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Old 05-08-2017, 11:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Help with changing food, hedgie hardly eats!

Hi all, I'm new on here . I've had little Yuki for 7 weeks (he is just under 7 months old and we bought him from an exotic pet store).

The pet store was feeding him Mazuri Insectivore Diet which I was quick to discover is no good and full of bad things. We kept him on it for the first month though whilst he settled into his new home and regularly supplemented with live cut up super worms about 4x a week (he absolutely loves them) ~ I now cut off the heads and dispose of so they don't bite as since twice eating the superworms he has thrown them up for whatever reason, he'll try re-eat it before I can clean it up though!

I did a tonne of research and have now ordered in various cat foods recommended. I live in Japan so it was quite hard to find suitable ones available!
- Now Fresh senior grain free (deboned Turkey) - fat 14% / protein 30% / fibre 5%
- Halo healthy weight adult (white fish & salmon) - fat 14% / protein 33% / fibre 5%
(Not had yet as the company I ordered from sent the wrong formula so instead he's been having Halo adult 1-6yrs (chicken & whole eggs) - fat 17% / protein 33% / fibre 6.6%) I know this fat content is a bit high but he is quite small, weighs only 284g and probably had his growth stunted living in a pet shop for the first few months of his life (no wheel, small cage, bad food etc so he probably could do with the extra fat and mixed in with the other brings the total fat down anyways).
- Natural balance (green pea & duck) - fat 12% / protein 33% / fibre 5%
(Introduced last night and didn't touch it)

So the first two nights he ate the cat food kibble straightaway before his Mazuri and seemed to like it so the third night I added extra new kibble but when I checked how many in the morning he'd only eaten a few and ate mainly the Mazuri. I then tried coating the new kibble pieces with superworm guts which worked the first time but second time he didn't touch them. Last night I tried mashing up the new kibble mixed with mainly Mazuri and hot water and offered it straightaway, he woke up and ate two mouthfuls of it and was done, by the morning he hadn't had anymore and ate only whole pieces of Mazuri which I put in another bowl with also 6 new kibble that he didn't touch.

Last few nights he hasn't been very active but very cuddly, he's had his new wheel for a week now and loved it the first few nights (covered in evidence!) but last two mornings it doesn't have much on it. His poo is quite dark and quite regularly dark green. Normally it looks very healthy and same colour as his food, then when we get him out at night after a while he'll become very active and start doing what I call nervous poos as it's very green and almost sticky ink like ~ this is similar stuff he leaves on the wheel also.

I'm not sure if the green poo is related as he's always had it, but he is doing less poo than normal since trying to change over his food. Mazuri fibre content is 13% so maybe this is why it has reduced?

Anyways sorry my post has become very long now, I'd just like some recommendations for better food transitioning, do I just continue and go back to just a few pieces of new kibble for a week, maybe just introduce one of them at a time? He doesn't eat much as it is (less than one tablespoon 15ml which seems too low but he's always only eaten that much since having him (there's always food left in his bowl from a 15ml scoop) and is why I like to give him superworms more often to supplement. I see him drink from his water bowl but again it isn't much. Any advice to get him to eat more? I thought having the wheel would increase his appetite but seems to eat same if not less.

He has a heat source and lighting schedule but he seems to sleep so much, and getting later into the night when he will wake up or more often I just have to wake him up. He used to come out at various times in the day to eat but that has stopped the past couple of weeks. Also it has gotten really hot here in Tokyo the past couple of days so maybe that could be affecting him? His temp cage is more like 26degrees than previously 24 degrees. He hasn't laid splat out though.

I want to take him to the vet for a general checkup but do I need to ask the vet to check for certain things, like test the green poo, blood test, vitamin deficiencies? Also he has a really bad dandruff problem and a couple patches where he's lost quills and they haven't grown back (yet? It's been a couple weeks) could this be from his bad Mazuri diet or something else? He's on fleece liners and has yesterday news in his litter tray. Sorry if this is off topic but wasn't sure if these other issues could all be related?

Any help and advice would be appreciated! Thank you
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey, does anyone have any suggestions or advice if gone through similar experience?

Update: when I came home from work yesterday and checked on Yuki, he woke up straightaway so I offered him some of the mashed up mix and he ate a little again. Then I offered a whole kibble of the duck flavour one and he ate it from me?! Is my boy just a bit lazy? Last night I made a fresh mix of just the duck cat kibble with the Mazzuri (both a wet mashed mix and a dry mix) but again this morning he left the 5 pieces of duck flavoured kibble dry mixed and ate most the Mazuri from a 15ml scoop, looks like he might have eaten a little of the wet mix. I saw on another post about putting the two dry kibble in a bag so they all smell the same but it didn't work.
I'm really at a lost, and running out of ideas to try >.< I just want my boy to change off Mazuri asap.

