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So at some point in the future, when I'm moved into a place of my own and all that good stuff, I'd really like to get more into hedgehogs and possibly breeding a little bit. I've had about five years of experience with hedgies so far, and I'm fairly knowledgeable about hedgies and small animals in general. I would of course be willing to invest the time and money to ensure that all the hedgies and babies involved would be well cared for and monitored by a vet, and I would be extremely selective about the homes my babies went to. I just had a couple of questions to help me plan my possible hedgie empire :)

I've got my boy Beck right now, who has a super personality and nice conformation (pics coming soon!). He's two years old. How long is a male's fertile life? Would he still be able to sire a litter in two or three years, or should I be planning to start a new boy specifically for breeding?

I would need to get a female, and I understand that the rate of mother hogs abandoning their litters is significant. Are there any dietary or socializing practices that increase the chances of her being a good mother?
In terms of cages, I currently have two 26"X14" cages-- how bit a cage should the mum have with her babies, and how big a cage for the weaned litter as they get older? (I want to start asking for supplies for Christmas/birthdays)

What licensing would be required tp breed and sell hedgehogs to personal acquaintances and friends? I live in Ontario. Would I need to apply for any special breeder status or insurance?

And what advice would you offer, in general, to help me prepare and arm myself with the knowledge to make it a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved?

Thanks for your wisdom!
 

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One of the few things I know for certain about breeding hedgies is that you need a good lineage. While you might have the best-tempered, prettiest/most handsome hedgie, s/he may or may not make for a good breeder. You need to be able to look back in the hedgie's line to check out genetic problems, WHS, and the like.

Another thing is that, as a new breeder, you'll want to find someone to mentor you... Someone who you can call and say "this [scary thing] is happening with mommahog - what do I do?!"

You'll also want to make sure you have a reliable vet nearby - one who's experienced with hedgies and can handle a hedgie birthing emergency that comes up at 3:00am.
 

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I've got my boy Beck right now, who has a super personality and nice conformation (pics coming soon!). He's two years old. How long is a male's fertile life? Would he still be able to sire a litter in two or three years, or should I be planning to start a new boy specifically for breeding?
I'm assuming since you are talking about his conformation, that you have already shown him? If so that means he is IHR registered, and there's a better chance he has a pedigree. Where did you get him? And no, I highly doubt he will be able to sire a litter that late on. Considering most hedgies are considered "elderly" at 3, and most don't live to 4, that is very old.

Yes, I highly recommend finding a good reputable breeder and get new, pedigreed hedgies for breeding.

Some female hedgies are absolutely wonderful, friendly girls but end up being terrible mothers. I'm sure our more experienced breeders can help you more with what you can do to increase litter success, but it usually just depends on how comfortable mom is with her surroundings and such.

For cages, whatever you use you will want several inches of plastic up, to keep babies from toppling out and from mom kicking anything out. IMO cages 26x14" are too small, though ones that size could be used for babies that are weaned and being monitored to see how they are doing on their own.

I'm not sure about the Canadian laws/regulations, Nancy can probably help you out with that.

My best recommendation is to research as much as you can. Also read around and see what NOT to do. Being receptive to advice is huge - there are a lot of young people that want to start breeding for all the wrong reasons, and they get shot down for being unprofessional and not knowing what they are getting into. Don't be one of those people! ;)
 

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I've never shown hedgies, as there are no shows around where I live (unless anyone knows of any-- I'd love to find some!)
I registered Beck as an individual, but I don't believe his parents are registered. Does anyone know of any breeders in Southwestern Ontario that would keep track of registration and lineage?
 

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IMO, there are no breeders in Ontario that I would buy from to breed. Quebec would be the closest but you would need to thoroughly check out the lineage. Nikki can tell you about her experience.
 
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