When is it ok to move mom and babies to a bigger cage? - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default When is it ok to move mom and babies to a bigger cage?

Hi, this is my first time with babies and I've been reading up like crazy to make sure I do everything right. I've found a lot of good information on pre-birth and the first two weeks post-birth, but I'm still a little fuzzy on when it's ok to ditch the temporary birthing/nesting set-up. When I suspected Mali was pregnant I made a small nesting box from a cardboard box (slightly bigger than a shoebox) and connected it to a bigger, open-topped box with PVC. She has used them exactly as I hoped she would: she goes into the bigger box to eat and drink and go to the toilet and run on her wheel, and she gave birth in the smaller box which i lined with kleenex. She had six healthy babies

She seemed a bit stressed the first two nights after her babies were born (she wasn't getting any sleep!) but she has been calm and as sweet as ever since then. She is eating a ton and they are growing up fast (they are ten days old now). She is extremely good natured and doesn't react when I lift up the lid on the nesting box to peek in on her when they are nursing. I also take her out sometimes when she comes into the other box to eat and hold her for a couple minutes.

I'm just wondering when it would be ok to move her and the babies into a bigger cage. They are quickly outgrowing the nesting box and she doesn't have much room in the other box either. I am currently working on a bigger&better cage setup than she had previously (prior to getting moved to the birthing boxes), and I would move all of them over there until it was time to separate them. Our plan eventually is to keep one and give away the rest to good homes.

I haven't touched any of them yet because I read that you're supposed to wait until they're two weeks old. Given her disposition and lack of huffing when i hover around the cage, I'm guessing that I could get away with it now, but I'll probably just wait a few more days anyway. At two weeks would it be ok to move them all to a big cage though?

Thanks in advance for your feedback and recommendations. This is a great resource and community!
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You should take the wheel out so she doesn't try to run with them in her mouth. Also from what I've found, you shouldn't even change all the litter until they are weaned let alone change cages
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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thanks, gamerkid.

can anyone else confirm this about not changing cages until they are weaned? the lack of responses on here backs up the fact that i couldn't find an answer anywhere on HHC or on google...nobody seems to know!
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Usually breeding posts take a bit longer to be answered since we mostly try to leave them for the experienced breeders to answer. But yes, you can't move mom & babies to a new cage at all until babies are weaned. Unfortunately it's safest for them to stay where they are, even though it's small.

If you're intentionally breeding & plan to continue, definitely use something different for future litters. Cardboard box isn't sanitary at all if you don't have it sealed or anything, since urine is going to soak down into the cardboard. Starting out with something bigger would be a good idea too, since mom & babies are going to have to stay in it for 6 weeks.

That all said, wait for one of the experienced breeders like Nancy or Nikki to weigh in. They may have other advice or recommendations. You can do more reading too, I'm surprised you didn't find anything else talking about this on the forums. I know it's been mentioned numerous times in this section that mom & babies shouldn't be moved (or even have the cage fully cleaned) until the babies are weaned. If you read through all of the threads in this section, there's a lot of information that can be easily missed otherwise.
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You can't clean the cage or do anything with the nesting box until the babies are weaned. All you can do it take a handful of dirty bedding out and put a handful of clean bedding in once a day when you feed her. Don't touch the nest or clean near it. It's correct to take the wheel out until the babies are weaned too.
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Old 04-08-2014, 06:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilysmommy View Post
If you're intentionally breeding & plan to continue, definitely use something different for future litters. Cardboard box isn't sanitary at all if you don't have it sealed or anything, since urine is going to soak down into the cardboard. Starting out with something bigger would be a good idea too, since mom & babies are going to have to stay in it for 6 weeks.

That all said, wait for one of the experienced breeders like Nancy or Nikki to weigh in. They may have other advice or recommendations. You can do more reading too, I'm surprised you didn't find anything else talking about this on the forums. I know it's been mentioned numerous times in this section that mom & babies shouldn't be moved (or even have the cage fully cleaned) until the babies are weaned. If you read through all of the threads in this section, there's a lot of information that can be easily missed otherwise.
Thanks for your response. And by using some better placed search words, I have been able to find more or less this same response elsewhere now on HHC. Whoops!

This time wasn't intentional (Mali showed some climbing abilities that we hadn't thought possible during a trip away from the house w/ her and Harvey one weekend ), and I don't plan to breed her again in the future. She's only about 6 1/2 - 7 months old, and I'm just relieved she's been such a good mom. I only wish I'd done a better job of building her a good nesting environment. To be sure, cardboard is not ideal and I should have read more carefully to figure out how long they would have to be in there.

Maybe I'll take flack for this, but part of me wonders whether I couldn't just eventually transplant all the bedding materials to a new (bigger) cage sometime in the next couple weeks, maintaining the smell that mom and babies are used to. Reading through the forums, there seems to be the 'just-to-be-safe' advice that everyone agrees on (don't touch them for two weeks, don't peek in on the babies for a while, etc), but then there are all these examples of people not doing that. I looked at a post yesterday (can't find it now) where somebody had put all the little babies on the carpet and taken pictures of them. They must have been a week or less old. It seemed likely that this was an owner with some experience, but nobody said anything except about how cute they were! Point being--like most things in life--surely it must be the case that some of these 'rules' can be loosened up depending on the situation and conditions. Would the mother being of an extremely sweet and laid back disposition possibly allow one to get away with not always following all these rules exactly to the letter? I realize that in these public forums the administrators and moderators probably see it best to stick to the 'company line', but just wondering if there's any leeway in these kind of things. Maybe somebody could send me a PM if they don't want to address it publicly.

Anyway, thanks much to all of your for your feedback. Really appreciate you taking the time to answer and I'll try to read more carefully in the future!
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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We recommend what is safest and gives the best outcome for babies.

Sure sometimes people do things that aren't recommended and they get away with it. Problem is, once you "try" something it's too late and you can't take it back if mom decides to go on a rampage and take it out on babies.

Even the sweetest most gentle seemingly relaxed moms can freak out. Of course it's your choice and it may work out fine, then again...
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If it were me I would not risk the babies unless it was a true life or death situation. You might be okay, but there is absolutely no way to tell for sure and if something happened I know I would feel totally responsible. It's just not worth the risk to me.
Keep an eye on how they are doing, but as you said they seem to be content and happy.
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Ok, that seems reasonable. Thanks everybody
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Just wanted to let everybody know that things turned out ok. I came up with the compromise of building a big C&C-style cage and simply moving the old nesting box into the new cage. In this way I was able to keep the scents and familiarity around the babies while still giving Mali a much bigger (and cleaner) space to roam in. She seems to enjoy her time away from the hoglets but continues to take good care of them as before. They turned two weeks old on Friday and we are able to take them out and play with them a little without any fuss from Mali at all...

i will try to include a couple pics below, including the new setup and the inside of of the nesting box. a bit small and uninspired in design, though in the end everybody seems to like it ok. still, for anyone preparing for hoglets, you can probably do better than this...

Thanks to everybody for their advice and good luck to future parents! Also, to anyone in Thailand able to provide a good home, we're looking for homes for at least five of these little guys (there are three boys and three girls). I don't want any money for them; I just want to know that you'll take good care of them...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg cage.jpg (297.2 KB, 31 views)
File Type: jpg hoglet#4.jpg (152.9 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg hoglets16days.jpg (562.5 KB, 27 views)
File Type: jpg nursing box.jpg (91.0 KB, 27 views)

Last edited by honeywhistle; 04-14-2014 at 03:48 AM.
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