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Old 10-01-2012, 01:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Few questions from new hedgie mom.

Hello everyone I have a few questions. I just got my baby girl, Zaria Deella, 3 days ago on September 27, 2012. So far she seems to be happy and is eating and drinking great. As well as pooping like crazy and nothing green or weird. She plays with her toys and runs on her wheel (in which she as yet to poop on! She will go before she gets on or will get off it to go!) She doesn't seem to mind when I am cleaning up her cage around her and will only raise her little forehead quills if I do something to quickly. But have found if do it slowly she is fine. She does huff at me when I go to pick her up and sometimes will run from me. But after I have picked her up she puts her quills down and will start walking around on my hands and through my fingers. (She never really balls up on me, just huffs and raises quills at first) If I go to pet her she gets kinda antsy and like she is trying to get away but if I stop she will calm down and just sit in my hands and almost fall asleep. Could she be quilling?? I have seen her scratching a little bit and when she borrows under her bedding (I am using carefresh ultra right now, thinking of switching to fleece liners. Seems the carefresh is everywhere and can never get it clean enough!) its almost like she rocks back and forth under the bedding scratching her back on it. From what I have read that is only thing I can think of is that she is in a quilling phase. And one more question I live in South Texas and it is hot here all the time! The breeder I got her from said she never really has to use a heating source as long as house stays at a pretty even temperature between 73-75, and if gets to cold in winter will use a light to warm the area a bit. My house always stays between 73-75 as well. So I haven't had any kind of heat source on her cage yet and she has been fine. Is it ok not to have one, as long as house temp stays in that range? And she seems to be ok with it and is not cold.? Sorry so long, Thanks everyone in advance for your replies and advice!
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Few questions from new hedgie mom.

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"Could she be quilling?? I have seen her scratching a little bit and when she borrows under her bedding (I am using carefresh ultra right now, thinking of switching to fleece liners. Seems the carefresh is everywhere and can never get it clean enough!) its almost like she rocks back and forth under the bedding scratching her back on it."
Yes, she could be quilling. Even if she is not (or not yet) dropping baby quills, she probably has quills growing in if she is just a baby. If you gently fan up her quills, you will probably see quills that are just starting to grow in. A gentle 'against the grain' brush with a toothbrush will flair the quills up, allowing a good look at her skin and it should be easy to see new quills coming in.

The itching may be from the Carefresh, which she may, or may not, get used to. If itching is minor, it may just be an itch. Sometimes an itch is just an itch.

I use fleece cage liners. They are soooo much easier to use. The initial cost is more than offset by the immediate gain of much easier maintenance and the long term gain of lowered costs.

IF you are correct about the constant temperature, THEN you are fine. I'm not tempted to push my luck in the winter because it gets very cold here and my girl has her own room heater in addition to a pair of 150 watt CHEs (ceramic heat emitters). That said, it sounds like you are fine on temperature.

You should still have a good thermometer in the cage to help with monitoring. It is true that the lighting can be used to add heat to the cage. In the summer, I bounce her lights off the ceiling for indirect lighting. In the winter I suspend her lights over the cage. Two 10" fixtures with 75 watt bulbs adds 0 to 15 degrees, depending upon the weather. I vary the height of the lamps. If it is quite cold, they don't add much heat, but in that middle zone where her cage just needs a bump, they are quite helpful.

Keep in mind that lights only help maintain temperature when they are on. At night you may need a couple of CHEs to boost the temperature. You have more room to work with on the high side during summer. High heat is better tolerated and less of an immediate threat. On the other hand, if the temperature were to dip under 70 degrees at night, you would be testing the limits of safety. There isn't a lot of data out there to indicate how low, or for how long, temperatures can go, but there is general agreement that crossing the tipping point is easy to do and immediately threatening.
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Few questions from new hedgie mom.

Thank you soooo much for all the info. I just heard her up and about so i went and picked her up ( with a little huffing no doubt) and after she settled down looked at her quills like you said and it does look like she has some peaking through the surface of skin. her skin doesn't seem to be dry which is a plus. Going to give her a bath tomorrow to help maybe ease the pain of the quills coming in as well. It will be her first bath!! Wanted to start giving her baths when she was young anyways so she would get used to it.

Yes I think I am going to switch to fleece liners. I am not really liking the carefresh (was what the breeder had her in as well ) I just feel with the carefresh that I can never fully see everything or find everything. I am a neat/clean/ organize everything kind of person. So I go through out the day checking her area to make sure is clean and just feel it never is. At least with the liners I can see everything. She is doing pretty good with the litter pan so far. A few accidents and like I said hasn't pooped on wheel. So I think she would do good with liners. I have a bunch of fleece blankets I got and puppy pads to put under to start, until I can make or find liners. I heard some just use the fleece blankets? Any suggestions on what and where to get liners? Also she does like to burrow/dig around in the carefresh. Would a dig box with fleece strips be sufficent for her digging/burrowing needs?

