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Old 05-16-2012, 09:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Arrow Is my cage okay?

So, I've had Dory for 3 weeks this Saturday! Yay, we're finally getting used to each other! Anyways, I think I have everything, but please, if anything is wrong, let me know!

My cage is a large sized SuperPet guinea pig cage. Contrary to what I've heard, Dory has never tried to climb the walls and for the most part doesn't do much at all.

For a wheel, I use the 12 inch Comfort Wheel. It's a little noisy and difficult to clean, but efficient nonetheless, though I do plan on purchasing the CSW.

The bedding I use is all natural CareFresh. i don't know if the 'All Natural' part has any effect, but I thought it may be better? Who knows. I started out with pine, but then I heard that it causes skin problems. And it gets all over everything.

I have a large igloo

Two ceramic bowls for food and water

A hedgie bag I bought from a breeder.

I have a ball and a small stuffed duck for toys. ( which she never even touches, and that concerns me that my hedgehog might be a tightwad )

I have no heating for her. She is in a temperature controlled room and if the fan is ever on, I put a fleece blanket over her cage.

I have no idea how to go about litter training which is why I haven't a fleece liner. Or a litter box.

I would also really like to switch to c&c cage someday for easier access to the cage.

I started out pretty cheaply because I wanted to get my quilly friend ASAP! But I don't think I skimped out on any major aspects.

Thanks for all of your help!
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is my cage okay?

Welcome

What are the dimensions of the cage?

Just because she does not climb the bars right now, doesn't mean she never will... You have to remember that. In my opinion, it's better safe than sorry.

For the noise you can put a scrunchy on the wheel so it doesn't rattle as much.

Carefresh isn't a very good bedding... Check on this thread viewtopic.php?f=51&t=14922
Reasons not to use Carefresh:
- messy
- expensive
- can cause impaction if ingested
- DUSTY (Which can lead to breathing issues)
- the green hides any off coloured urine or feces
- dries out feces making it difficult to find and tell if hedgie's poop is normal
- because it hides urine and feces, often people won't clean the cage as often as it should be
- dries out their skin and gets stuck in their quills
The bedding that we recommend is fleece liners. You can also use other fabrics, like flannel or cotton, but they must be sewn.

Make sure the ball is solid, no holes or openings. Some hedgehogs don't like toys. Take a toilet paper tube, cut it down the middle and put it in her cage. That seems to be a hit.

You need to have a thermometer in her cage so you know what temperature the cage is. Does the room stay the same temperature 24/7? Some get colder at night time. Also, using fleece to cover the cage isn't the best option. It doesn't necessarly mean the cage will stay warm when the fan is on. It could also make the cage hotter than normal, when you take the cover off, the cage will cool down again. It could lead to hibernation, which is deadly. You don't want the temperature to fluctuate. Another reason not to completely cover the cage is light. Hedgehogs need a light source. You should have a light on a timer 12-14 hours a day, the same time every day. Without this they can go into hibernation as well. If the cage is covered, no light is coming in. If you leave a side open, cold air can still get it.

Not all hedgehogs will be litter trained. For the most part, hedgehogs go on their wheel while they run. But, if she's pooping outside the wheel, take the poops and put them in the litter box. This can help, sometimes. Usually putting the litter box under the wheel works best. Then it catches the pee and poo as it flys off the wheel. Again, Carefresh isn't very good.

C&C cages are great, but do have some cons. You will need to buy the grids with 12 squares across (I believe?) not 6. You also need to have coroplast going 8" at least up the sides and on the bottom of the cage, and you will need a lid. If you get a CSW, it won't fit in the cage without modifications. If you get the CSBW, it will fit.


EDIT: If the cage you have is 18"W x 30"L x 16"T, you really should get a bigger cage... Keep in mind the dimensions of the wheels.

Carolina Storm Wheel:
With the wheel attached at the highest postion it stands 15 and 1/2 inches tall.
With the wheel attached at the lowest postion it stands 13 and 3/4 inches tall.
The width of the wheel while attached to the stand is 11in wide & 14in long.

Height wise, the wheel would fit, which is good. But that wheel is going to take up half of the cage (minus one inch). With the igloo, which is 12"L x 10"W, there won't be any space left.

Carolina Storm Bucket Wheel:
With the wheel attached at the highest postion it stands 12 and 1/2 inches tall.
With the wheel attached at the lowest postion it stands 11 inches tall.
The width of the wheel while attached to the stand is 12 inches long.

Again, height wise, this wheel would fit. Again, the wheel is going to take up a big chunk of the space.
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is my cage okay?

There is plenty of extra room in the cage apart from her igloo and wheel, about a whole square foot, actually.

The noise doesn't bother me, we don't sleep in the same room.

