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Old 04-08-2019, 04:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
Ria
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Okay so this is quite annoying actually. Holly has always been a bit on the heavy since I got her. I was always told its fine and it will steady out.. and if she can fully ball up and looks the right shape shes fine
She reached 600g in the beginning of December and she was 7months and 3weeks old, but I was told this was fine as she was a tear drop shape and could fully ball up. But then she kept gaining weight... this isnt anything on my part - Shes active for 4 hours a night or more (this isnt including the 1 hour and a half play time which but shes not very active in this time anyway) I weigh her food out she always gets 20g which is roughly 3 tbs maybe less (as I was told to give) and she eats 9-13g of this a night her food mix is low fat too, its at 12%. Plus her insects are split in two mixes she gets 17 insects most nights in a week and 15 insects the other nights - which are all low fat.
When she got to 650g on the 1st Feb I questioned again, and was told the same thing.
16th March at 10 months she reached 700g and was still told its fine I was very dubious about this.
25th March at 11 months she reached 713g, and this day I noticed extra fat around her legs, and knew that this isnt right - She very rarely balls up or goes up very high when running (I noticed the fat when she was running on her wheel and I looked really close) we then got her to ball up, and I realised she cant actually fully ball up !!
So I asked for help and I was told to bring her foods level of fat down to 10% or less - I can bring it down to 6% with the foods I have they said this is fine, so I started taking out the higher fat food.
5th of April I re weighed her at 722g
And today 8th April I just weighed her at 706g

Now I know I wanted her to loose weight but going from 722g to 706g in 3 days, thats 16g lost. But is that too much of a drop ??
I know that pooping can make a difference, but its still a fair bit if a drop (these two times she hadnt pooped first normally she will poo when I weigh her makes difference of 10-15g generally. But still..

I obviously need her to loose a bit of weight, and I dont want to do that too fast. But all thats happened is reduced the fat a little not even by much because all 3 foods are still there, her activity is the same, but does it still seem like its going down too fast or am I paranoid.
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Old 04-08-2019, 06:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would personally focus more on the amount fed each night rather than the analysis in this case. It seems like you’ve definitely exhausted your options with dropping this fat content, but the sudden loss of the nutrient could easily have caused the sudden drop.
Honestly, I’ve never used insects as part of a daily diet, and while it definitely replicates their wild diet to a fuller extent, APH have been bred without the need, for lack of a better word, to include a large amount of insects into their daily diet, no matter the fat content of the insect.
Just bouncing ideas around. Christina once dropped around 10g in the matter of Wednesday —> Sunday but it wasn’t something I was concerned about as she was active, eating and drinking, and expelling waste. Christina’s always been on the looow end of the 300-500/600 gram recommendation, but that’s also a drastic span that we do to a certain degree have to take that with a grain of salt. She could just be a bigger piggy!
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Old 04-08-2019, 07:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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For a hog who is over 700g, 16g lost in 3 days doesn't overly concern me. However, I do agree with something Aj.t brought up; I would focus on the quantity of food being fed vs the analysis.

You say she's offered 20g of kibble, of which she typically eats 9-13g of. And then on top of that, 15-17 insects a night. Is this correct, or am I interpreting this wrong? If it's correct, I don't think the fat content of the mix is at fault here at all... rather, I think it's the quantity of food being offered. My girl is currently 380g; she is a free range hog, and is incredibly active. She's very fit, and can fully ball - she's a nice, healthy weight but I only give her ~6-8g of kibble on her kibble days with her daily insects (she gets about 8-12/night, and mainly mealies because they're her favourite). Hedgehogs who are raw fed are usually fed an upwards of 20-30g of food (weight of the hog depending) from what i've seen, but kibble is much more calorie dense, so they don't require near as much food as a raw fed animal. Holly, depending on what type of insects she's consuming, is eating at least 13-15g of food (and more!) per day - which is going to cause weight issues for an animal predominately fed kibble, which is what you're experiencing.

