New Born Baby Hedgehogs & How to Care for Them [different Growth Stages]


Hand feeding

When the mother rejects her babies or tries to hurt them, you will have to become the surrogate mother.  It is not recommended to hand feed the babies for taming purposes.  A hand-fed hedgehog will not be more sociable than one that stayed with his mother for 6 weeks.

Many hand-fed babies will not survive, even though you give them the best care and attention.  Sometimes, they are just too weak to fight.

Here are the important steps to respect :

  • Place the babies in a small box like a shoe box for example.  Use a lot of covers to keep the warmth in and to provide a comfortable environment.
  • You will need an additional heating source for your babies.  They tend to get very cold very fast.

Food to use :

The milk to use is the replacement milk you give to kittens or goat milk.  To help digestion, you can add a small amount of camomile tea. 

To feed the mixture, you will need a syringe. 

How to feed a baby hedgehog:

Hold the baby in one hand.  Put his head on your thumb.  That way, the palm of your hand will keep the baby warm.  Bring the syringe close to his mouth and let some mix drip.  Don’t force the syringe in his mouth.  Just wait and observe.  If the baby doesn’t seem to drink, slowly apply pressure with the syringe.  Open his mouth and let some drops fall in.  Wait a few minutes before giving him more.

The quantity :

Don’t forget that babies have a very small and sensitive intestine.  To feed him too much will have the same effect as not feeding him at all.  He will die.  Make sure that he gets 2 or 3 mouths full of liquid.  You must feed the newborn every 2 hours or when they start crying.  As they will grow, they won’t need to be fed as often during the day.  One important thing to mention:  you have to get up even during the night!

How to stimulate the digestive system :

When mommy feeds her babies, she will lick their bellies to stimulate digestion. Since she is not there to do it, you will have to take on the responsibility. Gently with your finger or a wet Q-Tip, massage the baby’s stomach by starting at the chin and then slowly going down to his anus. Repeat about 20 to 30 times after each meal. If you see the digestive system become darker or if you feel that the belly is hard, it means that you are not doing it well. Try to massage longer or to use a little more pressure.

The excrements :

When you hand feed your baby, he or she will have green excrements. Don’t panic, it’s actually a good sign. When started on the solid diet, everything will get back to normal.

Weaning:

At 3 weeks old, the babies will start to have little teeth. It’s the perfect time to start introducing food to them. Take a kitten dry food formula and mix it with warm water.  It will become soft and easier for the babies to eat. You can leave some food in the cage to make the babies used to this new food. You have to continue giving them milk.  Around the age of 5 to 6 weeks old, they should be able to go to dry food and eat by themselves.

Growth stages



 

  • Newborn :

Babies are born without spines. They are there but just hidden under a membrane. The small white spines will appear a few hours after they were born. The eyes are also closed and they are usually very pink.

  • At 1 week old :

You can hear the babies cry when they are hungry. They still look different without fur. Their eyes and ears are still closed.

  • At 2 week old :

At the end of the second week, you can determine the sex. The males are the ones with the belly button. Slowly the adult spines are coming and their ears are finally open. You still hear the babies as much but the sounds are louder now. The fur is starting to show but not enough to cover the entire body. When you take them in your hands, they try to lick you and will most likely self anoint.

  • At 2 1/2 week old :

The eyes are opening slowly. Fur is starting to be ticker and they don’t seem naked anymore. They start to be more aware of their surroundings and try to walk without much success.

  • At 3 week old :

At this stage, they look like mini hedgehogs. They walk much better now and love to have a look around the cage. They smell new odors and love to cover themselves with that white foam! They also can easily put themselves in a ball.

  • At 4 week old :

Now they are just little clones of mommy! They walk really good and when you try to pick them up, they would move around a lot. You can start thinking about weaning them.

  • At 5 & 6 week old :

The babies should be able to eat and drink by themselves. Finally, mommy can take a rest well deserved.

  • At 8 week old:

Don’t forget to separate the males from the females if you don’t want any surprises.

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