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! 🦔💜