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General Care

There are four basic things in my mind that are required before you can say that your degu is cared for "delightfully well" hehe. They are food, water, cleanliness and attention.

Food is definately an essential element in your degu's well being. A staple food should be supplied at all times, and usually a 50/50 mixture of guinea pig and chinchilla food is used as it. Timothy hay should also be available at all times. Other things that are helpful are sweet potatoes, and alfalfa hay, these help supply extra nutrients that are needed by degus, as well as give variety to their diet. You may also wish to supply a mineral block or wheel for them. They supply extra salts and trace minerals not present in their food or hay, but are still necissary for them; they should be attached to the cage with a wire because the plastic thingy doesn't really work that well, and the wheel will get soiled on the ground.

Water. Degus cannot live on pellets alone, :o). Like any animal, degus can live solely on water for a period of time, and although this isn't recommended, it shows the importance of this simple substance. It should be kept in either a water bottle or a dish; however, a water bottle is better. If the water is in a dish, it will need replacing more often as woodchips and other shit (such as shit) can get into the dish and spoil it. If you don't use a mineral wheel or block, you can put drops into your degu's water, so they can get the minerals that way, although it is more expensive, and if you do this please have at least one other water source in case they deciede that they don't like water with the good stuff in it.

Cleanliness of the cage is also important. Not only do the degus rely on you to keep their cage clean, they also rely on you to keep it from smelling. Proper care of your cage can keep it from smelling, and will keep your degus happy. Bedding should be changed completely at least once a week, but it may need to be done more often. Right before you change the bedding is also a good time to give them a dust bath, as you are going to clean it out anyway. Scoop the wood chips out using a spoon (I use a plastic kitchen spoon with slots in it) and put it in a bag. Then wipe the bottom of the cage down with a wet rag, but don't forget to dry it off. Daily maintenance can drasticly cut down on the time spent on totally cleaning out your cage, if it is possible. For instance, some degus can be "paper trained," that is that they pee on some paper towels in the corner of the cage. But sometimes this just isn't possible. My degus drag the paper towels over to their bed, so really this isn't practical. Other degus will use a corner as a potty stop. Mine always use the front right corner for this purpose. If you choose to use paper towels, remember to take them out every other day at least. Scooping out their potty stop is a good idea, just remember to put more wood chips in the corner in place of the ones you took away.

Finally here is the most easy part of caring for your degus. Attention. Give them lots of it in heaping armfulls and they'll be wonderful pets for years to come.