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Old 02-29-2012, 09:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Time and such

I have an important question. Well I think. I want to know how many hours + you spend a day in hedgie care and socialization. For example do you spend 1+ hours a day caring for the hedgehogs cage, spot cleaning, fixing food, rearranging toys on average and you spend 2+ hours a day playing and socializing with the hedgie so he stays entertained.

I want to understand what the realistic time schedule is so I can see if one might fit into my day to day life. I've wanted a hedgehog for many years but I am afraid to take the plunge. I want to spend as much time with hedgehog owners collecting advice before I make any commitment.

Also is it better to spend several hours with a hedge or let it have it's own space? Or does it depend on the hedgie in question? How much time out of the cage is good. Is access to a single room and outdoor play area (highly supervised, like a sand box with a human watching the whole time) enough? Or is access to several different rooms for more stimulation advisable. I don't know how much of my house I can completely proof. Should you proof the whole house in case of escape?

Sorry if this is a lot of questions.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time and such

I personally would never let the hedgehog roam free, simply because there are always places you could miss when hedgie-proofing.
I spend about an hour a day (when she was younger, about two), but then once a week spend 2 hours doing her laundry.
Getting one of those plastic kiddie pools is great for supervised play time, but know that the second you turn your back, they could be up and gone.

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Old 02-29-2012, 10:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time and such

Hedgehogs are relatively low maintenance critters. There are some tasks that take more time than others but I've simply scheduled these tasks for weekends when I have more time.

daily - clean wheel, replace food & water, clean litter box (~ 10 -15 min). handling* (30 - 60 min). foot bath (~ 5 min)
*I try to be as consistent as I can with what time I take Marvin out, it helps with grumpiness and he has gotten a bit better about going potty before being handled. Also handling some nights is just me sitting in his playpen reading a textbook while he runs all over me and annoits. Other nights he's crashed out in his hedgie bag on my lap while I read.

weekly - cage cleaning** (~ 10 -15 min), checking nails and trying to trim them (~ 20 min)
** fleece liners are your friend, they make cleaning as simple as rolling up the fleece, take outside to shake out and wash in washer. I also wipe down the rest of the cage with scalding hot water.

When you first get your hedgie you'll want to let s/he be alone for at least 24 hours to let them adjust. After that period you should handle them for at least 30 min a day. If you hedgie is an adventurer the more play space you can give them the better. It really depends on the hedgie though. Marvin wants to get into everything but some are cuddle bugs also and will have little interest in exploring. The most important thing other than hedgie proofing for exploration is you have to keep the temp. 75F - 78F wherever they are... I don't know if you want to heat your entire house to that or not. I have a small space heater in my room that I turn on when Marvin is playing in his playpen. Otherwise I use CHEs to heat only his cage, so I don't roast alive. In terms of play areas... an empty sand box would be good, I wouldn't put a hedgie on sand just in case they thought the sand was tasty. Sand can also get stuck in their privates and cause infection. I have an empty kitty pool for a playpen.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time and such

Less than 30 mins a day for cleaning the cage daily. It's just cleaning the wheel, refilling food, giving fresh water, and spot cleaning.

Anywhere from half an hour to 2 hours a day for bonding for me. There are days when I don't take him out at all because I'm too busy.

And once a week I spend a little more time, maybe an extra 15-20 mins changing his liner, cleaning his cage, etc.

Some hedgehogs like to explore, so if you have a hedgie proofed area, like a playpen, etc, you can let them roam around. Otherwise, if they're a cuddler, they'd rather spend time with you by snuggling/sleeping
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time and such

I have found that my hedgies seem to socialize better when I handle them for about 15minutes- half an hour, twice daily, rather than a full hour at a time. Unless they are really having a blast doing something, this is generally what I do. I try to get the last playtime in right before bed, when I'm spot cleaning cages and their getting ready to wake up for the "day" anyway. Once they're well adjusted to handling, I don't worry so much about the amount of time, but rather go by their mood at the moment. If they're generally very friendly, but having a bad day, I will usually just leave them alone and try again the next day. I also have a playpen set up with wheels, toys, huts, and sleep sacks, so everyone gets to play for a couple of hours. Girls one day, boys the next. I'll hide mealworms occasionally and let the hedgies hunt them down. It's a form of mental stimulation that I believe they cannot get from handling alone.
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Old 02-29-2012, 02:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i usually spend probably 15 mins day cleaning wheel and cage , refiling and washing her dishes. she spends about a half hour 45 mins playing in her play area. then usually she comes for some cuddles and depending on what i have to do that night ill spend anouth 30 minutes to 2 hours just cuddling.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time and such

Daily stuff for me is about 20-30 min total, though typically more like 15 because my boyfriend and I will both do it. He gets to clean the wheel, I refill the food/water. The days when the liner has to be switched out can add ten minutes or so.

