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Old 02-24-2013, 07:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Arrow Small hedgehog baby, advice needed

Hello everyone!

First of all I'd like to thank you for this great website, it has tons of valuable information and is loaded with love to our quilled friends

My story in short. I've been dreaming of owning a hedgehog for some three years, gathering info on the internet thus gradually preparing myself for arrival of the new family member. My plan was to get a hog from some reputable breeder in Europe as long as there are almost no hedgehogs in my country so far. But things suddenly changed last Wednesday. People who supply local pet shops with animals (they bring them from some cheap pet market in Poland) this time brought a tiny hedgehog baby among other creatures. I just couldn't stand the sight of a hedgie being placed in a small plastic box with nothing but corn cob litter in it. In fact I had no choice and I brought it home. I know it's not a good idea to buy pets this way, that it only encourages these people to bring more and more of them to be sold in pet shops, but....as I've said I felt I had no choice.
Now I would like to ask some questions. I have read a lot, but that's just theory and I want to be sure I don't do the baby no harm.
First, is it possible to approx. determine the age based on weight? My suspicion is that she's very young, maybe even too young to be separated from her mother. On the day I got her (20th Feb) she was 46gr, today 71 gr already. She's not thin at all, but really tiny. Also she has difficulty to chew her kibble, so I have to crush it to really small pieces to make it possible for her to eat.
I have studied the list of recommended dry foods on this website, unfortunately we have only Royal Canine here. Is it ok to feed it to such a small baby and if so, what formulas would you advise to use best?
What else should I feed her if she's really that young? She seems to be rather conservative about food, in the first days she refused to try anything but her kibble, but then I have successfully persuaded her to try mealworms (now she accepts them willingly) and a bit of apple. What else should I try and what are the tips of encouraging a hedgehog to try something unfamiliar?
I'm very much concerned about her movements. I know about WHS and it scares me a lot. I have watched some videos of affected hedgehogs on youtube, but it didn't help as long as I have no experience to tell what is normal and what is not. Could she possibly be a bit unsteady because of being very young? There's one more thing that I have noticed - she has long deformed inner claws on her hindlegs. I tried to trim them a bit - but just a bit so far in order not to scare her. But they still catch as she walks on the sofa. Maybe this makes her gait a bit strange...Then there's one more thing that has crossed my mind. Do hedgies have rickets? I doubt she was fed quality food there, so maybe possibly that is the cause of unsteadiness? If so, what can I do to help her? Is it possible to post a video to this forum so that you could see her walking?
The baby is very outgoing, moreover, she follows me everywhere and even cries to be picked up. As soon as I take her in my lap she stops crying. Never thought hedgehogs could behave like that. From time to time she would lick and chew my hands. It doesn't hurt at all, but the question is, should I allow her to so or show her I don't like it. I can't understand the reason of this behaviour, and I understand her jaws will become stronger as she gets bigger, so I can't figure out how to react.
I'm sorry for posting so many questions, but I only want to do the best for my little girl. Thank you in advance for your answers.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small hedgehog baby, advice needed

You can't really judge age from weight, since hedgehogs differ a lot in weight ranges. I think the best way to get an opinion on her age would be to take some pictures and post them. The breeders who are experienced with different ages and stages of babies will probably be able to give an estimate based on what she looks like.

If she's eating the kibble, it sounds like she's at least already been weaned. It's good that she's eating, at least! If she's that tiny, I think personally I'd go with an adult formula, at least, with a fat percentage that's 15-18%? If she was separated too young, the extra fat might help her with growing. Breeders may know better on that as well, though, especially if you can get some pics and we get an idea of how old she is.

The unsteadiness is most likely because of how young she is. What temperature is she being kept at? Make sure she's staying warm, especially if she's very young - she needs temperatures from 73-78*F. Unsteadiness and wobbly walking can also be a sign of hibernation, or the beginnings of hibernation. If she's actually attempting hibernation, her stomach will feel cold too and she'll need to be warmed up on a heating pad on low (don't leave unattended) or under your shirt (my favorite method, since you can't burn her like a heating pad can).

