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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On Tuesday night i purchased a one and a half year old hedgehog named Vex from a university student who needed the money to pay for her temperamental dogs neutering. I brought Vex home in my car, after reading and re-reading this site for 4 days to make sure i didn't screw up. I put him in a carrier and wrapped him in towels, put a heating disk in it to make sure he was warm, and seat belted him in for the 2 hour ride home in a blizzard.

We got home safe, and i set up his old cage downstairs in the warmest room in the house. I placed a accurate digital thermometer in his cage and it fluctuates between 73 and 76 degrees because of the electric fireplace cutting out for an hour overnight.

I left this cage alone, and took him out to hold him in one of my shirts i put in his carrying case to get used to my scent. He sat on my lap for about two hours huffing and "popping" (kicking his quills to try and spike me" and eventually got bored of it and started to wander. I realize some hedgehogs are explorers and don't want to sit still when out of the cage so i put him on the floor of a huge hedgie proofed room.
He wandered around for a while and then finally stopped and laid down. At first i thought he was just tired, but of course my nervousness came in and i thought the floor was to cold and he was gonna start hibernating so i kept him on my chest to try and feel his stomach. All he wanted to do as climb and climb so i put him back on the floor and he ran to a completely different spot and laid down again. I put him in his cage with his same food and water dish.

Before i went to bed i dismantled this very unsafe wire loft the previous owner had hanging from the bars of the cage, remember not only was wire like this bad for hurting hedgehog feet, he could also fall and hurt himself.
I also removed the clumping cat litter they used in his cage as i was afraid of it getting stuck in his manly areas. I put my shirt in his house and went to bed. He pooped in the carefresh i put in his litter bowl, and it seemed to be a pretty semi-solid shade of brown.

In the morning almost none of his food was touched, and very little water was drank at all. I thought he must just be frightened as he slept in the empty litter box container that i put back in his cage with some carefresh in it. I refilled the litter box and added more water to his bowl, and tried replacing his food with more of the stuff the old owner gave me. I put another shirt under his house. He was really grumpy and huffy. Much worse than the day before, and that's when i saw the rock stuck in the flesh bump on his belly. I help him open from his ball and removed the rock. There were no signs of tearing or redness so i completely clean out his cage and replaced it with a fleece liner instead.

When i got home i purchased him a flying saucer wheel. His previous owns had no toys for him so he just slept 24/7. He got the hang of the wheel with a little motivation which i am proud of. (Motivation being putting him back on when he would fall off from going to fast and stopping) On his wheel he pooped again. The first time his poop was very dark dark brown. The second time he pooped is was almost like a blackish green.

I am worried about this shade of poop, as i have read about light green stool and light runny brown stool. The stool was semi firm until squeezed slightly, then it become gooey. (Probably from me squeezing it)
I understand that a changing environment as well as different water and meeting new people all at once can cause a lot of stress in the little guy, and for the most part he seems to be making purring noises or whistley squeaks. I also think my sister may have fed him a mealworm from he mealworm harvesting thing (ant farm type thing) but she won't fess up about doing it. He has never had mealworms before, only crickets twice a month. I think she may have fed him a few mealies which upset his stomach, as well as turned down his appetite for kibble. I have made sure to tell her no more feeding the hedgehog, and no going into my room while I'm not there. I believe she thinks she was giving him a harmless treat after reading somewhere about them liking it, but didn't know his diet as she has only seen him from a distance.

I just want to make sure that this is just stress or possible over indulgence in a new food (mealies -.-) that is causing his stool to change. I will keep checking on him and monitoring his food intake and his stool to make sure that things don't go unchecked, as i have grown attached to the little bugger in only two days.

Also:
Was it better of me to take all the hazards out of his cage like i did and put in safer alternatives rather than just let him have his old cage and adjust to the room and people, and change his cage a little later on?

Right now his cage is a little to small for him (is 2 square feet total, so he has no room to move with his new wheel, sleeping pouch and food/water dish. How long should i wait before i move him to a bigger cage/add an extension onto his current cage?

Thanks for any insight you can offer to me. Please don't be afraid tot ell me what i did wrong, I'm not dense and i will take your thoughts whole heartedly. I wouldn't want to do anything to harm Vex in anyway.
 

