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Old 11-05-2019, 09:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi all!
I keep my hedgie's bowl full all the time and then just refill it when it starts to get empty. Is this okay?
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Old 11-05-2019, 10:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You should be putting in just a little more than your hedgehog eats in one day then dumping out the leftovers and cleaning the bowl daily. Think of it this way, would you want to keep eating out of the same dirty dish and eating food that's left over for days in your plate?
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Old 11-05-2019, 10:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I know some free-feed (and just keep topping up the bowl), but I would really discourage it and to be perfectly frank, it's just lazy. For one, the kibble is just going to go stale sitting out for days at a time - and the kibble at the bottom of the dish is going to be exceptionally so, especially if you just keep adding more on top so it never goes empty. Secondly, Its also important to note that by leaving your kibble out for such a prolonged period is putting your hedgehog at risk of deficiency, and potentially jeopardising their health. When kibble is exposed to air, it has already begun to oxidise - and the longer its out, the more progressive the oxidation process becomes & the fat in the food becomes rancid, destroying vitamins & minerals..

Thirdly, It's just good hygiene to regularly clean their bowls - if your bowl is never going empty, then when are you cleaning it?

And lastly, it makes it impossible to tell how much your hedgehog is eating - or if theyre eating at all. So youre very unlikely to notice a problem until it has either already progressed, or worse - until it's too late. Loss of appetite is often the first sign of an underlying issue. With a hedgehog who constantly has food in a bowl, it's just impossible to monitor how much theyre eating - and going off food for even just two days can be incredibly dangerous for a hedgehog.

I dont recommend free-feeding at all, theres literally no benefit to it - there are only cons.
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Old 11-05-2019, 10:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emc View Post
Its also important to note that by leaving your kibble out for such a prolonged period is putting your hedgehog at risk of deficiency, and potentially jeopardising their health. When kibble is exposed to air, it has already begun to oxidise - and the longer its out, the more progressive the oxidation process becomes & the fat in the food becomes rancid, destroying vitamins & minerals..
I never actually knew this, theres a facebook group that tells everyone to free feed - either leaving food and only filling up 2-4 days a week. Or doing what the op does.
I mean I've never really free fed like this because I dont even like doing it for dogs. But this is great to try and get the facebook group to re think and stop doing doing this!
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Old 11-06-2019, 09:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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So how much do you recommend putting in for a young female hedgehog every night?
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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How much you give will depend on your hedgehog. A growing hedgehog may require more food some nights than others. You may find the amount required varies for a while then settles down to a much smaller amount as she reaches adulthood. Even as adults they can have a wide range of what they require.

I don't measure in volume as I find doing so to be inaccurate, but here is an example of what I mean by it just varies. I have two adult girls, one is 320ish, one is 590ish grams. Both are 3-4 years old. My 320ish gram hedgehog gets 20 grams of food each night. She eats roughly 17 of that. She is highly active and requires a higher calorie food to maintain 320. My 590 gram girl is less active and gets 12-14 grams of low fat/calorie food a night. She eats about 10 grams. My 590 also eats insects daily where the 320 will not touch them. It all just depends on what the hedgehog needs.

What foods to feed and how much just depends on the needs of the individual. Start out with a lot and cut it back to the point that there is just a little waste each night. Then throw out the waste and provide fresh.
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