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What to feed degus

Here are our tips for making sure your pet degus have the diet they need to stay happy and healthy.

A balanced diet for degus

Compared to some other rodents, degus eat large amounts of fibre. Here's what they'll need to eat:

  • Good-quality hay - degus should have constant access as hay is much more important than commercial degu nuggets and should make up the majority of their diet.
  • Nuggets and leafy veg - degus can be given a small measured portion as part of their daily diet.
  • Drinking water - degus need constant access to clean drinking water from a drinking bottle. Check the water bottle for leaks or blockages every day. Also, change their water regularly and clean the bottle and nozzle thoroughly.

If you can't buy specific degu nuggets, you can give your degus guinea pig or chinchilla nuggets, as long as they don't contain molasses (degus are prone to Type 2 diabetes, so need a diet that's low in sugar and fat). Foods formulated for other species, such as rabbits, hamsters and gerbils, aren't suitable for degus, and neither are chinchilla mixes that contain dried fruit.

Many fruits can be high in sugar, so don't give these to your degus. Some vegetables - such as 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.

Always introduce any new foods gradually to avoid causing any stomach upsets.

Monitoring your degus' diet

You should keep a close eye on your degus' eating, drinking and toileting habits. Remember, they need to be able to eat their own droppings to get their essential nutrients and keep their digestive system healthy. If you notice any changes in these behaviours, talk to a vet for advice.

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