I know many in the community advise free-feeding, but I disagree with it whole-heartedly. I don't think the daily insects are what's causing your issues here. Nor do I believe that it's the fat content of the kibble (my hedgehog is on a 15% fat diet, and loves mealies so much she gets them on the daily - but she's not overweight). Rather, I think it's the quantity of kibble being offered. Some hedgehogs are naturally larger, but when you start seeing fat build up and the inability to fully close... you've got a problem. I would recommend decreasing her food intake. Instead of 15-17 insects, try 10-12 and reduce the kibble to 8-10g. Small, gradual changes to lose the weight gradually, and then you can adjust her food intake as required when she gets to a weight you're comfortable with her being.
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Old 04-08-2019, 11:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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See originally when I got her at 2 months old, I was told not to give insects and make sure theres always food there. She weighed 240g when she was 2 months old - the breeder had her on low quietly kitten food, which was at 22% fat, and cant remember the protein, but that food gave her green poo sooo I wanted to change it to stop the green poo, so when she was 3 months old (well probably half way between 3 and 4 months) I changed it as she settled in pretty fast. The one I changed to on its own its perfectly okay. But I added the other two because 1 to boost nutrients a bit but keeping all of them low in fat and some lower in protein, the other two I added I would never give them on their own. I gave her around 20g or less then too going by where I had it in the bowl, but again she didnt eat much of it prob 10-12g - I wasnt really weighing it out then, and she didnt start having insects until she was nearly around 4 months back on the 27th August, when she was 4 months 1 week she weighed 500g, and it stabled a bit there, through to 22nd September she stayed at 500g then 22nd October she was 5 months 3 weeks and weighed 530g - throught this time I was adding insects she wasnt having many, around 5-6 insects, which I was told to increase as their diet should be higher insects, so I ran through the 14 insects a night with them (they know about all the weight and how its always been high) so thats what I brought it up to, so she's been on 20g and 14 insects since she was 7 months old - weighing at 600g I then didnt change anything with the food (until present time)

Shes only one been on 15-17 insects since Saturday as when I asked about her weight when I noticed the fat build up, and was told to bring her fat to 10% or less, I was then also told to increase her insects. Before that she was getting, 14 insects each day - She's had this amount for a little while.
With the 20g of food, although last night I only gave her 18g of food. She had 7g of the two lower fats and 4g of the higher fat, since I was told to decrease the fat, so I started to but then decreased the food given by 2g - Not actually on purpose but it had to happen at some point, she doesnt eat that anyway so figured 2g less doesnt matter much - This is from around the 25th March.

With this insects this is what it was before increasing it Saturday I have two mixes which I alternate between:
One- 5 medium locust, 4 Dubai roaches, 5 small medium brown crickets -14 insects
Two- 6 small medium black crickets,4 giant orange woodlice, 4 calci worms - 14 insects

I can bring it all down by one, she might not love me much for it with the roaches but hey. So then she gets 4 locust, 3 roaches, 4 brown crickets. 5 black crickets, 3 orange woodlice and 3 calci worms.

All her insects are gut loaded then frozen by the way, I cant keep any insects alive for much more than 24hours for gut loading - Due to living in my mum's house I have to respect that she doesnt want any live insects in her house too long. And they need to be out of sight for that 24hours

The things that really annoys me is, when she got 650g I was like "she surely should have stabled out in weight by now not still increasing this much" so i questioned about what I was giving her and I was told "thats perfectly find your doing nothing wrong, the fat and protein is great, and the amounts of insects is great too"

Shes not got that much of a gap left - luckily. She also doesnt have too much extra fat there. So I think I saw it early enough that it wasnt bad. She can almost fully ball up - I dont have a picture to show though.
At 620g she could ball up fully, although I was going to get her weight to 600g

If I'd have been told when I first asked that I was giving her too much I'd have de creased it and wouldn't have this issue its just really annoying. Because I was asking the vet too who apparently knows all about African pygmy hedgehogs shes meant to be an exotic vet as well - I'm going to find a new vet.

Last edited by Ria; 04-08-2019 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 04-08-2019, 11:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It can definitely be frustrating to hear opposing views from different people. Just remember that it’s ultimately up to you; you decide how much of her diet you want to be arthropods, whether or not you give her more than she’ll eat every night etc.
when I first started assessing Christina’s diet, I started out with a tablespoon of dry (cause that’s the spoon I found in the cupboard lol) and gave it to her at night. If she ate it all, I’d weigh her and give her more. And I’d keep increasing the amount until she DIDNT eat it all. And boom, there’s a good starting point for a base diet portion. You’ve obviously done your research on the foods you give her, but now that you have, worry not about that as much but about weight management. It seems like the most humane thing to “give em what they want” but some animals simply eat out of boredom, so control is also a sign of quality animal care.
Keep at it and give us updates!
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Old 04-09-2019, 02:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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She only eat what she wants. Since giving her the 17-15 insects a night, shes eaten a bit less of the cat food where she'd eat 9-13g she's only eaten 8-10g.