I don't use the green CareFresh, I use white. I'm not sure about fleece lines though... I'm sure they're good for the hedgie, but I don't want to put a piece of cloth with poop and pee all over it in my washing machine. Seems kind of repulsive to me. :P

Her room is controlled. It is kept at 76 degrees Fahrenheit. The fleece doesn't cover the whole cage, it stops about two inches from the bottom. The cage is only covered at night, in hopes that she may get used to sleeping at night and being active during the day. Regardless of the fan, the air is still not cold. I keep the fan on at night to increase ventilation and turn it off in the mornings. Perhaps I should have elaborated on that a bit more.

I doubt I will be making my own cage, if I get one at all. I would buy before I made.

As for the Carolina Storm Wheel, It would fit perfectly in my cage. But there is also a good chance This, too, will not change, because the problem I have with it is cleaning and that's minor.

Thanks for your help! I may try a fleece liner one time... Maybe... LOL.
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is my cage okay?

Quote:
The fleece doesn't cover the whole cage, it stops about two inches from the bottom. The cage is only covered at night, in hopes that she may get used to sleeping at night and being active during the day.
This is probably not a good idea. Hedgehogs are naturally nocturnal animals, and to mess up their natural cycles of sleeping and waking can be harmful. Even if it weren't, putting a blanket over the cage would be a little counter intuitive - making it dark would encourage them to be awake, and vice-verse. It's recommended that you have a consistent light schedule to encourage their circadian rhythm so that they are provided with around 12-14 hours of light during the day and 10-12 hours of darkness during the night.

Fleece liners are also probably the best way to go. I haven't used anything else so I can't talk about the good side of all the other options out there (though I doubt there are many unless you are a breeder with expectant mothers), but I can say that I've washed liners in both the washer machine and in the sink by hand and it really isn't that gross. You can always do an extra rinse cycle in between hedgie loads and people loads (:
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is my cage okay?

I have always used large rabbit cages to house my hedgehogs and in four years and three hedgehogs I have never experienced any of them trying to climb/have climbed the sides, however if it is of worry to you many people here put up cloroplast to discourage climbing.

Like you, I dislike using the fleece liners. Something about pooping and peeing on fabric doesn't sit well with me and I also don't like putting them into the wash. I have always opted for yesterdays news which is recycled paper pellets and in my opinion it works well. I take the little clumps of poop out daily and then do a full switch once a week. I also find they have enjoyed digging in it, especially when I hide treats. It's heavier so doesn't really cause too much of a mess and its very absorbent so it doesn't smell. It is also not dusty. Wood chips are a bad choice because there have been many incidents of them getting caught in hedgehog penile sheaths, I see you have a female but switching to something else was a good choice. In my opinion, the only downside to the yesterdays news is that it will stick to your hedgehog bag depending on what its made of, but its easily flicked off. As for litter training, I've tried it a couple times with no success, and thus have no advice for you there.

I also used to use a comfort wheel but opted for CSW when I thought it caused an injury to my hedgehog (turned out it had nothing to do with the wheel) however, the CSW is so much quieter and nicer so if you have the money I'd recommend upgrading. The running surface itself is easier to clean as a whole but the taking it off and putting it back together is more difficult than the comfort wheel, but in my opinion its totally worth it.

As for toys, I have some for Bea but I don't notice she really plays with them, she has a cut toilet paper roll and a little toy mouse. She also had a tunnel which she does play in frequently and I often hide mealworms or treats in little containers for her to find. She mostly just likes to run on her wheel (this has been pretty consistent for all of the hedgehogs I've owned) so I wouldn't worry too much if she doesn't really play with the toys.

*Personally* I have never used an external heating source for my hedgehogs and have always kept them in a temperature controlled room. Aside from that I have also never used a lighting "schedule" per se, but their cages have always been in a spot where they had natural light and darkness. This has worked for me however, you must look into your own situation and see if you can maintain temps and proper lighting.

I'm a little confused though by the notion that the cage being covered at night would make her used to sleeping at night and help her become more active during the day...being noctural, hedgehogs will want to sleep when it's light (when the cage is NOT covered, and the cage has access to light), where as if the cage is covered and it is dark, they are more likely to be active...if you are putting the blanket over it at night then I don't think it would really be doing anything to improve her activity during the day. That being said though, as coribelle said, trying to reverse there sleeping schedule is not a good idea. Imagine yourself as a human being up all night and sleeping all day, would definitely take some years off your life.
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is my cage okay?

I have always used large rabbit cages to house my hedgehogs and in four years and three hedgehogs I have never experienced any of them trying to climb/have climbed the sides, however if it is of worry to you many people here put up cloroplast to discourage climbing.

