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Degus count among the so-called colon digestions, ie the digestive tract is designed for a diet rich in raw fiber and fiber. In order to avoid diet-related diseases, the feed should be based on the eating habits of wild animals. Because although degus have been kept as pets for decades, the digestive tract and thus their metabolism have not changed.
In the wild, degus feed mainly on herbs, grasses and shrub leaves (approx. 75% of the diet) and seeds of herbs, grasses and bushes (approx. 25%). Animal food in the form of insects is rarely eaten. Degus therefore need a sparse, low-sugar, but balanced diet. Your digestive system is adapted to these conditions, so it is particularly important that dried feed (herbs, leaves, flowers) and hay is always available.
A low-sugar diet is very important for degus as they are very prone to diabetes. Diabetes can lead to blindness on both sides via clouding of the lens (cataract).
Therefore: no fruit, no sugary treats and nuts only rarely.
Basic food includes high-quality roughage such as hay, which must always be available in sufficient quantities. In addition, degus get a feed mixture consisting of dried herbs / flowers / leaves. To do this, the diet should be supplemented with seeds and rarely dried vegetables. Seeds should consist of grass and various wild seeds, see a list below. Water bowls are suitable to cover the water requirement, as they ensure a natural posture while drinking.
Seeds are only given as an addition 1-2 times a week (approx. 1 teaspoon per degu), the proportion of seeds should only be increased if the degus do not gain weight. Younger animals and females that are pregnant or are in the rearing phase can tolerate a little more seeds. 3: 1 or 4: 1 oily: farinaceous. At best, treats should only be given nuts, other treats (including those recommended below) are not the most optimal feeding method.
There is also food or food supplements for degus that should NOT be on the nutritional plan, they are incompatible or even toxic / dangerous.
Degus are very prone to diabetes, so the rule that nothing sugary should be fed applies to them. Fruit of all kinds is therefore unsuitable for degus. The fruit sugar (fructose, glucose), which is present in high concentrations in most types of fruit, causes the blood sugar level to rise sharply - degus are not able to break down large amounts of sugar quickly.
Most unsuitable pellets increase their volume as soon as they come into contact with water, which indicates that molasses was used in the production. Molasses is a honey-like, dark-brown sugar syrup that is obtained as a by-product in sugar production from sugar cane, sugar beet and also from sugar millet. Most of the molasses is used in agriculture as direct feed and as a pellet binder for feed pellets for cattle. The consequences of too much sugar range from obesity to diabetes or premature death.
Ingredients: vegetable by-products, vegetable protein extracts, seeds, minerals, FOS, yucca. In addition, pellets fill up very quickly, which is why the degus often do not consume enough roughage and the tooth abrasion is not guaranteed.
Bread contains grains, spices, salt and raising agents and, as many people mistakenly believe and spread, does not tear your teeth; they are too rich and contain too much fat and starch.
Mixtures with a high grain content that are available in retail should be avoided entirely. These contain too much starch and fat and are unsuitable for degus.
Salt licks only contain cheap table salt, so they not only fail to work, but are also dangerous. If a degu licks the stone too often, kidney problems can result, which can even lead to the death of the animal. A similar problem also exists with limestones, they consist largely of calcium - if a degu gnaws too much, it can lead to the formation of urinary stones and calcification of the organs.
Too high in sugar and fat, if only grain-free and sugar-free treats.
Since the common feed mixes do not contain all the important components, individual components can also be ordered online. So you can vary the components of the daily feed. I order the individual components of my feed on various websites that specifically only sell rodent feed, where you can order everything from ready-mixed basic feed / whole food, grass / hay / grain / dried vegetables to high-quality herbs / flowers / leaves (see links ).
To "tame" my degus, they get peeled sunflower seeds out of their hands.
Here you can see my process when mixing the feed in a 45l box. The composition of the herbs, flowers, leaves is shown in the pictures.
