A healthy diet for degus
Ensure your degu has a healthy diet
- Constant access to clean drinking water from a drinking bottle. Without water degus become seriously ill. Check the water bottle daily for leaks and/or blockages. Change their water regularly and clean the bottle and nozzle thoroughly to avoid contamination.
A diet which is high in fibre. Compared to some other rodents, degus in the wild consume large amounts of fibre. Degus should have constant access to good quality hay. Hay is much more important than commercial degu nuggets and should constitute the majority of the degus diet. A small measured portion of degu nuggets and some leafy vegetables should also be part of their daily diet.
- If you can¿t buy specific degu nuggets you can provide your degus with guinea pig or chinchilla nuggets, as long as these do not contain molasses. Foods formulated for other species such as rabbits, hamsters and gerbils are not suitable for degus, neither are chinchilla mixes that contain dried fruit.
- A diet which is low in sugar and fat. Degus are prone to type two diabetes. Never feed guinea pig or chinchilla pellets that contain molasses to degus as these are very high in sugar. Many fruits can be high in sugar and should not be given to degus. Some vegetables for example carrot, sweet potato, beetroot and parsnips can also be high in sugar, so should only be given in very small pieces as an occasional treat. Be wary of commercial treat products as these can also be too sugary.
- To be able to eat their own droppings. This is a normal behaviour for degus as it helps them obtain the essential nutrients they need and keeps their digestive system healthy. More information on the behavioural needs of degus can be found on our degu behaviour page.
- To have new foods introduced gradually to avoid causing any stomach upsets.
- To have their eating, drinking and toileting habits monitored. Be aware of how much your degus are eating and drinking and if you notice any changes in these behaviours seek veterinary advice.