Long story long, a few years ago I got one brown degu, he lived in a medium cage alone for about 3 years, because I could spend a lot of time with him, and he was happy, no balding, always full of energy etc. However in the recent years I didn't have as much time and I bought a bigger cage along with a golden degu. I wanted to get one the same age buuut I have been lied to and the golden degu is at least a year or two younger. At first it all went smooth, however after a couple months they started fighting, not playfully, like drawing blood and ripping fur kinda fighting. So naturally I separated them, put them in different cages but still kept them close. After they cooled down a bit, I followed degutopias slow reintroduction process, swapping used bedding etc. And now the thing that worries me. 99% of posts get resolved after they get introduced again. however this was not the case here. I've been trying to reintroduce them for around 2/3 years now to no avail. I'm seriously considering giving away one of the less social degus and either just keep one degu or try my luck with another degu and hopefully they won't fight. Please I seriously have no idea what to do now.
Sorry, i noticed i didnt mention a few things. They have been separated for about 2 almost 3 years now. the cages are side by side, as close as possible but not close enough for them to be able to touch each other. initial introduction went something like this: i held one of the degus to the other so they can smell each other etc. after doing that for a couple days i put them together in a neutral zone (my bathtub ) and they were getting along great, grooming each other, eating together, sleeping together, all the good stuff. so i put them together (at the time hoping forever) and it was great for a couple months. until they started fighting. They had 2 sand bowls, 2 wheels and 2 water bottles. one big wooden house, some random chew toys, platforms and a straw hut along with some other things like sticks and branches. One of the cages is 100cm long, 54cm wide and 80cm tall. the other one is 70cm long, 45cm wide and 70cm tall. And stupid me, i dont remember if i actually checked if the golden degu is male or female..... ill go and have a look ; )
As for the reintroduction process, i followed the one on degutopia. swapping used bedding, bathing in the same sand, and meeting in neutral territories. also i did take breeding seasons into account. however just as i thought they were getting along again, a day or two later blood was spilled again, and i had to separate them for months again...
When you put them together in the cage, is it in the bigger cage? I'm asking because the biggest cage needs to be bigger to happily accommodate both degus. Degus are very territorial and it all comes down to space. There should be at least two full levels and two half levels in the cage so you need to increase the height of the big cage to accommodate extra levels. Is this possible? When it comes to running area ledges don't count.
You need to work out the CARA of your cage and increase accordingly. This should settle things down a bit.
Also, when cleaning the cage, don't over clean or you'll remove all of their scent markers which will reset their hierarchy and result in fighting.
yes i put them together in a big cage. i should definetly try getting a second big level because they only have the bottom level and around 3 platforms that are the as wide as the cage but like 40cm long. and yeah there is always a scent because the platforms kinda soak it up and i even used to leave some old bedding mixed in with new one.
This sounds more and more like its a space issue and they're getting on each others nerves in too small an area.
In a cage with only one level, by the time you've put in the wheels, the hut, the baths etc they are very short of space. In the wild degus can cover a wide area each day, if memory serves, its something like one square kilometre, so the bigger the cage, the better.
I've copied it straight from our cage size thread.
These cage size recommendations have been developed through discussions by the community on this forum. Degus are very active ground living animals and need sufficient possibilities to run in their cage. Rather than volume as used by others, our recommendations are based on running space which we call CARA (cumulative available running area). In general, the larger the cage the better it will meet our degus' needs.
In addition to the minimum CARA values for a given number of degus, there are also minimum values for individual dimensions:
Length and floor area. The cage should be 100cm long and have a floor area of not less than 5,000sq.cm. Since we recognise that there are few suitable metal cages available, we consider for these a length of 90-100cm acceptable, a long as the floor area is 5,000sq.cm.
Height. For a three tier (floor and two levels) cage, height should be 100cm. For other numbers of tiers, the average height of levels should be about 35cm. The height of a level should not normally exceed 50cm to avoid injury in case of a fall.
How to calculate CARA? This is easy: - take the measurements for all levels of your cage - for each level multiply length by depth - add up values for all levels This is an example for a four tier cage with a depth of 50cm
I believe Savvy is right, and this is a cage issue. In the wild, a devices territory can be a square kilometre. Obviously, that isn't a practical enclosure size (even for us humans). Degus are also extremely territorial, and will brutally defend their space. If their enclosure is too small, they will go for each other to give themselves more space. The next thing to bear in mind is that, although they think they can climb like pros, they are really ground creatures, which is why cage space is calculated as floor/running space.
When Pets At Home used to sell degus, almost every new owner used to come on here to say their degus had started fighting, because the company's recommended cage didn't even meet the RSPCA requirements for one degu, let alone the four they recommended. Sure enough, those that managed a larger enclosure suddenly found peace and happy squeaky degu piles.
Each section on this forum has "sticky" threads, which look like folders with a red drawing Pin in them. This is the key information for that section, and is worth a read. Unfortunately, Degutopia was written many years ago, when little was known about degus and their care. As understanding and knowledge have developed, Degutopia wasn't updated to reflect changes in recommended practice because its author became seriously ill, and subsequently died.
Degus are a lore unto themselves and will, at some point, achieve world domination. In the meantime, please ask away. There's no such thing as a silly question
Being dragged through life on Bernard the Bike, with Squidgygoo (RIP), Spidergoo, Scaredygoo (RIP), Sillygoo, Sausagegoo, Smashygoo (aka Spud), Snoozygoo, Sneakygoo, Pootle (RIP), Perkin (RIP), Fidget (RIP) and Twitch (RIP) the pillions.........
I ditto what Savvy and Bouncy have said. Size is so very crucial for their happiness and health, and even more so for the balanced relationships in a colony. Even if that colony is only 2 in number.
Something else that is possible, alongside the cage size difficulty, is that these two may both be strong personalities and they might never get along. At least when there are only the two of them. I often noticed during my degu years that three or more made for a happier group than just two did. This is not always the case. I did have two boys that preferred each other over all else, and would violently chase anyone else away. They ended up in their own dedicated space, and lived well into their 8th or 9th years. The rest of my degus thrived in larger groupings. Whether that means that you look into getting more to introduce, or rehome one of them, or even find partners of the opposite gender, that is up to you. If you get opposite sex degus for them though, make sure the males are neutered. They can multiply faster than rabbits!
1 Bichon/Shi-t-zu Ollie (b'gollie), 1 Standard poodle, Indie