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Old 04-04-2009, 06:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Need advice on changing diet:

I've tried to post this twice so I apologize if they all show up.

My family is taking an abandoned and mistreated young adult hedgie this next week from a wildlife rescue and rehab place. We take animals that are difficult to place - like to think we have a gift in this regard as the center seems to think we do!

Anyway, after reading Reaper's list of suggested foods (thank you for that!) I called to find out the hedgehog's current diet. It is "Hedgehog Food" and mealworms. I need to know the best and least stressful way is to change her diet towards something more nutritional. Do I need to buy some of the hedgehog food to mix w/ Wellness and a couple of other suitable dry cat foods? Can I try to make a swift change towards the better foods right when she comes home or would that upset her and her digestive tract? Can I feed her canned/dormant mealworms? How often to they eat the worms and crickets? I appreciate any advice in any of these areas.

Thank you,
Dana
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Need advice on changing diet:

when you get a new hedgie you're supposed to wait a couple weeks before making any changes because they're probably pretty freaked out as it is. If you're really in a hurry to switch the food because most hedgehog food really isn't suitable for hedgehogs, you can do half of the original food and half of the Wellness. I just did this and my hedgehog just ate around his old food food and ate the Wellness . If yours does this then i'm pretty sure you can just take the old hedgehog food out completely.
as for feeding mealworms and crickets as well as other treats, those should be fed about 3 times a week.
hope this helped! i'm pretty new too but i do know this, haha. maybe someone else will come on here and be more detailed if i didn't help. good luck!
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Need advice on changing diet:

Thank you, Nicole. I'm happy to have found this forum. You all are so nice and willing to help. I swear, I've been raising and rescuing everything for as long as I can remember, but a hedgehog is a first for me!

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Old 04-04-2009, 08:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need advice on changing diet:

It depends on the kind of "hedgehog food" that the shelter is using. Check out Reaper's other post about hedgehog foods in the nutrition forum. If the hedgehog is on any of the foods in the lower half of the list, he needs to be switched immediately. With those, it's usually best to just switch him cold turkey, too. Most hedgies, if they've been on one of the bad hedgehog foods, when offered a cat food, will not touch the hedgehog food again.
If the hedgehog is on one of the foods in the top half of the list, that means that the food is better for them than the lower half of the list, but still not as good as a mix of cat foods. I would give him a week or two to settle into your home, then start switching. Only introduce one new food at a time (this goes for treats too; if he's getting a new cat food, do not offer any new fruits/veggies until he's used to the cat food). Most people do a slow introduction, say 1/4 of new food to 3/4 of old food, then after a couple of days, move up to 1/2 and 1/2, then so on. If it's a decent hedgehog food, you can keep it in the mix if you want, but you don't have to. If you see any green poop appear, slow down the introduction a little. After he's used to one food, you can introduce another and so on until you have him on the mix you want to be feeding. It's taken me a couple of months to get Lily's mix to a set ratio of cat foods, so she hasn't gotten a chance to try many new treats, since I've been messing with her diet so much.

With mealworms, you can feed canned, just keep in mind that they go bad after a couple of weeks. Make sure you don't feed freeze-dried, there's been cases of hedgies getting impacted bowels from them.
For how often, it kind of depends on your hedgehog. If your hedgehog is quick to put on weight, or is overweight, less mealies is better, since they're high fat. If your hedgehog turns out to be a runner, they can have more mealies. I think it's alright to offer 2-4 medium sized ones each day, but like I said, depends. If you notice your hedgehog putting on too much weight, back off on them a bit.
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