Creating the perfect home for degus - what we are looking for when you apply to adopt
Degus, despite being small, are incredibly active little creatures and therefore require a lot of space. The minimum cage size for a pair of degus should be around 500,000 cubic cm. To work out whether a cage is suitable you simply need to multiply the height, width and length of the cage. It is very important to only consider all metal cages. Degus are excellent chewers and can easily chew through plastic bases and escape.
Adapting the cage for Degus
Sadly may suitable sized cages come with a wire base. Wire is very uncomfortable for degus to walk on, and can lead to feet getting trapped. It can also cause a very painful condition known as Bumble Foot. Therefore, it is important to cover the base with something solid.
Here at Nibbles we ordered cut to size sheets of aluminium which sit over the bars. You could use a sheet of cardboard cut to size and replace this once chewed or soiled. Some owners use an off cut of vinyl flooring, a padded cage liner or hemp mats.
Positioning the Cage
Degus love to sunbathe, however, the cage should not be positioned in direct sunlight. They will also need to be kept away from drafts.
Here's a great example of a degu cage. This is a Blenheim Extra Tall cage, where the owner has replaced all the plastic shelves with wooden platforms and added plenty of enrichment. This cage provides 575,120 cubic cm
Wheels - degus love wheels and will spend a lot of time running in them. For a pair of degus we recommend having two wheels, with an additional wheel or two for larger groups. Wheels need to have a minimum diameter of 12" and a depth of at least 5". The most popular wheels with both degus and their owners are Tic Tac wheels. Although expensive, they are virtually silent and made from metal. You could make your own wheel from a large cake tin. Some owners choose plastic or wooden wheels. These are a cheaper option compared to Tic Tac wheels but it may well be a false economy, with regular replacements required after degus have chewed them.
Sand bath - degus need access to a dust bath to help keep their fur in good condition. Once again we recommend a metal bath which will last a lifetime, compared to the chewable plastic options.
Hay Rack - hay is a very important part of a degu's diet and an unlimited amount of fresh good quality hay should available
Wooden Platforms - degus love to chew and jump around on ledges, therefore it is important to add plenty of enrichment in the form of wooden platforms which are replaced when chewed. These are widely available and can be purchased in packs from places like Ebay. You can even make your own using untreated klin dried pine.