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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi

I´ve been breeding hedgehogs for the past 3-4 years, I currently have 7 hedgehogs in their own room, each hedgie is housed in a 1x3 C&C cage, and I currently use wood shavings for the girls and fleece liner for the boys. I do a weekly maintenace, and once a month a complete cleanup.

The problem is that I´m going abroad for 6 months in a few months, and so my mom will have to take care of them during this time, BUT she really doesnt like to handle hedgehogs (she likes to look at them only, lol) and I think she might have a difficult time cleaning their space as it is a bit time consuming. I have been trying to figure out ways to make it easier for her by re-doing research like I once did when I started with hedgehogs, but most of the info that I find is for pet only setups, and this usuallly means that people have few hedgies with more time to provide for their more "complicated" setups.

I was wondering if any fellow breeders here could provide some setup tips so that my mom wont have to spend that much time cleaning after them, and also to make it easy for her to do it.

What I do now:
- Everyday I sweep the floor for woodshavings dropped the night before.
- Every 2 days I feed cat kibble enough for those 2 days... Once a week each one gets meal worms fed directly into their mouth
- several times a week i remove visible poops
- Once or twice a week I refill their water bottles as needed.
- Once a week (or as needed) I clean their food dishes, water bottles, houses, wheels and toys. I also replace their carton tubes with new ones.
- Once a week I remove the wood shavings/fleece linners from each cage with a small shovel and then clean the coroplast with a mop. I have to "shake" off quills/dried droppings/food from the fleece linners (some boys are nasty) and then let them soak for the day in order to put them in the washing machine later on, most of the times I have to clean the machine afterwards from leftover quills.
- Once a month I remove the coroplast in order to desinfect it.
- Every few months each one gets a bath and nail clipping.

The weekly cleaning could take from 2 to 3 hours. :shock:
Feeding time, and water filling is not much of a problem, they simply wont get any meal worms while I´m away :) nothing in the world would make my mom touch the worms even with tweezers.

Everyday I handle 1-2 hedgies for several minutes, if I have babies they get time as well. Notice there wont be any breeding during my time away since caring for babies is more time consuming not to mention my mom doest know all the issues that come with it. A friend will come over every now and then to handle each one as much as possible.

So, I hope someone could give me tips for my mom. Prior considering going abroad I had already considered replacing this setup for a more efficient one, but I have yet to find one. :( I hope someone else might.
 

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I use cage units that is like a large bookcase with cube doors on them. Each hedgehog has their own shelf. The cube doors drop down for easy cleaning and feeding. You can see some of my cages by going almost to the bottom of this page. http://www.freewebs.com/thehedgieden/ourpoliciesbabiesprices.htm I have coroplast on the floors of the cages for easy cleanup. This type of system allows multiple easy to access cages and I've been using them for 6 years. Of course, they are no good at all for moms with babies but they have sterlite bins that the moms move to 2-3 week prior to delivery.

You can use either a large melamine or resin shelf unit and modify it a bit, or build your own to size. I have a new unit that we custom built but it's isn't in the picture.
 

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Whoa Nancy I really like your cages! I would love to have a several walls of hedgehogs :lol:
 

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You're welcome to come anytime and help clean cages and wheels and dishes and bedding and last but not least, hedgehogs. :lol:
 

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Wow Nancy that is such a beautiful set up. I love that there is a room just for all the hedgehogs with it's own a.c. unit etc.

Your herd of boys and girls are very lucky.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, I like your setup. A closeup of the pics would help though, I would love to see how you managed to secure the doors and everyting else.

My setup basically has the door for each hedgie in the middle cube, but I have to maneuver in order to posicion the liners completelly flat from all corners so that my hedgies wont burrow underneat, i then have to strectch my arms in order to place all of their stuff. The same goes for the girls setups, from the middle cube I have to reach into both sides in order to sweep and clean the borders and then place their stuff, which can be tedious LOL. With your setup I could simply open the 3 front cubes at the same time giving me easy access to the whole cage :)

I noticed you have fleece liners in all those cages, BUT i also noticed you had wood shavings, do you use these only with the hedgie moms?

How do you maintain your fleece liners :?: Cause my mom doesnt even like the idea of me cleaning them in the washing machine, thats why I have to first soak them in bleach before even putting then inside the machine, I then rinse off the bleach put them inside the washing machine and wash them with non scented detergent. Which is basically what she will have to do while Im away.

