How to tell the age of babies & when to handle?? - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to tell the age of babies & when to handle??

Hello, I'm new to the forum and would greatly appreciate some advice.
About a month and a half ago, I collected a 7 month old female hog named Sammie. It was a snap decision as a family friend was offering her free and I didn't want her to end up in the wrong hands..and I often topped up a dry water bowl/empty food bowl when I was there and had cuddles with her so I was already very attached. They were also offering a male free but I didn't have the space for both.

I had a family member take a turn for the worst about three weeks ago and had to go and stay up in Scotland (I live in South England) to help out said family member. I had someone coming in every day to check on Sammie and my other pets, and told her just to make sure she was okay. I was told she was fine and had put on some weight, which I put down to her not being handled.

Well, I got back last week and found a litter of babies in Sammie's house. Problem is, I have no idea how old they are as I have never bred hedgehogs (and never intended to!). Is there any relatively easy ways to tell how old they are?
When I first got back (29 may) they were maybe 1.5-2" long, with some slight quill coloration, no masking or anything else.
I checked them again today (she has had them half buried so I couldn't check before then) and my have they grown! They have masks, are showing coloring and are developing well. They look around 2-3" long and are quite chunky. My boyfriend sneaked a look and thinks one of the hoglets' eyes were partially open. I shone a dim light into her house to check on them today and they reacted to the light.
I'm just at a loss as to how to know how old they are, when to split etc. and am really worried about doing something wrong. Sammie is being a great mum and her wheel etc. has been removed. Since getting back I have added a small amount of Royal canin Kitten to her diet also.
I can't upload photos of them as they won't attach.

Also, when should I start to handle them?

thanks for any replies.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to tell the age of babies & when to handle??

If there eyes are open you can defiantly start handling. Most say you can at the 2 week mark and there eyes arnt even open at that point.

Start slow and hold one baby for a few seconds and put it back to see how mom reacts. If she's okay then he next day you can hold 2 to a minute each and then add another hog and hold them for longer each day I moms okay with it. Eventually you can have them all away from mom four about 20 mins to half an hour a day just before weaning
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