We (and by "we," I mean mostly lilysmommy and twobytwopets with a bit of assistance from me in the form of anything they might ask me to help with) are in the process of updating the sticky topics in the nutrition forum, including the recommended food list. But here's what I generally advise people...
1. Read the stickies in the nutrition section, most notably Beginner's Guide to Nutrition
and the Recommended Foods List
. Please note that the recommended foods list isn't comprehensive. It's only a starting point. Many other foods may fall within acceptable protein & fat ranges. You just have to calculate the values.
2. Do some footwork. See what's available in stores near you and what you can easily order online.
3. Decide what your goals are for your hedgehog's diet. I like 4 foods of different brands and different protein sources because I feel like that's the best way to cover all nutritional bases and protect against the food strikes that can happen if a food is suddenly unavailable or altered. You may decide you want to avoid certain ingredients, feed only limited ingredient foods, stick with a single protein source or any number of other things. It's your decision as long as the diet you choose meets the basic known requirements for protein & fat and avoids ingredients known to be dangerous, but since you already mentioned he is overweight, fat content should definitely be a priority for you.
4. Crunch the numbers. It took me two days to calculate the DMB values for fat and protein in all the foods I would consider that were easily available to me. From there, I narrowed my list and made my final choices. Note: To calculate the DMB value, you subtract the moisture content from 100. Then you divide the value by that number. So, for a food with 23% protein & 10% moisture: 23/90=25.5% protein DMB. Calculating the DMB is not a requirement, particularly for dry foods.
I happen to prefer to calculate it with all foods because I feel it's slightly more accurate for dry foods (and a great deal more accurate for wet foods and when comparing wet and dry), but it's perfectly acceptable -- with dry food -- to simply look at the guaranteed analysis and see if the values fall within the acceptable range.
All that being said, if you'd like to know what I, personally, have started with, here it is. Keep in mind that I have a baby hedgehog with no weight issues, so my fat content is in the higher range.
Solid Gold Winged Tiger (Qual & Pumpkin): 30% protein, 13% fat
Blue Buffalo Freedom Weight Control Grain Free Chicken (chosen primarily because of the high fiber content): 30% protein, 9% fat
Wellness TruFood Salmon, Lentils, & Turkey Liver: 31% protein, 15% fat
Natural Balance Green Pea & Duck: 30% protein, 12% fat
Note regarding Wellness: I am planning to start working this one in tomorrow. I am also prepared to have to switch it out since Wellness foods are sometimes too rich for many hedgehogs.
Note regarding Natural Balance: This food has been categorically rejected by both Fitzgerald and my cat, Lucky. They do a truly stellar job of not only picking around the kibbles but also avoiding the other kibbles that touch those kibbles. But others have had decent luck with it -- which just proves that even if your plan is perfect, your hedgehog might have a different idea.