Like you, I dislike using the fleece liners. Something about pooping and peeing on fabric doesn't sit well with me and I also don't like putting them into the wash. I have always opted for yesterdays news which is recycled paper pellets and in my opinion it works well. I take the little clumps of poop out daily and then do a full switch once a week. I also find they have enjoyed digging in it, especially when I hide treats. It's heavier so doesn't really cause too much of a mess and its very absorbent so it doesn't smell. It is also not dusty. Wood chips are a bad choice because there have been many incidents of them getting caught in hedgehog penile sheaths, I see you have a female but switching to something else was a good choice. In my opinion, the only downside to the yesterdays news is that it will stick to your hedgehog bag depending on what its made of, but its easily flicked off. As for litter training, I've tried it a couple times with no success, and thus have no advice for you there.

I also used to use a comfort wheel but opted for CSW when I thought it caused an injury to my hedgehog (turned out it had nothing to do with the wheel) however, the CSW is so much quieter and nicer so if you have the money I'd recommend upgrading. The running surface itself is easier to clean as a whole but the taking it off and putting it back together is more difficult than the comfort wheel, but in my opinion its totally worth it.

As for toys, I have some for Bea but I don't notice she really plays with them, she has a cut toilet paper roll and a little toy mouse. She also had a tunnel which she does play in frequently and I often hide mealworms or treats in little containers for her to find. She mostly just likes to run on her wheel (this has been pretty consistent for all of the hedgehogs I've owned) so I wouldn't worry too much if she doesn't really play with the toys.

*Personally* I have never used an external heating source for my hedgehogs and have always kept them in a temperature controlled room. Aside from that I have also never used a lighting "schedule" per se, but their cages have always been in a spot where they had natural light and darkness. This has worked for me however, you must look into your own situation and see if you can maintain temps and proper lighting.

I'm a little confused though by the notion that the cage being covered at night would make her used to sleeping at night and help her become more active during the day...being noctural, hedgehogs will want to sleep when it's light (when the cage is NOT covered, and the cage has access to light), where as if the cage is covered and it is dark, they are more likely to be active...if you are putting the blanket over it at night then I don't think it would really be doing anything to improve her activity during the day. That being said though, as coribelle said, trying to reverse there sleeping schedule is not a good idea. Imagine yourself as a human being up all night and sleeping all day, would definitely take some years off your life.
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is my cage okay?

Like others have said, you shouldn't attempt to change the sleeping patterns. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and need to sleep during the day. When there is light, they sleep. When it's dark, they are awake. It's not healthy to try and change their natural behaviors. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and that's something you have to accept.

Washing liners isn't gross at all. All you do is:
Step 1 A) Pick to poop off the liner with a kleenex or paper towel and throw it in the garbage.
OR
Step 1 B) Take the liner outside and shake it to get the poop off.
OR
Step 1 C) Hold the liner over a garbage can and shake it.
Step 2) Put the liner in the washing machine.

There won't be ANY poop in the washing machine and hardly any pee. It dries quickly.

This really is the best option. But, yesterday's news is good as well. Much better than shavings or carefresh, IMO. Unless you are a breeder, which you aren't, there are no benefits to Carefresh, only negatives.


I don't recommend using natural light as the light source. In the winter/fall the days get shorter. If you hedgehog notices this coming she might attempt hibernation because she thinks winter is coming and it will get cold.


Your cage needs to have at least 4 square feet.
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is my cage okay?

I'll switch to Yesterday's News. I don't think the liners will work for me. I don't think there's anything wrong with my cage, though I do plan to upgrade to something larger.

The reason I want her to sleep more at night is because, I haven't even ever seen her truly awake, and that's kind of strange to me.

She's not very active, even when she was awake, and I have never seen her play with her toys. I suppose she's more dormant than most? I have only had her for three weeks, if that has anything to do with her behavior.

I see where you two are coming from with the nocturnal schedule. Blonde moment, definitely.

Thanks for the info!
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is my cage okay?

I find if you take them out at like 10:00 p.m. to interact with them they are much more lively than you if you take them out at 2:00 p.m.
If I take Bea out during the day, she will mostly just run around until she finds something to hide under and go to sleep, so you're not alone there. Hedgehogs won't usually get up during the day on their own, although I have seen mine do that once or twice if they have been disturbed. I hardly ever see Bea (or any of the others I have had) play with toys. Your gal sounds pretty normal, lol.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is my cage okay?

It's just strange because she hasn't really shown much personality, other than she doesn't like baths and she's quite lazy. I've heard they sleep for pretty much the first month, but I wake up at 6:30 in the morning and she's already gone to bed by that time.

I've also seen other users taking their hogs out in the middle of the day and the hogs being as active as ever, but this is never the case with my Dory.

I love her to pieces, and she's absolutely adorable, but I worry that she will never be as 'entertaining' or playful as others.

Regardless of whether she is or not, though, there's no way I'll get rid of her for that. Her personality isn't her fault.

She is pretty fearful of almost everything. And sign of movement sets her into hissing and balling fits. Which is another personality triat that gets frustrating from time to time,

She also hates it when her visor quills are touched.

And she's the worst to wake up. He hisses and jumps at me until I give up.
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