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Wow, it sounds like he's a lot better off with you than his old owner. :) I think the poop probably was due just to the stress of a new home and if he did get fed a mealie, from a new food. He'll probably be pretty hissy/huffy for awhile, as he tries to get used to you and his new home. The new home is probably the reason that he didn't eat or drink much, too, but if he keeps refusing to drink much, you might want to try syringing him some water to make sure he doesn't get dehydrated. You did a good job removing the platform and the clumping cat litter, though, I would think it's better to change his home just a little rather than risk him getting hurt by leaving it in a couple of days.
I'm not sure on how long to wait before switching his cages, we'll see what someone else says about that, lol. Oh, and one more thing I wanted to ask, what kind of food was his old owner feeding him? It kinda sounds to me like he/she didn't know all that much about hedgehogs, considering all of the things wrong with his home before you took him. Most brand hedgehog food is nothing but crap for them. :?
 

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I think you're doing a great job. Its normal for some hedgies to not eat, or to eat very little, the first day or so at a new home, as is off coloured or soft stools. He sounds pretty healthy and will probably be running up a storm all night tonight. Making his cage safe was a very good idea and its a good thing you made the changes that you did. He's a lucky hedgie to have such a caring owner. Good luck with him.

oh and yes please make sure he has good, high quality cat food. Check out the pinned list under the nutrition section.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
nikki said:
oh and yes please make sure he has good, high quality cat food. Check out the pinned list under the nutrition section.
His previous owned fed him 8in1 hedgehog food with home prepared dried fruits in it (banana's, apples and carrots), but i know that the primary ingredient is corn meal. I didn't want to change his food right away due to over stressing him out with the new environment and all the other changes.

I want to start feeding him Wellness Health cat food, as the local pet shop's dog groomer gives me a discount (i used to make her pizza's) and they have it in bulk. I read that i should slowly mix his foods, and each day mix a little more cat and a little less 8in1. The wellness kibble looks just like the 8in1 smaller pieces of kibble, so i hope that he will switch over easy (i know tehy have bad sight, but maybe feeling the same size.. /shrug)

He seems a lot better today. He ran on his wheel all night, as per the poop smears and caked on carefresh. I couldn't really see the color of the stool between all the caked on bedding.
After he is feeling better i am planning on switching to a fleece/felt/fleece liner, and just giving him a small playpen of carefresh to do his business in (unless anyone has any better options for a litter box filler).

He ate close to 5 pieces of kibble when hand fed one by one this morning while he was huffy, but then just wanted to run around on the floor for the next bit, whistling as he went, and sniffing almost everything.

After i had an orange i thought he was gonna anoint himself (guess i didn't wash my hands well enough after) but instead just licked his feet for a while.
I added a home made hedgie bag (i enjoy sewing, and didn't know where to find them in Canada) and he really enjoys hiding underneath it in his little house.

All around he seemed to be a little happier today, probably form being able to run whenever he wanted to, as he hasn't had that privilege in the last year. Vex is about a pound, and while it took him a while to get used to running on the flying saucer, he quickly became a champ in no time.

He has been drinking the water, as almost half the dish was gone this morning.

Thanks for the advice, i much appreciate it.
 

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Sounds like he's doing great! :D Another option for the litter box is to use cat litter, as long as you make sure that it is non-clumping and dust free. But with a little male, maybe it's still better to use Carefresh, I'm not sure. Lily didn't really catch on to litter box training, so I just took it out so she'd have more room in her cage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
he only pees in the litter box, he doesn't care where he poops.

The previous owner gave me two types of litter. clumping and clay.
I knew clumping was bad so i took it out right away and replaced it with the clay cat litter, thinking it wouldn't stick to him. Somehow he got one of the flat clay pieces of cat litter stuck in the middle of his man parts and was incredibly fussy, it took me over 15 minutes just to get him unrolled so i could pull it out. I'm not sure if it was a freak thing that only happens once, but afterward i also read that clay litter was bad, so I'm not sure what to try and use anymore.

I want to eventually replace his current carefresh bedding with a fleece liner that will be easy to wash and replace every few days. Once i have the fleece liner i want to try to fully litter train him, as he has taken quite well to urinating in the litter box. Would just using a small amount of carefresh in the litter dish be sufficient, or will he end up just trying to dig in it?

Once i can modify his cage, i am contemplating turning one section of it into a litter box with his wheel in it and keep his bed/food and toys on a fleece liner. Maybe if i use carefresh under the wheel, he will just learn to do his business in that part of the cage if i move all his stool there and show him/give him a small treat once he acknowledges it.

Are there any other safe alternatives to litter that i could use besides carefresh/clay/clumping litters?
 

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I believe some people also use Yesterdays news, you can even use plain old paper towel.
Which ever you end up trying, perhaps you can try mixing some of the old dirty litter with the new to get him to identify it as litter and not a new toy.