Please help! Thank you
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Did you slowly add one food at a time or switch him over quickly to all of the new once at once?
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi thanks for the reply
I added two types but only two pieces of each kibble, he ate them all the first night so second night I added an extra one each and he ate majority of them, then the third night increased adding 6 pieces each and then he decided he didn't like them. Was this too soon?

I've now gone back to trying one new kibble (different flavour to the previous ones) and adding only 5 pieces mixed with his Mazuri 15ml scoop and he didn't touch them but he ate one from my hand separately? The cat food kibble size is double the size of the Mazuri food, is he maybe just not used to chewing down these bigger pieces? I haven't tried just dry crushing them yet. Also do you think one 15ml tablespoon is a really low amount for him to be eating? He never even finishes this! His weight is 284 and he's almost 7 months old.

Thank you!
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Old 05-10-2017, 04:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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When I switched mine, I started by putting a little bit of the new food in with her regular food. She seemed to be eating all of the kibbles, so when I was sure she wasn't going to reject it, I mixed all of her old food in with the new food and gave it to her as a blend. What I'm saying is, the pacing is going to be up to them. Some of them handle it better than others. You might have to go really slow.
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Old 06-04-2017, 05:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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That's for the reply @matvei ~ that's exactly what I thought my hedgie was going to be like since he went straight for the new kibbles so I added more but was obvs too soon and now he rejects anything other than his old hedgehog food and superworms as treats.

UPDATE:
I'm really at a loss with changing over foods and don't understand how most can do it so easily, I guess I just have one fussy hog! ><

After a 2 week period (details in my original post) of trying different foods etc I decided to give Yuki a break and just fed his old Mazuri insectivore food for a week as I noticed he wasn't eating as much and was losing weight which went as low as 271g after relieving himself ~ he was weighing 284g one week prior. In order to encourage him to eat I found moving his food bowl under his hiding area helped and I often hear him eating several times during the day, whereas if his bowl was out in the open he'd never come out to eat from it, he had 't in weeks so that was a positive sign at least!

So earlier this week I tried reintroducing the cat food, I thought maybe start with a chicken flavoured one so similar to his "poultry" listed Mazuri food! I put only 3 pieces in whole and he didn't touch them. The following night I tried to soak them as read someone does this fo their hog in case it is a chewing issue why mine won't eat it as the cat food kibbles sizes are like x3 the size of the Mazuri kibble pieces. I soaked them for an hour which was maybe too long, the swelled up to double the size! I tried hand feeding one with Superworm guts on it and he went for it thinking it was a tasty piece of Superworm, chewed a couple times and then spat it out lol. Put the other two pieces in the food bowl and they were of course untouched by the morning.

On the 3rd day I tried a different cat food, which I had previously tried and he originally liked the most, did the same method, 3 whole pieces on the first night ~ result: untouched. Second night I tried breaking the pieces up and did this for two nights in a row but it's so hard to tell if he's actually eating any of it since they're crushed up pieces, maybe 1 or 2 pieces but I doubt he has as he'd have eaten more of it more than likely right?

Last night I went back to just his usual food as again he had hardly eaten anything from the night before. Also last night I came home from a night out and most the poo he left on his wheel was pretty green and really soft so something has upset his stomach.

We have also been given him 1x Superworm every night cut up (head disposed of) as a treat when he's out bonding with us as I'm just super worried he is so small and possibly underweight. Is it ok to give 1x Superworm every night or could this be causing his upset tum if they're a little hard to digest? I've also been feeding the superworms different veggies (mainly cucumber, red pepper, broccoli stem and banana) so don't know if this would then have an effect on Yuki eating them, in terms of giving him an upset tum since he isn't used to eating raw foods (he won't eat anything offered to him!)

Anyways, I'd really appreciate people's advice, how they went about transitioning food, did they also have trouble with it and did they have a breakthrough in the end? Also are there certain types of food that are more popular with hedgies that I could try? I've bought 3 small bags so far and he doesn't like any of them so I'm a little discourage to buy more if there's a way I can get him to eat the current ones. Also how long does food keep for before going stale? Should I be storing in the freezing until I have a breakthrough or is it more the case that he'll never like these foods?