As for handling, depending on our schedules it's anywhere from an hour to multiple. When it's on the higher end, in the range of 4-6ish, it's generally because of taking him out on a trip to a store or whatever, in addition to the normal out-of-cage time. If we're hanging out on the bed or couch to watch a movie he gets to burrow around and snooze in the blankets, and sometimes he'll just sleep in his bag on my lap for several hours while I do schoolwork. How much we handle him is definitely because there's two of us - we share equally in the responsibility, which sometimes means he'll get separate time with me and my boyfriend in the same day. Also, when he was younger and before he got over the quilling grump, the longer days didn't really happen; that's been a product of him returning to his friendly/adventurous/outgoing self. When he was quilling an being huffy all the time, it was more like 1-2 hours every day.

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Old 02-29-2012, 06:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time and such

My daily cleaning routine seems to be about 10-15 minutes and includes cleaning the wheel and "transfer tube" (a 4" PVC pipe connecting my two-part set-up), freshening up food and changing water dish. And I change some of the litter or all of it, as needed. She's not a very messy girl, so I change the liner in the main portion of the cage once a week and the smaller liner in the second part twice a week. (which I just do before I put the wheel and litter pan back after cleaning)

I will probably do a more thorough cleaning of the whole cage about once every week and a half - two weeks, or as needed.

As far as handling goes, my Hilde is a snuggler, so I will get her out at around 7-8pm (lights out at 6:30) and give her a foot bath if her feet are yucky, then she will sleep in the folds of my robe for about 2 hours. She doesn't mind it if I have to get up and move around, I just hold her up at my waist and she goes where I go, usually staying in whatever sleepy position she was in.

I usually put her back around 10-11:30 and she will sleep for a couple more hours, then get up on her own around 1pm and wheel/eat/etc as I am going off to bed.

If you're a night-owl who doesn't have a ton of time to give to a more social pet, a hedgehog could be a perfect fit for you.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time and such

I haven't had my girl for very long, but our process is running pretty dang smoothly and I never feel overwhelmed or like I don't have time for her. I'm a full-time student with a job living in a tiny 3-room apartment (bathroom, living room/kitchen, and bedroom) with my boyfriend, and we keep our Kazooie in the bedroom. She doesn't keep us up, and I'm a really light sleeper.
Every day around noonish (or a little earlier- whenever is most convenient for us) we clean the wheel and spot clean/change the liner. The wheel has to be cleaned every day (I use 50/50 water/vinegar), because it gets pretty poopy at night and we don't want it stinking up the room haha! Kazooie keeps it pretty much all on the wheel, so we usually just spot clean, and then change the liners every other day or as needed. I'm a total neat freak, and I hate to pay for laundry that I can't wash with my own stuff, so I do hedgie liner/snuggle-stuff laundry the minute it comes out of the cage in the kitchen sink and then let it hang to dry in the shower, which doesn't take nearly as long as you would think. I wash the kitchen sink/counter down after the wheel and such has all been cleaned. The water bowl is also dumped, rinsed, and refilled, and the food bowl is checked to see if there is much left. If it's empty or near gone, I add a little itty bit more to last until the night. This entire process usually takes about 30 minutes with both Nick and I working, and maybe 45 minutes to an hour if I'm by myself and feeling particularly thorough.
Sometimes when I'm feeling naughty and I just can't stand being alone in the room, I wake her up during the day and either play with her for 30 minutes or let her sleep on my lap while I work, etc.
At night, around 8PM, we take her out again for play/cuddle time. We try to actively interact with her for at least an hour, and then maybe we'll let her sleep on laps while we do school work or watch a movie. During this time we also change food, and give foot baths and nail trims if needed.

So, our total daily time is probably about an hour and 45 minutes - 3 hours, depending on the day, whether or not we change liners, what all we have to wash, and what we do in the evening. If you do your hedgie laundry like a normal person and not a total weirdo like me, then it would probably be even less time than that hahaha! (:
- Cori (:

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