Yes I put a stick on thermometer in her area so could keep eye on temperature. I have my thermostat set to not get below 73. And like I said I live in south Texas so it doesn't get crazy cold here, and even when it is cold I have heater on in house. But I will get some Clamp lights and bulbs to have on hand just in case need them. I did get a black noctural light which was told would be good at night if gets cold, would give her heat but still be dark. As far as other light bulbs for heat if I don't need a whole lot of heat, just regular 75watt bulbs will work?

Thank you again so much for all your help and suggestions! Just want the best for my little baby girl!!
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Few questions from new hedgie mom.

Keep an eye on her with the puppy pads - they have chemicals in them to attract the puppy to pee on them instead of elsewhere, and they could be harmful if she gets the urge to try digging or biting the pads. If she ignores them though, you should be fine to use them until you get some other liners. You can use just fleece blankets if you want, one or two layers. Two layers, you can just cut a piece twice as long as you need, then fold it over. That's the easiest way to do them. If you want something a bit more cushier than that or anything, you can either buy some (there's breeders that sell bedding, or if you check the selling section on here, there's a few users that sell liners) or you can sew your own. If you sew your own, you can look into other fabrics, such as flannel, corduroy, denim, etc. The reason they don't work otherwise is they fray when you cut them, which can produce strings that wrap around a hedgie's legs. If you sew them, also make sure that stitches are all hidden or (if you do a stitch border to help keep the layers in place) make sure they've very small and tight so she can't dig at them and get her nails caught.

I would suggest getting a digital thermometer with a probe - stick on thermometers aren't too accurate and it's best to make sure you know exactly what the temperature is. It's also nice to have one that will show you a high and low from the last time you reset the feature, so you can see if it's getting down too low at night.

If you're going to get a heating set up to keep on hand just in case, to be honest, I would recommend just getting a ceramic heat emitter, or CHE. Nocturnal bulbs and the like are cheaper, but they also don't work for a lot of hogs. They can still tell that that light is there and on, and it will deter some from coming out about their business like normal. CHEs don't emit any light, only heat. You could get a 75 watt CHE bulb, or 100, and either will probably work for just a bit of extra heat. You may also want a thermostat to control that though, depending on how much they heat the cage up. You don't want a large range of temperatures either, even if the high and low are still within hedgie-safe temperatures (like 73 up to 78), since a sudden drop can cause hibernation attempts too. But if you have a CHE set up on hand, it'll also be good just in case she becomes more sensitive to temperatures as she gets older, as that happens sometimes.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Few questions from new hedgie mom.

To answer some questions in regards to fleece liners. That's what I use. I went to the fabric store and bought some No pill Fleece on sale. It doesn't have to be sewn so all you have to do is cut to size. Not hard to do at all. I have three liners for Milo's cage. I change his liners once a week and spot clean daily because Milo isn't litter trained for sure. I also have a hegie that loves to burrow. My breeder used shavings and he burrowed and played all the way home if he wasn't sleeping (it was a four hour drive one way). So i had to come up with something. I got a box from work (starbucks coffee box) and cut it so it has a low side he could crawl into with cut up strips of fleece left over from the fleece I bought to make the liners out of. Depending on your cage size will depend on how many yards of fabric you will need. I got two yards per color and had enough for one hedgie sack and one liner plus extra to use to hold him in my lap with or put on the floor in his play pen. I still have extra that I could use for more hedgie sacks. Not big enough for liners though. I think it's better than shavings or car fresh. For me it is because I have such severe allergies I think the shavings and care fresh stuff would kill me. Anyway, if you have any questions on the liners feel free to ask me or PM me. Good luck.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Few questions from new hedgie mom.

Thank you so much LilysMommy and Sparkmanr for all the help. I had no idea about the puppy pads, had someone tell me they are fine to use. So crazy how many different things I have heard and then find out from actual Hedgie owners that not such a good idea! So glad to have found you all here! I am definitely going to switch to liners. And think I may look into ordering some from some of the people that make them on here. I love to sew but afraid I wouldn't get all strings and threads tucked away and hidden! I am so afraid of that with her, I had known about that when I was doing my research before I got her so I even cut off all tags that may be on toys, or blankies she uses to cuddle up in! Until I can get some good real liners made and all is there something to use under fleece blankets to help with absorbency? I heard someone say they used those spongy towels that soak up fluids like crazy (like the sham wow thing) are those safe to use under the fleece? And what do you use to spot clean liners through out the week?


I will also be looking into getting a che setup with a digital thermometer and probe! That sounds like the best setup I have heard and would work well for her area and my house and all. I have heard about some using the under the tank heating pads so that hedgie can move if too hot, but those just kinda scare me! And Her habitat is a huge sterilite contanier.( Thinking of going too c&c cage when she gets older. Any thoughts on those?) She has been doing good though, I constantly check on her, and I am pretty much a night owl. I seem to get most of work and jewelry made in late night/early morning hours. So I have seen her funny nighttime activities! Also thanks on the advice about the black nocturnal light bulb, luckily I haven't used it or opened it yet so will be taking it back! I like the fact of the che not putting out light also just heat for her. I didn't know about having a light shining over her cage no matter what color I had a feeling she would sense it and not like it either. I wouldn't want a light shining in on me!

