• Breeding stage 1- Conception to 28 days gestation

    Care of the early-mid pregnancy female hedgehog is pretty simple, and consists basically of supportive care and protective measures.

    Food should be plentiful, and as high of quality and nutrition as possible. Avoid too many high fat treats, and anything that is at all spicy. Take extra precautions to make sure that any treats or foods that can go bad are very fresh, and that they are disposed of as soon as it is questionable if they could be spoiling. Make sure that plenty of fresh water is available at all times. Be aware that some females have definite increases of appetite during the pregnancies, some very early. Provide enough extra food to make sure that any appetite increases are covered.

    Cage should be maintained as always, and females can usually continue co-habbing with any other female roommates, as long as they were used to being together. Females can continue to run on their wheel or in an exercise ball all through this stage of pregnancy. In fact, it is a good idea to encourage a slight increase of exercise, especially in lazier mothers.

    Care should be taken to avoid excessive stress and or sudden impacts to the pregnant female. This can include such things as long trips, vet visits, food changes, unfamiliar or aggressive cage-mates, falls, or anything else that can affect the mother negatively. Any changes that do need to be made should be made by 2 weeks into the pregnancy, if at all possible.

    Some females maintain their normal personality and behaviors until late in the pregnancy, but some females show changes much earlier. It is possible for appetites to increase greatly, activity levels to change to either much more active or much less active, and personality changes to occur. Sweet females may become less likely to seek out attention, and in some cases, can be irritable and occasionally aggressive. Less friendly females may suddenly want to spend more time with you, and may relax and lay full length on your lap.

    Females may gain weight at any time through this period, and much of the weight seems to be gained towards the rear end of the female, which makes them feel rather bottomheavy when balanced between hands. The later in pregnancy, the more noticible this is going to be. As well, around the third week in pregnancy, some females will develop a bluish "bruise" on the abdomen, approximately centrally located just below the rib cage. This is apparently the liver, which is displaced from it's normal position by the expanding uterus horns. In some cases, fetuses can be felt during the pregnancy, though this should be done VERY GENTLY, if at all, and is not always reliable. A full bladder can feel like a fetus, as can a full stomach, if you do not know exactly what to feel for. Even if none of these signs are noted, you should not assume that your female is not pregnant, it is possible for females to carry a litter, especially only one or two fetuses, and never show any of these signs.