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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read all over the board about how much fat to feed a hedgie, and fillers vs no fillers and there is no complete consensus, so I am wondering what this board thinks, and will just go with what the majority of breeders say.
I have heard high protein is good, and that is agreed upon, but I have read about debates in fillers and fat levels.
First question:
What is appropriate percentages for fat? I have heard between 10-15% or 15-20% or that it doesn't matter.
Second question:
The debate was whether hedgies can eat a no filler diet, because their stomach was not used to it and having more digestive problems, since in the wild, they would injest some vegetation as well.

Also, if you decrease the fillers, such as with INNOVA, which has no corn or rice, you have to have an increase in fat levels, because meat is fattier than corn.

My mix is:
Spike's diet, 8 in 1 Hedgehog, INNOVA ferret (no grains, potato is 5th ingredient, also has carrots and apples) and Purina kitten. When this runs out, it will be all but Spike's diet. Of course there is insect supplementation, and the few human foods he will eat.

I already get INNOVA ferret for my ferrets, and would love to be able to use it on him too, since I can get it super cheap.

What is everyones opinions on the debate? my mix?
 

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You want a low fat food. I haven't looked up Innova's ferret food, but aren't most ferret foods very high in fat around 20% or more. That's way too high of fat for a hedgehog. The highest fat content I will consider is 12%. Occasionally I'll feed a higher fat, but that is usually with a hedgehog I'm having trouble keeping weight on.
 

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This is the analysis for INNOVA ferret food

ANALYSIS
Crude Protein min. 50.0%
Crude Fat min. 21.0%
Crude Fiber max. 1.5%
Moisture max. 10.0%
Linoleic Acid min. 4.0%
Vitamin E min. 250 IU/kg
Fatty Acids (Omega 3) min. .40%

INGREDIENTS: Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Meal, Herring Meal, Potato, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a natural source of Vitamin E), Eggs, Turkey Meal, Natural Flavors, Apples, Carrots, Tomatoes, Cottage Cheese, Dried Chicory Root, Taurine, Herring Oil, DL-Methionine, Lecithin, Rosemary Extract, Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Riboflavin, Beta Carotene, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid), Minerals (Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate), Direct Fed Microbials (Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium thermophilum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product).

The protein level for hedgehogs should be below 30% and the fat should be no higher than 15%. With a protien level that high it can be very damaging to the kidney. You probably shouldn't be feeding the ferret food as its not healthy
 

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I would second nikki's comment about the protein content. I would feed some Innova EVO if it didn't have such high protein. That amount is very hard on the kidney, and can cause renal failure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
LizardGirl said:
I would second nikki's comment about the protein content. I would feed some Innova EVO if it didn't have such high protein. That amount is very hard on the kidney, and can cause renal failure.
I am still confused- most people I have talked to said that a no-filler diet is best for hedgehogs, however, if you have no fillers, you are going to have higher protein and fat levels because that is what meat it.

Are you of the group that recommends filler food? Or I should ask, what types of food do you feed in your mix?
 

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I think the general consensus is more low filler than no filler. It's important that the first few ingredients are meat based, but the protein level needs to stay around 30% which means that it's okay if some of the ingredients are kinds of fillers--just be careful which fillers they are. They should be whole fruits and veggies, not parts (like beet pulp or corn gluten meal, etc). Whole rice is generally okay too.

Some of the more popular foods are Wellness and Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul (just two for an example. This thread has a whole list of suitable foods: http://hedgehogcentral.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=15). Those have these ingredients such as this:
Wellness Healthy Weight

Ingredients:
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Rice, Ground Barley, Ground Rice, Whitefish Meal, Natural Chicken Flavor, Tomato Pomace, Chicken liver, Oat Fiber, Cranberries, Olive Oil, Chicory Root Extract, Cranberry Extract Powder, Cranberry Fiber, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement), Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Kelp, l-Carnitine, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Enterococcus Faecium, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Taurine, Rosemary Extract.

