- There are many differences in opinion whether hedgehogs should be free-fed or should have daily monitored feeding.
- There are some people that firmly believe hedgehogs should have food in front of them at all times and that hedgehogs will not over-eat.
- However, it is very common in many animal species to only be fed once per day and we have found that Daily Monitored Feeding works the best for us.
- Please note: baby hedgehogs, nursing moms, or slim body type hedgehogs should not be limited in the amount of food they receive but at the same time their food intake should be monitored closely.
Advantages of Daily Monitored Feeding
- Daily rationed feeding helps to prevent over-eating, obesity, and the health problems associated with obesity. Most human diet plans are based on this same principal.
- Many breeders believe that monitoring your hedgehog’s food intake will keep your hedgehog from becoming obese.
- Obesity and its associated health disorders are very common problems in pet hedgehogs.
- The method of daily monitored feeding will quickly alert you if your hedgehog has suddenly stopped eating and allow you to investigate and find out why.
- Many breeders prefer to give their hedgehogs fresh food every day rather than allowing some food to sit out for what may be a period of several days.
Determining the Appropriate Amount to Feed
- It is recommended that you give your adult hedgehog only enough food so that it is completely gone or almost gone the same time the next day. You should give your hedgehog enough food so that your pet doesn’t act like it is starving at its next meal. This will be 1 Tablespoon to ¼ cup depending on your hedgehog (its metabolism, stage of growth and activity level) and the quality of food.
- Check how quickly your hedgehog eats all of its food. If you feed your hedgehog in the evening and it acts hungry in the morning give it a little more food but not so much that it has a lot of food remaining in the evening.
- Many breeders prefer to feed their hedgehogs’ one portion, one time a day but some people prefer to feed two smaller portions each day.
- Your hedgehog will adjust to feeding at any time during the day or evening but it is important to be consistent in that you feed at the same time every day.
- It has been observed that baby hedgehogs vary dramatically in the amount they eat, especially when they first go to new homes.
- Some babies won’t eat a full tablespoon of food but others may need almost two tablespoons especially if they are using the wheel for hours at a time.
- It is ok to give your hedgehog a little extra food during transition time until you learn its eating habits and needs.
- The key to baby hedgehogs is if they are peeing and pooping they are eating at least something.
Contributor: Rebekah Scarola, Briar Patch Hedgehogs