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Old 02-11-2016, 07:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question BARF diet

My hedgehog has been fed with meat, then he started not to poop everyday. So I changed his diet: now I give him more dry food, and it seems it has improved his digestive system.
Reading the sticky threads and searching on the internet, I came across the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet.
I don't know this kind of diet, if it's appropriate for hedgehog as it has to be served raw, but I saw those two made from Natures menu.

Chicken and duck nuggets (with rabbit instead of duck also available): chicken 55% (5% liver), duck 40%, malt extract 1%, yeast extract 1%, blueberry 1%, Yucca extract, green tea extract, grape seeds extract, mannan-oligosaccharide, calcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate.
Proteins 17%, fats 4,5%, crude ash 3%, fibers 1%, humidity 74%.
Food additives: vit. a 2000iu, vit. d 200iu, vit. e 28mg, Trace elements: zinc sulphate monohydrate 102 mg, ferrous sulphate monohydrate 40 mg, cupric sulfate pentahydrate 14mg, anhydrous calcium iodate 0.85mg, selenised inactivated yeast (17.4mg / kg).

Chicken and salmon nuggets: chicken 55% (10% heart, 5% liver), salmon 40%, malt extract 1%, yeast extract 1%, blueberry 1%, Yucca extract, green tea extract, grape seeds extract, mannan-oligosaccharide, calcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate.
Proteins 17%, fats 9,9%, crude ash 3%, fibers 1%, humidity 68,6%.
Food additives: vit. a 2000iu, vit. d 200iu, vit. e 28mg, Trace elements: zinc sulphate monohydrate 102 mg, ferrous sulphate monohydrate 40 mg, cupric sulfate pentahydrate 14mg, anhydrous calcium iodate 0.85mg, selenised inactivated yeast (17.4mg / kg).

I don't like feeding Castagna with wet food because pet store only have 80gr cans. I usually gave him 20gr and kibbles but I don't think I should fed him a 4 days old wet food, which also had an unpleasant smell. Those BARF food are frozen instead, so it would be "fresh" and not stinking food.

If this BARF diet is ok, how about calcium?
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Old 02-11-2016, 08:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It would be okay for part of the diet, but a mainly-meat diet isn't appropriate for hedgehogs. They're not carnivores & need some plant matter and lots of insects included in the diet. They probably do eat some meat in the wild, if they come across rodent pinkies, frogs, etc., since they're opportunistic. But most of what they eat is insects & invertebrates, which are higher in fiber & lower in protein than meat. That'd be why you ran into trouble with him before. I just quickly glanced as I'm late leaving for work, but I'm not seeing many veggies in this food and the fiber is likely too low. I wouldn't feed it as the only food.
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Lilysmommy, hi again!
I wouldn't feed it as the only food either!
As you said, that would be a part of the diet, as I already feed him on live insects (mealworms, crickets and black soldier fly). And kibble, of course.
For the veggies, I'm trying to figure out which one he would eat. Pumpkin, zucchini and cucumbers, so far.
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Should be okay then! Are the ones you listed for cats, dogs, or both? I find with the raw food brands sold commercially on the US, the dogs ones often have more veggies included than the cat ones, so if these are cat-specific, that night be something to look into, too. That would help lower the protein and raise the fiber, especially since he's so picky about veggies. That's great that you've found a few though! For more insects, you could also check into canned grasshoppers, and see if you have dubia roaches available to you. Both have hard exoskeletons and would be high in fiber as well.
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Those are listed for cats.
They sell Natures menu's BARF dog food too, but they may be to high in rice as they all contain 13% of brown rice.

They also sell a brand named Wolfsfreund. These are for dog and, as you said are higher in vegetables, but also fruit. There is a lot of choice but the percentages are not complete as they state they use hemp and fish oil, without further information.
Type 1: Frozen horse meat (at least 35%) with lettuce with corn (6%), radicchio (red chicory according to google translate, % unknown), carrots (maybe 6%?), peaches (3%), strawberries (3%) and blueberries (% unknown).
Type 2: Frozen beef meat (at least 25% meat and at least 17% tripe) with endive (6%), zucchini (6%), carrots (6%), apple (3%), banana (3%) and coconut (% unknown).
Type 3: Frozen beef meat (at least 25% meat and at least 17% tripe) with lettuce with corn (6%), chicory (6%), carrots (maybe 6%?), peaches (3%), strawberries (3%) and blueberries (% unknown).
Type 4: pretty close to type 2 except for chicken (at least 40%, from the product description I understand that there are chicken bones as well) instead of beef.
Type 5: pretty close to type 3 except for chicken (at least 40%, from the product description I understand that there are chicken bones as well) instead of beef.

Last edited by Barbara811; 02-11-2016 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Not pooping everyday doesn't need to be a bad thing, as long as he isn't congested. It is in fact normal for them to poop less if they're on a (mainly) raw diet. Most kibble is full of (useless) fillers, they poop way more on a kibble diet. So lots of poop doesnt mean his digestive system improved.

Edit: just meat isn't a proper diet for a hedgehog like Lilysmommy said, adding more fibre to the diet (preferably by adding more insects and some veg) is important. They need pretty high fibre (kibble is way too low in fibre for hedgehogs).
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Good point, Draenog! And I would definitely go with the dog ones, if it were me. I disagree with the thought that dogs need to have things besides meat in their diet, but I think the diet used for them that includes fruit and veggies is more appropriate for hedgehogs than the diets for cats, which are obligate carnivores. I think with the dog ones, if you supplemented insects, you wouldn't have to worry nearly as much about giving fresh/frozen veggies in addition, which would be easier on you both.

Last edited by Lilysmommy; 02-11-2016 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If you're going for BARF or similar I'd make sure you get ones that contain muscle meat, organ meat & ground bones (just meat as we'd eat it isn't as complete). I use both cat, ferret and dog versions.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That's why I'm pretty concerned about Wolfsfreund. It's all "at least", without any further information. I'm concerned about the corn too. Won't it upset his intestine?

Draenog, do you feed your hedgehog on kibble? Or just BARF + worms? Regarding the fibers, I'm already feeding him on live worms and crickets . I'm thinking about buying him honeycomb moth as a treat too! Can't wait!

So... I think Castagna is a little overweight. Somewhere else I read, if I remember well, that food should be 20% (maybe 10%???) of hedgehog's weight. So for Castagna should be like 98gr. Definitely too much. Maybe 20gr of BARF, 20 worms, some kibble? More raw food, no kibble at all? He is a lazy boy, so it seems that every month he gains about 10 grams. Now Castagna weights 480 grams.

(I can't thank you enough for all the help you are giving me)
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Old 02-11-2016, 10:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Sorry for the delayed answer, I was at work and probably shouldn't have been answering before!

Generally the veggies are included to help balance (to make up for no organs & bones), but their veggie choices are weird...I would check & see if it says anywhere on the bag that the diet is balanced, or contact the company to ask. I don't know how pet food regulation works in the UK, if they would be able to get away with selling it even unbalanced or not. I think the commercial raw brands for dogs here include a greater variety of veggies and/or vitamin supplements to ensure balance.

I wouldn't go by weight, I would go by how much he eats if allowed & by whether he's gaining weight further (especially if he's already overweight) or staying at a good weight. My preference is for mostly feeding raw & insects, with kibble as a back up if they're extra hungry, but that may not be how others would do it!
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