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Home Forums Champions’ chat What to feed hedgehogs Reply To: What to feed hedgehogs

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I would add to that to go easy on the sunflower hearts, sultanas and peanuts as well. Someone put a very interesting post on the old forum about the Calcium (Ca) Phosphorous (P) ratio. It is too long to put all of it on, but here are a few extracts.

Quotes From December 12, 2016
The internet is littered with advice about feeding hedgehogs and much of it seems to revolve around peanuts, sultanas, and mealworms. Following concerns that multiple young hedgehogs were coming in to rescues with deformities and pathological fractures from gardens where they had been fed exclusively on one particular food we decided to look into the issue further.

Lucy Kells RVN had discovered some information which it appears is well known amongst the horse fraternity that calcium/phosphorus ratios (Ca:P) could be the cause of the problem and certainly the food exclusively offered to these hedgehogs has turned out to have a poor ratio which, as a sole diet, appears to be contributing to metabolic bone disease.’

‘For every milligram of Phosphorus you consume, you must consume another milligram of calcium. If you don’t then calcium gets taken from your body’s calcium stores – bones and teeth – in order to balance the phosphorus out.’

‘ The problem is to do with the Calcium/Phosphorus ratio (Ca:P) in foods which can actually strip calcium from the body and explains why we were getting deformed and ‘bendy boned’ babies
coming in from gardens where they chuck out mountains of mealworms “because the hedgehogs love them”.

A healthy balance is a Ca:P of 2:1, 1:1 or at most 1:2. Higher amounts of phosphorus cause problems – mealworms are between 1:7 and 1:11 unless they have been specifically bred and gut fed to increase calcium levels but that doesn’t guarantee correct levels once provided as food.
Peanuts have a Ca:P of 1:6
Sunflower hearts Ca:P of 1:7
Conversely sultanas have a low ratio of 1:1.6 which is good, yes? Well no. Sultanas have a high sugar content, they get stuck on hedgehog’s back teeth which results in the high incidence of tooth decay rescues are dealing with. ‘

If people wish to feed animals in the wild they must be instructed to provide a balanced diet. Often rescues recommend a particular food and homeowners will provide an excess of that to the exclusion of all else thinking they are helping but they’re not. Wild animals are used to eating what they find which will be a mixture of items.

There are proprietary brands of hedgehog food available which have been properly researched, Ark Wildlife or Spike’s for example, and these contain everything needed.

If the homeowner finds them too expensive then good quality cat biscuits can be given, both of these help clean the teeth. It goes without saying that if dry food is offered plenty of fresh water is also required.’
[End of quotes]

I would also add to this that there are other brands of hedgehog food which are not specifically mentioned.