The Degu is a herbivorous animal and do not need to add any animal albumens to his food. In
nature, he eats various plants, bulbs, farm crop (because of this they are considered to be a pest), leaves and bark from trees and bushes. Try to give them similar food. Don't give degus much sugars, carbohydrates and fats. This means no cookies as a treat at all! Most people don't know much about degus and give them mixture for rodents consisting of corn, cereals (too much carbohydrates), sunflower seeds (too much fats) or dried fruit (sugar). If you give much of this food to degus, you can cause very serious problems to them which are similar to diabetes. But you can give them fresh fruits because it doesn't contain enough sugar to harm degus.
What should be on a degu's menu?
Maybe some of you have seen a special mixture for degus in shops and thought that this food is good for them. That is not true. I don't know what company made this food, but it's completely unsuitable for degus. It seems they are not interested into degus' health, but only in making money.
You can use this mixture only as occasional treat, and not as everyday food! Also because this mixture is much more expensive than the right food for degus, I stopped buying it. Here is how to feed degus better and cheaper:
1. DRIED FOOD - twice a day (morning and late evening). Appr. 1 tea spoon for each degu. If there are remains of food after feeding the animals, remove it and give them less food next time - thus you'll find the right amount of food to give your degus. Be aware that degus eat the food they like most at the beginning and the rest they'll eat only if they don't get anything else. If they only eat what they like the most, they will get ill.
chinchilla and/or guinea pigs pellets, which are sold in pet shops and aren't very expensive. They look like green cylinders and are made of alfalfa. I give my degus both (chinchilla and guinea pig pellets) mixed 1:1, but it's not necessary (some companies make special pelletes for degus, like Brisky.com),
you can mix pellets with little rodent mixture (but not those with dried fruits!) but not more than 1:3 (mixture to pellets). The best way is to mix the mixture with pellets one a month and give it to some big bottle so that you doesn't neet do mix it everyday,
it is best if your degu has hay to his disposal at all times, because it is such an important and healthy part of his menu,
All year except winter you should give your degus grass, alfalfa, clover and/or dandelion leaves. But don't get it from near big roads, as the grass here will be polluted,
4. FRESH VEGETABLES AND FRUITS
lettuce, carrot, broccoli, cucumber (skins), cauliflower, a piece of tomato tomato or some other vegetable that your degu like (as far as I can tell, they all have different appetites from each other). If you don't have vegetables and fruits from your own garden, they could have been chemically treated. Degus can get diarrhoea from that, so wash it properly before you give it to degus.
5. TREATS - just once or twice a week:
dried carrot - I noticed that degus sometimes don't like fresh carrot, but they love dried ones (slice a carrot to make circles and let it dry for about 3 days). Although carrot contains some sugar, it is the best of all these treats because it contains only a little sugar. So unlike the other treats you can give it to them a couple of times a day,
carrot, potato or vegetable juice - you can buy it in health shops, but watch carefully so that the juice doesn't contain any sugar. If it is too dense, dilute the juice with a little water. Put the juice into a bottle (the one you use to give water to your degus). The degus like it so much they will drink it all at once,
seed block (you can buy it in pet shops),
a few of sunflower or dorn seeds,
any nut, the best are in shell,
a piece of apple or another not very sweet fruit,
a piece of dried and hard pastry.
In order to grind the degusī teeth you should give them twigs. If the degu could not grind his teeth, they can grow too much and the animal would not be able to eat anything at all. Occasionally, give the degu calcium blocks, which you can buy in pet shops and add to them in order to pass the necessary calcium, phosphor and iron (mainly nursing females need calcium) to the animals.
You should also be careful of another thing: even if their dish is empty it does not mean they've eaten everything. They like to bury the food and store it. When you clean the cage and see some food buried, give them less of it.
Furthermore, you have to give fresh water to the degus - the best is bottle water or boiled water. Put it into a bottle on attached to the outside of the cage, so they can get some water whenever they want to. You can also put the water in a dish or bowl, but degus can get some sawdust in it, so you would have to change it more often. Degus need water all the time. Be careful to keep it fresh and clean. Change it every day to avoid any infections - if the water isn't fresh, bacteria could multiply in there.
Addition: there are breeders who don't give water to their degus at all. It's possible if degus get a lot of fresh vegetable (or fruits) so they have enough water in their food. In my opinion it's safer to give water to degus but I must say that degus can live long life also without water in bottles (I know about some).
Interesting tip: into the bottle (1,5 l) of water give half a tablet of calcium or vitamin C (vitamin C is only viable for 8-10 hours and becomes inert when exposed to light so if you use vitamin C, you must change the water daily and use dark coloured bottle). Degus get vitamins and minerals from it, but the water might smells a little (special drops with vitamin C for rodents smells badly).
Food and water have to be given in room temperature, not right from the refrigerator.
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