It is very easy to tell when Degus are breeding due to the many breeding activities that occur. Breeding activities include: the male grooming the female, tail-wagging, nose-to-nose contact, nuzzling, trembling, and the male chasing the female around the cage. After mating the male makes loud, repetitive squeaks that are unlike the usual day-to-day squeaks for up to 20 minutes.
The first indication that your Degu is pregnant is that she and her mate will begin building a huge nest in their cage, if they didn't have on already. During the last month of pregnancy an increase in abdomen size will become apparent, so as soon as you notice this you know there is about a month left before the babies are born.
When you notice that your Degu is pregnant, avoid handling her and feed her extra vegetables. Degus generally only breed up to two times a year. The gestation period is 90 days, so it's impossible for them to have babies more than four times a year, plus once they have babies they do not breed until the babies are weaned.
In rare cases they will breed immediately after the female has her babies. Mine actually did this after their first litter, we know because they had babies 90 days later. Degus can have anywhere from one to ten babies per litter, but generally have five to six. The amount is pretty random, as shown by my Degus who had eight babies in their first litter, three in their second. Do not separate the father Degu from the babies, he will NOT eat them! It is benificial to the babies and the parents to leave them together as a family.
For the first eight days of their lives the babies cannot regulate their own body temperatures and should not be handled much. Babies should live with their parents for four to six weeks after birth, preferably six.
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Please Note: Exotic Nutrition is not able to provide specific health and care guidelines on an individual basis. Please contact an accredited veterinarian if you have a pet emergency.