult. I think lots of vets would be fairly comfortable doing it at 6 months and some younger than that, but as far as I know there isn't really a definite right time. Personally, I wouldn't do it below 6 months without a medical reason or lone degu situation.
What are your plans for how you keep them? How many baby boys are there? In my opinion I would consider just keeping the boys together as their own group so that you avoid having them all go through surgery, since you will need to wait a while anyway and they will be together for that initial time. Perhaps it is something you can think about as they grow and see how they bond together as a group. You wouldn't be able to keep mum dad, daughters and sons all together in one group anyway because it rarely works to have multiple males with females as this causes the males to fight for the right to mate with the females.
Thanks moletteuk, I did wonder about the invasion of space and the dominance thing, dave has been castrated and been on his own for six weeks. How many males would be able to live in one group with mum and sisters? We haven’t decided if we are rehoming or keeping some/all (Rea would keep all no questions 😁) we have the two cages side by side is this good or not? We have four baby boys and three baby girls, if we were to keep them in separate cages until they are six months old and then make the decision as to rehoming or whether to keep forever in their own male group and a ladies group, would they still be easy to rehome at six months or is it better at 10-12 weeks? Thanks
Side by side should be good for now. Once hormones start flying when they hit puberty the cages might need to be further apart.
So, in my opinion the natural groupings at the moment are mum and daughters and if dad calms down, dad with the sons for a while so they can continue learning social behaviour from him for a bit longer. Depending on how that goes, dad can then go back in with mum and girls and boys can be on their own. It's always one male with one or multiple females.
Have you extended the shelves in the cages so they can better accomodate everyone as they grow and get more boisterous?