I enjoy raising our own feeder insects because then I know what my hedgehogs food is eating and I know they are clean and disease free. It also provides my customers and hog parents a place to get feeder insects for their hedgies.
Have you ever wondered what goes into raising your own feeder insects? I want to show you how easy it is to start up a mealworm farm of your own! We also have dubia roaches here at Green Mountain Quillibusters, and I am happy to write a separate post on them another time.
A job planned out is a job half done. Don't skimp on making sure you have all your supplies gathered before you get started. Setting up a mealworm farm is super easy if you have everything ready. Our farm is minimal work and yields plenty of mealworms to support our herd as well as our customers.
Now that you have your container and bedding, you are ready to add in your mealworms.
When you are starting a mealworm farm you will need a good supply of mealworms to get it going. I would recommend no less than 1000 to start. Buying bulk mealworms online can be risky depending on the time of year. Winter months can be too cold for shipping, while alternatively summer months can be too warm. Check around your area to see if there are any local suppliers before going online.
If there is not a local, trusted business to purchase mealworms from in bulk, I suggest the following three suppliers.
I have listed their location as well so you can choose the vendor that is closest to you.
www.reptiledeli.com (New York)
Once your have an established colony, your farm will require minimal maintenance and will provide your insectivores plenty of yummy, protein filled treats!
Thanks for reading and please leave any comments or questions you have below!
Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS) is a RARE disease that can occur in African Pygmy Hedgehogs. It is believed to be genetic, but the cause is unknown. WHS is progressive, degenerative and neurological. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for WHS.
The disease is similar to multiple sclerosis (MS) in humans. Most cases occur in hedgehogs between the ages 18-24 months but is known to happen at earlier and later ages as well. Hedgehogs will experience weight loss and eventually become completely paralyzed. Paralysis usually starts in the hind legs.
Hedgehogs must have a necropsy (animal autopsy), to look for lesions on the brain for an accurate diagnosis of WHS.
No breeder is immune from WHS. The hedgehog gene pool is very small, so its important to track linage to help reduce cases of WHS.
Symptoms of WHS:
WHS does not come on suddenly, it’s a slowly progressing disease. If your hedgehog has a sudden wobble, it’s likely from another illness or environmental factor.
Other ailments that can mimic symptoms of WHS:
Necropsy: How to
In the event that your hedgehog dies, and you suspect WHS or another genetic issue, it's important to have your hedgehog prepared and shipped for a proper necropsy. Your hedgehog should be shipped out the day it dies.
Step 1: Put your hedgehog in a large Ziploc bag and put in the refrigerator. DO NOT freeze. Freezing will kill cells. Write your name and number on the Ziploc.
Step 2: Ideally, you’ll want to get an insulated shipping box. If you don’t have an insulated shipping box on hand, line a small box with puppy pads. Use one puppy pad to wrap an ice pack. The absorbent side should be directly on the ice pack to absorb any condensation.
Step 3: Place your hedgehog on top of the wrapped ice pack. Cover with a few more training pads and tuck them in. Add packing material if needed to avoid shifting in the box.
Step 4: On the OSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory website you will need to print and fill out these forms:
On the biopsy/necropsy submission form, make sure you mark “necropsy & diagnostic work up”.
After forms are filled out, place them in a Ziploc and put them in the box with your hedgehog.
Step 5: Seal up the box and send overnight mail to the shipping address at the top of the necropsy submission form. OSU will email the results to you in about a week.
The OSU charges $82 for a full necropsy.
We are a bit late getting this bLog post published (about a month behind the report from the CDC) but since I am still getting contacted with concerns about the recent reported outbreak of salmonella infections linked to pet hedgehogs, this needed to go up.
As hedgehog breeders, when our customers come across a report of an "Outbreak of salmonella linked to pet hedgehogs" we instantly get tagged across social media and get sent panicked messages from new adopters.
In case you missed it, let's recap the key points from the official CDC report from January 25, 2019. (Full report here)
What is salmonella?
Salmonella is a nasty bacterium that sometimes turns up in the food supply, including chicken, tomatoes, peanuts, salsa, guacamole, and even pet food. It thrives in the intestinal tracts of animals and humans.
Also pets, including but not limited to, turtles, chickens, and hedgehogs, may carry the salmonella bacteria in their gut without showing any symptoms of the illness, therefore their feces could be cause for concern.
I'd like to take this moment to share some other statistics with you, direct from the CDC website.
So of those estimated 1.2 million cases in the US per year, 200,000 are estimated to NOT be food related, and with this recent outbreak we are talking about 11 cases that could be linked to hedgehogs.
So what do we do now?
We should continue to be just as diligent with hygiene and care as we were before. Literally this changes nothing.
Hedgehogs are an exotic animal. As with any pet or wild animal, care should be taken when handling them and cleaning their habitats.
Wash your hands after holding and socializing with your hedgehog.
Don't play with their poop.
If you have more than one hedgehog you should also be washing your hands between animals to limit any cross contamination.
Don't eat their poop.
Kissing and putting your hedgehogs by your face is "not advised" (so help me I will never stop kissing and loving on my babies. You can't make me!)
Also we don't want our little poop-boot friends running across our countertops while we are preparing our lunch. All of these things should be common place already.
This is a long post to basically tell you all to change nothing. As long as you are being smart about cleaning and washing your hands before and after handling your hedgehogs, and they aren't running around where you prepare your food... you'll be good.
Don't forget to subscribe to our bLog to get notified of new posts!
There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a wheel for our hedgehogs, but I believe the 3 most important factors when making your final decision are safety, investment, and visual aesthetics.
