Updated: Feb 2, 2022
A little bit about me, Delilah. I have been breeding hedgehogs and interacting with other breeders since 2015. I've also been in the vet field for 10 years, and currently working on becoming a licensed veterinary technician. Pretty much a nurse for animals. I've worked on mobile vet units, private and corporate practices- even a zoo setting. I think its safe to say I have almost seen it all.
Long story short... reputable breeders aren't in it for the money. FOR EXAMPLE: Lets use a dog breeder as an example: stating that mixing two different breeds make the animal a "designer breed" and now charging you over $5k for a mutt just show where morals lie. The popularity gets to them (or something) which gives them the sense that their mutts with umbilical hernias (its genetic btw) can be sold at such a high price. They did not take the time to research and properly vet the animals they're breeding, which creates these preventable health problems. I cannot tell you how many times I've had puppies come in with genetic issues at 7 weeks old- excited unsuspecting owner's hand me those adorable birth certificates that state how much they paid. It hurts me to see these naïve pet owners get swindled. It's always difficult telling pet parents the information the breeder gave them is false or they need to pay for care on their brand-new pet. This happens with all kinds of animals. Hedgehogs are another prime example. those full faced masked babies? How do you think those colors were produced so fast? Inbreeding. Do you know what causes wobbly hedgehog syndrome? inbreeding. I have been sold an unhealthy pet too, sadly. I didn't do my research on who I was purchasing a Tegu from. She was an early birthday gift from the boyfriend. She died in my hands as I spent my entire birthday trying to revive her. I purchased my tegu from one of those reptile shows.. definitely don't recommend buying a hedgehog or let alone anything from those unless you've done your research on the breeder themselves.
I'm not a dog breeder, nor do I ever plan on it.
My forte is hedgehogs. This is a hobby for me. I thoroughly enjoy what I do when it comes to researching pedigrees and playing with genetics. Here are some key points to look for when it comes to picking the right breeder when it comes to ALL and ANY ANIMAL.
ASK YOUR BREEDER QUESTIONS
Your breeder should have the answers to basic questions regarding the animal you are planning to purchase. They should have recommendations for proper diets, housing, vet care, local veterinarians they use, reputable resources you can refer to, etc. If your breeder has information that doesn't agree with you or what you research online, I highly suggest discussing that with your vet and/ find another breeder to compare information. Just because they are breeders, doesn't mean they are knowledgeable on the animal(s) they are breeding.
Did your breeder pass the Vibe Check?
Communication is important in any relationship, so why not have a good communication with your breeder. Animals are a lifetime commitment so having a breeder that is willing to be there with any and all questions seems a bit more comforting when jumping into a new pet. Are they open with their expectations when it comes to taking the pet home? Did they discuss pricing and deposits clearly? Is there open communication and updates on your pet? Do they require an application, so they know where their animal is going? These are all important questions when it comes to choosing a breeder you can easy talk to. There are so many of them. Don't Settle.
Where do your pets live?
Animal husbandry is the purpose of the breeder. Thats our job. Does the breeder clean their own facility? IF not, WHY? How often are they cleaned? What do they feed their animals? Is the food high quality? Can you see updated pictures of the facility? How many types of animals do they breed? What kind of housing do they keep their animals in? Do they have a separate facility or are they part of the family? Are they willing to video chat/ tour the area in which the pet is kept?
This is the most important part. The way they run their breeding program says alot about the health and wellbeing of not only the offspring being sold but the breeding stock themselves.
Ask your breeder how long they've been breeding. Ask them why they breed and what their goals are when it comes to what you're looking for. Do they line breed (inbreeding)? (COI is very important when it comes to hedgehogs so feel free to ask your breeder for that.)
How many animals do they care for? How many litters do they have at any given time? How are the mommas treated? Do they get time in between litters? How much time is that? What do they look for when it comes to a breeding pair? Are you able to get videos/pictures/ meet the parents? If not, then why? Have the adults been to the vet? Also, I always wonder what breeders do with their older breeding stock. Their retired ones. Do they sell them or take them to a shelter? All these questions are valid. I would never have an issue answering all these questions, so I hope you find someone who matches what you're looking for.
*Transporting pregnant animals is NOT acceptable. Any breeder saying its safe should be AVOIDED.
Question those ethics.
The purpose of this was just to get you, as the consumer, to think about where your money is going and where your pets are coming from. Its SOO WORTH it to find an animal from an actual reputable breeder. Those kinda breeders love talking about their hobby to fellow hobbyist.
Don't settle on just any breeder. (there are transport options) There are so many all over the country. Especially now with hedgehogs. New breeders popping up left and right, I can't keep up. I've had this blog post in my head for a while. I hope I can help someone, honestly anyone who is looking to get a new companion.
I already know I'm not everyone's cup of tea but I do sure try my best to be available for anyone who seeks help or may have questions.
Feel free to reach out for any clarification on this post. Its my first blog post!