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Old 05-26-2012, 03:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default grouchy new baby (as expected) with food question

Hi - I have had my first hedgie, Baron Adolf von Hallertau, for a week now. He is 8 weeks old today, and he is a very huffy and grouchy runner! I have the patience and determination to stick with what I predict will be a slow-going bonding process, regardless of all the huffing, jumpiness, running away (he won't sit in a snuggle bag or in a ball in my hand for long if he can help it) and biting (oh, the biting!). I have been avidly reading the forum for the past 6 weeks now, and have all the info I need to help me with bonding: washing with unscented soap, snuggle bags, blankets on the lap, dimly lit rooms, scheduled playtime at 11 PM for an hour. I have even slept with the clean snuggle bag for 2 nights before giving it to him so it has my scent on it when he gets it. I know eventually The Baron will come around.

My real concern is about transitioning his food.

I was given a 3 week supply of kibble mix from the breeder (50% Royal Canin Baby, 25% Innova + 25% Purina One Chicken). As I have 3 cats that are already on a quality grain free mix themsleves (Natural Balance Chicken + Pea, Arcana Grasslands, Spot's Stew Turkey, and Wellness weight control), I'd like to slowly move von Hallertau over to this mix.

The first two nights I fed him his regular mix (of which he def. has a preference and eats the Royal Canin first). On teh second night I gave him 1 piece of of the Spot's Stew as a treat. He promptly annointed with it (too weird and cute for words!)and ate it. The third night I did the same, but instead of the Spot's Stew, gave him the Aracana, which he annointed but did not eat (it is a larger kibble, I'm sure I will have to crush it for him). The fourth night I started mixing in a small amount of the Spot's in with his mix, and have been doing it every night since.

My problem is that he is completely avoiding the new food! (I am counting the pieces of new kibble that I give him). As far as I can tell, I have a few options, but they all have concerns:

- I can try removing his second or third choice kibble from his existing mix and replace it with the new one, but I am worried that my baby won't get enough to eat if he continues to be grouchy + stubborn.

- I can crush all his food together, but I won't be able to tell as easily if he is avoiding the new food.

- I can wait another week and see if he settles down a bit more before I try again, but I don't want to make a quick transition if I am running low on the breeder food. I know I can always go buy a bag of his fave kibble to extend the process (it is the Royal Canin Baby Cat) but I hate having things go to waste, and I'm sure I'll have to take him off it before I run out. (It'll be too rich to feed to my cats).

Any insight/suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 05-26-2012, 05:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: grouchy new baby (as expected) with food question

My Pebbles is a picky eater and she was also a little butt when I first got her. Mainly because of some overgrown nails hurting her little feet due to the shity breeder but thats not the point.

If you can handle your hedgehog due that as much as you can. If he bites you put him down asap! Make him remember every time he bites, play time is over! They usually lick you before they bite most of the time, so if he starts licking, watch out lol.

Now food wise, Pebbles I have on a simple 4 into 1 mix.
Royal Canin Babycat 34 Formula Cat Food 24% fat
BLUE Buffalo Wilderness Duck high protein 18% fat
8 into 1 hedgehog diet 8% fat
Wellness Healthy Weight 8% fat

I make a simple mix of the two at 8% which makes up a lot of the bowl 65-80% and then about 20-25% equals the RC BABYCAT AND DUCK. This is a good setup and my hedgehog loves it!

But if yours is really picky try mixing in some fruit/veggies on,around and all over the kebble....kinda like tricking your guy into eating new food
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: grouchy new baby (as expected) with food question

Quote:
Originally Posted by abzx10r
If you can handle your hedgehog due that as much as you can. If he bites you put him down asap! Make him remember every time he bites, play time is over! They usually lick you before they bite most of the time, so if he starts licking, watch out lol.

But if yours is really picky try mixing in some fruit/veggies on,around and all over the kebble....kinda like tricking your guy into eating new food
If your hedgehog bites you, the last thing you should do is put him down. For MOST hedgehogs, being put down is a reward as they are solitary animals and would prefer to be left alone. If your hedgehog bites you, you need to be more aware of where your skin is in relation to his mouth and remember NOT to reward the behavior by putting him back in the cage or setting him down.

Hedgies bite for lots of reasons, but meanness is rarely the reason. You might smell like something good (food, yummy smelling lotion, laundry detergent, hand soap, etc), you might be doing something that scares him (talking loudly, trying to touch a part of his body he doesn't want you touching) or he might simply be curious.

