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Old 10-22-2012, 11:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Talking HELP! Babies on the way and I don't know what I'm doing!!

To skip all the details and drama thus far, I'll summarize it like this: I acquired a Hedgie who was exposed to a male. The previous owner is 90% sure that she's pregnant. There's a slim chance that she isn't...but in the chance that she is...I NEED HELP! I'm so nervous! I don't know what to do! And he said that Hedgies will cannibalize their babies?? Or reject them??

Here's what I've done:

I've made a nesting bucket out of a plastic gallon Ice Cream pail.
I've switched her to Kaytee Clean and Cozy bedding.
I've got a heating pad underneath her habitat.
She is now eating the Innova kitten food (as of last night she was fully switched).


What else can I do? How will I know if she's rejecting them?? ANY advice would be extremely appreciated!
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: HELP! Babies on the way and I don't know what I'm doing!!

Step 1. Calm down. Keeping a cool head is key. Will have plenty of people who will help you through this
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: HELP! Babies on the way and I don't know what I'm doing!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jerseymike1126
Step 1. Calm down. Keeping a cool head is key. Will have plenty of people who will help you through this
Hahaha. Easier said than done right now lol! I've bred hairless rats before for about 5 years...they're easy! Some of the best mothers in the world. And I NEVER had a rejection or cannibalism case! The guy that I got Muffin from says that it's really common for things to go wrong!
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: HELP! Babies on the way and I don't know what I'm doing!!

The same thing happened to me recently. This is what I took from all the breeders advice.

Definitely stay calm. She will sense you're frantic and it will stress her out.

Take her wheel out of the cage. Mothers will run with the babies in their mouths and it can kill them. If you think she is due soon, I was advised to leave her alone. Refresh food and water and needed, and just let her be. Let her instincts take over, as mother knows best. Do not disturb her, as tempting as it may be, if you suspect she is in labor. You will hear peeping if she does have babies, but don't peek!! You need to leave her alone for a minimum of a week after she has the babies. She will nest - block off the entrance to her igloo, nest box, etc... I gave my girl some cut up fleece and some toilet paper and she nested with it well. She will be very protective. And feed her... now is not the time to skimp on food. I kept my Auri's bowl full and she ate like no one's business. If she is pregnant, she will need the extra food to keep herself healthy and the babies.

Some signs to guess if she's pregnant, as you really can't tell until she is almost due:
1. She will nest, block off the entrance to her box, or even turn the entrance away from light (Auri turned her igloo).
2. Her urine will start to smell terrible. Spot clean her cage as you can, but once the babies are born DO NOT change the bedding. It will stink, but you cannot disturb it. After about 10 days you can start to take out a handful and replace it as you see necessary.
3. She will probably poop more (Auri did).
4. She will be protective of her underbits.
5. She will gain weight... if you have a scale that measures in grams (or can get one), it's a good idea to weigh her each day to see if she is gaining.

I'm sure a breeder will be around to help you out, but this is what I came across. Yes, there is a chance that she could reject or eat the babies, but that is why it is best to leave her be and let her do her thing (mother knows best!). If she rejects them, or you find one outside the nest, pick up with a spoon and gently put it back in. Hand feeding a rejected baby can be very tasking. First time mothers have a higher chance of an unsuccessful litter, but not all.

Good luck, and keep us updated!
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: HELP! Babies on the way and I don't know what I'm doing!!

She's making me very mad, among all this stress! LOL! Not so much mad as annoyed. I know that she needs to eat a lot, and I'm filling her bowl full, but I don't know if she's eating or not, because she only comes out at night. When she does, she takes her bowl and beats it on the side of her igloo, spilling the food everywhere (I assume all of it, but I'm not sure. I would safely say that most of it isn't making it into her belly). It would be impossible to pick out the kibble from the bedding in her enormous habitat, so I'm at a loss. What would you guys suggest for keeping her from dumping her food? An auto feeder? Can I feed her canned food for the extra fattening? I'm going to get her more toys tonight to hopefully distract her from doing this. I have access to scales, so we'll see her weight gain over time. What is normal weight gain for a preggo Hedgie? I posted on the "Health" section about some mites she just went through, and someone there guesstimated her due date around the 11th. (When I got her last Saturday...so...9 days ago, the guy said that she was 7-10 days along at that point, if she was at all).
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: HELP! Babies on the way and I don't know what I'm doing!!

