Alough Degus do have special dietry requirements like any
pet, it's not true that they are "Difficult" to keep because of this - Infact their diet is fairly simple, but it is absoloutley
necessary that you refrain from giving your Degu sugar.
A good pelleted food and Hay which should be available all the time should form the
base of your Degus diet. Unfortunately, there is currently seldom foods made especially for Degus but Guinea Pig food
should be given. Guinea Pig food contains all the minerals and vitamins etc that are required for your Degu, with added
vitamin C. If fed on this diet, the chance of your Degu obtaining diabetes (Which is common when Degus are fed anything that
contains sugar) is drastically reduced. Unfortunately, the fact that Degus cannot be fed sugar makes it difficult to
find suitable treats, as fruits are excluded. Some people give small amounts of toast as a treat or bread. Also, cereals with
no sugar eg wheetabix are sometimes given - remember in small amounts only! The pelleted food should NEVER be anything other
than Guinea Pig, Degu or Chinchilla food and should not contain molasses.
Hay must be available all the time, either in a hay-rack or in an additional food bowl
(Preferably the first option) Hay is vital, as it provides a large amount of fibre, which is good for keeping the digestion
process working properly. Good quality Hay should have a nice "sweet" smell. If it smells old, musky or diry, it is of bad
quality and should not be given to your Degu. Different people recommend different types of hay. Meadow and Timothy Hay are
both good types and to add variety, you can add a small amount of Alfalfa with these (Do not feed Alfalfa in large quantities
or frequantly as it has an excess in protein)
We touched briefly on treats earlier. Fresh vegetables can not only be used as a treat,
but it is good for them and should be available occasionally. A general rule on giving Vegetables is, all dark green leaved
vegetables are safe. Also, lettuce, cauliflour and cucumber are safe. Never feed fruits. Do not give your Degu vegetables
too often as it can cause bloating or diareah.
Degus should have on average an 10 - 12% of protein in their diet. However,
if you are unsure on how much protein your Degu is taking in, aim lower than this as a slight lack of protein is safer than
an excess in it. Degus need around 18% fibre in their diet in the form of Hay, but this should be available 24/7.
Fresh drinking water (Which should be changed daily) should be available in a water
bottle ALL the time.