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Old 01-26-2015, 06:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hello! Looking for dietary info

Hello! My name is Nina, and I have wanted a hedgehog for years. I am going to college in Vermont this September to study Botany and Conservation Biology, and I am in need of an animal companion I'm researching hedgehogs as pets to see if one would be a good fit for me. Right now my only real concern is working out a diet that is ideal for my heggie while not supporting the mainstream meat industry. Other than that everything checks off. I can't wait to get to know the community here!
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how attainable that goal is for hedgie diets. Hedgehogs are omnivores and do require meat in their diet, a vegan or vegetarian diet is not appropriate or acceptable for them. Most people go with a kibble diet. I haven't done extensive research into it, but I'm fairly certain even the higher end kibbles are probably still using meat from the commercial meat industry. You could do more research into particular brands to see if any of them discuss their meat sourcing and such, though. But besides that concern, they still need to check out with protein & fat percentages, which is sometimes difficult with the high quality cat foods since they tend to have protein that is too high. You could also check dog kibbles though, as they're usually lower protein, even with the high quality brands.

The other option is doing a raw/natural diet, which is more work and also more of an unknown with hedgehogs. There's a sticky in the Nutrition forum on natural/raw diets, along with lots of links to threads & such, if you want to check it out. You have a bit more control over the meat sources with that kind of diet, especially if you buy meat from a local humane farm or similar place & make your own grinds or something like that. Out of the raw suppliers on the list, I know Hare Today and Reel Raw are two that seem to have better standards for how they keep animals or where they get them from, but that's not a guarantee - you'd still probably have to contact the companies if you want to ask specific questions about how the animals are kept, etc. You could also check into commercial raw brands to see what kind of standards they stick to with meat sourcing.
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Old 01-26-2015, 07:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilysmommy View Post
Welcome to the forum.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how attainable that goal is for hedgie diets. Hedgehogs are omnivores and do require meat in their diet, a vegan or vegetarian diet is not appropriate or acceptable for them. Most people go with a kibble diet. I haven't done extensive research into it, but I'm fairly certain even the higher end kibbles are probably still using meat from the commercial meat industry. You could do more research into particular brands to see if any of them discuss their meat sourcing and such, though. But besides that concern, they still need to check out with protein & fat percentages, which is sometimes difficult with the high quality cat foods since they tend to have protein that is too high. You could also check dog kibbles though, as they're usually lower protein, even with the high quality brands.

The other option is doing a raw/natural diet, which is more work and also more of an unknown with hedgehogs. There's a sticky in the Nutrition forum on natural/raw diets, along with lots of links to threads & such, if you want to check it out. You have a bit more control over the meat sources with that kind of diet, especially if you buy meat from a local humane farm or similar place & make your own grinds or something like that. Out of the raw suppliers on the list, I know Hare Today and Reel Raw are two that seem to have better standards for how they keep animals or where they get them from, but that's not a guarantee - you'd still probably have to contact the companies if you want to ask specific questions about how the animals are kept, etc. You could also check into commercial raw brands to see what kind of standards they stick to with meat sourcing.
Thank you, Lilysmommy! I am definitely open to feeling meat if need be, but I am hoping to use as many bugs as possible for nutrient sources. The raw diet sounds like a possible option for me, because I have time to prepare foods, and am willing to do extensive research into nutritional content of various ingredients. I'm definitely gonna look into the raw companies you mentioned!
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