Thanks again everyone for all the help and advice!

One other thing I had wanted to ask and maybe not a big deal but being the worried hedgie mom I am, want to make sure just in case. I was going to give her a bath today, due to she is quilling and thought may help ease the pain a little. And because I gave her a piece strawberry the other day which I gues she had never had because she anointed herself with it. I couldn't help but laugh a little watching her do that. My question is are regular bath towels ok to use to dry her off in afterwards and wrap her in for abit? I will be warming the towel up in the dryer before hand as well to make it nice and cozy for after he bath!

Thanks again everyone! I am off to look for liners and che setup!
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Few questions from new hedgie mom.

FYI, fleese doesn't have loose threads when cut. That's the #1 reason hedgie owners (especially ones that don't sew) love them so much. I sew, but fleece on a sewing machine is pretty much impossible so I have hand sewn all my fleece hedgie bags but the liners can just be cut to size. I have a C&C cage and only use the fleece with nothing under them. When I change out the liners I use a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar to clean the coroplast with. I also use that mix on his wheel and litter pan. Depends on what kind of cage you have but the fleece is pretty absorbant because I double mine up for cushion and comfort. Coroplast or plastic flooring wouldn't soak up the pee or spills left by hedgie. I guess you could use a sham wow under if you were worried about it but I wouldn't even bother, the fleece alone has worked for me. If Milo makes a mess and I see it (like really loose poop) then I clean it up with a paper towel and spray some of the vinegar water mix on it and then soak it up a paper towel. It dries really quickly and since I clean early evening it's normally dry by the time Milo decides to come out and play.

Bath towels, I'm not sure about. I have used pieces of fleece and kept him snuggled up to me till he is dried off from his bath when I bath him. I'm always worried about bath towels and their loose threads so it would be interesting to know what everyone else uses since i've never even asked that question.
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Few questions from new hedgie mom.

I just wanted to add that I live in Florida and do not use an extra heat source. I have a thermometer in the cage and it always says it is about 75. I already decided that if it gets too cool in the winter I will use a CHE, but right now I've had no problems keeping a warm constant temperature with my regular AC alone.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Few questions from new hedgie mom.

Yeah I knew about the fleece not having threads when cut, I just meant when sewing everything together I would be worried about loose strings and all. But think I may just double up a fleece blanket for his bedding, that does sound like the best way to go and easiest. I already have quite a few fleece blankets that I had found on sale here before I got her thinking would be good for snuggling so I stocked up, guess I did to actually use as a liner! Ha Might end up making a few liners or getting some from others on here. I want to make hera hedgie bag as well, been looking through a few different ways have seen to make them. Thanks so much sparkmanr on all the advice and help with the liners. I am so excited to switch to that way, seems so much easier and cleaner!Being as she loves to dig around I will be putting a dig box in with some fleece strips!

As for the bath towel, I made sure all loose strings were cut off. But would still like to know what others may think if it's ok or not. I had bought a bath towel just for her for bath time, but if isn't a good idea I will just use an extra thick fleece blanket I have for her, warmed up of course!!



KTdid- Thanks for that advice. I was kinda afraid of adding extra heat. And like I said my house stays at a constant 73-75 through my regular ac thermostat. I have always kept it that way, mainly so don't have a sky high electric bill! I thought that as well if need be in winter I would add a che but in winter it
doesn't get that cold in my house due to having heater on and again I keep it at a constant 73-75 maybe 76-77 if really cold (but being in south Texas and never even get snow here it doesn't get that cold!)But I was glad to see that someone else has been ok with just controling regular AC! So thanks so much for that Ktdid!! I will be getting a digital thermometer with probe though for her cage. Any brands to look for,good place to get one,or any suggestions on one?


Thanks again everyone!!!
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Few questions from new hedgie mom.

For digital thermometers, you can usually find decent and pretty inexpensive ones at stores like Walmart and such. Pet stores sell them too, but they tend to be quite expensive there. And yes, bath towels are just fine! For Lily's "drying regimen" after a bath, I usually had a couple towels and pieces of fleece ready. She came out of the sink into one towel to get most of the immediate water off. Once that one was wet, switch to towel #2. Then switch to fleece #1 and she usually cuddled in that while I cleaned the bathroom up and put things away (but she was usually content to stay put no matter what, so I didn't have to worry about her running out of the blanket like some hedgies), then switch to fleece #2 to go cuddle for awhile. Sometimes I kept a third fleece nearby while we were cuddling, just in case that second fleece blanket got damp too. I admit, though, I was always really paranoid about her catching a chill, hence the numerous towels/blankets.
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