Learn how to find a couple, how to get your female hedgehog ready, and everything else there is to know about the gestation process.
What are the important questions to ask yourself before breeding your hedgehogs?
Before you make the decision to breed your female, it is of the utmost importance to give yourself some time to reflect and ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you willing to face the reality that you might not be able to keep your female due to complications?
- If you can’t find any purchasers, do you think you’d be able to take care of the babies yourself?
- Do you have the financial means to cover the cost of veterinary care in the event that there are complications?
- Are you prepared and able to take care of the babies in the event that the mother is unable to do it herself?
- Are you willing to provide your female with the necessary amount of space and time to spend with her babies?
If you responded “YES” to all of the questions, you may now focus your attention on the first phase in the breeding process and gain additional knowledge about it.
Find The Right Couple To Breed
If you genuinely care about your hedgehogs, you will want nothing but the best for them. The best possible gift for a breeder would be to have adorable offspring who are also in good health. There are several considerations to take into account in order to guarantee a healthy pregnancy and delivery free of complications.
Both your female and male must be at least 5 months old in order to participate in the show. If you breed them at an excessive rate, it could be detrimental to the offspring. When the parents are still maturing, it is unreasonable to expect a healthy offspring to emerge from their mating. It is simply not possible, and doing so puts your female at risk of serious injury or even death.
It is recommended that a woman who is experiencing her first pregnancy never be older than 18 months old. There is a good chance that her pelvic bones are fused together, which means there is nowhere for babies to come out.
Menopause can begin as early as in a female child of three years old. It is in everyone’s best interest to breed her less frequently and call it quits after she reaches the age of 4.
Check to see that your female companion has not become pregnant within the past four months. In order to ensure that your female gets the rest and relaxation that she requires, you should never breed her more than three times in a single year.
Personality is one of those things that is frequently overlooked. The prevention of behavioral issues is often overlooked by breeders in favor of the pursuit of uncommon colors. It is not a good idea to breed two hedgehogs that are antagonistic with each other.
- Choosing the cage :
You should now place the female in the male’s cage rather than the other way around since you already have a couple. Why? Because the male is much more territorial than the female, and because he might put more effort into putting his mark around the cage rather than taking care of the female, this is the reason. Remember to clean the cage and remove all of the pet’s toys before you do so.
- The ovulation :
Your female does not go through the menstrual cycle but instead ovulates for nine consecutive days, then she takes a week off to recuperate. These are not absolute values, but rather the values that have been observed up to this point.
- It’s love ! :
At a minimum, the two of you must be in each other’s company for a week. It is very likely that you will overhear your male singing to your female. She will make as much noise as she can and roll herself into a ball in an effort to thwart him for as long as she can, but there is nothing that will stop him.
When she is ready, her quills will drop and she will lie down on the ground with her bottom raised in the air. Now it’s time for the man to work his enchantments!
- The separation :
After a week, you will be required to take the pair in separate directions. The female needs to go back to her pristine enclosure as soon as possible. You should separate the hedgehogs since the male can try to consume the young ones if you leave them together. Start recording information regarding the pregnancy as soon as your female animal is left alone.
- The length of the gestation :
A typical pregnancy lasts for thirty-five days. The typical duration falls somewhere in the range of 34 to 36 days. There is a range of possible gestation lengths for your female, ranging anywhere from 30 to 46 days.
Pregnant or not? :
It might be challenging to determine in advance whether a female is actually pregnant or not. At the beginning of gestation, it is recommended that you weigh your female animal. You will be able to more readily observe any weight increase that occurs. It’s possible for females to put on an average of 80.5 grams. It is not something to be concerned about if your girl takes on more or less weight. It varies widely depending on the individual woman. The final 10 days of the diet account for the vast majority of the total weight.
- Preparing the “maternity ward” :
Your pregnant female will have space requirements in order to give birth to her offspring. It is best to get her ready to nest about a week before she is supposed to give birth. Give her a place to hide and make sure her cage is clean. It might be a smaller housing, an increased amount of wood shavings, or additional blankets to make her feel more at ease. It is best not to bother her in the days leading up to the due date. She must keep her composure and not become flustered.
