The diet of free-living degus is very rich in raw fiber but low in energy. Unfortunately, this is not taken into account for all ready-made mixtures that are offered in specialist shops.
Many experienced degu keepers, therefore, do without ready-mixes and mix their degu food themselves. Creating your own feed mixture is usually easy if you have some practice and experience. When choosing the individual feed components, you should make sure that they are natural and processed as little as possible. Of course, only ingredients of impeccable quality may be used. Various herbs form the basis of a self-made feed mixture. You can get these, for example, in pharmacies or online shops, but pet shops now also offer a large number of different forage herbs. Lemon balm, plantain, sunflower petals, marigold, mallow, nettle, dandelion, rose petals, and rose petals are well suited. If available, strawberry and blackberry leaves can also be mixed in. You can also use the leaves of various trees or shrubs such as birch, hazelnut, hawthorn, or hornbeam. Dried fruit should be avoided because of the high sugar content; This is different from dried vegetables. Dried pieces of carrot, diced potatoes, zucchini slices, but also Jerusalem artichoke or diced parsnips are a useful extension of the feed spectrum and bring variety to the feed mix. Of course, you can also add high-quality compound feed components such as herb pellets or Wiesencobs. However, you should avoid pellets that contain sugary by-products. Unfortunately, not everything that is commercially available as degu food is suitable. It is always useful to take a look at the ingredients in order to recognize that the sugar content is too high.
Grain feed for degus In nature, degus only eat a small proportion of grain or grass seeds.
Nevertheless, these should not be missing in good degu food, but should only make up a small proportion. It must always be considered that the energy requirement of degus living in captivity is lower than that of free-living animals due to restrictions on freedom of movement. Therefore, the proportion of seeds should only make up about 10 to 20 percent of the main feed. Of course, the proportion of seeds can be adjusted to the needs of the animals. For example, skinny degus need more seeds to gain weight, while fatter animals need to reduce the proportion of seeds accordingly. Farinaceous seeds make up the majority of the grains used for degu food. Grass seed, millet, or amaranth are ideal, and grains such as oats, rye, or buckwheat also represent high-quality feed. However, you should not completely do without fatty seeds such as sesame, linseed, evening primrose seeds, or nuts, as fat is an important carrier for lipophilic vitamins and a source of essential fatty acids. In view of the natural diet of the degus, however, this part should only be small.
Presentation of the feed
In addition to the diet itself, the dosage form of the feed also plays a role. If you pass the food in the bowl, the natural urge to look for the food is hardly satisfied. Therefore, it is obvious to do without a bowl and to scatter the food in the cage, so that the animals have to look for the food themselves, similar to nature. In this way, the degus are sufficiently occupied, and low-ranking animals also receive enough food. The advantage of using a feeding bowl, on the other hand, is that it allows better control over the amount of food eaten. The water required for the degus can also be offered in a bowl. This should be set up in a raised place so that the water cannot be polluted by litter. The water bowl must also be secured against slipping and tipping over. Alternatively, drinking bottles can also be used, which require gnawing protection, otherwise, the degus will quickly gnaw a hole in them. You can easily make such protection yourself with a piece of tin or wood that is placed between the plastic bottle and the cage grid.