They got over the heat just fine, it seems. Pulla also seems to have lost all interest in mounting her after being with Posso for a couple of weeks. He looked rather confused about the whole thing and I'm not sure I saw him mounting her even once. She was pushing him around, literally backing up on him, could not have been more obvious about it... and Pulla's just totally confused. I think he looked at me a couple of times as if asking for advice.
He has also become a lot less dependent on me. It's really good to see his basic degu instincts coming back. He still likes to be scratched, and he DEMANDS to be lifted out of the cage a couple of times (I think he's learned to associate me with food, and prefers to eat on my shoulder), but he no longer runs to me for emotional support and companionship all the time. Like I said, it's a bit bittersweet, but I do think it's a lot healthier for him to find companionship from another degu that can actually provide him with a real species dynamic.
I think I might almost say that his "degu-ness" has been reactivated in general. There's been a change in him. He behaves a lot more like a degu in many respects now. Of course, he's still Pulla, and all degus are their own big personalities, but his behavior is naturally very different from the way it was when he was alone. He's climbing more, foraging more, just in general doing a lot more degu things. He's also more energetic in general. I'm really happy that he's able to express his natural instincts again. He's been alone so long that it's frankly amazing how quickly he's getting the hang of it now.
Pulla and Munkki were born sometime in the first half of 2018 (might have been february or march), and I had to separate Pulla from Munkki on June 7th, 2019. After that, they were only able to interact peacefully in the kitchen sometimes. He's been alive for closer to 4 years, and he's been alone for practically 2,5 years of that. Really too long. I'm relieved to see how happy he is now.
Bit of an... altecration today. I found whole walnuts on sale at the store, probably owing to the holiday season, and figured it'd be a nice activity treat for them. Not a mistake I'll make again. This caused some huge fighting when I handed them the nuts. They'd run around their cages with them in near panic, screaming outrage, and not really having enough presence of mind to focus on actually just opening the nut. So it quickly devolved into both being outraged at each other (in both cages) for even the prospect of their precious treasures being stolen. Pulla and Posso actually started charging each other. It only abated after I cracked open some nuts myself and offered them the flesh, and then quickly swapped that with the whole nuts while they were too busy with their yummies.
Nothing more came of it, and Pulla and Posso actually tried to make up afterwards with hugging and grooming. But now I know that I really should not give them something that hard to open, they'll just freak out at each other over it...
(Limppu came closest to what I'd call actual, real outrage when I took her nut so I could replace it with the bit of walnut flesh. She actually grabbed a hold of Suti and hung onto her (not with her teeth, but paws) and screeched like a demon, as if she was shouting "YOU TOOK MY NUT!" She is the fiercest of all when it comes to treats...)
Yeah, walnuts do tend to frustrate degus, lol. They love the taste, but can't quite get their mouths around the actual nut to carry them to a safe place in order to devour the flesh. And while this is going on, you have the usual 'GET YOUR PAWS OFF MY WALNUT!' when another degu comes over to see if the other walnut is easier to handle.
Yeah, they were all genuinely panicked about the prospect. To have a wonderful treat, but be unable to get to it, with others nearby... horror! It went fairly better when I cracked the nuts open and gave everyone a bit that had flesh clinging to the shell.
Well, this new arrangement obviously suits Posso greatly. She has not been too keen to be handled after the move (she allows herself to be touched and is intrested in hands, but she never was the most lap-happy of them in any case, and less so after things changed), but lately she's been gaining some courage to the point that I was able to take her out of the cage and weigh her. She's gained almost 30 grams of weight and is now on par with Suti! She's not at all skinny any more and has put on some very healthy-looking adult weight. That is certainly a good sign. Her behavior was already a great development, but it's clear that she's also eating a lot better now. She spends a great deal of time foraging in the hay too.
WOO HOO!! That is the best news . . . well equal to the fact that she and Pulla are doing so well. The whole thing has gone better than we could have dreamed, and they are all doing so well! I'm thrilled to hear she has gained weight!
1 Bichon/Shi-t-zu Ollie (b'gollie), 1 Standard poodle, Indie
It's been a bit chaotic here today. I visited the pet store again... and made good on my threats! Now there's a new girl in the house, and she's currently sharing the divided cage with Posso and Pulla. I'm trying to gauge how they're reacting to her and figure out how to proceed from here. Posso's much more intrested in her and seems a bit more concerned about a new degu in the vicinity. Pulla is almost totally oblivious and seems to have figured out that as long as she's not trying to be mean, he doesn't mind her being there.