I still don´t know what she would hate the least, to clean all fleece liners, or to clean wood shavings, using gloves afcourse.
 

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I use plastic cable fasteners as hinges for the doors. They work great, are easy to install and are cheap.





These pictures are from my original stacking cages that I don't use anymore.

I use liners for everyone except the moms and babies. It's no big deal to wash the liners in the washing machine. I shack the poops off then wash. If you mom is concerned, after the liners are washed, you can do a cycle with water with bleach and the washer will be clean.

Can you post pictures of your current cage setups. Perhaps there is a way to make them more user friendly.
 

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Sounds like your mom will not be able to handle this situation.
Have u thought about putting your hedgies in a new home where they can receive all they need and deserve?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi again

@ Nancy

I use Plastic ties as well, both to tighten the cubes together and to hold the doors, I use the other simpler kind of plastic ties. To secure the doors I use the type of locks that climbers use, a plastic version that is.

I can´t believe I didnt thought of your washing machine time-saver idea, I will try it that way. :lol: And yes, I will post pics as soon as possible :) Thank you so much for yours btw

@LarryT
LarryT said:
Sounds like your mom will not be able to handle this situation.
Have u thought about putting your hedgies in a new home where they can receive all they need and deserve?
uhmmm, dont you think you are being a little bit exagerated?! :eek:

I will only be away for 6 months LOL, finding homes for 7 adult hedgies would be actually contraproducent plus I wouldnt give them away unless there was no way I could provide a good life for them. As I said earlier, a friend of mine will come over to play with them, he has a hedgie of his own and knows how to handle them, his girlfriend likes hedgehogs as well, so thats two helping hands there. My mom will take care of the rest, she loves animals and I trust her with the responsability. If she needs help with the job my brother could easily help her out once in a while, so they wont ever be left alone neglected if that is your concern

This post is meant just to make it a little bit easier for her when she takes care of them while I´m gone, not because she cant or doesnt want to do it, I simply dont want to complicate her life so much while I´m not home during those months.
 

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6 months is along time and you said"The problem is that I´m going abroad for 6 months in a few months, and so my mom will have to take care of them during this time, BUT she really doesnt like to handle hedgehogs (she likes to look at them only, lol)"
You cannot give them a good home u r not going be there with them u have no control of them once u leave IMO.
 

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IMO I think that moo has the situation well in hand, and definitely preparing early for their leave of absence. And as stated, their mom is willing to do all the cleaning that is necessary, which is one of the most important part. Food, water and a clean home are the basics that they need. 6 months is not that bad as long as their living environments stay clean and healthy, which is why moo posted here to begin with, to find ways of helping to lighten their mom's load. They are not leaving forever, they are not dumping their hedgies and abandoning them, and their mom will be providing all the necessary clean food, water and cages. I'm sure moo has a good reason for the trip, and has put a lot of thought into it. And there will be friends going over there to interact with the hedgies, even if it would be less frequent. And in all honesty, as long as clean food, water and living environment are provided, it's already much better than many other homes that are out there.
And...It's kind of redundant to tell moo that they have no control over the care of their hedgies when they "dump them" onto their mom, while telling them that they should give their hedgies away to strangers...

I recently went away for a week(yes, not as long as 6 months...lol and it's just one boy) and my mom had to take care of my hedgie. She too would rather look than touch(yes, this meant that my boy was not handled for an entire week *gasp!* )...And she managed to keep his cage spotless, and even scrubbed down his wheel. As for the food, I prepacked his food for the entire week in separate little ziploc bags. So that she just had to give him 1 bag of food per day, fresh water and clean when needed. She even feed him live mealies with tweezers! lol (during this, she also had to take care of 3 dogs, 1 cat, 1 bird and check up on my horse daily :lol: ) So when I came home from the airport last night, my hedgie was already fed and given fresh water, his wheel was clean and his cage was clean, and I just slept :lol:

Although, an idea stemming from Larry's comments, are there any other hedgie owners(besides your friend)/breeders that you know and can give their numbers to your mom? Just that if anything were to happen, she'll have someone on call for help. Maybe if they're even willing to take 1 or 2 for the 6 months that you are gone, just to lighten the load further.