- Her diet :
Calcium is something that needs to be provided to your girl in order to guarantee that she receives optimal nutrition. The use of alfalfa is highly recommended in this regard. It is completely acceptable for her to consume a great deal more food. Do not make any attempts to alter her diet while she is pregnant.
- Signs :
As the date of her delivery draws closer, your female will begin to exhibit signals that she is indeed prepared. It is possible that her urine will have a greater odor, and it is highly likely that she will change things around in her cage. It is hardly surprising that she would stand in the way of her own front door. It’s entirely par for the course! She requires some time alone. A decrease in her appetite is something else you will observe.
The big day is finally here!
There is no way to predict exactly when your female will go into labor and give birth. It is common for it to take place in the wee hours of the morning or late at night. It is not in anyone’s best interest for you to go seeking for the babies straight now. Instead, focus on what you are hearing. These gorgeous new infants will have a sound all their own when they first cry. If you move anything in her nest, you run the risk of your female deciding to consume her young.
If you hear any weird noises or screams coming from the mother, it is important for you to have a look to make sure that everything is proceeding normally. It is the sole valid cause for disturbing her at this time. You’ll have to wait a few days if all you care about is getting an accurate count of the number of newborns. When your female gets up to eat or drink, you might be lucky and be able to see something if you keep your eyes peeled.
There may be anywhere from two to nine offspring in a litter. However, the typical family has between three and four children.
The newborns will have no clothing, no eyes, and will be totally reliant on their mother after they are born. Their tiny bodies are covered by a membrane, which is the reason why you do not see any quills on them. It takes only a few short hours after birth before the first few small while quills become visible. It can take anywhere from six to twelve hours for the membrane to dry and shrink back into its original size.
Always make sure that your female has access to a sufficient amount of food. She will eat a great deal more, which means that the calcium in her diet will need to be increased. Give her some sour cream, cottage cheese, or alfalfa, and she’ll be happy. It’s essential for her milk production, in other words. To adequately nourish the infants, she will require a significant quantity of milk.
Watch out for the young children. They shouldn’t be allowed to sleep outside the nest by themselves. They have a responsibility to keep warm. If you see that your female isn’t showing much interest in bringing them closer to her, use a plastic spoon to pick them up and place them in the nest on your own. Please do not touch the infants. Your scent could cause our female to devour her young or cause her to give up caring for them.
Unfortunately, difficulties may arise.
The following is a list of often occurring complications:
- When giving delivery, it is possible for the uterus of the female to tear, putting everyone’s life in jeopardy. Your veterinarian will need to carry out an emergency cesarean section as quickly as possible. The procedure is pricey, and even when it’s completed, there is no guarantee that the baby will live.
- Hedgehogs that do not come with a pedigree could potentially have genetic issues that you are unaware of. Consider the Wobbly as an illustration. This illness claims the lives of far too many hedgehogs. It is common for the health issues to remain undetected after the animals have been bred, which perpetuates the problem for future generations.
- There is an exceptionally high mortality rate among hedgehogs during their juvenile stage. There are a lot of different reasons why the mother might devour her young. Her lack of expertise, a sensation that something is amiss with a kid, or stress related to her environment might all cause her to inadvertently cause harm to or consume her litter. There is a mortality rate of one third among the infants once they reach the stage of weaning. The first twenty-four hours are absolutely essential to their chances of survival.
- Inexperienced mothers may be more likely to neglect their young children. This is when you need to step in and take control of the situation. The task of hand-feeding the infants is a challenging one. You will need to have a great deal of patience as well as dedication.
- Dystocia is a common complication that requires the assistance of a veterinarian in order to be successfully treated with a cesarean section. Dystocia occurs when the head is too large to pass through the birth canal.
- Sometimes a baby will pass away while still inside his mother’s uterus, which can result in a very serious infection. You will need to make an appointment with a veterinarian in order to have a cesarean section performed.
Important Preparation Guide about Hedgehog Breeding & Gestation. Check out this article to learn more.
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