Written by nbelval
Breeder with 4 years experience
Here are my views on this:
Breeder with 12 current breeders in our herd.
- vet costs for healthy animals $120-200 annually includes well check visit and stool samples.
- vet costs for mites and common illnesses
average $200 per year, have not had mites (knock on wood), but other issues have arose.
- vet costs for emergencies, spays, infections etc.
$300+ each time. I've been pretty lucky with these, but this past year was over $500 in emergencies and skin issues.
I work at my Vet office so these prices include my discount, which on some items can be half off. So these figures are low compared to most I assume.
- day to day expenses for food, housing, bedding etc
I don't know about daily, but my yearly expenses last year were $$$. For profit I made $175.68, roughly the price of one female baby.
Not a huge chunk of profit, considering I have many other animals as pets and any profit goes towards their care. This is the first year I have made a profit and I have been doing this for four years.
- anything not mentioned above
You aren't going to make money breeding hedgies, you have to actually HAVE money BEFORE deciding to breed them. I am fortunate that my husband makes enough money that I can stay at home and only work a few hours per week. The money I bring in is soley for the hedgehogs and the vet discount helps a whole lot too!
It is an expensive hobby!
- daily cleaning feeding etc for healthy hedgehogs 1hr 30 mins.
- time commitment for sick hedgehogs, ie: syringe feedings, meds etc
- time commitment for handfeeding babies
An eternity! Every two hours for the first week, every 3 hours for the 2nd week and then you can start spacing the feedings a litter further apart at night. The every two hours is day and NIGHT! Kind of hard to sleep when you finish the last baby of a litter of five with feeding and stimulating and in half an hour it's time to start with the first baby again!
- anything not mentioned above
My yearly cost was posted above. This includes business expenses, advertising, food, bedding, cages, hedgehog purchases, and additional items such as toys, wheels,nest boxes, etc.
- tell us about the heartbreak when mom cannibalizes her newborns or kills her older babies
Unmeasurable. There is nothing like getting your hopes up for a nice bug beautiful litter of babies and then finding them torn to pieces or missing entirely. It's also hard not to blame the mother and still want to keep her, this is just something that comes with the territory of breeding hedgies.
- when mom is unable to care for the babies
You have to dedicate several weeks to the babies, and if you work or go to school, you usually can't bring the babies with you. You can't feed a little extra and expect them to go for long periods without food. This will kill them! If you are lucky enough to have another lactating mom, she MAY take them in to foster, but you must realize she may also reject the babies, and in you bothering her own brood, destroy or abandon them as well. Not fun.
- loosing handfed babies
Have not had this happen, but have had an abandoned baby die in my hand while trying to warm him up. Very sad.
- when mom has birthing problems or worse yet dies
I had my FAVORITE girl die two days after giving birth, she had destroyed all but one baby, and then died on the way to the Vet. Her remaining baby survived, but had to be hand fed for many, many long weeks. It was very hard to lose her and then fear losing her son, every time I had to feed him.
- anything else that you can think of.
Not only do you lose the babies, and the moms, but in having a breeding herd, you will lose hedgies, some young some old. They are prone to many problems, and it just can't be prevented in some cases.
So you have the heartache of losing mom's, babies, and dad's. Usually you are very attached to your hedgies and it's heartbreaking every time one passes away. There is also the problem of finding GOOD homes for your hedgies. Yes, hedgies can sell very quickly, but you are responsible for the lives you helped to create. It's important to make sure your buyers are knowledgeable in the care of their new pet, and are prepared for the commitment. I turn down many applications each week, and while it may not be best for business, it is best for my hedgies.
Also tell us why you decided to breed, (be honest) and why you continue to breed.
I started breeding because I loved my first hedgehog very much, and when she passed on I could not find any in my area. I did not want one from a pet store so I purchased from a breeder half way across the country. I ended up purchasing two (male and female) and told myself that I would stay small and breed quality healthy hedgies for the people in my area that also wanted a hedgie companion but did not want to purchase from a pet store. From there we have become addicted and our herd has grown. We are still a small scale breeder however and dedicate much time, money and love into our prickly friends.
Why I continue, for the same reasons above, and yet I ask myself that question often, especially when I have a destroyed litter, an ill or dying hedgie, or have to deal with people that don't know what they are getting into and are not serious about hedgie ownership.
But then I send a hedgie home with a loving couple, or a family and see the delight in their face upon meeting their new pet and read the emails and see the pictures and updates from clients, and it makes it all worth it. I've accomplished my goal of providing a healthy happy pet, to someone like myself who loves and appreciates their animals.
I'm sure I babbled on way too much, but I am passionate about my hedgies and nothing irritates me more, then someone trying to breed for the fun of it (it is not much fun), or for the money (not much of that either). Please, research breeding very carefully and make sure you have owned the animal you will be breeding for at LEAST a year, prefferably more. If you cannot properly care for a pet, how are you going to provide for it and it's babies?