And, just another thought, are there any coin laundries near you? Just that if there are, then you can buy more fleece so that they can be continuously exchanged out until you get a decent sized load, take it to the coin laundry, and wash them there. And if needed, can ask your friend when he goes over to check on the hedgies, to also pick up the laundry and take it to the coin laundry, and bring the clean set back to your place another day, while picking up the next dirty batch. (although the extra rinse with bleach works well too, that's what I always did when I was washing dirty saddle pads and had to get rid of all the hair and smell of horse sweat :roll: )

Oh! Have you printed out a check list of sorts? Just so that for the first little while, your mom knows what needs to be done, without having to try to remember what needs to be done. It's always nice to have something written when doing something that is unfamiliar, it'll help her get the hang of things quicker as well. And on the last page, just list all the important/emergency numbers for her to call if she needs help with anything. Also, there are a few on this board who have made their own personal hedgehog care handbook, which can cover basic illnesses, what symptoms to look for, and what to do. That might be something to think about as well.

Anyways, sorry I couldn't be more help, since I only have one. But I wish you the best of luck! ^_^

Oh, and Nancy, one of these days, I'll have to drive up there to see all your hedgies! I'll be sure to pick a day when I have an extra boring class :roll:

(I hope what I wrote made sense and I didn't ramble too much lol It's well past 4:30am where I am, and inhaling the scent of freshly produced hedgie poop :lol: Ah, the joys of sharing your room with a hedgehog, and I wouldn't have it any other way ^_^ )
 

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For your cage unit. You mention difficulty reaching around the cage. Is that because you have non opening cubes at the sides to provide support to the floor above? If so, you make it that the whole front will be able to be opened if you run a support full length under each floor at the front of the cage. Using a 1" x 2" board will work and then you can have one full width front door or make it that they all open independently of each other.

Larry, I don't think there's an issue here. He is trying to get things arranged to make it easier for his mom. He'es leaving in a couple of months, not tomorrow so it's not like he'es waited until the last minute to get things arranged. I'm sure the hedgehogs will be fine once he gets an easy system in place.
 

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Not sure if this trick would work with your setting or for your mom but whenever I remove the liner from the cage, I shake it out into the cage and then dustbuster all the dry crumbs. This takes care of poop and food bits, there is rarely anything really stuck to the cage and when there is I just wipe it out with a damp cloth.

As for cleaning the wheels and dishes, isn't it convenient that you have seven hedgehogs and there are seven days in a week. :D I would arrange the cleaning schedule so that you are doing all the weekly stuff for each hedgehog on one day (if you don't alreay). So that hedgehog one gets his wheel and dishes cleaned monday, hedgehog two on tuesday, hedgehog three on wednesday and so on. That way it will become a daily routine which might be easier to handle. Plus if you have a laundry tub it's really easy to dump in the wheel and the dishes and just soak everything in water + whatever cleaner you use and then rinse later. That way while the daily stuff for each hedgehog is getting done the wheel will be soaking.
 

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Nancy said:
For your cage unit. You mention difficulty reaching around the cage. Is that because you have non opening cubes at the sides to provide support to the floor above? If so, you make it that the whole front will be able to be opened if you run a support full length under each floor at the front of the cage. Using a 1" x 2" board will work and then you can have one full width front door or make it that they all open independently of each other.

Larry, I don't think there's an issue here. He is trying to get things arranged to make it easier for his mom. He'es leaving in a couple of months, not tomorrow so it's not like he'es waited until the last minute to get things arranged. I'm sure the hedgehogs will be fine once he gets an easy system in place.
I don't need to be corrected it was just a thought/opinion(1.a belief not based on absolute certainty or positive knowledge but on what seems true, valid, or probable to one's own mind; judgment) I was not trying to crucify anyone sorry if i came off that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for your comments... I am a she btw, forgot to mention my name, its Lethy

@Nancy
Well, yes I do have plenty of time to arrange everything, I'm leaving in 4 months or so.
I couldnt understand your idea of the 1" x 2" board " support, do you mean like a frame?

@Immortalia
I have been thinking about giving my mom a check list of what (and when) needs to be done, along with my friend and the vet phone number, but havent thought about a hedgehog care handbook in case something happends ;) thats an awsome idea! cause you never know.