The parameters for these three factors will vary by person, however I have listed a few of the popular options that I am familiar with below.
The Comfort Wheel does have the spindle in the center which COULD be an issue if you have a VERY large hog that is required to arch it's back while running in this wheel. However the way I see it, if you have a hedgehog that is big enough for the spindle to be in the way, than the diameter of this wheel is too small as well and you need to look into something larger.
The width of the wheel is 4.5", which would be the smallest running surface you would want for a hedgehog. If you have a larger hedgehog you may want to get a wider wheel.
I found a few people mention they had issues with these wheels tipping over however I have not experienced that. We do have large (750g +) and small (250+/-) hedgehogs that use these and I have never had one tip.
These wheels are fairly easy to clean but if used without a cover, poop does sometimes stick to the ridges. Nothing that a little warm water and cleaner hasn't removed for me in the past!
We use fleece wheel covers on these wheels as well and change them out every other day. The fleece wicks away urine when they run and for the most part the poop rolls off. Providing you can commit to changing out the fleece liners regularly, these are a great way to keep your wheels clean and minimize those hedgie poop-boots they are so known for!
If you are wanting a larger wheel, there is a bucket wheel on the market that has an 11" diameter, however they are quite a bit more expensive ($35.00) and the shipping cost is $18.00 in the US.
There are MANY other wheel options available that are marketed towards hedgehogs, but none that I would want to suggest you use, let alone recommend. If you found another wheel you want to use but don't see it listed here feel free to reach out. Chances are there are very good reasons for not listing it, as well as facts and examples to back it up.
This post was not sponsored by any of the mentioned brands or companies. I just want to share with you what I have learned in our years of owning and breeding hedgehogs!
Thanks for your time today! If there are any other topics you would like to see covered in our bLog leave us a comment or send us a message!
What is the difference between a USDA licensed breeder, hobby breeder and a back yard breeder and why does it matter?
Here at Green Mountain Quillibusters we are a hobby breeder. We have a small herd of hedgehogs that we have selected from all over the country for their temperament, color, markings, and most importantly, their pedigrees. Knowing the genetic history of your hedgehog is the first step in having a healthy, happy companion animal. Our herd initials are registered with the top registries so that our herd's genetics are able to be tracked globally. We are open and work with many breeders across the country to continue learning and constantly doing the best we can to better the species.
We use a program to track lineage and make the best mating pairs for our herd. We do not breed hedgehogs younger than 6 months, or older than 2 years. They are not bred more frequently than 6 months apart. The MOST litters a female hedgehog in our herd would ever have in her lifetime is four.
Our program also tracks weight check-ins, as well as diet and vet visits. We are very meticulous with the health and care of our herd.
The health of our hedgehogs is our number one priority. It is not about money and never has been.
Education. There is not ONE right way to accomplish the task of caring for these animals. There are however "best practices" and we choose to follow them. We want all of our customers to have a positive experience owning a hedgehog, and that means making sure they are properly informed from the beginning.
We do not have more than 4 breeding females at one time, nor do we sell to pet stores, research facilities, or other dealers. There is not a need in our area to grow larger and we do not intend to. If we wanted to have a larger operation it would be then that we would apply for a USDA license. Getting licensed is wonderful if your goal is to have a larger herd and offer your animals to pet stores or the public on a larger scale. The USDA has regulations as far as how often enclosures need to be cleaned, where your cleaning chemicals need to placed, and housing size requirements for the animals, among many other things. We have the handbook and we adhere to their guidelines even though we choose to stay classified as hobby breeder.
A back yard breeder is an individual who does not provide adequate care for their animals. Someone who does not know or track the genetic history of the animals. Someone who puts males and females together with no understanding of what is required after. Hedgehogs are wonderfully interesting animals and they have many needs when it comes to breeding. A back yard breeder only sees the dollar signs and will not be there for you after the sale of the animal. They often will unknowingly produce animals with many genetic deformities, or diseases. They may over breed their females so they have a short life or a painful one. They also may breed their females too young, resulting in broken bones or early death.
The most important thing you can do when looking for a hedgehog to add to your family, is do your research, read reviews, and ask A LOT of questions. There are no bad questions. A breeder who cares about their hogs and their customers will always take the time to answer every question to ensure they are prepared for hedgehog ownership.
Thank you all for your love of this amazing species! We do what we do because we love them and only want the best!
Be sure to familiarize yourself with which states allow hedgehog ownership by clicking the button below! 🦔💜
Maybe you have figured this out already, maybe you are new here, but at Green Mountain Quillibusters we like to keep it nautical!
Quillibusters, a fun hedgehog type-spin on the word "filibusters", a person engaging in unauthorized warfare against a foreign country... Pirates! haha!
Our herd is all named after historical pirates, across centuries and the globe.
You will find that a lot of breeders will track their litters with names that all begin with the same letter, they may use other themes as well. We have chosen to name all of our litters with a nautical theme, i.e. sea monsters, gods/goddesses of the sea, names of seas etc. It keeps it fun and gives me something to brainstorm on with each litter!
So it only made sense to me to name our new blog "The Captains bLog"!
I hope to have content available that will be valuable from the new hedgehog owners, to the veteran breeders. I may not have a lot to offer those life-timers, but I am hoping a little humor and insight can be found!
I would also at some point like to have submissions from others, owners and breeders alike. We are a community that is often divided and I think being able to share different experiences will be fun!
Thank you all who took the time to check out our blog and PLEASE leave comments! I want to know your thoughts!
There is so much information to learn when it comes to owning and breeding hedgehogs! It is far more than a care page can hold!