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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I've been reading up on a lot of the threads here to prepare for my hedgehog, and I recently just got her (3rd April). The breeder told me she was about 10 weeks old and was house with her sisters from the same batch. I gave her around 2 days to get used to her new home before starting to slowly handle her.
She usually sleeps in her hide out, but today morning when I was topping up her food and water, I realised that she was hiding/sleeping under the fleece, and there was squeaking sounds under the fleece, which was something I have never heard her doing. I din't dare to lift up the fleece as I was afraid that the breeder might have kept her with a male for too long, and that she might have been pregnant. I have already removed the wheel since she was under the fleece and I just wanted to be safe.
She gain about 60 grams since Monday if that helps.
I understand that if she really gave birth, I should not clean the cage, but she is currently being kept on fleece liners, with a litter box of aspen and carefresh mix. Would it be ok for me to just clean the litter box or just add in more beddings around the cage to hopefully help with the smell? I cleaned the cage about 2 days ago so I was actually planning to clean it again today after my work.
Lastly, I'm not sure if I should lift up the fleece to check, as she was actually hiding quite deep inside the cage, so I would have to kind of flip over half of the fleece just to check on her. Can someone kindly help me on what I should/can do? To summarise my questions,

1) I think my hedgehog might have given birth, and she is currently hiding below the fleece liner, something she don't usually do. There was quite a lot of squeaking sounds when I was topping up her food and water in the morning, should I lift it up to check if she really gave birth?
2) Can I slowly add aspen/carefresh around the cage to help musk the smell for the next 6 weeks if she really gave birth? She's currently on Fleece liner.
3) She have a litter box in her cage with aspen/carefresh, could I change that out every few days when she's hiding below the fleece?
4) For food, should I just add a few days worth in those auto food dispenser for small animals, or would it be better to put about a days worth of food and top up daily. She currently have a water bottle and water bowl in her cage which I change daily too. She doesn't really use the water bottle much, but I leave it there incase she finishes up her water in her water bowl.

Would greatly appreciate any help I could get.
 

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Holly is 3 years old. Super cuddly and loving.
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Have you had a read of the Emergency Baby Advice I don't know how much it will answer but will defintly help you if you haven't already read it!

Use one those floor less hides rather than fleece hides, and put some loose bedding in there, like a fair bit, it may get her to nest in the hide rather than under the fleece, then you can sneak a peek through the gap in to see if there are babies.

I am not a breeder or experienced! I could be wrong! I hope someone else can come on to help you!
You might be able to message an admin of the forum they pick messages up more than these so might be worth it if you don't get better help than me soon!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply! I read the emergency baby advice already and yeah she have a floorless hide, something like those igloo, but it's rectangle shape.
What I meant by she was hiding under the fleece was that I was using fleece liner instead of bedding as that was what was most recommended here. She did what I think what most called liner diving? Like just digging the fleece up 1 side and "burrowing" underneath it.
I have a litter box at 1 corner with the loose beddings(Aspen and carefresh), but she still poops all around, so I'm wondering if I should just add more around the cage. If she really gave birth I doubt I'll be able to change the fleece anytime soon so I'm trying to find a way to reduce the smell since the cage is in my room, and she will also be able to use those fleece liner to nest if she wants to.
I'm also not a 100% sure she gave birth, but I just heard a lot of squeaking sound underneath the fleece liner when I was toping up food and water in the morning, which is not something I heard her doing before. So now I'm not sure if I should flip the fleece open to see if there really are baby hoglets, or is that a risk not worth taking.
 

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Hedgehogs do squeak when happy or dreaming, so it could have just been that, and you hadnt heard it before.

It might be worth very slowly lifting up the fleece liner and taking a look to see if its just her or if there are babies!
If there are babies you don't want to touch them just pop it back down very slowly.

You don't want to not handle her if there aren't babies as not handling can set back bonding, which if there arent babies isnt really worth the set back.

Leave the fleece liner as it is, and yes its called liner diving. Fleece liners are pretty common for more people to be honest.
What I meant was add something loose, like fleece strips or the carefresh or similar, for her to use in the hide it may get her to move to the hide and feel more cosy and safe in there as she can burrow in there - regardless of babies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hedgehogs do squeak when happy or dreaming, so it could have just been that, and you hadnt heard it before.

It might be worth very slowly lifting up the fleece liner and taking a look to see if its just her or if there are babies!
If there are babies you don't want to touch them just pop it back down very slowly.

