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Old 03-10-2013, 11:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How did you choose your breeder?

Hello,
First off, I did search on the forums and on google about this subject, but found very little. I also want as much info as possible so I can feel confident about getting my first hedgie. So I deeply apologize if there's already a thread somewhere for this.
My question is, what do I look for when choosing a breeder? What are immediate red flags to look out for (besides ovbious illness/injury of hedgies)? How did you all choose yours?

Thanks!
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you choose your breeder?

Hi so first I just want to say, I don't have my hedge yet and stuff so I'm not the best source. However I just went through this so, maybe I can help.

The first breeder I called sounded great and then I read some Google reviewsand some from here and apparently she inbreeds her animals, like ok, not getting my business.

Then it took took me about another week to find one with good reviews and was helpful, nice, and legit haha.

I asked on here if anyone knew one and I went from there.

Saturday ill be making the 2 hour trip to the breeders house. I hope I helped some what, but I'm new so wait for someone who knows what they are talking about.
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Old 03-11-2013, 01:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you choose your breeder?

Make sure you do lots of research! It is very easy to be misled by a bad breeder if you don't dedicate time to looking into them.

Make sure the breeder you plan on buying from has their hedgehogs registered and pedigreed. It's a good idea to also ask if its possible to see the pedigree of the hoglet they purchase so they know the animal has at least 5 generations. It's also a good idea to visit their breeding facilities before you purchase your hoglet. You want to ensure the hedgehogs in the breeders care are well taken care of and healthy.

You also want to see a clear website. The more information a breeder puts up on their website the better. We list all of our hedgehog herd with their registration numbers. We also have pictures posted of our hedgehog room and where we got our hedgehogs from. It's also a good idea for a breeder to have an application process to ensure the hoglets are going to knowledgable homes.

Ask how often the females are bred. Your only supposed to breed a female hedgehog 2-3 times a year. Excessive breeding can damage the female and put her under stress. You want to make sure their breeding program is ethical.

A waiting list is always a good sign as well. Trust me people who wait a certain period of time are committed to that breeder. I have had our waiting list reach about 35 people last year and it continues to increase in size every year. A good breeder will attract people, if you see a website and they have a hard time selling their hedgehogs it might be because of their practice or if they lack information.

Ask around, see what others are saying about that specific breeder. Some breeders like to put up a "guest book" section on their website for their customers to say good things about them. I'm thinking of adding this to our website because a lot of people are very pleased with our service and the hoglets we produce.

Good luck in your search! Finding a good breeder can be difficult at times. Don't be afraid to ask for pedigrees or question how they take care of their herd. A breeder won't have a problem answering unless they have something to hide.
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you choose your breeder?

And of course, if you put where you are, there are plenty of people on these forums that will offer suggestions. We got Reginald from Christie Riddle at Riddle's Hedgehogs (http://www.riddleshedgehogs.com/) and the only real issue is that sometimes she's hard to get a hold of.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you choose your breeder?

We have not gotten our hedgie yet, but have one reserved. I looked at the breeders list on this site and checked out the websites of those listed. Since the begining of February I have emailed and spoke on the phone with the breeder. I have asked lots of questions...both in general and specific to ours. I've been on thier facebook page too. With the comments both towardvand from the breeder I now feel confident that we have selected a good one.
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Old 03-11-2013, 01:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you choose your breeder?

alexvdl, I bought Milo from Christie as well. She was great. Yeah sometimes she is hard to reach but she's a stay at home mom of two young girls and has a ton of Hedgies and since she's out in the country has a ton of other animals too so I can only imagine how busy she must be. I drove 4 hours one way to get Milo because I wanted someone who knew what they were doing and had a good rep. Plus she's been doing it for a while as well. I went on the home page of this website and went through breeders and looked at their websites. There was one that was just less than an hour drive from me but I chose to go with the one who had the better website and reputation.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you choose your breeder?

