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Old 09-26-2010, 02:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default how and when should I transition baby from breeder food?

Our breeder has had our new baby on Iam's kitten food. I'm not fond of the ingredients list and would like to switch him over to some better options. Eventually I'd like to work over to a combo mix but with what and how should I start? Our guy is 6 weeks old and on straight Iams. I know I need to make the change gradually and I'm assuming I should only introduce one new food at a time. What food would you suggest that I start with?

I have a Petco near me and they seem to have a broad selection of foods. I can get Royal Canin, Wellness, Natural Balance as well as several others, but I would really appreciate suggestions for a good food to slowly start to mix with the Iams. Should I wait a little while until he's used to his new home with us before I make any changes to his food?

And lastly, after introducing the new food and increasing the ratio, when would I start to add in another new food? Once it's 50/50 or after I've increased the new food to a higher ratio?

I appreciate any advice. I've found lots of good info on feeding but most of the food recomendations are for an adult rather than a baby, and being a hedgie "newbie" I'm a little lost.

Our Sweet Little Farm: 7 homeschooling kiddos, 2 Nubian dariy goats, 17 chickens, 2 dogs, and our newest sweet little member, Zeek the hedge hog. We're now hog farmers!
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Old 09-26-2010, 03:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: how and when should I transition baby from breeder food?

Typically, you do not want to add or change your baby's diet for a minimum of 2 weeks. But this depends on each individual hoglet and case. Like if your baby was on something like Pretty Pets, then an immediate change would be needed. Or if your baby is taking longer to settle in, still get occasional green poop, then you should wait longer. During this time, you should not introduce any new treats, especially when you are switching foods.

I would suggest anything but Wellness to start weaning to. This is just because Wellness is a very good food and very rich, but its richness can also upset tummies if fed in large quantities, no matter how slowly you proceed with the switch.

Which food you chose is typically up to you, it seems like you've already done the research and know which foods are good and which aren't. So the next part will depend on your baby, as they can be chosey about shapes of the kibbles as well. Currently, my boy has been liking his Blue Spa Select weight control over his others, and it's Y shaped.

I slowly switched my boy after 2ish-3ish weeks of owning him, and I did it 5 kibbles at a time(I am overly cautious about food switching). After a few days - a week, I would increase to 10 kibbles of new, etc etc until he was eating only the new stuff and the breeder food was out of the mix. He stayed just eating this one food for another month before I started introducing another food, which I increased in the same increments, until it was a 50:50 mix. He was on this for a few months before I added in a third, and increased it until I got the desired amount.

Now, as for whether to feed say kitten food rather than Adult or senior food, that also depends on your baby. For mine, I went straight to the low fat adult food. Why? He has that lovely teardrop shape with a lovely round rump. Although what I DID do, with the Wellness when I fed it, I would break them in half. I didn't like the cylinder shape of it and neither did he. I was always scared he couldn't bite them properly, especially since my boy is on the smaller end of the spectrum at 320g as an adult. (I switched out the wellness for the Blue spa select because he just doesn't like wellness and the shape of it)

But, if your baby seems like he needs a bit more fat, or maybe particularly small, Royal Canin Babycat is popular for hoglets. And then at around 6 months or so, you can wean him onto adult food, IF he needs to. There are runner types that NEED kitten food to keep weight on, otherwise they just run it all off.
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: how and when should I transition baby from breeder food?

You can look at the back of the bags of food and check out if there is any corn, soy, and/or by-product meal, which are not favored. They are fillers and bad for your hedgie, any pet for that matter. Make sure that the protein is as close to 30% as possible and that the fat content does not exceed 15%.
The fox has many tricks. The hedgehog has but one. But that is the best of all.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Old 09-26-2010, 12:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: how and when should I transition baby from breeder food?

1st week home - breeder mix 75%, your mix 25%. 2nd week - 50/50 and third week breeder mix 25%, your mix 75%.

Always monitor baby's weight and how much food he is eating. You may need to adjust the switching food to take longer.
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