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Hedgehog Diet & Nutrition Anything to do with the diet or nutrition of a hedgie - post it here!

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  #1  
Old 09-05-2013, 07:32 PM United States
Bumpa4718 Bumpa4718 is offline
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My always challenging Chester has added more hurdles. he is a picky eater. But he was eating his kibble and a treat of chicken baby food. Hates mealworms, fruits, veggies, eggs.
About 10 days ago he lost interest in kibble. So I bought two new brands, all very high quality. He is not interested.
I bought him crickets.... loves them.
Now he eats his baby food and crickets but nearly no kibble. He behaves the same and isn't dropping weight, but I know this is not nutritious enough on its own.
Now I'm trapped in this cycle.... he only wants treat foods, but how do I take those away when he won't eat the kibble. Would anyone recommend canned cat food? or should I withhold the baby food and cricket to see if he'll turn to kibble? I just don't want him to starve.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:29 PM United States
lmw142 lmw142 is offline
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As long as he is not sick I don't think he would just starve himself. If you take away the treats for awhile he should realize he's not getting them and eat his kibble. How many treats are you giving him and how often?

Also, how big is the kibble you are feeding him? I added a new kibble to my hedgies mix and they wouldn't eat it at first because it is just slightly bigger than the other stuff. So now I have to cut it in half before I give it to them.
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Last edited by lmw142; 09-05-2013 at 10:30 PM. Reason: Thought of another question!
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:41 PM United States
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smhufflepuff smhufflepuff is offline
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Check his mouth/teeth to rule out anything funny there. Look for funny lumps or bumps along his jaws and gums, teeth that aren't lining up quite right (like a major underbite), missing teeth, loose teeth, threads wound around a tooth/teeth... those sorts of things. If you spot any of those things, bring him on in to the vet. Most likely, though, he's enjoying his treat time. I'd choose cake over beets too!

Assuming all checks out, let's try and get him back on his kibble. You can mix kibble in with the baby food. Nice little pieces of kibble stirred into the chicken or turkey baby food. Sometimes, that will work. You can start with a ratio of kibble to baby food that mirrors that of sprinkes:frosting in a can of funfetti cake frosting and move toward a ratio that resembles rice krispies:marshmallow in your standard rice krispy treat.

Canned food - A plus with the canned cat food is you can find the same brand/flavor of kibble - for example the Blue Wilderness canned compliments the Blue kibble... Wellness is similar... Same with Spot's Stew. Find a wet he likes and try the dry. Either in separate dishes or all mixed up.

lmw's idea isn't so bad... reduce (not eliminate) treats and allow him access to kibble all the time. Even stick some kibble in his bed with him so it's there to snack on during the day too. Make sure to keep an eye on his weight so that he's not dropping grams in the 2-digit range. These little goofballs can be... well... obstinate about what they will and will not at eat at times. Some hedgies will indeed to on hunger strikes and put themselves in danger. They can be very good at making their humans worry.

Back to the teeth/mouth thing as a possibility - try wetting his kibbles to see if he's acceptable to him if they were only softer. Or breaking them in two in case you're looking at a size issue.

Happily, I don't think you're to this point with him, but I do want you to know that there are a good number of hedgies who live quite happily and energetically for quite awhile on soft food diets. We're talking not just weeks, but months and years. So it can be done if he insists on it. I wouldn't leap to doing this with him now. Let's try and get him back on his regular kibble first. I mention it only because I'm big on having back-up plans... it makes me feel better to know that there's a valid fall back position... even when I highly doubt the fall back plans are needed, it's reassuring to know they're there.
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Old 09-06-2013, 07:59 AM United States
Bumpa4718 Bumpa4718 is offline
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Thank you everyone. I so value your input and advice. Last night I gave him some kibble that is the equivalent of "junk food" to see what he did. He ate the few pieces I gave him. I held back on the baby food and crickets. He was only getting those 2-3x a week anyway, but i was afraid he was waiting for them now, instead of eating his meals.
All of the kibbles are small. I know he prefers the X shapes instead of the ball shapes.

I feel better now, having consulted with you. I will try the wet kibble and the kibble/baby food and see how he handles it.
Little brat. Why can't he just cooperate?
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Old 09-06-2013, 12:42 PM United States
akane akane is offline
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Loki was kibble picky at first and went on a wet cat food diet for a month. He grew out of it though and now eats all 3 of the brands in our mix. If you over feed them though many of them will leave behind the small ball pieces in the blue buffalo mix and only eat the flatter pieces.
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