Food options for young hedgehogs are one of the most concerning and confusing aspects for hedgehog owners. Hedgehog owners have a hard time finding out what is right for their baby hedgehogs and what food must their young pet be fed to ensure that the hedgie remains healthy.
While a hedgehog is young, it is prone to many infections and diseases because of the baby hedgehog’s digestive system’s sensitivity. The sensitive digestive system is why many rules come into play when hedgehog owners feed their baby hedgies.
What do baby hedgehogs eat? And how often should they be fed? All of the questions mentioned above are very integral in ensuring that the baby hedgehog grows healthy with a strong digestive system.
Baby hedgehogs are fed milk substitutes in a very focused cycle. In this article, we discuss the foods you should be giving to your baby hedgehog and the nutrition present in those foods along with a clear timeline of a feeding cycle for your hedgie.
The Staple Meal For Your Hedgehog
Milk is regarded as the usual staple given to your pets because of the amount of nutrition it contains. Like adult hedgehogs, baby hedgehogs can not be given milk or any food with lactose present in it as an ingredient.
Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant; hence You must never give milk to your baby hedgehog.
The real challenge here for a hedgehog owner is finding the alternate of milk for a baby hedgehog. Most hedgehogs are given milk substitutes that come in powdered form to make up for fats, vitamins and minerals.
Avoid adding water to your powder milk substitute, as water can cause your baby hedgehog to bloat up. It is advised to use Fennel Tea to make the alternative milk rather than the water itself to avoid any pain for your baby hedgehog.
Feed your hedgehog very slowly and observe how it consumes its food. The consumption will help you in determining what foods your hedgehog would like to consume in the future.
Is There a Specific Timeline That I Need To Follow For My Baby Hedgehog’s Food?
The diet pattern of a hedgehog changes greatly over time. It varies from week to week, and the hedgehog’s diet and consumption need to be checked and observed to ensure that the hedgehog eats healthy and has a fair consumption of food so that it remains healthy.
When a hedgehog is young, its body is extremely sensitive and may react to anything its body does not like. For this reason, there are some guidelines and some specific timelines that hedgehog owners need to follow to ensure that their hedgehog does not overeat or undereat.
The timeline may vary from hedgehog to hedgehog, but you must ensure that you observe your hedgehog’s eating habits while experimenting with the timeline.
Most experts recommend a very generalized version of the timeline and ask hedgehog owners to follow it and tweak it according to their liking.
Timeline For Baby Hedgehogs:
Newborn babies (Pre- Mature to three days old)
It is advised to let an expert handle a baby hedgehog and its diet for at least two days after it is born. When a hedgehog is premature, it needs to feed with special techniques and care.
All of the methods of handling and feeding premature and newborn hedgehogs are unknown to the common person. Hence, it is advised that you take your hedgehog to an expert as soon as you can to ensure that your hedgehog is fed and cared for properly without causing any harm to its sensitive body.
Two- to Three-Weeks-old Hedgehogs:
When a hedgehog is at least two weeks old, its spines start pushing up, and it starts showing immense growth. At this age, hedgehogs are completely blind and deaf. They need continuous guidance in their food consumption.
Ideally, this should be the stage where you set up a feeding plan for your hedgehog. Try variating the amount of milk substitute you provide to your baby hedgie and observe the amount it consumes on average daily.
Ensure that the milk substitute you are using does not have any traces of lactose present in it. Once you have decided on a feeding plan, make sure that you feed your hedgehog religiously.
The baby hedgehog’s mother will be around feeding the hedgehog herself whenever she finds it convenient. Never leave your baby hedgehog with its mother without supervising; because the mother tends to eat up her child herself.
Keep an eye on the newborn while its mother feeds it to ensure that the mother hedgehog does not harm her child.
Three-Weeks-Old to Two Weeks Old:
Ideally, it would be best if you were feeding them every three hours. During each round, you must feed your hedgehog at least one to two millilitre of milk substitute. Ensure that you feed your hedgehog at midnight or before that to avoid bloating or any other related problems.
At this stage, you can start giving them water occasionally. After ten days, hedgehogs start curling up and gaining weight. If your hedgehog does not gain any weight at this time, you should be concerned.
Try decreasing the amount of gap you take between each feed. The feeds should be more frequent and can be pushed to feeding your baby hedgehog every two hours. Continue with the new cycle for a few days until you see a significant increase in your hedgehog weight.
Two Weeks Old to Five Weeks Old:
During this time frame, you should start feeding the baby hedgehog proper meals. The meals should, however, be presented in very minimal quantities. Usually, during the third week, the hedgehogs start their teeth development.
Initially, try mixing solid foods along with the liquid that you provide to your little hedgie. Liquid and solid foods mixed make it very easy for the hedgehog to consume the food they have given very easily.
Avoid cooking meals for a baby hedgehog. Stick to canned foods to ensure that the hedgehog receives the nutrition that it needs. Cat and puppy food are highly encouraged.