Degu Breeding Guide

degu pups Breeding Degus can be a fun, enjoyable experience, but before undertaking such a risky task, you need to do your research.

Breeding can very rarely make you money, when you take into consideration the amount of extra cages you need to separate the male and female pups, the male and female parents, and the recommended time in-between breeding you will spend a lot more than you will be making. You should not allow your pet to fall pregnant more than once a year as this results in a lot of unnecessary stress on your Degu and results in very early death, please remember your pet is a living creature first and always should be considered as a way of making money last. However, if you are still interested, here is a bit of information to get you started.


Essegi Aviary Firenze - blackPreparation

In order to breed you will need 4 full sized Degu cages, one for the male and female when not breeding, and for the subsequent male and female pups to prevent in-breeding, and a male and female from different sources in order to prevent inbreeding, resulting in genetic health defects. The Male and female need to be kept separate a few days after the birth as the female becomes fertile again and should not become pregnant at all costs as this will cause too much stress.

The other cages are to separate the offspring, as brothers and sisters will need to be separated in order to prevent inbreeding when they become mature, as although this sounds wrong, isn't a ethical problem for rodents, and so the resulting pups could be born with genetic health problems. This could also happen between parent and child, eww but true, so the 2 cages after breeding should contain mother and girls, father and boys.

You will also need the number of a good vet, familiar with Degus and able to make visits at short notice in case of any problems that arise. It would also be useful to have a smaller cage to enclose your Degus in case of any emergency vet visits. I use an old metal hamster cage with modifications so there is a metal base so the Degus can not chew their way out.

This Aviary cage from Zoo Plus is the perfect breeders cage, nearly 2 metres tall and without loads of pre-installed platforms is completely customisable, could even be turned into 2 cages by a central horizontal partition and a make-shift door. More details here



In the wild, the breeding season is usually around May-June time, in captivity, breeding is not restricted to seasons, partially as staying indoors in the same constant temperature environment means the Degus will have little sense of what season it is. A female will only mate if ready, rejecting the male and warning him off until this time. A female can become pregnant only one day after giving birth, so it is recommended to keep sexes apart during this time. Degus with any kind of disease, such as cataracts or diabetes should not be bred from as this will have serious effects not only on the pups but the mother too, even resulting in death.


The Birth

The pregnancy period (gestation) usually lasts for 3 months (around 90 days). A Degu's birth usually lasts between 30 minutes to 1 hour, where between 2-10 pups are born, but typically around 6. The Degus are born fully furred with their eyes opening after a few hours. Degus are born with teeth, are capable of eating regular Degu feed and suckle off the female. After 3-4 hours, they display their inquisitive personality by searching their surroundings and locating the nest box. After birth any male adults in the cage will need to be removed to prevent any pregnancy during the following 4-5 days, and the mother should be allowed at least a year to regain strength and recover before mixing Degus during the breeding season again. Any more than this could give unnecessary death and possibly cause early death and complications for the developing pups.



Degus make great parents, often grouping together to share responsibilities. If there are more than one pregnant female in the cage, they help each other, and keep all pups in the nest together and nurture all the pups, regardless of who the mother is. The father is also active, helping to to raise the pups, play with them and educate them. On the rare occasion the mother rejects the pups, this can be devastating for the baby Degus upbringing, and can lead to death on occasion. Both parents should be allowed to live with the pups after the 3-4 day separation period. You should not attempt to hand rear the pups, owners that have tried this have reported abnormal behaviour and brain function, in keeping with the psychological theories in humans of maternal deprivation. After 6 weeks Degus should be separated into different cages for different sexes, so the siblings do not mate and cause genetic diseases to the offspring. The female will be ready to mate again after around 5 weeks, although this should not be allowed. The pups will suckle the females milk for the first week, before moving onto solid food.

a degu huddle


This is not a definitive guide on breeding, as we state it should not be attempted by amateurs, and if we would hope you did more research on the topic than looking on random websites.


Ebensperger, L., Veloso, C. and Wallem, P. (2002) 'Do female degus communally nest and nurse their pups?' Journal of Ethology, 20: 143-146.

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