I cant be 100% shes eating all the insects as she hides some, so when I do a clean I could find some insects that she hasnt eaten over the last week - Its happened a few times. Even though I leave them in sight, she'll hide them, then I think she forgets them or something.
I also make sure that if any cat food has been tipped out that I pick all that up on that day so theres never really extra food - the insects she wont eat another night as they dry out and then loose the smell so she looses interest in them.
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Old 04-09-2019, 03:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I was going to do a 4 cat food mix, which has overall 31.2% protein and 14.15% I did start adding in the last food around the start of march, but on the 16th after noticing the fat, I stopped she probably had like 3-4g of the food in the mix, then I was told to bring the fat to 10% or lower so took it out again, so that her mix was back to 12.2% fat and 19.9% protein. Now if I take out the other higher fat food I'm left with 6% fat and 31.5% protein. Which is better on the protein.

She is active for an average of 4 hours every night, sometimes more, so its not like shes not active. She will only eat what she's hungry for she doesn't eat just because its there or out of boredom. And she picks at it through night and day.
Now 20g is roughly 2tbs, as thats what I go by - because I remember where 2tbs comes to in the bowl thats what I've always given as thats what I was told to. But. I could easily lower it to 15g and still get left over, my only worry with that is because theres so little left if she only eats 8-10g then she could start eating the whole lot just because its there and I'd rather keep what we have going even if I'm wasting more food than needed, if that makes sense.
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Old 04-09-2019, 02:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The first picture was on the 25th March weighing 713g
The second one is today weighing 706g
Just to show theres not a huge gap there so its not overly bad even if the numbers are quite high !!
I'm sure I caught it just in time to make it easier to help her loose the extra that shouldnt be there.
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My Mila is having the same problem. I have always watched what she ate and the amount. I've based it on what I've been able to find online, but she just kept gaining. She has been to the point where she refuses to use hee wheel. We have cut back again and again, but she just kept getting bigger and bigger.

We went to the vet and her diet recommendation was to find a food with as close to 10% fat or less. She told us to give her 3 teaspoons of the low fat kibble and 1 teaspoon of veggies. She is only to get one mealworm every other night.

I am hoping that as she loses weight she will start to feel like running again. Aside from her weight she is healthy, but the weight is very bad. She is around 900g.

The vet said that hedgehogs hold onto every bit of fat that they can from everything they eat and it is very easy for them to gain weight rapidly. You do want to keep a close eye on how quickly they lose and how much. The vet gave me a percentage, I think it was like, they aren't supposed to lose more than 10 or 20% of their total body weight in a week or month. I can't remember exactly because they are going to be helping me do the tracking to avoid fatty liver as much as possible.

I hope some of this may help.
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Oh yea they can lose up to 20g of fat a week - I was found this somewhere after my panic that loosing 16g in 3 days was too fast !!
Holly's food has always been low in fat though !! And once I got all insects sorted shes had 14 insects but even before when she was on less insects she still kept putting on weight. Shes never even had the very fatty ones.

I'm bringing the food down to 15g as a starting point. And then taking it from there. But I dont know how I can get her to reduce the amount of cat biscuit shes eating, as obviously reducing how much you give isnt going to change how much they eat.
Someone on facebook suggested to use alternatives, but I have no idea what I could use ??

She eats more cat biscuit when she has the 4 woodlice, 6 crickets and 4 calci worms.
And eats less cat biscuit when she has the 4 roaches 5 locust and 5 crickets.

I used an excel spread sheet to help me work out the different fat and protein with different amounts of each food I give her. At 18g of cat biscuit in the ratio I'm doing it the mix has 29.7% protein and 11.8% fat.
I cant really bring the fat down much lower without taking out one of the foods completely, and but its the highest fat and lowest protein that changes the most so she has that the least in the mix and gets more of the other food.

I'm making a diet plan for losing weight.
But on the 20th its her birthday and she'll be 1 years old, so I'm making her banana pancakes as a special treat, and was going to give her 10-12 insects that night instead of the full 14 insects.

I'm sure that once she looses weight she'll become more active, holly's not stopped using her wheel but has reduced how much by a little. Though looking at the wheel you'd think she never uses it as she gets off most times to go to to the toilet !!

Last edited by Ria; 04-11-2019 at 02:24 AM.
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