That's a great question, maybe the most important question, and it was by far the most difficult for to answer when I was hedgie hunting. I researched absolutely everything Sophie could need, but picking the breeder was a horrible experience.

Firstly, you can't trust any breeder's website. That's like asking the fox to count the chickens. Most hedgehog websites are awful, so a bad website doesn't mean a bad breeder and a good website often doesn't mean anything. Ha!

I would only buy a hedgehog from a breeder that allows access to see the hedgie herd and conditions. Excuses are unacceptable. I would also only buy from a breeder that provides full lineage and registration numbers. But - there are breeders of good hedgehogs that do not like providing this information. The argument is often that they don't want to provide detailed information for hedgehogs that should not be bred, but might be bred by the buyer anyway. They think it ethical to withhold the full details. I understand this, but it is an unacceptable reason. Buyers have so little to go by in choosing a breeder that I find the argument lacking. Also, the registration of hedgehogs is a horrible mess, and a lot of breeders just won't put up with it - and with good reason based on my experience. Sophie came with full lineage information through both sides of the family, and included just about every detail that you could want, including the source/breeder of every hedgie through the line. The registration took forever to get done. It was ridiculous.

I would agree that waiting lists, or a limited number of available hedgies, are a good sign for several reasons. I had to wait and it was worth it. Mills and people in it for profit want to have hedgies available at all times. Reputable breeders will guesstimate how many hedgies they will need for their buyers and go to lengths to make sure that they don't have unsold hedgies just hanging around with no forever home to go to.

When researching, I found all of the main hedgehog organizations spectacularly unhelpful. That was disappointing.

It's a small world, and most people will only say something bad about the very worst of mills. This forum, awesome for researching everything else, was worthless for helping me choose my breeder. You can get positive recommendations from very well known breeders, but leaves out a whole lot of equally good ones that aren't especially well known.

I had a breeder in mind that seemed to be pretty well known in my region. Getting independent opinions was very difficult. I emailed a number of people that I felt would have knowledge of this person, but were not a part of their circle of friends. (The fox in the hen house again.)

In the end, I did get several positive recommendations that I felt were probably given in good faith, and I did not find any negative responses. Sophie is awesomely awesome, but despite tons of research I was very lucky. It was disconcertingm and disappointing to this daym to rely so much on luck for the most important of all decisions.

Private inquiries are the best way to get the real story. A lot of work though. Public venues are not conducive to honest feedback. As soon as one person says something bad (or maybe not bad at all, but that could be taken out of context), politics and personal agenda kick in. If people will publicly say that a breeder is to be avoided, I would take that as an indicator that they are truly horrible.

Knowledgeable people are insiders; that has pros and cons. The average buyer is new to things and just buying one, so they aren't a source of useful information.

Picking a breeder sucks. You can only do your best.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you choose your breeder?

My main criteria is to have more than 5 years of experience. The woman I got Aly from has over 10 years of experience in breeding. The more experience, the more they've seen and can handle. That's usually the first thing I search for. If it's not listed on the website, I would turn away.

The other section I look for are supplies. I have seen breeders mark up products 100-500% that you can find at Petsmart. I understand some markup, but that much just makes me shake my head.

If they offer supplies that are known as being bad (hedgehog food, wire wheels, pine shavings, etc) then turn around. That's probably what they're using as supplies as well.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you choose your breeder?

Sparkman, I agree with all of what you said. If we're in the area, we will definitely get our next hedgehog from Christie. We watched the news article she did, and we were very impressed with her poise and the way she handled questions, and a lot of what she was saying meshed with things that were being said in the research I've done. She was also very willing to work with us on pickup times. Great experience over all, and of course, Reginald has been nothing but amazing for Maggie.
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Old 03-12-2013, 04:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you choose your breeder?

They should definitely be someone you can email or call up and chat hedgies with. Someone who is willing and able to answer all your questions, especially as a new owner, is very important.
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