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Old 07-17-2014, 08:09 PM   #11 (permalink)
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There's numerous people trying raw & home-made diets! I have a list of all of the threads I know about on this sticky - https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forum...ked-diets.html CoffeeKat is the one who's been doing so most recently & actively updating the thread still. You could also give PMing a try for the other threads on that list. I know Draenog is still active and would probably be willing to answer questions about her diet as well. I don't have any direct experience with raw/natural feeding for hedgehogs, but I'm currently working on switching my dog to a raw diet. I have a lot of links & such, so if anyone would like help researching something, feel free to PM me as well and I'll help as best as I can! I will say that if you're interested in doing a raw and/or more natural diet, please do as much research as you can on general nutrition, the vitamins & minerals required by the body, etc. Double check information against several other sites, ask your vet about nutrition, etc. I don't think raw diets are easier than kibble, but I think they're worth it if done properly. It's still very new territory for hedgehogs, so keep that in mind. That's why I've been trying so hard to keep links organized & have as much information shared as possible, so that people can collaborate and learn from each other.

AngelfishGirl - Personally I think it could. It may not be perfect for every hedgehog & owner (I know some people have concerns with bacteria growth in a warm cage, some hedgehogs may not do as well on the diet as others, etc.), but I think it'd make a better base for the diet than dry kibble. That said, I don't think it should be the only food given - IMO, the best diet would be a balanced raw grind or commercial raw food supplemented with some veggies & fruits and a variety of insects & invertebrates. When I say balanced, I'm going by prey model balance, which dog, cat & ferret owners base their raw diets on - 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 10% organs (and for the raw feeding group I joined, 5% of those organs should be liver). If you get a commercial raw food or a complete grind from a business or site that sells raw food for dogs/cats/etc., it's usually in those proportions (but they should also give that information on the package or site). Just keep in mind that hedgehogs are much more omnivorous than dogs, cats, or ferrets - that's why I don't think their sole food should be a commercial raw diet. In the wild, from what little we do know, they would also be eating berries, fungi, other vegetation, as well as lots of insects & invertebrates. I know in Kimberly's book, she includes a pie chart that discusses the recommended percentages of protein, carbs, etc. for hedgehogs. So that might be useful to consult as well.

I could talk a lot more, so I should probably shut up for now. Like I said, feel free to PM me if you want! I'm always pleased to talk about animal nutrition and throw ideas around. I'm not a nutritionist, but I do know some basics, and I always like to get more links & learn things from other people as well.
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:35 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I didn't even think about bacteria growth, that would be a concern I don't know much about bacteria yet, but could I just freeze it when not in use?

Are there really commercial raw foods out there being sold in pet stores? That would make it astronomically easier. Otherwise I don't even know where to get a safe raw meat that I could trust to just give my hedgehog.

It would be so fun to cook up my own home schemes for Colin

But then I wonder, because I read once that someones rescue hedgehog needed mouth surgery because fo a tooth infection from previously eating too much wet food. So would a raw diet possibly be too much moisture? What hard, dry things could substitute kibble in that regard?

Don't apologize for info dumps, I love nutrition I'd like to know everything about it that I possibly can since it's one of my main priorities as a student
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Old 07-17-2014, 11:00 PM   #13 (permalink)
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From what I can tell from those already offering raw meat to their hedgie, they set up two mealtimes for their hedgie rather than leaving food out in the cage all night. Hedgie may have other foods available (such as veggies, insects, or some people still offer kibble just in case hedgie wants to munch), but the raw meat is given once, hedgie usually eats that right away, then hedgie gets a second meal of raw meat later on in the night. It seems like a pretty good system to me!

Yup, you would freeze the raw food when not in use and that would keep bacteria from growing while frozen. Bacteria can't be killed from freezing though, and would begin to grow again once the food's at the right temperature for it, so most people just get out what they need, one night at a time.

Yup! There's numerous brands of raw food available. They can sometimes be hard to find in actual pet stores though. Nature's Variety is a more common one. I can get it at a store called Soldan's, but Petsmart and Petco both have it on their sites (my Petsmart doesn't have the raw in-store). There's numerous other raw brands if you search. I know there's Stella & Chewy's and Primal, among others.

As far as the complete ground mixes, there's sites online that sell them, like www.mypetcarnivore.com I'm considering going that route once I have a hedgehog again, but I'm still a bit undecided. I'll probably change my mind a thousand more times before I have another hedgehog.

If someone's uncomfortable with idea of leaving raw meat out, there's some other options. Petsmart has a new food available called FreshPet Vital. As far as I can tell, it's cooked food, it's similar to canned wet food. I don't know much more about it though. There's also a brand called The Honest Kitchen, which sells a dehydrated food that looks like powder. The meat gets steamed before dehydrating, so it's not raw. You add water to it a few minutes before feeding. I really like the sounds of it and it's another thing I might consider for future hedgies. I was considering it for my dog before deciding to go straight raw with her.

It's actually a myth that kibble helps clean teeth whereas wet food is bad for them. Kibble gets sticky once mixed with saliva & sticks to the teeth just as much as wet food. That's why you have dogs & cats that get fed hard kibble & still need teeth cleanings anyway. To be honest, I'm not sure how much the benefits of raw for dogs/cats/ferrets on this issue would translate over to hedgehogs. With the carnivores, raw is better for their teeth because it helps maintain the proper pH in their system, there's no carbs or sugars that stick to the teeth, and chewing on meat & bones helps scrub their teeth clean. There's a lot of pictures shown on raw feeding groups of dog teeth before raw looking absolutely disgusting that end up sparkly white after several months on raw. I'm not sure if this would definitely translate over to hedgehogs...but IMO, the difference in ingredients would help prevent issues. I know one person who started feeding raw was giving their hedgehog chicken neck vertebrae to help clean teeth & said their hedgie managed them just fine (though close supervision would be best, I think, just in case). Feeding softer foods with more moisture is also better for preventing teeth from getting worn down, and the extra moisture (more like a natural diet) is better for kidneys.

