Degus are active and curious rodents. So that they don’t get bored too quickly in human care, you have to come up with a few ideas.
Good structuring of the enclosure with species-appropriate furnishings is important for employment. Large but sterile enclosures lead to boredom and stereotypes, as do enclosures that are too small. These can be expressed, for example, in the permanent jumping up on the enclosure ceiling or the permanent scratching in the enclosure corners as well as somersaults. Constantly running back and forth on the sides of the enclosure is also a sign of serious behavioral problems. A sufficient employment program can have a preventive effect here.
There are many ways to keep the degus busy. A sufficiently thick layer of litter encourages the animals to dig. If this is not possible in the enclosure, a digging box can also activate the animals. To do this, fill a small aquarium or a comparable container with a peat-sand mixture and then place it in the degu enclosure. If you mix a few treats into the soil, the degus are also encouraged to dig.
Fabric hammocks, large cardboard tubes, and the like also provide variety. Large cardboard tubes can be found in carpet shops, for example, where they serve as the core for the carpet rolls. Otherwise, as a degu owner, you have no limits when it comes to constantly think up new ways to keep your degus busy.
Employment through feeding A varied feeding can also help to avoid boredom. The possibilities are endless if you use your imagination. Put the degu’s food in an empty cardboard tube of toilet paper or kitchen paper, and then seal both ends of the tube with plain toilet paper. Now the degus have to remove the obstacle first if they want to get to the food.
Corn on the cob and millet are also good employment opportunities because in this case, the degus have to laboriously “pick out” the food. If you are able to get unsprayed corn, you can even put the complete cob with husks in the pen. You can also hang it up so that the degus can only climb up to get their treats. This also trains the dexterity of the rodents. Of course, you can also do this with other feeds. Fresh food in particular can be wonderfully pulled onto skewers and then hung up. But make sure that the skewers do not pose a risk of injury.
Distributing the food throughout the enclosure also helps to activate your fosterlings, because they have to look for their food and not just sit down at the filled food bowl to get their fill.
These are just a few suggestions that provide plenty of variety and activity when feeding. Conversations with other degu owners and intensive observation of their animals will inspire you to learn more “feeding tricks”.