Good nutrition is very important in captivity, especially in an animal species where little research has been done into their nutritional needs. It is therefore quite difficult to know what a good kibble should meet. The most important thing is that it contains about 28-35% protein and 12-15% fat, and that the kibble is of good quality and preferably with a lot of meat! By looking at the first three ingredients on the packaging, you can properly estimate whether a kibble contains a lot or little meat. If the first three ingredients are not plant nutrients, they have a lot of meat in them. Preferably do not go for chunks that contain a lot of corn or grains. And for hedgehogs it is important not to take a kibble made on the basis of fish. Not so much because it is not healthy for them, but many types of fish are greasy and the stools smell bad. A kibble made from poultry is best suited to a hedgehog.
- Fat 12-15%
- Protein 28-35%
- Crude fiber 15%
- Calcium 0.9%
- Phosphorus 0.9%
- Iron 75mg
- Copper 7-16mg
- Manganese 11-70mg
- Zinc 100-190mg
Food for the pregnant or lactating hedgehog
A hedgehog that is pregnant or has nursing young needs a diet with more protein and fat. A kitten pellet is then ideal, so that the hedgehog maintains a good weight during this period. You start this immediately after mating and step back to the normal kibble when the young are separated from the mother at the age of 6 weeks.
Food for the sick hedgehog
A sick hedgehog that can temporarily use more nutrients will often do well on kitten kibble or easy-to-digest kibble such as lamb-based kibble. For some hedgehogs, the temporary switch is sufficient, others will benefit from a permanent switch. Sometimes kitten food is also an option, especially if the hedgehog becomes underweight.
Food for the overweight hedgehog
An overweight hedgehog will benefit from less fat and protein, such as a light kibble. Do this until the hedgehog has regained its normal weight. For some hedgehogs this may be necessary permanently if there is a high predisposition to gain weight.
Food for the underweight hedgehog
Hedgehogs that are underweight may need more fat and protein. Kitten chunks are a good option, possibly mixed with a chunk based on fish. Do take into account stronger smelling stools. Use this food for as long as necessary until the hedgehog has regained its normal weight.
Food for hedgehogs with kidney problems
Hedgehogs with kidney problems need special food made for cats with kidney problems. Only give this food in consultation with the vet after a diagnosis has been made and for as long as the vet advises!
Get used to other foods
If the hedgehog needs to get used to it, it is best to do this slowly. Hedgehogs are very sensitive, and so is their intestinal system. Getting over it too quickly can cause diarrhea and even problems in the kidneys, liver or spleen. If the hedgehog normally receives 20 grams of kibble, 4 grams of the new food and 16 grams of the old brand can be given on the first day. Every two days the amount can be increased with 4 grams of new food. This way the hedgehog's intestines can slowly get used to the new kibble and problems are easily prevented.
Amount of food