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Old 10-02-2012, 05:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Baby v. Adult

Hello, everyone. I am going to be getting my first hedgehog very shortly. I have been doing research for quite a while but when my landlord said I couldn't have pet rats here, I assumed that I wouldn't be able to have a hedgehog either, which would have meant I couldn't get one for another year or more. It turns out he just sort of had that negative image of rats that a lot of people have (grr, but it works out all the same because I honestly would prefer a hedgehog but hadn't gotten my partner to agree to it until now). So now that I know he is fine with me having a hedgehog, I've order all of the cage supplies (except the cage, since I already had a Critter Nation that I was planning on using for the rats).

I have decided that I want a girl for sure, and have even decided already to name her Zannah. What I'm not sure of is whether I want to get a baby or an adult. If I got an adult, I would definitely prefer her to be on the younger side, so that I won't be losing her right away, but beyond that I'm not sure exactly what do go with. I know that babies need a slightly different diet (although I haven't looked into much specifics, since I haven't decided on the age yet). Beyond that, are they much more difficult to care for? I would imagine that babies are able to get attached to you more quickly, but how does the amount of time spent caring for it vary between baby and adult? I am a fairly busy student currently. I have a fair amount of free time, so I know I'll have time to spend with her and caring for her, but if it's a huge amount more work for a baby than an adult, I don't know that I want to start off with a baby.

Any recommendations?
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Baby v. Adult

Welcome! I wonder if you're one of the people I've spoken to or have on my wait list, or if you're getting your hedgie elsewhere?

The major difference between babies and adults is that with a baby, you're going to experience their major quilling, and along with getting quills all over your house, they tend to be a lot more "grumpy" because handling is uncomfortable for them. They also tend to eat, sleep, and poop more than adults. Adults can still be just as sweet and bond to you as much as a baby, so I wouldn't worry too much there. Time-wise I'd say I spend more time cleaning for my younger hedgies than the older ones, but it's a minimal amount of time (like the wheel gets dirtier for a baby and takes an extra minute of scrubbing). Overall if your only reason to not get a baby is a difference in time, I'd say there's no reason not to. They don't require a huge amount of handling compared to adults or anything.



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Old 10-02-2012, 06:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Baby v. Adult

I have not, no. I've definitely checked out your website though and may contact you soon but my partner and I still need to figure out what our plans are exactly. We were maybe planning on going up to Washington to visit our baby niece sometime soon and if we get those plans nailed down, might try getting one from a breeder up in Washington. It's still up in the air though.

Anyway,I think I will probably end up getting a baby unless I find a really sweet adult girl. I've seen that a lot of breeders will have some that are a little older but need homes. Thank you for your help!
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Baby v. Adult

Ah, gotcha. Your situation sounded very similar to one of the people I've been talking to, I thought you might have been them! Well, if you decide against one in WA you're always welcome to check in with me as far as what we have available - As far as upcoming girls go I have a rescue about a year old and another rescue that's only about 6 weeks old that will be ready for new homes in a few weeks.



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Old 10-02-2012, 08:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Baby v. Adult

To add to what LG said, with an adult the personality/demeanor is established already. For babies it can sometimes be hard to figure out, because the grumpiness from quilling can mask their true personality until the quilling wears off. Not necessarily a bad thing, though - the amount you handle a baby when they're young has some effect on the personality they settle on. Adults typically are more "set" with their personality - if you opt to get an adult you'd want to meet them first; for instance, an adult that's gone its whole life so far not being handled very much is going to be more grumpy and defensive, and because they're already an adult they might never come around from that, or only be able to improve somewhat but still have a grumpy streak.

Babies' personalities are part innate, part influenced by the mother, part influenced by how much they're handled before being weaned, and the rest is the handling and bonding they get once they go home with you. If you get a baby at 6 weeks, usually you'll be able to get a sense for their personality before quilling grumpiness takes over (which can range from a lot of grumpiness to none at all depending on the baby), and also a good breeder will be able to give you a general idea of the personality type - cuddler vs. explorer/adventurer, if they're more timid/reserved and take a little longer to relax, that sort of thing. I think the best matches are made when a new owner is able to choose their baby based on meeting them, not just going off a photo on the website, if at all possible.

As to the amount of time, there's no real difference. Cleaning for one hedgehog is barely anything, with the wheel taking maybe 5 minutes, and the full cage clean (usually weekly or twice weekly, depending) being maybe 20-30 minutes total. The interaction time itself - out of cage, handling/bonding time - should really be as much as possible, but it's easy to get that bonding time while doing other things. I pretty much have our hedgehogs on rotation of getting time in my lap while I'm at the computer responding to emails, or getting carried around in a bag or hoodie pocket while I do other stuff around the house.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Baby v. Adult

Quote:
Originally Posted by LizardGirl
Ah, gotcha. Your situation sounded very similar to one of the people I've been talking to, I thought you might have been them! Well, if you decide against one in WA you're always welcome to check in with me as far as what we have available - As far as upcoming girls go I have a rescue about a year old and another rescue that's only about 6 weeks old that will be ready for new homes in a few weeks.
Well, that actually sounds really awesome. I would definitely be interested in either of them. That would be much easier than trying to pack two long drives, visiting with our niece, and picking up our hedgehog all into one weekend, haha. Are either of them fairly friendly and/or cuddly? I may not have a ton of free time, but, like moxieberry suggested, I would have plenty of time to have her on my lap and stuff while doing homework and such (and certainly would devote a good amount of my entirely free time to her) so I'd love to have one that was fairly friendly. I'm definitely very new to all of the getting pets thing. The only animal I've gotten from a breeder in my lifetime was my second dog and my mom handled all of that, since I was like 13 at the time. How would go about doing that, should I just e-mail or call you in a few weeks or what exactly?
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Baby v. Adult

Fill out the application form on the WCH site: http://www.westcoasthedgehogs.com/questionnaire.html She'll email you back after she looks it over, and take it from there.

We're located in Port Orchard, WA, so depending on where you're going when you visit WA, and the dates, I'd be happy to try to arrange a time for you to stop by and meet some of our hedgehogs. A lot of first-time owners like to do that if they have the option, to get some experience in person handling a hedgehog and have questions answered. Unfortunately we won't have babies available again until the end of November, but LG pretty much has you covered there anyway.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Baby v. Adult

Sent you a PM.



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