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Old 04-16-2012, 05:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hedge only eats one food?

My new little boy won't eat anything but Royal Canin kitten food. He won't switch over to the food I feed my other hedgies, nor will he eat meal worms. I finally got him to eat a cat treat, but only a few times before he boycotted them as well. When I mix the foods I want him to eat he just picks out the Royal Canin and dumps the rest on the floor of his cage. Any tips on how to get him to try other foods?
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedge only eats one food?

Just keep trying. In my experience, the more you give them the opportunity to try them the better. He may simply be showing preference to BabyCat because the pieces are very small so they're easier to manage. Maybe you could try other cat foods with extra-small pieces? I have had hedgies that would refuse to eat anything except for one type of food, but after a long enough while they seem to be a little more open to trying new things.
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedge only eats one food?

Switching from kitten food can be tricky, because the high fat content makes it especially appealing. The first things to try are storing the new food in a bag together with the kitten food to let it take on the smell. You can also try to grind them both up together - not into powder, but small chunks, which will make it more difficult for him to pick out one from the other. If that works, you can use the ground up technique while you're switching him over, then go back to the normal kibble size once you have him transitioned to the new stuff.

Another trick that might work is making only the new food available at first when he wakes up and would normally be eating. He might eat it if he thinks that's his only food option. Make sure to check if he's eaten any after a few hours ; before you go to bed, for instance. At that point, if he's eaten little or no of the new stuff, give him the kitten food - that way you'll be sure he won't starve out of refusal to eat the new food.

Is it the RC Kitten 36 or the RC Babycat 34 that he's eating right now? You said kitten food, but there are two of them, so just to clarify, since there's a fairly large difference in fat content between those two. If he's eating the babycat (24% fat), then the kitten 36 (17% fat) might work as a good "stepping stone" to wean him off.

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Old 04-16-2012, 06:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedge only eats one food?

have you tryed using the new food as a fun kind of treat. my vet told me to set up hides with some of the new food i want them to eat in it and then while they are exploring they find it and might try it.
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedge only eats one food?

If you 'ration' the favorite food, he might take to another. When I switched Sophie from what the breeder was feeding, over to my selections (Natural Balance, Solid Gold, Chicken Soup) she took to them but swung back to only wanting to eat her original Purina ONE.

By rationing the Purina ONE, she would eat the allotment and then fill up on the others. Once I had her on the foods that I wanted, I had the same problem with the Chicken Soup (which was coincidentally the last new food introduced). Given free feeding, she will only eat the Chicken Soup. So I started rationing that and she would move to her second choice, Solid Gold. And she would only eat the Solid Gold. Grrr.

So, the current status is that I dropped the Natural Balance because it would be too much trouble to set a ration amount for two foods. She gets ~50% Chicken Soup (based on total consumption, which can fluctuate) and I free feed the Solid Gold, making sure that there is more available than I would expect her to eat.

If he doesn't reject the alternative choice(s) and go on strike, then rationing can work well for transitioning or enforcing that he's eating more than just one food.

I do wonder sometimes, if I still gave Sophie all the Chicken Soup that she could eat, if that would be better.? Everybody recommends that hedgies be eating more than one food, for their own good. I'm not entirely comfortable limiting her on her favorite food, but she shows no signs of not being willing to eat the Solid Gold as second choice. (Also, before the Chicken Soup was introduced the Solid Gold was her first choice once the Purina ONE situation was dealt with.)
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedge only eats one food?

He has been eating kitten 36 from Royal Canin. He won't even touch some I'd the wet cat foods. The vet said that perhaps I should try keeping his temperature a little higher since that seemed to calm him down and if he is more comfortable with it he may be more willing to try new things. Making them treats and hiding them sounds good since he likes to play. Plus if I store them together and break them up, he may not notice the difference. Thanks guys
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