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Discussion Starter #1
I brought Milly home in May. She turned 5 months old this week. We have had several issues in the past month and a half, including very soft stool, quill loss and weight loss. Her stools are normal now, and she isn't losing quills anymore, but her weight is steadily decreasing.

On August 4th, she was 374g and eating normally. On August 9th, her weight dropped to 367g and fluctuated between 367 and 360 between Aug 9th and Aug 18th. On the 19th, she went down to 357g and began fluctuating between 360 and 350g through Sep 1st. Yesterday she was 342g. To make it simple:

Aug 4th through Aug 8th: ~369-375g
Aug 9th through Aug 18th: ~360-365g
Aug 19th through Sep 1st: ~350-360g
Sep 4th: 342g

In the beginning of August, she was getting 3-4 mealworms a night in addition to her kibble and sometimes fruits/veggies. I've been upping the number of mealworms since then and now she gets 7-8 mealies a night. Once in a while I skip a night of mealies, but not usually. She eats between 30 and 50 kibble a night (3 types of food; 1 type is a smaller sized kibble, the other 2 are larger kibble sizes)

She eats

Natural Balance - Green Pea & Duck Formula (Larger kibble size)
Fat - 12%, Protein - 30%, Fiber - 4%
Purina One Beyond - Salmon & Whole Brown Rice (Larger kibble size)
Fat - 14%, Protein - 33%, Fiber - 4%
Blue Buffalo Basics - Turkey & Potato (Smaller kibble size)
Fat - 12%, Protein - 30%, Fiber - 3.5%

She gets 60 kibbles a night total; 20 BB, 20 NB and 20 Purina. She likes the BB a lot. She almost always eats almost all of those kibbles. Purina she likes a lot, too, and eats 3/4 of it or so. For example, last night she ate 20 BB, 16 Purina, and 4 NB.

As far as wheeling goes, I don't think she's a HEAVY wheeler, but I know she wheels. From what I have observed, it seems like she wheels for about 3 hours a night. Is that considered a lot? Is that really enough to burn all her calories off? I just don't have the experience to know the answers to these questions and would love some more experienced hedgie owner's input.

Oh, and there have been no major changes to her environment or anything. Her cage temp is always in the 70s or low 80s and she has a light on from 7am-8pm.

I can visibly tell that she is a bit underweight. She's only 5 months old! Shouldn't she be gaining? What should I do? I'm not real keen on starting her on a higher fat kibble because I have a feeling that by the time I get through the month of working it into her kibble mix, she'll have gained enough weight to where I'll feel comfortable weaning her off of it.

What's a good gut-loading food for mealies that will help hedgie gain weight? And what would be a good number of mealworms/night be for a hedgehog that isn't keeping the weight on? You always hear, "Ohhh, don't feed mealworms! They are way too high in fat! Feed crickets. Crickets all the way." 1 or 2 members here on HHC have made me feel a bit guilty (unintentionally, I'm sure!) for feeding mealies and my vet has been encouraging me to switch to crickets, too. But if I weigh her regularly and start to notice a general up-trend in her weight, couldn't I just back off on the mealies when she gets to a weight I'm more comfortable with? Or are mealworms REALLY like french fries in that the fat will hurt you, even if you need the extra fat to get to a healthy weight? That's like telling a stick-thin person that they should eat carrot sticks to put some weight on rather than a nice steak or cheeseburger.

I know I'm probably over-reacting by being so worried. Milly seems happy, and we have made leaps and bounds of progress toward trust & feeling comfortable around each other. The vet ruled out parasites. Her stool and urine are normal and she wheels and eats like a happy hog. *Sigh*

Any personal experience with similar situations will help me out! (Sorry for the novel - just wanted to cover all my bases)
 

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3 hours of wheeling is a lot, maybe you could up the treats and/or maybe add a new food or two with more fat(closer to 20%). My Xavier is only 270-280 and is almost 2yrs old and he's been on a high fat baby food his whole life.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Larry! That's really good to know. I would just hate to start her on a new food and have her love it and then have to take it away if she gains TOO much weight. I have a feeling she will pick out the higher fat kibbles first if I go that route. Do you think doing 1/3 higher fat kibbles and 2/3 lower fat kibbles would work?
 
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Its possible your hedgehog has a faster metabolism I know someone experienced mentioned that as a consideration in another topic. If a hedgie's metabolism is faster a higher fat food might not be a bad thing at all in fact it may be needed. Since every hedgie has varying weights its hard to say, increasing mealies might not be a bad idea either.

To demonstrate:

Celeste - Runner Type Body - Average Weight 350Gs to 355Gs

Main Diet: Kibble Intake Average of 55 to 60

Blue Buffalo Duck and Potato - Given 15
Blue Buffalo Turkey and Potato - Given 15
Royal Canin Kitten 22 - Given 35

Supplemental Diet

Mealworms - 10 to 13 per day
Crickets - 10 to 15 per day
Booster - MWF
Scrambled Eggs - Once Egg per week split and served M & W
Cooked Meat - Friday, Saturday
Strawberry - 1/4 Skin-peeled Strawberry Tues, Thurs, Sun

Feral - Normal Type Body - Average Weight 390Gs to 405Gs

Main Diet: Kibble Intake Average of 60 to 65

Blue Buffalo Duck and Potato - Given 30
Blue Buffalo Turkey and Potato - Given 30
Royal Canin Kitten 22 - Given 10

Supplemental Diet

Mealworms - 5 to 8 per day
Crickets - 8 to 12 per day
Booster - MWF
Scrambled Eggs - Once Egg per week split and served Tues & Thurs
Cooked Meat - Sunday, Monday
Watermelon - Daily

Every hedgehog is so different that it may be she has a naturally fast metabolism, however I could be very much mistaken.
 

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My Mustard was having a hard time keeping weight up last year too. I added a food that's 18% fat to her mix, increased the numbers of mealies and added waxworms to her diet and since then her weight has been stable. Waxworms are very high in fat, but not all hedgies will like them because they're not crunchy at all. They also don't last as long as mealworms in the fridge. :)
 

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I've been having some trouble with Lily too, though the main part of it the issue is due to her being sick. She's supposed to be around 490, according to her vet and is down to 440. :? I got a puppy food to start adding to her mix, it's only 16% fat, but I'm hoping it'll help. She was having a bit of trouble keeping a steady weight even before she got sick and stopped eating very much, so I think I'll probably be able to keep it in her mix even after I get her back up to a good weight. I'll probably just put less of it in. You could just think of the higher fat food being her dessert! And she'll be a smart girl and eat dessert first, of course. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the advice, guys. Its great to hear what other people do in this situation. Im going to get some kitten food this weekend when I go to get another CHE set up. I have tried wax worms with Milly and she didnt show much interest, but I will try them again and stock up on meal worms while Im at it.

Any suggestions about gut loading mealies for a skinny hog? Anything special that has more fat than the normal gut loading foods?

Lilysmommy, I hope Lily gets well soon. Milly and I are sending hugs (and dessert! :lol: ) your way. :)

I will be sure to update ya'll - hopefully I can figure out a combination of things to help Milly put weight on! Any idea how long it will take for her to start gaining? Im assuming it wont take too long. *Fingers crossed*
 
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