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Old 01-05-2011, 10:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Does anybody free range?

Does anyone free range with a hog that behaves himself and is litter trained?

We are thinking about giving it a try this weekend by sectioning off a 6x6 section of our bedroom with a litter train and all Sam's stuff to see how he does. Our goal eventually would be to let Sam pretty much roam the upstairs as he sees fit....

I let him roam the guest bedroom his cage is in while I'm cleaning it and he's pretty good. His only vice seems to be attacking the bed skirt (he HATES it for some reason)....

So, can it be done? Does anyone free range with success???
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Old 01-05-2011, 10:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does anybody free range?

I think the big obstacle with free range is there is so many variables that it would be very hard to control them to make it safe. Some off the top of my head would be:

No matter how hard you clean and vacuum there always seems to be stray hair or fibers around that they could get wrapped around them

Without having a designated space it would extremely hard to control the temperature. Floors are a lot colder and certain areas drafty so even if the temperature seems warm enough the amount of variation may not be and could trigger a hibernation attempt.

It would be very hard to completely hedge proof an entire floor for free roam. Shoes, socks, cracks and crevices could potentially pose a problem if they were to get stuck.

There would always be the risk that someone getting up to go to the bathroom at night would accidentally trip or step on him.

I don't want it to come off as negative, these are just the obstacles that come to mind when I have pondered it.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does anybody free range?

You aren't being negative at all. I appreciate the thought. I am looking for all sides of the topic. I don't really know how receptive Sam would be to it anyway, but you're right there are a lot of obstacles. We are going to try to find a balance between extremely safe and a little more freedom for sam this weekend.
Are biggest hurdle is potty training as he uses his tray but he also poo's in his wheel.

IF he can use a tray in a 6x6 space we may just barrier off that space in our room and sort of cage/not cage him there. He'd have all that space but still be "caged" in...we'll see.

I just want him to be happy and to not get bored with a wheel...

Thanks again!
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does anybody free range?

Just a thought...

...when I didn't end up using the 16 C&C shelves, I zip-tied them together in two long accordian-style 'chains' and move them from room to room for Snarf. I have hedgie-proofed the livingroom but there are some areas I don't want to take a chance with: ie behind our TV!, so I have one handy there and to stop him from wandering into the kitchen. When I am in the kitchen, I set one up to keep him nearby. I am always with him but he tends to 'make a break for it' when I first put him down - this way he has waaaaaaaaaaaay more freedom, and runs and runs in circles, yet is perfectly safe. I keep a strip of fleece tied therough the top of each set to keep them together and use the strips if I want to tie the two sets together to make a big enclosure.

Does this make any sense?
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does anybody free range?

The breeder I got Annabell from allows one hedgehog free range of the hedgie room each night. It's a small study room, maybe about 8x8 or so? She has plexi glass across the door, couple toys on the ground. She said they like to climb onto the botom bookself (one of those IKEA shelves) and sleep amongs all the liners.
Annabell get's free range in my living room when I'm home where it's all been safetied. I don't give her free range of the apartment though as I'm concerned about cleaning products on my tile floor and her getting caught behind doors or underfoot
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does anybody free range?

I'm far too paranoid to let Herc wander freely, so I bought 4 of those multicolored small animal pens from the pet store. I put them all together to make one big pen, then I put all of Herc's stuff in there on some cuddle nights and let him wander. It's big enough that he can run around in (and maybe think he has free range) and I feel he's safe too. Of course, I don't totally leave him alone, I put him on the floor in the living room while I'm making dinner in the kitchen (which looks over the living room). Only thing wrong with this idea is that some hedgies are climbers, and might escape, or hurt themselves trying. Herc doesn't climb, so I let him free in there. Maybe some kind of pen would work for you?
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Old 01-07-2011, 12:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does anybody free range?

What floor surface?

Carpet loops will be shredded by their nails when they do their little burrowing routine and could potentially get caught on their nails, tearing the nail up. Tile will be cold. I'd suggest somehow laying down fleece blankets but it isn't easy to keep them from digging up under the liner.

I don't know if this is an option for you with the space available but a kiddie pool would offer more space. Can suspend the CHE over it, or have a space heater in the room. Or both, depending on the heating needs for the area. Floor is definitely colder.
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does anybody free range?

I have his pen in the living room, and we lay down a large fleece blanket on the carpet before we put up the pen.
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does anybody free range?

We're going to try it. Right now we don't have the space to let Hodge wander free but we're moving to a bigger place around May and he'll get his own room with hardwood floor. It will truly be HIS room (ie our stuff won't be cluttering it up. it will be his space) Perhaps the cats can use the room too as they seem to love Hodge and are surprisingly gentle with him.

Basically the room will be treated like his enclosure is currently. He'll have the run of that but will be supervised anywhere else (especially since our new place is a two floor affair and we don't want him taking a tumble or causing any of us to take a tumble either ) He'll have a carrier he can go into if he wishes and the room will be kept at a constant ambient temperature of 25 degrees Celsius and the floor will only be cleaned with vinegar and a little sugar soap so it stays chemical-free. And i'll put childproofing on all the wall outlets as i believe the place we're currently looking at has a lot of outlets in every room

I'm CONSIDERING creating a room-sized liner for him too. This would do double-duty to protect him and ALSO to protect the floors in the room . Or at the very least, make a larger liner where most of his stuff will be so he's more likely to spend time in that part of the room.

He's not really litter trained yet but that's my fault, not his. he's only been with us for about three weeks now and he's such a good boy about just going in his wheel. So i figure if i put a litter pan UNDER his wheel, he'll figure the rest out pretty quickly.

This will be a pretty slow transition. When he gets bigger, it will be easier to let him roam. He'll sort of get more freedom the bigger he gets and the less fearful he becomes. Right now he doesn't mind MY presence but he still freaks out if he's surprised by anything.
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