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Old 06-02-2015, 03:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Losing quills and too old to be baby quilling..

Hi everyone! I've had Alfred for two months now and he has had at least 2 owners that I know of, so I'm not sure how old he is, but I was told between and year and a year and a half old. He has slowly been getting to know me and I've been getting to know him. I'll be honest I'm scared to pick him up with my bare hands, he has bit me a few times and he still balls up and hisses whenever I make any movement so I'm scared he will just bite me again when given the chance!

But that's not why I'm typing this, my concern right now is the amount of quills I found in his cage tonight! I went to pick him up at our usual time and counted about 40 quills on his blanket! I don't use wood shavings, he came to me with three fleece blankets, I change them every day and wash them before using them again, so I have just stuck with those so it's easy to count quills when I take out the items in his cage. This is the most I have ever seen him lose! While handling him tonight (which was mostly an hour and a half of sitting with him on the tee shirt, on a blanket, on my lap while I used the laptop/iPad and then 30-45 minutes of him walking around and exploring an approximately 2 foot section of the couch with little interaction from me, just using my body to block off the edge of the couch. Whenever I did put my hand out he would immediately ball up and hiss or loudly sniff and back away), he lost about 6 quills and a thin hair-like quill, a lot more than usual, again. I have noticed more dandruff than usual the last couple days, but I'm scared to try and give him anything more than a foot bath in the sink because he absolutely hates that and will try to ball up even though it makes him sneeze. (Side note, what might cause him to sneeze? I'm home pretty much all day and in the same room as him so I hear his movements throughout the day, he sneezed a couple times today, can a hedgehog catch a cold? Allergies? Or is it normal for him to sneeze?)

All other activities are normal, his wheel is still poopy every morning, he is actually running right now! He eats just the same, actually better since I started adding about a quarter teaspoon of water to his food bowl to soften the food just a little bit, he eats everything almost every day now rather than half his food or leaving 5-10 pieces each night! Anything else I can check for? His skin has always seemed on the dry side and a little flaky, my vet said that is normal though. Can I add something to his food to make it better? Maybe soften his food with melted coconut oil instead of water?
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Old 06-02-2015, 03:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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So I did a bit more searching here on coconut oil and found no one warning against it, just people saying to give it a try! So I did And Alfred actually liked it! I put a little on my finger tip and he licked it a bit but seemed timid so I put it on the edge of his wheel (that's where he was hanging out, I just cleaned the wheel so it wasn't poopy... Yet) and he devoured it! So I got some more, again just on my finger tip and did the same, put it on the edge of his wheel and he ate all of that quickly too! He did deposit a little on the side edge of his hood, but I know that's normal with new tastes. I'm just so surprised because he doesn't usually like anything other than the mealworms I give him! I was having a nice big salad the other day, full of veggies for hedgies, I gave him little pieces of everything (salad greens, spinach, red pepper, cucumber and strawberry) and he refused to taste anything! He was surrounded with salad and he had no interest in any of it :/ so yay for little steps!
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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First, don't be scared to hold and pet him if you don't interact with him and just let him run around, he is never going to get used to you. The biting is probably because he is scared, or smells something on you that he likes. Yes, the quill loss is normal, adult hedgies go through quilling too and the coconut oil is safe, but he isn't supposed to eat it, you put it on his skin in the bath to soothe. Also, VERY important, when you give him a bath, the sneezing is caused from him breathing in water. This is very dangerous because he can get a respiratory infection and die if left untreated. If he continues to sneeze, get him to a vet.

Not trying to sound mean, but you really need to do more research before getting a pet. It sounds to me like you don't know very much about hedgies, and I worry about your little guy. Do you have a heat lamp? Are you keeping his cage temperature between 70 and 80 degrees(Fahrenheit)? If the temp goes below 70, your hedgie can go into hibernation and never wake up. If it goes above 80, you risk him gettin a heatstroke. Hedgies are very sensitive and hard to care for. Please please please, for your baby's sake, do some research!
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Here is a link on how to give a hedgie a proper bath
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Hello everyone. I am a new hedgehog owner as of April 8, 2015. I hope to love and care for my baby Herbie and I hope he lives a long happy life. So far so good!
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I would avoid introducing more than one new food at a time.

If your hedgie has any tummy problems you won't know which food caused it.

Also hedgie heating should be in the 74-77 range. 70 to 80 is too big of a difference and that alone could start a hibernation attempt. 70 is WAY too cold.

I would avoid feeding coconut oil intentionally, it's very high in fats. Better to use it on his coat/skin. A little should be ok.

Flaxseed is more heart-healthy. You can use the capsules and just cut it open and dribble some on his food or some on him during the rinse during his bath.
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Old 06-18-2015, 10:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Don't worry, I was a bit afraid to pick up my first hedgie right away. I think all new hedgehog owners go through that. I wouldn't worry about asking question either. That is what this site is for. It does not make you a poor owner. I think it means just the opposite. Concerned owners never stop asking question and trying to learn new ways to care for their hedgies I read several books and every bit of information I could get my hands on before I brought Tilly home. Two years lather, I'm still asking questions. Also, it may be one thing to read something in a book but nothing compares to hands on real life experience. That takes time.

As for the biting, I recently brought home my second hedgie. Tilly, my 2 yr. old, has never bitten. Tessie, however, will attempt to nibble on me if she smells something she likes on my hands. Typically, I make a point to wash my hands before and after handling and do my best to redirect Tessie's attention from my fingers.

I hope things for you and Alfred are going well and you found a solution for his lost quills!
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