Also, if your hog is picky, do NOT put a brand new food or a food he doesn't like 'on, around and all over' his kibble. There's a good chance that that will result in him eating nothing, because you tainted the one thing he will eat with something he doesn't want to try. Believe it or not, lots of hedgies will simply not eat instead of trying something you want them to try. All treats/new foods should be offered in a bowl separate from the kibble bowl so if hedgie doesn't like them, he can still eat his trusty ol' kibble.



Anyway, if he isn't trying the new food, it might just be because he doesn't like it all that much. I know it would be convenient to have your cats and hedgie on the same food mix, but The Baron could very well make that impossible. Keep trying the foods with him, one at a time, and do it slowly.

The recommended 'process' is Week 1, offer 75% old kibble and 25% new kibble. Week 2, offer 50% of each. Week 3, offer 25% old kibble and 75% new. Week 4, transition is complete. Buuuut, sometimes it can't happen like that and it really isn't a huge deal if you have to speed that process up a bit. I've done so many kibble changes with my hedgie and I cut down the switching process to about 12-14 days with no adverse effects. Just make sure you are only offering one new food at a time (so if there's an allergy, you know which food it is) and that The Baron is still eating and you should be OK. Try to avoid new treats during the switching process. Green poos will probably happen, but they shouldn't last.

P.S. Wellness is known to cause tummy upset and loose stools in some hedgies because it's pretty rich. Just be aware of this when you start The Baron on the Wellness.
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: grouchy new baby (as expected) with food question

^^^I'm always open for ones opinion and your entitled to it. But first off, what works for you and hedgehog may and maynot work for others,so instead of saying or correcting an opinion of someone elses maybe take note! I'm open to learning but I didn't learn one thing when you corrected me. So with that being said, if your hog keeps biting you over and over and over again...your just going to sit there and let it happen? Hedgehogs may be solitary animals but these are domestic none wild animals. Just saying! My Pebbles may just be smart but two times biting me, I sat her down on my bed & didn't pet her, she took note that I would stop playing/petting her.....and she hasn't bit me since.

My girl loves Wellness and hasn't had a problem period! Stick with your food mix, mine needs no work!
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Old 05-26-2012, 11:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: grouchy new baby (as expected) with food question

I am sorry if I offended you and that you didn't learn anything from what I've said, but that was not my intention. My intention was to let the OP know that from everything I've read here at HHC, rewarding bad behavior isn't a good method of training and to not risk putting a new food that the hedgie may not like all over the only thing they eat.

If your hedgehog is biting you over and over again, either you have a mean hedgehog that just likes to bite (which is usually not the case) or you as an owner are doing something wrong (by wearing scented lotions, handling food without washing your hands, putting bare skin near the hedgie's mouth), which is much more likely. Negative reinforcement (like blowing in the hedgie's face) isn't usually recommended here at HHC, but neither is rewarding bad behavior (like putting the hedgie down when it bites you). I was merely suggesting to the OP to figure out what they can do to minimize the biting.

And as far as the Wellness goes, it's wonderful that your hog has no issues with it. I wasn't being nasty to you because you feed Wellness, as there are a few lines of it have good fat & protein percentages and good ingredients and I personally tried it with my hog. I, once again, was giving the OP information that I give EVERYone that mentions Wellness. My hog had tummy upset when I fed it to her, as well as many others here. Looking back, if I had known that it CAN cause tummy problems, I never would have attempted feeding it since I got 2 weeks into the transition and then realized it wasn't sitting well with here, so I had to start all over.

Once again, I apologize that I offended you, but I wasn't being mean. I was stating information that the OP needed to know. There was no need for you to get defensive and rude.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: grouchy new baby (as expected) with food question

I will agree with hangman on the behavior part. You just need to watch where your hands are and try maybe handling with a blanket. By putting them down you are in outraging a behavior you d
Ont want.

Correcting an opinion that is widely acknowledged in the hedgehog community as being wrong is actually the better thing to do. Most people know tha you shouldnt use silent spinner wheels for hedgehogs however a person who say they are okay because it has always worked for them is still going to be corrected as most people believe otherwise. You are entitled to your opinions but also have to except others will sometimes not agree, and as most of us are very passionate about our hogs we are going to say something

However I have always mixed the new food right in with the old. Honestly they are less likely to Try the new stuff if its easy to avoid and what's the point of switching the food slowly of they are just going to eat the old stuff and of ore the new?
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Old 05-27-2012, 11:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: grouchy new baby (as expected) with food question

Based on my previous experience with other pets, I have found that putting them down after biting does just reinforce that behavior. It also hinders the bonding process, at least it did my situation. It could be different for every one.

As he is not avoiding the other food even though the new one is mixed in with it, is it worth it to try crushing all the foods together? It would make it harder for him to avoid it.

Thanks again for all the advice
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