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Old 01-04-2014, 03:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Slight hair/energy loss and aggression, possibly due to quilling?

Hello I am a new hedgehog owner and my little one is about 3 months old. We got her from a breeder and two weeks ago we took her to the vet and she was given a clean bill of health along with a new type of food, insectivore. Recently she has been quilling and during this time she has had very little energy and tries to stay in her fleece as much as possible. I have also noticed she is losing some hair. We recently gave her a bath with a lightly scented avino baby shampoo infused with oatmeal to help with the pain of quilling and to freshen her up. Within the past week she has bitten me a few times which she didn't do before but when I put her in her cage she goes right for her food. Should I be concerned and if so what should I be concerned about? I tried to call the vet but they were closed. We also have a wheel with a solid bottom for her but she refuses to use it. Could I possibly be feeding her too little and if so how much should I be feeding her? Could her behavior and loss of energy/hair be the result of quilling? Thank you very much, also any advice is well wanted!
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hedgehogs should always be free fed, meaning they should always have food in their cage. What kind of insectivore food are you feeding? can you post the ingredients and the protein and fat percentages? What temperature is her cage?

Also, I deleted your other thread with the same question, please just post a question once, not in multiple threads. Thanks!
Retired breeder and active HWS rescue station
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum!

If you haven't seen it yet, this book is an amazing care guide.

A lot of vets seem to push for feeding Mazuri insectavore food because a few zoos use it, so it's popular on vet-forums. Most breeders tend to favour mixes of cat food. You can find out more on that debate in the care guide, or in this thread.

Unless there's a really strong reason not to (weight problems that can't be controlled with diet changes), most people free-feed hedgehogs. Although the exact amount will vary by hedgehog and kibble-size, a baby hedgehog will probably eat between 1 Tbs and 1/4 c of kibble per night. Put out a bunch and see how much she eats. The next night, try to put out just a little bit more than she'll eat (so she still has some left over in case of a particularly hungry growth-spurt marathoning night). Replace it with fresh food each night.

Sometimes you have to teach a hedgehog how to use a wheel, and sometimes the wheel doesn't suit the hedgehog. If the wheel feels wobbly, try to secure it so it feels more solid (Comfort wheels are notorious for being wobbly!). If the tilt is adjustable, try leaning it forwards or backwards (this is more common with bucket wheels). To teach her how to use it, put her in it, block her in with your hand, and turn gently. Only do this for a few seconds -- you don't want her to feel trapped or panic! Repeat for a few nights until you're sure she understands how it works.

Hedgehogs can shed; if it's light hair loss, it probably isn't a big concern. If she starts getting bald patches, that's a problem, maybe related to mites, skin infections, nutritional deficiencies, excessively dry skin, etc. Not a problem yet, though, so moving on!

Reduced energy can be a sign of contemplating hibernation. I second Nikki's question about heating and light -- hedgehogs need to be kept warm with steady light/dark cycles to be active. The guide has a lot more information about heating, lighting, and hibernation attempts, or ask if you want more information/links about it.

And, finally... growing is hard work! Quilling is miserable! Yes, when growing in leaps and bounds, and feeling totally painful all the time, sometimes a hoglet will retreat into sleeping all the time. My little guy pretty much just ate, slept, and exuded misery for weeks; it broke my heart! Check everything else to make sure you don't have another problem, but she could plausibly be less energetic because of quilling.
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for your answers. I am sorry about posting twice, I first thought general questions was the best place but couldn't figure out how to delete it.

For the food I am unsure since the vet gave me the food in a plastic bag. I have wanted to give her fresh ingredient but I have been worried about what to give her, how much and how to present it to her.

I try to keep her cage at around 75-80 using a heat lamp but it can be hard sometimes since my room is over the garage and in indiana the whether is sporadic.

Her hair loss is not excessive but if I have black pants on I will notice little hairs on it. Behind her ears though she has slight bald spots and it appears to be a bit more red than the rest of her body but I never see or hear her itch. She is right in the middle of quilling and it just seems like all she wants to do is nuzzle or be held. The thing is though its hard to tell when she is upset because she doesn't ball up or hiss. When we took her to the vet we were told that she is one of the tamest and friendliest hedgehogs ever seen in the vets practice. It makes it hard to tell if she is in a bad mood.

For her wheel she has the carolina storm wheel. She used it at first but doesn't any more and when I put her on it she tries to run off. I can't help but be worried that with her lack of exercise maybe she could end up obsess.

I will defiantly look into the guide. Its really hard to go see a vet whenever I get worried because the closest vet is close to two hours away. She has become my little baby and I would die if she was hurting or sick and I didn't do anything.
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Old 01-05-2014, 02:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Get a thermostat; it will turn the heating on and off as needed. Are you using a CHE (opaque bulb, gives off no light), or a reptile heat lamp (gives off dim light; some hedgehogs are bothered by it)?

The hair loss sounds normal. The bald patches behind the ears are normal.

You can contact Larry about how to adjust the CSW; it is one that you can adjust the tilt on. I don't have one, so I don't know anything about it, sorry!

This sounds like it's probably normal quilling-moodiness. And congrats on her being that friendly! For bonding, totally just cuddle her for now. And she probably will quill up (even if it's just raising her quills instead of mega-deathball) if you do manage to irritate her, you just haven't made her that angry yet!

Us little users can't actually delete posts, or even edit them after too much time has passed. We just need to wait for a mod to fix our mistakes for us! It happens, don't worry about it.
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Old 01-05-2014, 03:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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To adjust the tilt for the CSW, just push the vertical PVC pipe back while holding the horizontal support pipes down.

I would guess, like Annie said, the food is Mazuri. Some of the ingredients in it are quite bad and I would recommend switching to something with better ingredients. The thread that Annie linked to on nutrition discusses what to look for, what to avoid, etc. There's other stickies in the Nutrition forum that give suggestions on some good foods to try. If you have more questions on that kind of thing, just ask! For fresh foods, here's a list of safe ones - And this one has advice on amount & ways to offer it -
~*~*~ Kelsey ~*~*~

RIP my sweet Lily ~ 6/12/08 - 1/20/12
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aggression, hair loss, low energy

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