(...Sorry for kind of nutrition-hi-jacking your post here, Senator. )
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:04 AM   #14 (permalink)
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One problem with switching a hedgehog over to a raw diet is that the hedgehog has to be onboard with those plans, or it's a total no-go. You just don't argue with a hedgehog. I really wanted to switch my LuLu to raw and I was committed to do the research needed to make it work, but I needed her cooperation to make it happen, and I nearly gave up before we had a breakthrough. For eight nights, I left a teaspoon of ground organic raw chicken in a separate bowl near her kibble. The next morning, I threw it out, untouched. Hubby suggested I stick some frozen wax worms in the chicken, reasoning that when she went for the worms she would at least taste the chicken and it worked. She hasn't touched a piece of kibble since. Now she eats Nature's Variety Instinct frozen raw bites (they're small, like kibble and contain all the right nutrients with the addition of ground bone, organs, fruits and vegetables) as well as her raw organic ground turkey, wax worms, meal worms, crickets, coconut oil, and a little buffet of chopped fruits and vegetables every night. Planning her meals is not as labor-intensive as it sounds, and totally worth it to see how she enjoys her meals now.

I don't know if this change will affect her longevity, but I already know that it has improved the quality of her life and that works for me.
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Old 07-18-2014, 03:46 PM   #15 (permalink)
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LOL--yep hedgie has got to be on board!

I like the idea of the Nature's Variety frozen raw bites, where do you get that?

I know that there have been many people going to a more raw diet over the years, not sure if anyone has ever compiled data.

Can we do surveys on this site? It would get really complicated fast though.

"Food for thought"
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Old 07-18-2014, 03:47 PM   #16 (permalink)
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We have a Soldans! (Forgot you were in Michigan too) I went there for insects, I never really looked around for food, which I usually go to Petsmart for. Now I'll look around and see what I can find. I'll check out that website, too. (shipping raw meat though? I guess they have it figured out.) I'm definitely going to give a raw diet a try.

The problem with meal times for me though is Colin never comes out during the day. He takes turns eating, drinking, and running at night however he feels like. Maybe toys around with a bell if he fancies it. Maybe having a new earlier mealtime (and a better diet) will encourage some more activity and openness. I hope I'll start keeping things posted on CoffeeKat's thread if they don't mind, or make my own somewhere out of the way.
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Old 07-18-2014, 05:03 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I get my Instinct raw bites from Petco, about 2 miles from my house. If you go to their website you can find out the nearest retailer. They sell little sample (8 oz) bags for $3.99, so it's no big loss if you can't get them to eat it. You can also get a $3 off coupon from their website. If this was not available to me, I had planned to order a ground mix from www.mypetcarnivore.com.

Lady, definitely keep us posted on how you're doing with a raw diet. LuLu doesn't eat during the day either, but she eats two or three times a night so I feed her in "courses", with the last one going down before I go to bed at midnight. At first I would put it down frozen to stay fresh longer, but now I find her waiting for me and her dinner, so I thaw it out in the fridge if I remember....if not, it goes down frozen and I figure if she can't wait for it to thaw, gnawing on a frozen bit of meat will help clean her teeth.

Conducting a longevity survey on this site sounds good in theory, but (and I may be totally wrong about this) I suspect that aside from a handful of experienced owners who so graciously give of their time and knowledge, most of those who come here are fairly new at hedgehog ownership.
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Old 07-18-2014, 06:11 PM   #18 (permalink)
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The websites that ship raw ship them in special freezer boxes & include ice packs, dry ice, etc. Most of the sites I know of have great reviews from the raw feeding group I'm in, & mentions of food arriving still completely frozen, etc. With MPC, since that'd be a good resource for you if you're interested, they do drop-offs on a route once a month. You can look at their delivery routes on their site & find the day and time. Their van is a freezer van, so the food all stays frozen as they drive from stop to stop. I've heard many great things about them as well, regarding customer service, the food being good quality, and a few mentions of everything being at or above the ordered weight.

Starting your own thread would be awesome! Then you can continue to update on how you and Colin are doing and if you don't mind, I could add it to the list on the sticky. Also, CoffeeKat's method of feeding is likely what I'll end up doing with future hogs as well. A couple meals of raw meat, with other things like fruit, veggies, & insects available throughout the night. I'll see how it works for me, anyway!

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how many people honestly do raw or homemade diets with hedgehogs. From what I've seen, it's a very new thing & there's not many people doing it. Nor have they been doing so for very long. That said, this forum is really my only connection to the hedgie world - I'm not on any other forums or part of any other groups, so there may be others I just don't know of. I may try harder to branch out & connect to others once I have hedgies again & more experience with this kind of thing!
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Old 07-18-2014, 10:39 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I wouldn't mind being put on a sticky at all I'll get a chart layout set up, and start posting once I have everything, either by Sunday or later next week depending on if I order online or pick up in store.
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:33 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Sorry to make a post on an older thread, but I didn't want to make a new one just to ask this question.

So I've decided to order from MPC, good news is one of their deliveries is right in my hometown. Bad news is it's not for another week and a half, but that should give me enough time to get everything else prepared since a slab of meat has no fiber, and not enough fat. I want to do chicken, but I'm really concerned about salmonella and e. coli infecting my hedgehog and I don't know how to go about dealing with that
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