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Old 03-02-2014, 03:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation New Hedgie Mom-to-be seeking advice

Hello everyone, my name is Brittany and my husband and I are rescuing two male hedgehogs in the morning. I have researched quite a bit about them and feel familiar enough with their care and needs, and have had years of small-animal experience so feel confident enough that I will be able to care for these boys. Here's what I know of their background before I get into what I need advice for.

The boys are father and son, 3 years and 11 months respectively. The mother and father were given to a boy who put them together for five minutes and the mother got pregnant and that's where the little one came from. The son sold the mother and left the family home, leaving his mother to care for the hedgies. She is getting rid of them because she has too many animals and not enough time to commit to the hedgehogs and as such, I am receiving these animals and all of their belongings for free. She is currently feeding them Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul kibble, which I know is a decent food for them (and it's what they've been on their whole lives), and has them housed in separate cages since they're males. My concern is that she said that they went into a state of hibernation and that they've lost weight.

I know hibernation is lethal in hedgies, and have no clue how long they've been in this state. I won't know their true conditions until I pick them up in the morning. I plan on warming them up as soon as I get them home by putting them in a blanket in my lap and just letting them warm up gradually that way.

My other question is what do you do when your hedgie is underweight? I don't mean that to sound like a stupid question, but what is the best way to put weight back on a hedgehog? Should I increase their protein levels? She mentioned feeding them A LOT of mealworms get their activity levels back up... is she correct in that? I feel like if she *truly* cared about these animals, she wouldn't have let them hibernate, so I don't know if I should take her advice with the mealworms or not.

I feel bad because I've been trying to get this woman to give me these boys for over a month and a half (found out she was getting rid of them from a friend of mine) and finally just got tired of waiting for her return call and drove down to her work and spoke with her in person. She agreed to give them to me tomorrow morning, so I'm really grateful that I'm saving these boys.

Any help/tips/tricks/etc. would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
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Old 03-02-2014, 04:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm glad you're taking these little guys in!

Definitely make sure they're warm as soon as you can. If you have any kind of drive (longer than 15-20 minutes) to get home, I'd check them before you leave with them, and take handwarmers along so you can put those in the cage (wrapped up) with them for the ride. Your plan for warming them when you get home sounds good, then just make sure their cages are at least 75*.

As far as weight, that may depend on which formula of Chicken Soup she's feeding them. If it's the light, I'd definitely try adding a higher fat food in with it after they've had a few days to settle in. If it's the regular adult food, that already has 20% fat and should be enough unless they're extreme runners. Even if they're skinny from hibernation, being kept warm & able to eat as much as they want should help them start to regain their lost weight with the 20% kibble. You'll just want to watch their food intake carefully, count/weigh/measure to see how much they eat each night.

Mealworms are good for underweight hedgies, since they're high in fat, just watch the number given - they also have a touch exoskeleton which can cause constipation or impactions if too many are given at once. Since you're unsure how many she's been giving or what her knowledge is about hedgies, I'd start small & work your way up.

Keep us updated on how they are & what shape they're in when you get them, then we can give some more specific/helpful advice!
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Old 03-03-2014, 01:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Kelsey!

So an update on these little fellas...

They're skinny but not super skinny (picking up a this week since I cannot tomorrow due to surgery), and they've both been eating all night long. We switched their food to Wellness Healthy Weight and added a bit of dog food to their diet so they have more fat to gain a bit more weight. They're more active than what we thought they'd be, especially given the fact that the woman we got them from said they'd be extremely lethargic.

The younger one, whom we have named Knuckles, is a sweetheart and has been handled from a young age- he loves being held and is super social.

The older one on the other hand.... we've named him Quiver and his nickname is Mr. Grumpy Quills. He does nothing but ball and hiss and shake. He'll eventually calm down but for the most part he gets angry again as soon as you even breathe in his direction. The woman said that this male (who was never named in all of his 3 years) was never really handled that much. *sigh*

She gave us two HUGE cages and we only had to pick up some minor things for both of them. They've settled in nicely and both have their favorite areas of their respective cages- Knuckles loves to burrow under the fleece and Quiver loves to hide under his ferret hammock.

Both boys were in decent shape, though nothing spectacular. Their claws had been completely neglected and they were in dire need of a bath. Quiver's claws were the worst. Naturally, the grumpy one would need the most attention -__- We managed to get them to a clean state and we've been working with them for a while, just sitting with them and letting them get used to our smells and that of our dog.

Our dog got to meet Knuckles and got quite the nose-full of spikes. He's more curious than anything else and doesn't want to hurt them at all.

I'll get some photos uploaded soon.
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Old 03-03-2014, 01:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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(Sorry for it being sideways!)
This is Knuckles, the 11-month old What would his coloring be? He's mottled on his legs and belly and has a dark mask on his face.




This is Quiver, the 3 year old. I've taken a real liking to Mr. Grumpy Quills here. He's got the same overall coloring as Knuckles but doesn't have the mottled spots on his legs or belly (they're all pink) and his mask doesn't go up as far as Knuckle's and is a few shades lighter.
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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They're adorable! I'm glad to hear they're not in too bad of shape, that's definitely good news. I would watch their poops & pick up some acidophilus from the pharmacy when you can to sprinkle on their food. Typically it's best to do a slow switch to a new food, and to wait at least a few days since they already have so much change going on - hedgies usually don't do very well with sudden food changes. Their poop may go green due to that, but acidophilus can help introduce good bacteria back into their digestive system.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What cute little fellows! Glad you were able to rescue them! As far as color goes.. maybe chocolate or brown? There's a good list with some pics on here on the non forum site!
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Old 03-04-2014, 01:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I wasn't able to get to the store that sells their current food yesterday and I had surgerey today so I had to give them the food we bought at PetSmart (the Wellness Healthy Weight). Their poop is nice and brown but I'll be able to get to the store tomorrow to buy their old food so they have it again.

Thanks Hannah, I'll have to check that out.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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What beautiful hedgies!

You're wonderful for taking them in. How could you have a hedgie for three years and not name him? I'm glad they're with you now.
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Old 03-04-2014, 01:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That's EXACTLY what my husband and I said!

We were able to take Quiver out last night and for the first time, he actually let us hold him without being a ball of hissing quills. He even licked our hands (then bit me, go figure -__- ) but he's starting to come around a bit.
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