The lists relate to an order from Hansemanns, the lists serve as a guide for other sites. The lists reflect WHAT everything can be ordered and offer newcomers to feed mixers an initial orientation aid. I do not lay claim to the completeness of the lists. Additions at your own discretion are of course always possible.
German Shops: https://www.hansemanns-team.de/ & https://deguladen.de/
For everyone who wants more variety in their feed. Various herbal feed mixes are bought here; Herbs / leaves / flowers / vegetables / seeds that can be mixed as desired. Not all mixes need to be ordered.
Futterparadies (FP) / Deguladen
Futterparadies (FP) / Deguladen
Seeds / vegetables
Seeds / vegetables
Some ready-made feed mixes that are commercially available and contain essential components of a Degu feed, see list below. Ready-made feed in general never fulfills a 100% suitable composition, therefore it is recommended to add herbs / leaves to every ready-made feed. No feed mix available in retail stores is really suitable for daily nutrition. However, below I would like to name the “least worst”.
Recommended finished feed mixes:
Futterparadies / Deguladen
Available in retail:
in addition to the ready mix, stretch with e.g.
Unsuitable finished feed mixtures:
Due to the composition, the following mixtures should be avoided.
The digestive system of degus can unfortunately also be very prone to failure. Degus always need more food to be able to transport the food from the stomach to the intestines. The small intestine adjoining the stomach is mainly used for digestion and absorption of protein, fat and carbohydrates (starch) by the body's own enzymes. The food residues (plant-based structural substances), such as cellulose, hemicellulose and pectins, which have not been digested by these enzymes, pass through the small intestine largely unchanged and migrate to the large intestine.
A prolonged lack of food intake due to long feeding intervals as well as feeding low-quality raw fiber or high-starch feed (grain) can result in serious illnesses. Above all, digestive disorders (flatulence), stomach ulcers, behavior disorders, disturbed mating behavior, dental problems and urinary stones should be mentioned here. Grain mixes and some unhealthy delicacies do not induce the animal to nibble and grind the food extensively. Insufficient tooth abrasion and thus excessively long teeth and injuries in the oral cavity are the consequences. Feeding is now associated with pain, so that the animals only consume little food and there is a risk of dangerous weight loss. A high-starch diet (cereals) also leads to serious disorders in the large intestine.
An imbalance (dysbiosis) occurs in the intestine and the first digestive disorders appear. Essential metabolic products such as vitamins can no longer be synthesized to a sufficient extent.
Since the ingested feed remains in the animal for 4-5 days from supply to complete digestion and the animals are also not able to vomit, it is of particular importance to feed roughage of perfect quality. The quality of the forage depends largely on the starting product.
Text source of the feed shop
Ingredients of many ready-made mixes that are NOT suitable - explanations of the individual names:
Prevents fat from becoming rancid and serves as a preservative, natural antioxidants (Vit. C, Vit. E) protect the organism from "free radicals".
z. B. Press residues from oil production, vegetable waste from food production. Soy is inexpensive and therefore contained in many low-quality animal feeds, but soy is often difficult for cats to digest. Beet pulp, corn gluten, cellulose (peanut shells, straw), brown rice, rice starch, waste products from beer breweries, etc. Beetroot juice is used and, due to the darker color of the faeces, suggests that there is a lot of meat in the feed.
Residue from the production of vegetable oils, mostly soy products.
Oligofructose (fructooligosaccharide) is a multiple sugar that has between 30 and 50% of the sweetness of sucrose and is therefore also used as a sugar substitute. regulate the bowel movement in a natural way and ensure a healthy balance within the digestive system. The addition is necessary if, for example, the feed is difficult to digest due to its composition. In addition, diarrhea, which would occur naturally due to the ingredients, is suppressed. Fructo-oligosaccharides are often used in diet feed.
The individual components of the feed are packed in all-purpose bags with zipper closures (1l - 3l bags) or closed plastic boxes.
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