Post by lindieanddegus on Aug 22, 2021 9:48:26 GMT
What wood can I safely use?
I found a list of toxic woods on degutopia, but on that list is almost says that all the woods are unsafe. I am very experienced with guinea pigs but new to degus (got them a little over a month ago). And a few woods on the toxic list for degus I have happily given to my guinea pigs (like willow). Which makes me think not all woods on the toxic list for degus might not be harmful to them. And as I am still setting up my degus enclosure (a double critter nation) I am searching for some more wood to put in it. (they already have apple and hazelnut wood) And I was wondering if the following woods are safe for degus? (even though degutopia says other wise)
- Teak wood (I have found some beautiful teak wooden ledges online) - Beech (I have a big branch form our European beech tree which broke. I cut the branch in smaller pieces and got the bark of with a high pressure sprayer, I am letting it now dry in the attic for 6 months) - Willow (the weaven toys (from the smaller branches) aswell as the willow bridges from the thicker brances (finger width)) (my guinea pigs love willow) - Mangrove roots - cork wood (those tunnels and branches)
If you need any help, or you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Degus are unlike any other rodent you've encountered and there are no silly questions when it comes to these wonderful guys.
(Just don't use the wheel I had in there. This was almost 10 years ago, and that was the best wheel available in my area at the time. And I would check over the wheel carefully when buying one to make sure there were no hazardous gaps or edges. There are much better choices now.)
Okay, now seeing that not too many kinds of woods were mentioned. Used aspen strips from lumber store for building. Used Cherry (wild cherry)wood, birch, beech, willow, thick willow bark chunks, maple bark sections, linden (we lived in the woods, constantly brought stuff home) Bought cork bark rounds (reptile department) and wooden tunnel w/ bark (also reptile department).
Degutopia is indeed years out of date, first there was, unfortunately, several years of illness and then the death of the owner of the site. And many of those lists were just copied from site to site without really looking into the information and evaluating it (for example, not sure if it's that one, or another I used to use, where practically every wood was listed as "dust is an eye irritant" as reason for the wood not being okay to use. Wellllll.....no kidding that wood dust/sawdust is an eye irritant! It has almost nothing to do with the TYPE of wood and almost entirely to do with YOU ARE PUTTING DUST IN YOUR EYES AND YES THAT WILL IRRITATE THEM!!! There's being cautious, and then there's being ridiculous....)
thanks, I have read the whole thread about the safe woods. I still have some question though. (I have also asked these questions in the other thread)
We have apple, pear, cherry and plum trees in our garden (We don't use pesticides or anything else on our trees). I always give my guinea pigs fresh twigs with the leaves still on (I don't clean these twigs). Can I gave the same to the degus? Because at the moment I am giving them twigs I have and dried for over a year. These twigs don't have any leaves and are completely clean. If fresh twigs are safe, how often can I give them fresh twigs with leaves?
The other question I have is if I need to dry bigger branches? At the moment I have some beech branches (some I even cleaned the bark of it) do I need to let it dry a few months before I can give it to them? Or is it already safe to give? And is this the same for all the safe woods?
Beech, willow, mangrove and cork are all safe. Mangrove is not necessarily a good ethical choice. I thought teak was safe, but I can't actually find any references saying either way just now.
All the trees mentioned in your garden are safe and you can feed them exactly like you do the guinea pigs, in fact fresh branches and twigs with bark and leaves on are excellent enrichment, good nutrition and good for their teeth for chewing. You can feed twigs and leaves more or less unlimited, certainly unlimited if it is a mix of trees species and not all cherry and plum.
With bigger branches the main thing is to wash off any bird poo and remove any large amounts of lichen or algae. You don't need to remove bark or bake or leave to dry out. And yes, this is the same for all safe woods.
The only thing with slightly different rules is kiln dried softwood, usually pine or spruce in the UK, which can be used for construction, ramps, shelves, edging etc and is safe for them to chew as long as it has been kiln dried, which is the case when it is sold for construction in DIY stores etc.
I'll let you know if I turn anything up about the safety of teak.