Analysis Excerpt:
Crude Protein 30.0%
Crude Fat 8.0%
Crude Fiber 4.0%
Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul -- Adult Cat Light

Ingredients:
Chicken, chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, ocean fish meal, powdered cellulose, white rice, potatoes, oatmeal, millet, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural chicken flavor, salmon, turkey, duck, flaxseed, sodium bisulfate, egg product,
potassium chloride, methionine, choline chloride, dried chicory root, taurine, kelp, carrots, peas, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, dried skim milk, cranberry powder, rosemary extract, parsley flake, yucca schidigera extract, L-carnitine, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation solubles, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, niacin, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, thiaminemononitrate, vitamin A supplement, biotin, potassium iodide, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

Analysis Excerpt:
Crude Protein 32.0% Minimum
Crude Fat 9.0% Minimum
Crude Fiber 8.0% Maximum
With the meats as the main ingredients and whole fruits/veggies (not the ground corn gluten type stuff), the proteins are still about 30%.
Most foods should be less than 15% fat content. It can be a little higher on one or two foods in the mix if there's not a weight problem (should be considered a treat in the food, and shouldn't go more than about 20%). Most people buy light foods and they have 12% or less in most cases; avoid kitten foods.
The main thing is to make sure the food is meat based, within the 30% protein area, and try to base mixes mainly below 15% fat. The fillers to avoid are things like beet pulp, pea hulls, brewer's rice (because this is what's left over after brewing beer, it's not fresh rice), wheat gluten, and corn.
 

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I think what most people term as fillers are useless additions that provide no nutritional or very little nutritional value. Food that contain a lot of grains as fillers, there is even a food that has ground aspen in it. Food that contain vegetables, fruits, etc are generally looked upon as acceptable as they provide natural sources for vitamins and minerals to the diet.

There has been some hedgehogs who ate the EVO foods and I believe a few have been reported to come down with problems.

My current mix: Innova lite, Innova Sr, Fromm Mature Gold, Pet Promise healthy weight & by nature organics (low fat version). My hedgehogs pick out the Fromm, Pet Promise & Innova Sr in that order. I love Fromm & Pet Promise, the kibble sizes are small and the hedgehogs can eat them easier.
 

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I am still confused- most people I have talked to said that a no-filler diet is best for hedgehogs, however, if you have no fillers, you are going to have higher protein and fat levels because that is what meat it.

Are you of the group that recommends filler food? Or I should ask, what types of food do you feed in your mix?
I do not recommend feeding foods with high amounts of fillers. I also do not recommend feeding foods extremely high in protein to animals whose bodies can't handle it. 50% is too much for a hedgehog.

I feed a high-quality cat food mix of Wellness Indoor Health, Spa Select Mature, Chicken Soup Light, and more. I try to feed my hedgie the best I possibly can, without using foods that could potentially harm him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Zalea said:
I think the general consensus is more low filler than no filler. It's important that the first few ingredients are meat based, but the protein level needs to stay around 30% which means that it's okay if some of the ingredients are kinds of fillers--just be careful which fillers they are. They should be whole fruits and veggies, not parts (like beet pulp or corn gluten meal, etc). Whole rice is generally okay too.

Some of the more popular foods are Wellness and Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul (just two for an example. This thread has a whole list of suitable foods: http://hedgehogcentral.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=15). Those have these ingredients such as this:

With the meats as the main ingredients and whole fruits/veggies (not the ground corn gluten type stuff), the proteins are still about 30%.
Most foods should be less than 15% fat content. It can be a little higher on one or two foods in the mix if there's not a weight problem (should be considered a treat in the food, and shouldn't go more than about 20%). Most people buy light foods and they have 12% or less in most cases; avoid kitten foods.
The main thing is to make sure the food is meat based, within the 30% protein area, and try to base mixes mainly below 15% fat. The fillers to avoid are things like beet pulp, pea hulls, brewer's rice (because this is what's left over after brewing beer, it's not fresh rice), wheat gluten, and corn.
Thanks!
This explained things very nicely. I would get parts of answers from other people, and it just confused me more, such as "fillers are bad" but then their food would have fillers in it, and now it makes sense :) I defined fillers as corn based or rice...I will remove rice from my "filler list".

With ferrets, it is the exact opposite- you want meat based only and the highest protein you can get- which is why the INNOVA/EVO is considered the best.

Possibly it has something to do with being insectivores vs carnivores?
 
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