My next attempt is going to be trying baby food (with grinded kibble) and wet cat food but going by his reaction to wet kibble I doubt it's going to be a hit! Again any advice on types / flavours or brands especially for wet cat food would be appreciated! I have looked through he stickies already but anyone's personal experience with a fussy hog would be really helpful. Thank you guys
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Old 06-05-2017, 07:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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FURTHER Update:

I weighed Yuki last night after having him out for a cuddle and I'm really worried his weight has gone down even further now to 264g! It's never been that low since I've had him, the lowest was 271g and its fluctuated between that and 284g for the past couple of weeks. He did relieve himself on my boyfriend right before and did a couple little stools but I'm so concerned for his health and why he's loosing weight. As mentioned his eating habits are up and down, and hadn't eaten much the day before but he did do so many poos the night before so maybe that's why his weight dropped so low?!

Should I be taking him to the vet again? I just don't know what to do as I can't get him to eat anything except for his old hedgehog food (Mazuri insectivore) and even that he never finishes what I put in. If I feed him babyfood (syringe feed if necessary) is this going to cause him to get an upset tum again as he's never had it before? Am I best just liquidising his mazuri food with water and syringe feeding? I just want to get some fat put on him! The last couple days I can even feel that he's become slimmer (body sinks in slightly by stomach) and just feels light. Should I remove his wheel, as this is why he is loosing so much weight I think, because he's running so much but not eating enough / eating less food sometimes. And as asked before, am I ok to be feeding one Superworm a night to help keep weight up or will this be upsetting his stomach and do more damage than good?

Please someone help! ><
Thank you.
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Old 06-05-2017, 06:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Never remove the wheel, it often has the opposite effect (they eat less).

Worms are good if he'll eat them, you can also try scrambled eggs to put on fat.
If he isn't eating you can syringe feed him, but if he is eating voluntarily the #1 thing to do is get him on a higher fat foot. The only way to do it is slowly mix and do the change. You may have to try a lot of foods to find one he likes, if he is that picky.
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Does his weight go back up if he's only eating the Mazuri? Can you put in a lot of that for him so even if he doesn't like the new cat kibbles, he'll still get enough to eat, or does the cat kibbles being in there in general cause him to eat less? I can't offer much advice because mine isn't much of an eater either and I've only had him for about a month, but I have read that Royal Canin Mother and Babycat food is really addictive to hedgehogs due to the high fat, but the ingredients aren't the best. It also has really high fat, but the pieces are really small. You could maybe try it to at least see if it will up his weight?
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Old 06-08-2017, 11:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you both for your replies, appreciate your support and advice

@matvei ok thanks, I did wonder if it would have a negative effect, since he loves it so much I won't remove it then . Superworms are his favourite (well actually the only thing he gets excited to eat!). Like he'll be fast asleep and ignore me when I'm trying to get him up at night but as soon as I wave a worm in front of him, he jumps right up haha. So he'd eat more than one if given the chance but not sure if more than one is too much for his stomach per a night? I'm yet to try scrambled eggs, I'll give it a try! Luckily he is voluntarily eating and I think I've actually had a breakthrough with him ~ last three nights now, when offering him the superworm cut up on a small dish I'm putting some wet kibble also on the dish and he's been taking it from my hand! (Previously tried weeks ago and wouldn't touch it but this time added the cut up worm with it and worked!). So second night I tried adding a small amount of grounded catfood kibble, like 1x kibble amount of new food to the wet mix and some worm guts and he woofed it down!
Doing the same tonight so going very very slowly this time adding a tiny bit of new food and just one new food at a time! Let hope it continues to work!

@Nukabear, sorry to hear your little one also isn't a big eater, hopefully not causing you too much stress like mine is >.< ~appetite might increase after being with you a little longer or I think some just aren't big eaters, like my guy is petit for a male hedgehog and just naturally slim I think but you guys are right about needing a higher fat content food to maintain weight/put on some weight so I'll definitely look into that royal canin baby catfood to use as a mix and that's a bonus if it's small pieces as that's what he is used to with the Mazuri, thank you for the recommendation! I have one cat food here that is 17% fat but maybe he still needs a little higher than that when mixed with lower fat food...
As mentioned above I am having a little breakthrough atm yay so for now I'll keep trying with this but order some royal canin in to try next.
Re his weight, I've started weighing him every night now and I'm happy to say he is slowly gaining weight from just the Mazuri and this wet mix plus superworm so really happy with both, his appetite is growing ^.^ ~the issue before was adding new food to his dry Mazuri puts him off eating altogether so for now I just have to mix it in in a wet mix to disguise the taste more and offer the Mazuri dry separately until he gets used to it

Also not sure if this will help your hedgie, but I've started moving the food dish under his hide during the daytime and he'll now eat from it several times during the day, whereas if it was left in the usual place out in the open all day he'd never come out and eat so you could give this a try to see if it increases their appetite ~ my guy has even on some occasions dragged the bowl himself all the way under his hide area, so he obviously likes it there ^.^
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