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Old 12-15-2008, 02:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb No question, just an intro

Figured I'd best introduce my babies to avoid not giving you guys enough info for later when I'm lost.

I'm Crystal, my significant other's name is Randy, & we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 "babies". (there are always newborns, so it's hard to keep an exact headcount.) Randy's a reptile & amphibian breeder, I'm just starting to try my hand at small mammals, and we're currently bidding on a reptile farm in Alabama that would finally give us the space all these mouths need (plus another 2000 mouths that already live on the farm. )

Needless to say, we're busy folks, but it's the best kind of busy.

Hedgies are one of the newest additions to our collection (saw them on vacation and couldn't resist, so as soon as we found a reputable breeder we added two little munchkins). Sonic is a normal agouti (you can't give a Sega generation guy a hedgehog and not let him name it Sonic, it appears), Cinnamon is obviously a cinnamon and they were both 12 weeks when we brought them home first week in september.

About 6 weeks ago Cini started getting round, and off the vet we were. "just wait a few more weeks and you'll know" wasn't exactly worth the hundred dollars we paid for that visit, but we decided to follow it. Cini went into a maternity ward & there she stayed for a month. All signs pointed toward pregnancy. Prominant nipples for a hedgehog so young, steady weight gain in the right places, easier to handle, more cuddly, etc, but it's been 6 weeks and no babies, so Cini's new exercise regimen started this week. They've always had a wheel, now they have a bigger one, but still no real interest in using it.

*Any suggestions there greatly appreciated - i tried to show Cini how it works but Soni was asleep under the wheel at the time and quilled up, effectively stopping the wheel from going anywhere. We've put the treats in the wheel some nights, and the banana chips and mealworms are always gone, but I never have caught them using the wheel, so I'm kind of clueless on what else to do. Chinchillas and others seem to pick up on the wheel concept on their own, hedgies are being a bit more stubborn.

Cini definitely did gain more weight in the maternaty ward, probably at least partially due to being in a smaller space with less climbing room. They are free fed but over the course of the last month Cini and Soni chose to eat almost exactly the same amount out of their bowls every night, and Soni is as sleek as ever. (Cini is definitely plump but she's still well into a ball when she wants to be.) We're working on getting a pen for everybody to run around free-range in the evenings, but money's tight and it will still probably be a couple of months before they have that kind of freedom.

Any feedback as always appreciated!
mother of Cini & Soni
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: No question, just an intro

Most people recommend breeding after having a few years' experience with hedgehogs. It sounds like you kind of rushed into it... it sounds like you need to do a LOT of research to be prepared for when the hedgies are born--and I'm not trying to criticize you or anything when I say that, I'm just trying to point out that even experienced hedgehog breeders have problems with their litters and it definitely sounds like this is your first. And breeding them is expensive if you need an emergency vet visit, which often happens, so you might want to start setting some money aside.
I've never bred before so I'm not an expert on this, but I believe that hedgies aren't supposed to be bred before 6 months of age... Please read this thread.
I'm also pretty sure that the wheel is supposed to be removed from the area a pregnant female is in, and that the male should be removed from the area as well (if he hasn't been already), both to prevent harm to the babies and the female. If he's in there when they're born, the female will be stressed and be more likely to eat the babies if he doesn't. The female also needs to go onto wooden bedding so she can make a nest.
There is a board on this forum specifically for breeding. I'd recommend asking questions there and reading up on everything. I wish the best to your little Cini and hope all goes well.
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: No question, just an intro

Are they housed together? If they are, (sounds like it, if Sonic is quilling up under the wheel), she probably got pregnant, had the babies and they were eaten. Hedgehogs are solitary animals. A male and female should never be housed together except for a few days, when breeding.

I don't want to lecture you, but you should do a lot more research before you breed. You might find a hedgehog breeder who would be willing to mentor you.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: No question, just an intro

Just to answer the first poster, I said she went into a maternaty ward. No wheel, no company. Just a nest box, water, etc.

We were not intending on breeding them right now. They were housed together because they were young and we couldn't afford an extra cage. (plus they were attached to each other, sleeping together from in the box on the way home, and until she hit puberty we didn't want to put them thru separation.) When she started to gain weight, I thought she must have grown up when I wasn't looking and did the safe thing of separating them. I mean, she wasn't quite old enough as far as I knew, but then neither was I when I hit puberty at 9, so who was I to judge, right?

We're 90% or better that she just never had babies, as she was a tad young at the time, the vet didn't find any absolute "bulge" in her at 2+ weeks, and I was VERY alert to every sound and movement that came from that cage. I checked when she was alseep every day, and never the least sign of dried blood on shavings or anything of the kind. If my mouse leaves physical evidence of havign given birth (placental blood, behavioral changes, etc), one would expect that a hedgehog could not give birth and eat her offspring without a drop of blood or a single squeak.

Right at the moment they're together again because she needed space to exercise and move, and that cage is 2x as big as the isolation ward. (plus we had a degu emergency injury at three in the morning 2 nights ago and the degu needed the isolation ward STAT, Cini had to go somewhere.) Sonic didn't react in the least when she was put back in there, unlike what I've read about mature males reacting to mature females. They're curled up in a ball in the empty log again like two hoglets. She will be separated this week as soon as I get a christmas bonus to cover her cage. Til then, I'm willing to take the risk of just watching and listening for any amorous behavior.

