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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sorry to post again so soon, but I am struggling quite a bit with my hedgie. I have had her almost a month, which I know isn't long, and I am definitely not expecting any miracles - but she actually just seems to be getting worse. During the first few days when I had her she was really keen to explore and although was a little bit nervy she was quite happy being out and being handled (and she even napped on me a couple times - it felt too good to be true)!Then, as I posted previously, she would run around for a bit before getting spooked and then hiding, but now everything she does is frantic. In her tank she is always bristling, she rushes to eat food then go back and hide. When I put my hand near she does the standard huffing which was fine, but now when I take my hand away to stop frightening her she comes and bites. Even when I put my hand in to clean up the wheel or the litter pan, or just get her food bowl, if she is awake she will actually follow my hand round the cage and try to bite me (and I am being OCD careful about not having food on my hands and not using scented soap).
I am being careful to try and keep her socialised, I get her up about the same time (9-10pm) every evening for about 30 minutes, but normally she ends up so upset after 10mins it just feels unfair on her to keep trying. The biting is getting hard, so I always get her out with her fleece as well, but she still seems to freak and gets frantic. Its making it very difficult to keep handling her.
I also think she might have started to lose some weight as I'm sure she is starting to look a bit hollower on the sides around her tummy, but I could also just be becoming a hypochondriac about her ...
Basically, after that essay - I am just not sure what to do, she has changed temperament so much within a month and just doesn't seem very happy.
 

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You just described everything my Boo is doing. I am very worried too and the vet doesn't seem to have answers to this question pertaining to her behavior. I am seeing the vet once a week for calcium and fluid injections because of her unexpected pregnancy and birth of her litter. I thought all the problems were due to the stress of nursing her young, or due to hormones. I hope you find an answer and I would be very interested in hearing other people's thoughts as well, as I am quite worried. I hope for the best with you little one. A couple of possibilities that I am contemplating with mine... hungry, dehydration intestinal infection??? Boo's temperament ALWAYS gets better 2 days after her visit and then she continues to get more and more nippy and frantic until her next visit with the vet for her injection.
 

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I forgot to add, i am also having to syringe feed her 3 times a day just to maintain her weight, but she is down 50 grams her pre-birth weight, granted she would be a bit less because she is no longer pregnant but the Dr. is worried about her not keeping her weight on. She is going to do a stool sample once teh babies are weaned if she doesn't get back on her food. Are your hedgies stools normal?
 

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Actually, it's quite natural for babies' temperaments to change literally "overnight". It usually happens around quilling. I'm sure you can imagine how painful it must be with hundreds of sharp quills poking through your skin might feel. So if she's quilling, this could be why she is getting worse.

Is it noisy where you are? Perhaps there are sounds(maybe even smells) that she's picking up that you can't? Do you have the lights dimmed when you take her out? Have you tried sitting in the room with the lights off and just listen to what she does in her cage while she thinks you're not there? It might give you a better idea of how she is alone in her cage. Since my boy is in my room, I know what his usual habits in his cage are, and know how he acts when he's in his cage and he thinks I'm not there. Perhaps just figuring out how she is alone and in the dark like that might give you something better to compare her behaviour against.

Do you have a scale? If not, get a good kitchen scale, or one for weighing mail. Make sure they weigh in grams. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Taylor-4.4-lbs.-Digital-Kitchen-Food-Scale/10098024 This is the scale that I have, and I like it quite a bit. And it's cheap too. It weighs in grams and in 1g increments.

What food has she been eating?
How many kibbles a night?
Does she use her wheel a lot?
Stress can cause weight loss, so maybe even adding kitten food until she settles might be a good idea.
 

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I don't have enough experience to know anything for sure, however. In Dec. 09 we got two hedgies, a male and female, half siblings born Oct. 19 and 20th. The female Wabi Sabi was and is an explorer but at first very nervous, running frantically, and never slowing down unless she was asleep. When we opened the door to the room, she would huff so loudly she could be heard down the hall. What I found was she needed a lot of constant exercise. A good wheel, toys to manhandle, etc. I wondered if some hedgies can build up so much general anxiety they will bite to relieve it? She never bit but had a killer move with her head quills to the side that it was very hard to avoid and sometimes I would bleed.

This might sound insane also but have you tried singing to her. I sang for hours to her and she is now completely bonded. I am not a good singer but I figured that it was a case of how could they judge. And completely bonded does not mean she won't try to quill me.

When either of mine has a period of hissy fits, I use one of their little blankets to cover my hand when I pick them up. Neither bites but their quills can be very sharp and they are both fast and tricky about trying to stab.

Also, I don't know about this because I decided from the beginning I was not emotionally suited to breeding little guys, however, I have read several places at having a litter can completely change the personality of the mother.
If this is true I'm sure someone here who breeds would know about it.

Good luck. Page
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for all the advice. The weight loss I was worrying about seems to have stopped - she did continue to lose weight for a while (I got some scales in the end) and just when I had planned to take her back home to get the vet to see her - I didn't hear good things about the vets around where I am at university, she started to eat again with a new gusto! As in, the amount I normally gave which would have a few crumbs in every morning was licked clean and required replacing more than once during the night! She seems to have settled with that too now and eats a pretty decent amount every night.

But, I am still finding her quite difficult. The biting is getting pretty tough. She is sometimes okay with wondering around, I let her out in the living room when my flat mates are out, and she is pretty content exploring as long as the lights are dimmed, but she really does not like being interacted with during this time - I have to stay really still and quiet or she just gets spooked. Also, the exercise thing just makes her more edgy with me, nights where I have been able to let her tire herself out running round are the nights that she is more jittery with me and more likely to bite. I can't get her to run in a wheel which is another problem, I am on wheel number 3 (trying different sizes and weights)! She is just not interested at all, other than trying to climb on top of it to escape.

As regards breeding, I have bred chinchillas before (admittedly by accident at first...) but it was something I took immense satisfaction from. However, with all the problems with LittleMai I have already, I would be reluctant to introduce another element to cope with currently!

I think that is about it really. I try and get her out every night (some nights it just isn't worth stressing her out more than she is already - she will come out and just hide, and I feel it is unfair to leave her out in that state) but as she spends her entire time avoiding me, she's not exactly getting used to me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Although, I thought I should add before I sound horribly negative about her all the time, I have had two occasions, where for about half an hour she has been content being out and pottering about. I can't think what was so markedly different at those times that she didn't seem to mind, and also what then changes, it is like a flick of a switch that she wants to be left alone again. Any ideas?
 
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