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So, I am preparing to pick up my first hedgie on Sunday. He is almost 2 months old. I have been reading TONS of forums and tonight's reading was mainly focus on feeding. I will be feeding him Solid Gold Winged Tiger food. There's just one thing I am still unclear about.

I know that people say that most hedgehogs can be free fed, but when I fill his bowl up each morning, about how much do you recommend putting in?
 

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Hey there! That’s a great question. Honestly, everybody feels differently about this. Personally, I give Christina a set diet each night. It’s beneficial for me as I can use this with bonding, training, etc. if she’s always access to food, she’s not going to be food motivated, so if you were planning on using food as treats or a bonding tool, I’d recommend a set diet. I also feel as though the food would either get too stale if it was sitting out or it would attract bugs.
Hope this helps 🙂
 

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Holly is 3 years old. Super cuddly and loving.
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Hedgehogs should be free fed unless they is a medical problem.
Hedgehogs will still be food moviated even if they had access to their cat biscuit throughout the day because they wont eat very much during the day anyway.
And once you wake up them up for bonding time they seem to get gery hungry lol.

Generally people will put 2 tablespoons in their bowl, and then change it every 24hours.

I'll do Holly's food at 9pm, and will put 2 table spoons of food in there.
And then at around 7pm I'll throw it away, and clean out the bowl ready to refil it at around 9pm
She has that all night and day, and she only east about 1/4 or less.
I actually weigh it to monitor it better

Someone actually found that by free feeding their hog rather than limiting their hogs food was better and didn't put on as much weight as the one who was limited.
 

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"free-feeding" has different meanings to some; some people fill up the bowl and just keep topping it up so that the hedgehog constantly has kibble available, whereas others just put a the animals daily serving into the bowl and leave it there for them to munch on throughout the day. When I hear of free-feeding, I think of the first situation; allowing the animal unlimited access to food, and I disagree with it for numerous reasons.

First things first, with new hedgehogs you're not familiar with the animal. You won't know what's normal behaviour for them and what's not, and appetite is a prime indicator for when an animal is feeling unwell. If you were to free-feed in the sense of filling up their bowl and never letting it go empty, you have absolutely no way of knowing how much your hedgehog is eating, if theyre eating, or if their eating habits are changing in any way. This isnt only a problem with new animals, but is also a potential area of concern for even established animals - and it's the main reason for why I regulate my girls food, and recommend others do the same.

Secondly, regulated feeding is just more hygienic, IMO. Free-feeding and just continuously topping up the bowl isn't ensuring that they have a fresh meal every day. Some kibbles could go stale, be an invitation for bugs, etc. Some hedgehogs also have like, zero impulse control. They will eat just because the food is there, and will become overweight as a result.

Young animals (like a 2 month old) are generally fed more than an adult, because theyre still growing. I feed my adult hedgehog 1 heaped-1.5 tablespoons of kibble (and she always has about 5-10 left in between feedings); 2tbs-2.5tbs should be more than enough for a baby.
 

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Holly is 3 years old. Super cuddly and loving.
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When I was told to free feed they said its when you put enough in that it will last all night and day. So give 2 table spoons once a day and it will last all night and day with some still left that you throw away and replace with 2 fresh table spoons
 

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Yeah, like I said "free feeding" can mean different things to different people. To some it means that the animal has an unlimited food available at all times (if they clear their bowl before the day is out, its topped up, and topped up, and topped up, you get the picture), and to others it's "here's your daily portion, and eat it as you wish but when it's gone, it's gone". I think of the first situation when I hear "free-feed"; as in, offering the animal an unlimited amount of food - so that's why I clarify.

As an example; I feed my hedgehog 1 heaped to 1.5 tbs of kibble and i feed her at 10pm every night. I know that it's enough for her to maintain a healthy weight (she's 11 months old and 380g) so if she were feeling particularly piggy and were to clear her bowl before her next feeding (which she never does, but hypothetically speaking) she wouldn't get more food - she'd have to wait until 10pm. I prefer the term regulated vs restricted haha, because the latter sounds like I'm starving her. I just give her enough + a bit more to cover the 24 hours; if she eats it all, she has to wait... whereas if she were free-fed, it would just be continuously topped up.

It's a matter of preference, really. Both feeding methods have potential cons. Like regulated feeding; you could accidentally feed the animal too little and with free-feeding, you could be feeding them too much - not all hogs know when to stop eating, and will just eat it because it's there. I think it's just a matter of finding what works best for your pet, really. and for us, regulated feeding is what we choose to do. :)
 

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It’s also a nice tool to monitor their weights. If you aren’t already, I’d recommend buying a small food scale with a gram setting and regularly weigh your hedgehog. For instance, I weight Christina twice a week on Sunday and Wednesday. Her Sunday weight gives me an indication of her diet for the next few days until her next weigh in on Wednesday. If you do try this, make sure to weigh them daily for a week of two to be able to assess their average weight since hedgehogs tend to fluctuate quite frequently!
Definitey take into consideration everyone’s thoughts as they do differ, but animal care is ultimately up to the caretaker. Thinking about it, giving my hedgehog more than enough food every night and throwing out most of it sounds like a great waste to me.
 

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Holly is 3 years old. Super cuddly and loving.
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I count the kibble I give my boy. I put in 240 pieces of kibble, and he'll eat 150~ kibble pieces.
I weigh it after I've put the normal amount in, and then weight it when I go to empy it to find out how much she ate.
I weighed the weight of the empty bowl to take that off the overall weight, the other night she was given 20g she ate 9g. Its eaiser than counting, and I cant really miss count that way which I tend to always do due to having dyscalculia so it just comes out more actuarate of a gauge of how much she eats.
 
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