Hogs may naturally be isolationist, but these two just plain like each other. We've watched from day one for any signs that we needed to separate them, and they spend all their time together, playing, sleeping, just being silly . . . even at mealworm time, they just stand on each other's heads to get to the feeding tongs. No agression whatsoever. So even once they have separate houses, playtime is going to be joint.

Please do feel free to make suggestions. That's how we learn. We've read everything we can get our hands on, but that still never seems to answer the questions you don't even think to ask but should. (like it says chubby hedgehogs may like swimming but doesn't tell you a thing on HOW to set up a swimming hole for a hedgie.)

Anybody got any suggestions on how to convince Cini that the wheel isn't just a clumsy thing taking up floor space?

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Old 12-16-2008, 10:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: No question, just an intro

If they are together again, she WILL get pregnant. Just because they act okay while you are around, does not mean they won't fight, or won't mate. The only time you should ever have them together is to breed. Are these guys pedigreed and from separate lines? How old is the female? It sounds like you might have some problems up the road.

As for not being able to afford another cage, I think you should have had the setups ready before you got them. If you can't afford another cage, how are you going to afford crazy vet bills from birthing problems? Hedgie vet expenses are not cheap.

I'd recommend separating them, by any means possible, and pray the female isn't pregnant. If she has a wheel in her cage, she will likely figure it out on her own.

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Old 12-16-2008, 11:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: No question, just an intro

If you cannot afford the cost of an extra cage, you cannot afford to breed hedgehogs. If you can't afford $15 for a plastic bin for a cage, you sure can't afford what could be as much as $1300 for an emergency C-section to save her life if complications happen.

Just because you didn't find blood or remains of babies means nothing. I had a cannibalization one time and I've bled more from a paper cut than I found in the cage and the only reason I found what I did was because it was on a piece of toilet paper. Had it been on shavings or carefresh, it would never have been seen.

You got them at 12 weeks old. Baby boys can impregnate as young as 6 weeks old, girls can become pregnant at 8 weeks.

If you don't have the room or finances to properly house and care for all those animals, I urge you to be responsible and give some of them up.
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Old 12-16-2008, 01:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: No question, just an intro

Female hedgehogs can give birth at very young ages, one of my females was about 8 weeks old when i got her and gave birth 2 weeks later, at 10 weeks of when you got them when they were 12 weeks both were sexually mature...and now at 6 months they are both adults and will breed and probably have been breeding. i've never found any amount of blood when my girls have given birth.
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Old 12-16-2008, 04:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: No question, just an intro

Sorry, my other half got laid off and we hit a financial crisis. I'm not giving up my children because we're tight on cash this month. If she needed emergency vet care, my vet does payment plans. Petco, however, does not, and I have to pay the rent on the apartment BEFORE I go to the pet store, or Sonic and Cinnamon will have a bigger problem than having to share for a week. As for "when we're around", as the animals were until this week my boyfriend's ONLY job, [my boyfriend finally got a new job (which we're waiting for the first check from, hence the financial crisis)] when we're around is about 22.5 hrs a day between the two of us. (I'm an insomniac who sleeps weird hours when I sleep at all.)

Yes, they are both pedigreed and from separate lines, best of the litter, breed quality. Cini was 12 weeks when we got her in August, which would make her old enough to deliver safely should she become pregnant in the next 2 days. The vet was already asking about babies from the last time we took her in, as they are exotic vets and do get requests for "who has these". We also have arrangements with several pet stores who buy our reptiles when they're old enough who are eager for any of our babies, since they're healthy, well handled and well adjusted. If she were to get pregnant, we've covered the bases. By the time medical bills became an issue, his first paycheck would have come and we'd be out of trouble.

As for a $15 plastic bin, I would not keep my daughter in one full time. With the lid on, light and air would both be scarce to non-existent. With the lid off, she'd be prone to curious cats who wouldn't hurt her but could well scare her beyond the breaking point. Thru the bars, she's used to them and knows they cant get to her. If Pip jumped in her bin to poke around and see what was up, I wouldn't want to know what would happen to Cini's blood pressure. And as Pip thinks everything without a lid is an invitation, there's no keeping her out. I can put the cats in the bedroom during playtime when the rodents run around, but I can't keep them in there all the time. It's their home too.

Anyway, I got my christmas bonus today, so its a mute point anyway.

Sorry to get defensive, but telling someone to give up their children without knowing them or the situation they're actually in is likely to cause that. If they were human, no one would tell me to give them up for their own good, and it would matter more. But since my babies have fur and scales, people think because we're tight for money we should split our family in half. My children get the best I can possibly give them. It's MY food that has gone to fillers & cheapest cuts, not my babies. They are still on Science Diet and Premium mixes. Yes, sometimes my babies do have to share rooms for a night or so while we get their next home set up. They can't have everything I want them to. Whose children can? But they have what they need. They're healthy, they're happy, and our vet is 100% comfortable with our abilities to care for our children. She thinks we're doing a great job, and she's the one who should know.
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Old 12-16-2008, 04:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: No question, just an intro

as for the one ever suggested you put her in one with the lid on with no light or ventilation..if you read the housing thread you would have seen that when bins are used you have to drill ventilation holes and if you need to keep the lid on you cut out the center and put screen in. Also a bathtub works well as a temporary cage if you line it thickly with fleece and keep the door closed...lots of air, light and no cat. I think people are just worried that you feel its ok to keep a male and female together when its not healthy for the female.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: No question, just an intro

Science Diet isn't great food, it's not even good food.

I would suggest you search for a mentor.
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