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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I'm new on this board, and I'd like everyone's opinion on feeding my boy, Beck.
Beck is two years old now, and I've had him since he was a baby. All his life, I fed him 8 in 1 ultrablend select with other fruit and veggie treats. Then, in August I switched him (gradually) onto Sunseed hedgehog diet, because I thought the ingredients and nutrients seemed better. However, he didn't seem too thrilled with it, and his poops got dark, tarry, and strong smelling (and massive amounts). He kind of got sick and I was really worried about him for a while (he was cold and lethargic, huffy, and just non-respondent-- and the room he's in isn't cold). He came down with mites because he was weak I think. So I treated the mites, and switched him back to his old food, and I also got him some dried insects.
Since I've started feeding him the dried insects, he's perkier and happier than he's EVER been, even before I switched his food. Also, since I've switched him back to his old food, he's been having trouble chewing it. It's in larger pellets than the Sunseed, and it gets worked into a paste all around his mouth.
I find I've been feeding him increasingly more insects, and just a few kibbles every day. To what extent is this okay? I know hedgies ARE naturally insectivores, but I worry that he might be missing out on the additional vitamins in his kibbles. He gets fresh fruits and veggies, as well as beans.
So, for example, if he eats 6 dried crickets, 5 dried meal worms, and 3-4 pieces of kibble, is that sufficient? Thanks!
 

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Careful with feeding that many dried insects. There HAVE been cases where hedgies have been allowed to completely indulge on freeze dried and ended up dying from an impaction in their intestines, as they couldn't digest them properly.

Also, most here will say that cat kibble should be the basis of your staple food. Take a look at the stickies posted on the forum, and you will find Reaper's list of cat food. The hedgehog food you are feeding is "ok", but not nutritionally complete to feed by itself.

My boy eats about 40-50 kibbles per night of cat food (mixture of Wellness, Natural balance, Solid gold) and he gets about 1-2 mealies per night. Just so you can get some sort of idea.

Cat kibble should also be free fed. Meaning they should always have enough kibble in front of them and available at all times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow, that seems like a lot of food! My boy is pretty little (they weighed him at the vet and said he was 0.16-- not sure if it's lbs or kilos lol! But he's definitely on the SMALL side for a hedgie) The vet said his weight was good for his build though. How do insects stack up calorie wise compared to kibble? Like, if he were to live on JUST insects, how many should he have? Also, I've read that too many mealworms are too fatty-- should I feed more crickets than meal worms? Or is it okay for him to have 5 or 6 mealies a day?
 

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Yikes! Please excuse me if this comes across harsh.

First, if your hedgie is only 0.16 lbs OR kilos he's only 77 or 160 grams (if the math was done right). I personally think anything under 225 is extremely small and malnourished. My boy is 280, and he is small. It would be great if you could weigh him. How are his sides? Are they sunken? Is he teardrop shaped?

Your hedgie can't survive on insects alone. He *needs* a good quality cat food for other vitamins. Insects, while they were a staple in the wild, are best as a supplement to the cat food. Immortalia's example of 40-50 isn't abnormal, in fact, Inky eats that much.

If you post pictures or can get his weight and such, we can help you more with his diet. I would be concerned if he is that small, and has been eating mostly insects.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'll try and get some recent photos of him up, but honestly, he's not malnourished weight-wise. Maybe I misunderstood the vet when she said his weight, or maybe that number was something else entirely. He's round though, no sunken sides, and he doesn't feel ribby under his belly. His tummy is usually soft and is either flat or pushing out just a bit. He's got lots of energy, and his eyes are always bright and clear... he's very inquisitive and friendly, and I don't think he'd be as energetic as he is if he was really malnourished..

Also, the insect development has only been for the past week or so-- all his life before that he's lived soley on kibble and veggie treats. And he's still eating 7 or 8 kibbles in addition to the insects, I was just wondering if that's okay since he seems to prefer them and have an easier time eating the insects than the kibbles.
 

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I would slowly add some high quality cat kibble into his diet. When you look down at him does he look like | | or ) ( or ( ) ? He really needs to eat something more nutritious than freeze dried insects and hedgehog food. In other words what he's eating is NOT sufficient for him. Try wetting the dry food a bit to see if its easier for him to eat.
 

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I think once he's on a good cat food, or a mix of cat foods that his stool with balance out and he'll be much healthier. It's great to feed lots of insects, I just think that the amount should be less than the amount of cat food they eat.
 

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I was just curious about something. My little guy only eats about 20 kibble a night max. He was eating crap essentially when i first got him, and is now eating a blend of blue buffalo and another organic cat food. Eventually id like to work wellness is as well. Hes still nice a plump though. Is it normal for him to eat that little?
 

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I've always had issues with comparing the number of kibble a hedgehog eats. Each hedgehog's requirements could be different and unless you are feeding the exact same foods, you could be comparing "apples to oranges." I have a hedgehog currently that eats a minimum of 90 pieces of kibble a night. I am happier if he eats more since I am trying to get weight back on him. Most of the kibble is small. If it was 90 pieces of Innova (lite or Sr) it would be an HUGE amount of food. 40-50 pieces of kibble and he would drop 10+ grams of weight each night (I've watched it happen with him).

Counting kibble is great if you are trying to determine if your hedgehog is eating at all. A better method of comparing is watching their weights. Weigh them daily and watch for weight fluctuations. I don't count kibble, I watch weights. When I see weight going down and the food bowl doesn't look touched, I will start to count kibble just to monitor to see if I need to figure out what is wrong (start syringe feeding, schedule a veterinary visit, etc).

If you think they aren't eating enough or their weight isn't high enough, take a look at them from above. If their sides sink in, they need to gain weight. Also feel their chest and their back. If their backbone is sticking out or their chest is bony, they could use more weight. Also keep in mind that hedgehogs have 2 main body shapes, a runner body style and a teardrop. Runners have slender bodies with legs that look like they are on stilts. They often can look skinny if you have them sitting near a nice teardrop. Doesn't mean they are though.

My opinions of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Okay, so sorry to scare everyone with the .16 kilo thing-- I checked in at the vet, and he's o.455 kilo, or just under a pound. Maybe the .16 had to do with his Revolution dosage? Or maybe I totally misheard the vet, I dunno.

When I look at him from above, he's a very slight () shape-- not a lot, but his sides definitely are not caved in. He's got a runner build. I'm always making fun of his freakishly long legs. ^^ I'll try to get pictures up when I get to my home computer in a few weeks.

I'll try wetting his food to see if he can chew it better. The vet noted that he does have a small underbite, but not enough that it should seriously impede his chewing.

I guess my main question was since he seems to prefer the insects and find it easier, to what extent should I indulge him? Obviously, I realize he needs some kibble, but is it okay if a large portion of his calories come from insects and other treats (beans, tuna, fruits and veggies)? Thanks for all your input, guys.
 

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I would say variety is good, but remember not to change it up too much too often, to avoid giving him an upset stomach.

Fruits and veggies, different cooked meats, a variety of insects, eggs (have you tried scrambled eggs with him? My boy loves them) should be good as long as he is still getting a bit of cat food. Otherwise it's very difficult to know exactly what vitamins he's getting and what he's not.

Feeding mealworms, mealworm pupae, darkling (mealworm) beetles, crickets, roach nymphs, wax worms, etc are all great for variety in insects.
 
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