I'm not that close to the other few breeders I know in my area, I could ask a couple of friends to take 1 hedgie each, both of them have hedgies (from me ovbiously :) ), but just the one I mentioned can come over frequently, the other one doesnt have the time, at least not very often. About my friend taking care of the laundry, that might be too much, I wouldnt want to bother him with that. Buying more fleece will help ease the work, thanks for that one.

@hedgielover
I do everything on saturdays or sundays. I put all the wheels to soak at the same time. As well the fleece liners, in another container that is, i then put the liners in the washing machine and scrub the wheels, its easier after soaking. I dont have the time or energy to wash anything during the week as I study and manage my own business lol sometimes I just get home and pick one or two and hold them while relaxing and watching TV, I keep a couple extra wheels for the dirty hedgehogs so that I can simply place a clean one during the week and let it soak until the weekend... I do not have a laundry tub though, its a good idea as well as "dustbustering" all the dry crumbs lol

@LarryT
I get your point, not being here leaves me with no control over this situation, but like I said before I trust my mom, I will be on constant contact with her, so I can check up on things. Believe me if my mom couldnt handle it, she would tell me, plus there are friends and family that could come by and help out once in a while if she needs help every now and then.

Like Immortalia, my mom also has had to take care of pets my brother and I have had over the years; that is dogs, hamsters (a while ago), turtles, fish and even my hedgies when I had fewer of them, not for this long, maybe just weeks. Whenever we came back everything was cleaner than how we left it.

... Sorry for the long post ...

By the way, I have been considering building a setup like Littlebundleofquills has, I would keep a hedgie per level though, seems easy to maintain 'cause of the plexiglas. I am in between Nancy's setup and this one, lol


Anyway, here are a couple pics of my setup, like I mentioned before each hedgie gets a 1x3 C&C cage, the girls setup its almost the same but with the type of cubes that come covered as you can see.

[attachment=2:2wnundtb]setup.jpg[/attachment:2wnundtb]
[attachment=1:2wnundtb]setup2.jpg[/attachment:2wnundtb]
[attachment=0:2wnundtb]setup3.jpg[/attachment:2wnundtb]
 

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IMO, the plexiglass looks great but does not offer enough ventilation.

I don't know how to explain what I mean by using a 1" x 2". Basically, you want to be able to open up all 3 front panels. Right now you can't do that because if you do, the floor above will sag because there is nothing supporting it. If you cut 1" x 2" piece of boards just slightly longer than the width of the whole cage, put it directly under the front edge of the floor of each cage unit. Because it spans the whole width of the cage, it will hold up the floor so it doesn't sag. Think of it like a floor joist. You can use zip ties to hold the board in place.

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yes you are right, the center cube is the door, and the ones on the sides of the door are non opening cubes. I see what you mean now, lol... pretty easy to do and solves a huge problem.

Also, my doors open from the top, I mean I pull them upwards and tie them with a clip while cleaning, do you think it'll be easier to open them from the bottom? I did it like this because when opening from the top I can secure them easily to the bottom holders, like if it was another non-opening cube from the bottom (I hope I explained that correctly), I also secure them with plastic climber locks.

About the plexiglass Littlebundleofquills posted in another topic, she said that the top of the plexiglass is completely opened, about 4"


I believe all the sides are made that way, not sure if the back side is not :? Do you still think there is not enough ventilation?

What are your thoughts about this?
 

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Even with the 4" at the top open on the plexi-glass cage, to me it would be like an aquarium and still not get an adequate airflow. I would be reluctant to use that.
 

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I agree. 4" at the top is not adequate. If the whole top was open, it would be ok because of the floor size.

One reason I like the cube style doors is that often the hedgehogs will come out and sit in front of the doors while I am cleaning the others. I can give pets or treats through the bars. I also feel that even though their eyesight is not great, they get a far better view out even though plexiglass is clear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
ok

So, Nancy, I was thinking about making a merge of your design by modifying Littlebundleofquills setup, instead of using plexiglass at the front, I will use 3 grid cubes, will that be OK? The sides will still be made of plexiglass and will have the 4" opening at the top. Please let me now your thoughts about this. :roll:

For what I saw at your setup pictures, I think this is kind of how you made yours, but with a one piece board on the sides, not sure though.

In the meantime I will use you idea of making the whole front able to open, by using the boards to support the upper floor, that will make cleaning time a bit smoother. ;)
 
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