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Old 01-11-2011, 01:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New Mommy Needs Some Help

I literally just got little Chrissy twenty minutes ago and already I'm concerned (my husband says I worry too much) and I want to make sure that everything's okay. I apologize in advance for long-windedness, but I just want to make sure that I give all the information that you may need (and I'm sure that I'll still miss some). And I thank you in advance for helping me in whatever way you can.

I bought Chrissy from her now-previous owner and I knew that she wasn't going to be in the best of shape just from what I had gleaned through the emails I questioned him (he was a college student D. I know that I probably shouldn't have bought her considering I'm a new owner, but I didn't want to leave her at a home that appeared to have no idea how to raise her. So, here I am.

My biggest concerns are:

1) When she was hissing and clicking at me, (from moving her cage to get her from his car into my apartment) she was not rolled in a ball (or, at least not when I lifted the igloo off her to make sure that she wasn't injured in some way, not that I could see much). She did appear to be in "attack mode" as when I put the igloo back on her she snapped at it for a minute or two before calming down. I don't think she's overweight; again, although I didn't get the best look at her, I didn't see any fat spilling out the sides or a double chin which I read about (granted, I was laying on the floor peering into her igloo, but I did get a pretty good look at her face). Is there any other reason that she may not roll into a ball?

2) I'm almost positive the food he had her on was horrible, although since I don't know the name, I can't be sure. I know I'm supposed to slowly phase new food in, but is there anyway to speed up the process? I'd really prefer she not eat that food for longer than necessary.

3) The cage she is in is, in my opinion, entirely too small for her and the extra cage she came with is as well. So I will be getting a new one. Should I move her immediately to the new cage? And, if I don't, would it be alright to move her to the other one that she's used to. She's currently in an aquarium with a wire wheel D: and I want her to able to run on a wheel if she wants to, but there's no way that I'm leaving that thing in with her. So, either way as I see it, she's gotta move. Would it be better for her to be moved something familiar, though, or just go ahead and move to the new one?

4) And, when I move her, should I go ahead and switch over her bedding. Right now she's using shavings (not cedar, thank goodness) but I want to eventually switch her over to fleece. I'm thinking that switching this much stuff on her would be a lot for her to take in, but I wanted a more experienced hedgie owner's opinions.

Thank you for sticking with me through my long-winded questions. I just wanted to make sure that I gave you as much information as I could. If you could be of any help, I'd really appreciate it. Thank you in advance for your time.
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Mommy Needs Some Help

Scratch the first question. I finally got a side look at her through the door of her igloo and she definitely has a double chin. Not too surprising if she's got a wheel that can't possibly be comfortable, she has a small cage so she can barely move, and she's being fed kitten food, which I imagine is high in fat.
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Mommy Needs Some Help

Congrats on your new hedgehog!

I'm no expert (I've only had Norman for 3 weeks), but my answers are based on what I've seen so far and read from other peoples' experiences.

I wouldn't go changing everything on her at once. The stress of moving to a new surrounding and having this strange new person looking after her going to take a little bit of time to get used to.

1) Some hedgehogs don't roll into a ball in most situations because of their attitude. My little guy only rolls into a ball if I scoop him up and turn him in a funny way at the same time. When he's grumpy he'll huff and hunker down with his brow spines raised, but never actually goes into a ball. Some seem to ball up for no reason.

2) I'm not expert on this one but everything I've read says to slowly transition them over a few days so you don't upset their stomachs or them in general with any more change than they like. You could try adding 25% of the new stuff each day (75 old/25 new, then 50 old/50 new, etc) until it's all of the new food. The first real step is to see if they'll even eat the new stuff. Some of them can be picky about what they eat. I would hold off for a couple of days before changing her food. She has enough to get used to already.

3) If you're going to change both the bedding and cage I would do it one at a time. While she would eventually get used to one big change it may be less stressful on her to do it in small increments. When changing the cage, bring some familiar pieces from the old cage with her like an igloo, sleeping bag/shirt, litter tray. It should help mitigate her stress from being put in a completely unfamiliar surrounding. I did this with mine when I moved him to his new enclosure. He took a little while to sniff and explore then promptly went back to the comfort of his igloo to sleep.

4) I'd start with changing the bedding first. Cut the fleece to the size of the new cage and just fold it to fit in her old one while she gets used to the feeling. Give her a few days, maybe even a week, to get used to it, then move her to her new home.
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Mommy Needs Some Help

1) Thanks for the answer about balling. She does have her quills up and sometimes she tucks her head down. I'm pretty sure she's overweight, but it's nice to know that even if she does lose weight and doesn't roll until a ball it's nothing to worry about.

2) That's what I read, so I know that's what I should do, I'm just awfully worried about the food he was feeding her. My husband would probably say I'm freaking out for no reason. :P

3) I planned on moving everything that I could over with her. The problem of this is that her cage is really sparse. She has an igloo, a water bottle (which I'm going to change to a bowl at some point, although I'll probably wait for a while on that one), a food bowl, and a wire wheel (which I took out immediately). So, there's not really much to move with her. She came with another wheel, but that has to be attached via the bars, and has little upraised lines on the inside, which I know are bad for her feet. I'm going to go out and meet my husband at our local pet store to see if they have better wheels, as well as grab a new cage, as well as better food. Etc, etc.

4) Her current cage, an aquarium, is only about 7x15. Is that okay to keep her in for a while yet, even if it doesn't have much room? Or should I switch that first and then do her bedding?
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Mommy Needs Some Help

Yikes! That's a really tiny cage! I'd change that first and follow up with the bedding a few days later then if it's that small.

LarryT on here sells the Carolina Storm Wheel which a bunch of people use. I got mine last week and Norman loves it. I'd highly recommend that. It's big enough for an adult hedgehog, is 100% safe, and doesn't make a sound.
His site: http://www.carolinastormhedgehogs.com/t ... wheel.html
Reviews: viewtopic.php?f=20&t=4844

If you want the convenience of a bottle with the ease of a bowl, you may want to look at reptile waterers. They're basically a bowl that fills from an attached bottle. I got mine from PetSmart for $7 since he refused to use the bottle I got for him. He was raised with a bowl and was determine to keep using one.

Open space isn't a bad thing. The do like to run around on their own from time-to-time. You'll eventually find some things to start filling it up, so room for growth is always good. I recently put a kleenex box with some fleece strips in it as a little play house/dig box.
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Mommy Needs Some Help

I know, right! I figure if I'm going to go ahead and move her to another cage, I might as well just move her to the new one.

I'm definitely going to look into the Caroline Storm Wheel, which I've already looked into, especially since we're keeping her in our bedroom to keep her away from the kitties.

I wouldn't mind her having so few stuff if it weren't for the fact that the few things she does have takes up almost 3/4 of the cage. I feel so bad for her; it's no wonder she's chubby if she has no room to run, a wheel that she can't fit on that would break her leg if she did, and bad food.
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