How soon to introduce a wheel? - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How soon to introduce a wheel?

Hello!

I was talking to my breeder when I was visiting my hedgie (adorable by the way!!) and she told me not to put a wheel in her cage until she reaches 6 months or even a year. I was a bit confused because I had not come across this in my research. I trust her advice, but I just want to check. I hear stories of hedgies running all night and are happy, or hedgies without wheels pacing and sleeping all the time. Any help?
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Did she give a reason? I've never heard of that. You usually give them a wheel when they're around 6 weeks old. Some people in the UK wait until the hedgehog is around 10 weeks old but definitely not that long!
I wouldn't wait that long, they cover miles in the wild and the wheel is the most important "toy" for our pet hedgehogs.
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Old 06-01-2014, 01:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I too would like to hear what her reasoning is for waiting that long.
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Old 06-01-2014, 01:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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She said that sometimes the babies are too small and the wheels are too large. Also, she said babies need to grow more even after 6 weeks old because they will spend hours a night on the wheel (which I thought was normal) and they lose too much weight. I just thought if they lost weight to give them a higher fat food.
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Old 06-01-2014, 01:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've always given my hedgies a wheel right away. You can buy smaller wheels and then buy a bigger one when your hedgehog is older, but I don't even think that is necessary.
Wheels are so important to prevent boredom and for exercise.
If you think about it, in the wild a hedgehog would be active most of the night anyway looking for food. So a wheel is just replacing that activity.
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Old 06-01-2014, 02:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks. I'm just going to put the wheel right away. I don't want her to get bored. Thanks again!
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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That doesn't make much sense to me. Like you said, babies usually get food that's higher in fat since they're still growing. They also sleep more (and wheel less) than most adults.
I think the size of the wheel doesn't matter either (in terms of it being too big, too small isn't good of course). It's better to have a big wheel actually, since you don't want them to have to bend their backs.

I think you made a good choice to give her one!
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks! I have a wheel all set up for her when she gets home. One quick question, how do you clean it? I heard half water ad half vinegar works, or even just hot water?
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Half water & half vinegar would be great. I would use that over just hot water, since vinegar helps clean and also deodorize. I always just sprayed 50/50 vinegar/water from a spray bottle onto the wheel, let it sit for several minutes (tilted back so it wouldn't all run out of the wheel), then wiped. I also had a diluted chlorhexidine solution (bought the bottle from my breeder, small bottle lasted the whole time I had Lily) that I followed up with just to feel like it was definitely clean! Not necessary, but I liked using it.
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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A group of the hedgie breeders in my country said that hoglets shouldn't get their wheels till they get like 4-6 months old. The reasoning behind this was that the hoglets would overload their fast growing bones which would cause periostitis for them and whatnot.
Doesn't sound legit to me, but would like to ask for the opinions of more experienced owners, whether they have met with this kind of issue before?
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