Her behavior makes me think she's either still very young (too young to really be in a new home, though that's the fault of the idiots who sold her), and/or weaned too early. The licking and chewing is another thing young babies do, it's usually an exploratory thing, to check out their new environment. I would discourage it, since you don't want her to continue as she gets bigger. She could also be smelling/tasting somethig interesting on your skin, so make sure you wash your hands with non-scented soap before handling to help discourage it.

Since you're a new owner, I'd highly recommend checking out LizardGirl's care book: http://www.westcoasthedgehogs.com/files ... index.html It's fantastic, has a lot of great, up-to-date information, and it's free to download.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small hedgehog baby, advice needed

Royal Canin Baby cat is great for babies as it's very small and is higher in fat which she needs right now. You can crush it, but very soon she should be able to crunch it on her own. Most breeders wean babies onto it.

46g is very small and they probably forced her to wean to young. Poor wee gal.

She is very lucky you got her and I'm sure she will be fine.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small hedgehog baby, advice needed

Thank you a lot for your answers!

Here will be some pictures taken on Feb 22th.





URL=http://photo.qip.ru/users/kykca/4185151/102289944/][/url]







And here's the link to the video of her walking http://photo.qip.ru/users/kykca/vide...7300d601/view/ Unfortunately it's not of very good quality, but I hope you'll be able to understand.

The temperature is kept warm for her, and most of the time she spends under my shirt. She seems to like it At least she sleeps soundly there and never balls up And she's warm to the touch as well.

I've already downloaded and studied the book, it's really great!

I was also considering RC Babycat, but I wasn't sure about the high amount of fat, over 20% if I remember right. But if it's ok for a growing hedgie, I'll use it.

Thank you for the good words, Nancy, I'll do my best to be a good mom for Kukusja
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small hedgehog baby, advice needed

Nancy is right, Royal Canin babycat would be perfect for her. A lot of breeders wean their babies onto it because babies need the high fat and its an easier kibble for them to eat. She is precious!!
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small hedgehog baby, advice needed

Thank you, nikki! Love her to bits!
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small hedgehog baby, advice needed

Since you have limited options, RC Babycat is definitely the best choice for a baby that small. You'll want to eventually switch her over to a diet with a lower fat range, but since she's so tiny she won't need that for a while, so that's definitely where to start. She could be as young as 4 weeks old - younger than that they aren't able to even nibble at the food. 5-5.5 weeks old is the normal weaning age, and babies shouldn't go home before 6 weeks old. Since she's gaining weight, she should be fine, though she may always be on the small side due to apparently losing out the extra weeks of nursing. She's such a little doll, I'm glad she's in such good hands.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small hedgehog baby, advice needed

She's absolutely adorable! Sounds like you've got a great handle on things, you're going to be a fantastic owner for the little one. Glad you were there and took her home.
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small hedgehog baby, advice needed

Oh my gosh, she's a little bino butt. I have such a soft spot in my heart for albinos. I so miss having an albino. They are usually such loves.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small hedgehog baby, advice needed

Thank you all for the credit, I really hope I'll make a good hedgie mom. Kukusja is a sweetie and being an albino even adds to her charms
Some more questions. I weigh her every day and in average she has gained about 8 grams daily, but yesterday the gain has been only 2 grams. There's no obvious change in appetite, stools and general appearance. Is it normal or do I have a reason to worry? Could it possibly be because she started to eat mealworms? Btw, what amount of mealworms is appropriate for such a small baby?
Provided she is fed RC Babycat what else would be necessary? Any vitamins, supplements? My idea is to get her accustomed to a variety of foods while she's still young (only recommended foods, of course), but she's a bit conservative about that. Do I have to insist somehow or let her eat just what she finds attractive?
I have read several times that a hedgie should be given only cooked meat, but I haven't found the reason why. Could you explain?
Has anyone watched the video of her walking? Is it possible to figure out anything or do I have to try to make a better one? I'm still pretty scared of WHS
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