Dedicated to the care and wellbeing of degus worldwide.

Cage Basics

So you have chosen a cage and you want to know what are the basic items you need in there to keep your degu happy and healthy.

Substrate - The most efficient and ideal substrate to use with degus is kiln dried pine shavings. Its is cheap, absorbant and easy to find and is ideal for all degus except ones with respiratory problems in which case shredded paper or a paper based bedding is more appropriate. Never use cedar or Aspen chippings or any other wood shavings but pine as other woods are highly toxic to degus.

Nesting box or house – This is an artificial replacement of the wild degus burrow. This is where they will create a nest, sleep and hideaway goodies. There are lots of choices out there from wooden boxes, plastic houses to even making your own with a cardboard box. Wooden houses should be made from kiln dried pine as your degus are more than likely going to have a chew. Most houses will need replacing dependent upon your degus chewing habits with the cardboard being the most frequent. The ideal nesting materials are either a mix of hay and soft straw or shredded paper. You can either place these in the house or leave them in the cage for your degus to fetch and create their own nest.

Food bowls & water bottle – These need to be sturdy as degus have a habit of tipping them over. The best kind are either ceramic shallow bowls or stainless steal bowls that fix onto the side of the cage. It is also advisable you get a hay rack or a hay ball to keep the hay of the floor and to keep it fresh. You have two choices when choosing a water bottle, you can either go for a plastic bottle or a glass bottle. The plastic ones are cheap, readily available and can be thrown away and replaced frequently but they can be prone to leaks due to something chewing at them. Glass water bottles are harder to get hold of and cost slightly more but they will last a lifetime and they can’t be chewed up. The water bottle needs to be topped up on a daily basis and kept clean at all times.

Sand house or dust bath – This is an important element of a degu cage as degus need to bathe regularly in order to keep their coats in tiptop condition. Bathing is a communal thing and wild degus use it also as a form of communication. Degus need to have access to a dust bath at least twice a week although it is better if you can to provide them with a sand house in their cage for daily use.

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