She seems like a wonderful little lady. 4 months old, bright-eyed and very curious. She doesn't trust hands too much, but she does come over to sniff when a hand is offered and doesn't mind sitting next to one if there's seeds on it. Now she has a home
Edit: It's actually looking fairly promising! They're all very curious about each other, and I actually allowed them to inspect each other from up close. Surprisingly, Pulla was much more welcoming of her than Posso. He immediately started grooming this new, little girl, and was groomed in return. Posso was rather pushy and obviously concerned that his was some sort of an intruder, but other than a bit of a spook (Posso jumped on her at one point from another level, which spooked both of them and made them run around shouting), there was no aggression or outright altecrations of any kind. Our new girl seems very calm and submissive and doesn't seem like she wants to pick any fights. Makes sense since she's much younger and smaller, but she also just seems to be rather level-headed compared to many others.
I'm thinking that I'll let them get more time with each other tomorrow and see how that goes. Things are definitely not looking bad!
I actually let them share the cage for the evening. I think it went pretty well. Pulla was totally fine and chill with all of it, and did not even seem to really think too much about the whole thing. Really surprising, considering his earlier antics. Posso, on the other hand, was pretty high-strung and constantly hassled and tried to dominate the girl. It never really got too bad, but our new girl obviously did not really want this and kept moving away or pushing Posso away or just crying out, so it didn't really get resolved. Still, from what I saw, Posso was mostly worked up about all this instead of being aggressive or anything, likely because she's freshly out of a problematic situation with another female her age, so she's extra vigilant about anything that might compromise her new position.
I divided the cage again as it started to get late, and everyone calmed down very quickly. The new girl (we're still thinking about names) has found the hammock and is totally taken by the wonderful thing. Posso seemed calmer after having spent some time with her, despite her worked-upness over her, and didn't try to hassle her through the bars afterwards.
I think this is also a pretty good way to test Pulla's and Posso's relationship a bit. I was a bit afraid that this would cause them to have issues with each other due to a new degu in their territory, but they actually seemed to approach the whole thing as a team! It was really fun to see how they went to look at the baby together and almost seemed to have a quick discussion about what to do with her. Afterwards, Pulla just stayed out of it and carefully observed while Posso examined the kid more closely. They would reconvene every now and then and groom each other, as if to make sure everything's still alright.
I think she actually took a liking to Pulla. At one point, when Posso spooked her, she actually ran to Pulla and huddled behind him. Intrestingly, Posso seemed to mellow out a lot when Pulla was interacting with the girl, and stopped pushing and manhandling her and just groomer her with Pulla instead. I think there's definitely potential here for things to work out.
The cage setup does not seem to be working too well. Pulla and Posso are obviously not too pleased that there is a stranger on their turf and that they have lost cage space, and our new girl gets stressed out much too easily when they come to her side of the cage. I'll be getting a new cage for her tomorrow, so the introductions can happen at a more relaxed space, without anyone having to feel like they're being harassed in their own homes. They can move to a shared cage setup later when everyone has some basic familiarity and confidence. I was thinking of getting a new spare cage just in case anyhow, so it's not too bad.
The girl is has been active and curious, and does not fear hands at all (other than not wanting to be grabbed, which is understandable). She has fallen absolutely in love with the hammock in her cage, so I'll be moving that into the new cage as well. We've already gotten some positive reinforcements happening, since she already recognizes the sound of the seed box being shaken and comes running
Pulla and Posso have held strong in their relationship despite obviously being somewhat confused and annoyed by this current situation. Intrestingly, Pulla seems to be very submissive towards Posso now, and seems to essentially conform to her opinions and waits for her permission to do things. Coupled with the reactions towards the new baby, it really does seem that Pulla will be happy with almost anything as long as it means that no one will be mean towards him and things are peaceful. Meanwhile, Posso is much more assertive and keen to make sure that everything's in order in the cage and everybody's behaving.
I'm starting to think that while Suti was the more outright noisy and aggressive one, the actual problem might have been that both Suti and Posso have similar alpha mentalities and just could not stand someone else posturing at them. They certainly don't miss each other; when Posso sometimes escapes, she often runs to the kitchen where Suti and Limppu are. Suti recgonizes her immediately and gets very tense and keeps a close eye on her. Similarly, when I've had Suti on my lap in the living room, where the P+P cage is, Posso watches very carefully and checks on Pulla a lot more to make sure her own pack is in order.
Not too surprising, when you consider all this, that Posso might be pretty tense about a new degu, even a small, young girl, on her turf...
Sorry I didn't see this before - congratulations on the new addition!
I think getting another cage to allow them to get to know each other without any loss of space and with no stress is a good idea. With Posso and Pulla not having the simplest history, I would go cautiously with the intro. At least you have the advantage that you know P+P very well by now!
She's got a new cage now. Not the biggest, but it's plenty big for one small degu (it's the same size as my first degu cage), and she seems to be very pleased with the whole thing. She wasn't too impressed when I started taking her stuff out of the old cage, but after she realized that it was all going into a house of her own, she got very excited
I'll start a new topic for this tomorrow and post some pictures. It's too dark to get good ones now.