Im so glad hes found a good home with you :)
 

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We havent attempted to litter train Dora, but from what i understand a "fully litter trained" hedgie still has TWO litter boxes....his actuall litter box AND his wheel....he is gonna poop in his wheel, just a fact of life...lol Remember when you were a kid and you hated to quit playing outside just to go in to use the bathroom? Hedgies evidently hate stoping play time too, and they have a simple solution...they dont...LMAO
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
haha ya, i understand pooping on his wheel is normal, and its a fact of life i will have to clean it roughly twice a day. Whenever he has to pee he runs over to his litter box tho, which is why i don't really want to remove it.

I'll try putting a small amount of old used litter under the new stuff i use to see how he treats it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
im getting mixed signals from Vex. He stopped sleeping in his litter box when i replaced it with yesterday's news, and began sleeping in his house and fleecy i made for him. I replaced the liner in the cage with a flannel/fleece liner. I added a second part to his cage to bring it up from less than 1square foot of floor space to almost 4 including all his bowls, house and wheel.

he actively enjoys running on his flying saucer wheel, as noted by all the poop on it this morning, which was little more than a smeared mess all over the wheel and his feet. I counted his kibble before replacing it, and found that he only ate 3 pieces between 11:30 last night and 6:30 this morning. There was little water gone from his bowl as well.

he is really active and exploratory but i don't understand why he won't eat the food hes been living off of for the past year. I tried wetting the food into a past, and mixing in small pieces of chicken, but he wouldn't touch any of it. I also tried a small amount of no fat yogurt, but would just stick his nose in it then rub it on the ground.

1) If he hasn't eaten very much by the time i get home tonight (4:30/5:00) should i then attempt to syringe feed him a mixture of baby food and cat food?

I got him on Tuesday night, so i can only assume he ate that day as the previous owner said she just changed his food. Tuesday night i had hand fed him 3 pieces of the kibble, but forgot to count the remainder in the bowl. Wednesday after work he ate a few pieces out of his bowl (2?) and another 3 when i hand fed him. Overnight it did not look like he ate any of his food, but i hand fed him 1 piece of kibble before he got bored and wanted to run around.

Yesterday evening he ate roughly 3 pieces of kibble (+-1), and during the night he ate exactly 3 pieces of kibble.

2) I am wondering if this is enough for him to be eating until he gets used to the new environment? He has been pooping constantly, and it seems to be dark brown coated in a dark green.
 

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Try putting some kibble in his bed with him. Often they will eat if they can do it in the privacy of bed. This works for ill as well as new to you hedgies.

Syringing him would be a good idea since he hasn't eaten much. The vet sells a good easily syringed food called Hills A/D. You can also leave a small dish of it in his cage as he might eat it on his own. When syringing, remember to syringe from the side of his mouth as doing it from the front can cause them to choke. Squeeze in a little amount and wait for him to swallow. As he catches on he will start eating it more quickly and grabbing at the syringe.

Good luck. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'll check on him at lunch and see if he has eaten much. If not i will definitely try your suggestions

Thanks so much!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you so much Nancy!

I took a long lunch and went and picked some up from my dog's vet (she doesn't do exotics sadly) and mixed it with some sweet potato and chicken baby food. I first syringed him some sugar water (took maybe 30 minutes for him to even sniff the syringe, but he loved the taste of the sugar). He drank down about 4ml of it, with at least 1ml spilling all over himself in his reluctance to accept it.

I then attempted to feed him warmed up cat/baby food mixture. at first he was once again huffing and popping, but after a little coaxing i finally go the syringe into the side of his mouth and applied a little pressure. He spat it out and started rubbing it on his face with his hands, so i tried to feed him more and he at between 6 and 8 ml before he began ANOINTING himself. It was so funny, he rubbed the bright orange mixture all over his quills and his visor and then sat there looking content. I fed him a few more ml of the sugar water, then let him run through a towel to get most of the orange off of him. Afterwards he seemed much more content and was whistling joyously until i tried to put him in his cage. As soon as he was in he ran to his food dish, ate one piece and ran into his fleece and started to sleep. Over the 2 hours it took total to get him fed i am very happy that he ate and seemed slightly more interested in his other food.

Oh, and can mites cause a loss of appetite?

I haven't found any quills that have fallen off, but there is one that is bent and slightly broken, but that could have been from the old owners neglect in giving him a loft he maybe fell off of. Also there are some white spots on some of his quills, but none seem to be moving. Are those mites? If so is revolution hard to get/expensive?
I am giving him an oatmeal bath tonight to try and get off some of the orange he has spread on hid body after another syringe feeding session. Will the bath help at all with the mites? I am using an Oatmeal baby shampoo. Afterwards i will most likely put some vitamin E oil on his quills to help with what looks like slightly dry skin.

If he will sit still tonight i will take a picture of his quills.
 
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