You don't want to not handle her if there aren't babies as not handling can set back bonding, which if there arent babies isnt really worth the set back.

Leave the fleece liner as it is, and yes its called liner diving. Fleece liners are pretty common for more people to be honest.
What I meant was add something loose, like fleece strips or the carefresh or similar, for her to use in the hide it may get her to move to the hide and feel more cosy and safe in there as she can burrow in there - regardless of babies.
Oh ok got it! I just got really worried that she gave birth, cause I don't really have much experience keeping them yet, but obviously I wouldn't want to do anything that might cause her to eat her babies if she really gave birth. When I heard the squeak I just panic and try to quickly do what I need to do while being as quiet as possible. Was really tempted to peek under the fleece but she was quite far behind and would have to lift almost half of the fleece up to see her so I decided to check if it's ok for me to do that if she really gave birth. Thank you so much for your answer though, will try to check on it slowly when I get home. I actually informed the breeder about this and he told me that she might have got pregnant before he removed the male, so that started to make me more worried.
 

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It's fine! When you don't know much and the breeder says it's possible, it's so easy to panic!

I'm not super experienced! Especially when it comes to babies!
But I have seen people saying as long as you don't change it or touch the babies it wont cause her to eat them.
Just be super slow moving the fleece up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Alright thanks! Will just do it slowly later when I'm home, and even if there's no baby, think I'll just treat it as she's pregnant for the next 2-3weeks as he said he removed the male about 3-4weeks ago, which would mean that the a male hedgehog was still around when she was about 6-7 weeks. Once again thanks so much for your reply. Was just really worried I might cause more harm than good if I were to slowly flip the fleece up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's fine! When you don't know much and the breeder says it's possible, it's so easy to panic!

I'm not super experienced! Especially when it comes to babies!
But I have seen people saying as long as you don't change it or touch the babies it wont cause her to eat them.
Just be super slow moving the fleece up.
Hi, so sorry to trouble you, but there really are baby hoglets underneath the fleece. Now I'm really worried.. I just lifted it a little and I can see two, I din't dare to continue lifting as I can hear the mom huffing, so I tried to put it back down as gently as possible.

I'm going to leave it as it is first, but I would really appreciate if someone could advice me on what I should do next for this unexpected delivery. I can't really find any answers to my question anywhere. I know fleece is not recommended, but it's a little too late for me to remove them now.. If I were to put more some carefresh on top of the fleece day by day, so that there will be a thicker layer of carefresh for the mom to use as nesting material if she so wish and to also control the smell, would the be ok? Or would having these new bedding in her cage be stressful for her.
 

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If she is used to carefresh around it I personally cant see it being a huge issue. Though as its her litter it will increase her going everywhere not just the litter.

Has the breeder offered to help give you advice at all? It is their fault she got pregnant after all so the nice thing would be to offer help!

The admin of the forum reply more to messages I rarely see them posting now, maybe you can try and see if any them can help you?

I'd love to help you more but I'm just not experienced and don't know enough to help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah I pmed the 3 admin already, waiting for their reply. I don't think I should listen to his advice as he told me to just wait for 2 weeks and I can remove the fleece and change to carefresh, which is kinda against everything I read online. He also just said not to worry and that she wouldn't harm the baby that easily.

She's not really potty trained yet, I used to put the wheel on the litter tray to try and toilet train her, but I have removed the wheel already, and she still haven't been toilet trained. The breeder said he used to keep them on aspen. Thats why I got both aspen and carefresh, wanted to try carefresh as its supposedly better at controlling odor, so wanted to use that for the litter, but still provide aspen since she is more used to that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi, could anyone advice if it will be ok for me to slowly add more aspen and care fresh into the cage slowly, with the intention to slowly cover up all the fleece with the new bedding to help control the smell. The mom doesn't really bother with the bedding in the litter pan, so I don't think she will use them for nesting material. Was just thinking of using them for odour control. Maybe adding like a handful everyday or so. Would that stress the mom out?
 

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I don't think it will, I've seen people saying about adding nesting materials even after the babies are born.

Though I am not experienced it is only what I have read.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't think it will, I've seen people saying about adding nesting materials even after the babies are born.