Try getting a heavier bowl. Auri used to tip the plastic one, so we got a ceramic one (just make sure it's pet friendly). And it is a bit stressful, but your girl can feel the stress, so just let her be. She will appreciate it! You can definitely give her some treats, but don't overdo it and give her new foods in moderation so you can make sure they agree with her little tummy. Best you can do is count the kibble you're giving her at night and then again in the morning (if she doesn't dump it). Somewhere on these forums is the average gain for a pregnant hedgehog, so I don't know it offhand. Their gestation period is in the time fram of 30-59 days (I think is what I was told)... so expect babies up until that point. After that, you should be clear!

Sorry I can't help more!
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: HELP! Babies on the way and I don't know what I'm doing!!

Side note too... sometimes you won't even know your mama had babies, as I have heard of them eating them right after being born for whatever reason. You just need to keep her in a quiet spot so she feels comfortable. Auri didn't give birth until we were gone overnight and we came home to a litter!
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: HELP! Babies on the way and I don't know what I'm doing!!

It's "common" only compared to other animals, because hedgehog mamas are very sensitive. As long as you're prepared and give her plenty of space and keep her in a quiet place, she'll most likely do fine. And if she doesn't, as long as you've prepared correctly, then it will mean it's just nature taking its course, not anything you could have prevented. Mothers can reject or cannibalize if they're stressed out or if they sense something is wrong with the babies, like they're not healthy. You have plenty of time to prepare, so just make sure she's not stressed in any way around her due date. Keep her in a room that no one else can go into, keep it quiet, and don't bother her very much the few days before. Just let her do her thing.

You don't have to switch her to substrate bedding until about a week before the earliest due date, but now that you've done it already you might as well leave it. Does she have a wheel or did you already remove it? She can have a wheel up until a week before, and if she doesn't have a wheel that would explain why she's throwing her food around. Also try a larger/heavier bowl.

Msredhead listed some of the signs that you might see. You also might not see any of them. Most pregnant females will gain some amount of weight, but some don't gain at all, or they gain it only toward the end of the pregnancy. She was bred, she was together with a male, so just assume she's pregnant. Don't try to guess based on the signs - just assume that, yes, she's going to have babies, and wait for them to come. I'm the one who calculated her earliest due date in another thread - she's due starting on the 11th, if what the guy told you is correct. That's day 35 from the first day she was with the male. If you don't see babies by day 55, they're not coming, but almost all gestations fall in the 35-40 day range. Still, if they haven't shown up by day 40, keep waiting and don't change anything until you're past day 55.
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: HELP! Babies on the way and I don't know what I'm doing!!

Everyone has been so wonderful about giving advice! And Moxie, I'd be insane if you weren't here walking me through it! Again, I say THANK YOU for being so AWESOME! My goal is to have pictures of little babies on here soon! I took her wheel out for cleaning last night (to soak), so that could explain why she did it last night. I hope that's all! I will get a ceramic dish tonight and then count the kibble. My Rocket uses a little plastic dish and NEVER knocks it over!! I will let her keep her wheel until the 3rd. Should I keep her in complete darkness? Or, to counter my own question, would this disrupt her sleep cycle too much? I'm sorry if I'm getting annoying, I just really love her already and want everything to go perfectly for her and hopefully never have to go through this again! :P
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Old 10-22-2012, 04:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: HELP! Babies on the way and I don't know what I'm doing!!

I would keep her light schedule the same, maybe give her a blanket over the cage for privacy with one side only open.

It's adorable how different each hedgehog's personality is. Good luck with the hoglets! Can't wait to see pics if she does have a litter!
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