Though I am not experienced it is only what I have read.
Yeah I see that there were quite a few people who recommend to add a little as nesting material, but I'm not sure if there's a chance to add too much bedding if it make sense that it will stress the mom out? Because the mom doesn't seem to bother using the bedding in the litter tray, and is just pooping all over the cage. So I'm wondering if I can slowly add a handful of bedding everyday so that it can cover the whole base, and hopefully control the odour in the cage.
 

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Yeah I see that there were quite a few people who recommend to add a little as nesting material, but I'm not sure if there's a chance to add too much bedding if it make sense that it will stress the mom out? Because the mom doesn't seem to bother using the bedding in the litter tray, and is just pooping all over the cage. So I'm wondering if I can slowly add a handful of bedding everyday so that it can cover the whole base, and hopefully control the odour in the cage.
I think it should be fine, maybe every other day just to be sure! As it is a whole new environment to start with!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think it should be fine, maybe every other day just to be sure! As it is a whole new environment to start with!
Oh ok, thank you so much! Will try slowly adding more and more than. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi, it's about to be 2 weeks since my hedgehog gave birth, and I'm starting to think of handling them so they get used to being handled. I'm planning to start handling them when they are 3 weeks old since I'm not really bonded with the mom yet.
From what I read I should just try touching one for a few seconds, and monitor the mom's behaviour. If she's ok with it then try again holding them slightly longer the next day. At about 4 weeks than I could start taking them out of the cage to handle them right?
The thing is currently they tend to stay underneath the fleece liner, below the hideout, and I'll have to lift up the hideout, and flip the fleece up to touch the hedgehog when they are 3 weeks old. Would that be too stressful for the mom as she is usually underneath the fleece with the hoglets, or should I I wait till I see them out in the open to handle them.
I have honestly never seen the baby hedgehog after the first time I checked up on them, but I can still hear the soft squeaking sounds every now and then, so I assume the mom are taking care of them just fine, but I'm not sure how often they will come out from underneath the fleece liner then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi, I've recently started handling one hedgehog a day for a few second, and the mom seems fine with it. Can I know when I should start handling more than 1 at a time, as in take 1 out for awhile, place them back and take another 1 out again. They are starting to walk around inside the nest, but I'm still worried the mom might reject them. They are about 2.5weeks old now. I'm also wondering when I can start taking them out, both mom and baby for supervised play time. I din't have much time to socialise with the mom as I got her recently and she had this surprise birth, so I would like to start socialising with her too.
 

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I believe that once babies are 2 weeks old you can have them all out in a play with mum. Don't add a wheel but like a digging box with fleece strips and pompoms soft things really, tunnels and toys like balls without holes ect. And make sure there is a hide to.

Mum can then always be with them but also have a slight break while they have a bigger area to play.
Sit on floor near the pen, talk to them all so they know your voice this helps, and let mum learn you and get used to you a bit before you take the babies alone.

You may even be able to get a blanket have mum and babies all snuggled inside and sit with them on your lap, have baby wipes to hand incase any of them poo.

You need to make sure mum knows and trusts you before you try taking babies away to handle separately.

Remember to have separate enclosures for each baby ready for when they need to be separated from mum and each other. Especially to separate the males if there are any.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Oh, it's safe to take them all out of the cage together with mom now? Because I read that I should only take them out a few seconds at a time to see how mum react, and so far she seems to be ok with it, even when she see me reach into her nest. Just am afraid if I were to take all out, it might stress the mom and she might reject them after the "playtime". From one website they suggest that I have supervised play time with the hoglets, but away from mom. So quite confused on what I should do. They are starting to walk around the nest on their own already, but I doubt they are able to eat much yet. Sorry for asking so much as I wasn't prepared for this birth, but I'm really hoping nothing bad happens to them.

So just confirming, I should have a supervised play time with all of them out together, Instead of having separate handling time for them? Really confused on this part.

Not really sure on the mom trusting me part as I only got her for about a week before she gave birth, but so far she seems ok with me touching and taking her baby out for a short while(less than a minute). They are 18 days old currently if it helps.
 

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Yea so I've seen post from breeders, and others with surprise litters, and they all seem to give play time when the hoglets are like 2-3 weeks.

Take some the bedding out the cage and put it into the play pen this gives mum her scent.
Having her out with the babies where she can see them all is better, less likely to upset mum if she can still see all her babies.

As we both know I'm not an expert at this just going off what I have seen from others.
If she is okay with you touching them for few seconds transferring them to a pen with her will be okay.
 
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