A health-conscious pet owner is beneficial to a hedgehog’s overall well-being. Since their diet is an essential part of their life, giving them the right diet determines how healthy their life will be. But, can hedgehogs eat chicken?
It’s good news because hedgehogs can eat chicken. However, avoid fatty cuts of chicken and ensure the meat is cooked thoroughly (but not fried).
Should You Give Hedgehogs Chicken?
You can include chicken in your hedgehog’s diet. However, there are certain rules you need to keep an eye on when you feed your hedgie’s chicken meat. You should provide them with lean and properly cooked (not fried and seasoned) chicken as a part of their meal.
The major reason why you should feed them cooked chicken is that it can decrease the amount of fat in the chicken meat. When cooking, the amount of extra fat that’s present (which can make your hedgie obese), dissolves.
Fat degeneration leads to less fat content in the chicken, so it’s safer for your spiny critter.
Also, any variant is okay, but chicken breast is highly recommended. Thighs and drumsticks are naturally high in fat. Although fat is needed in a hedgehog’s diet, the consumption of it should be controlled and/or limited. According to experts, only 12-15% of a hedgehog’s diet should include fats.
How Often Can Hedgehogs Eat Chicken?
You can feed your hedgehog a small amount of cooked chicken every day if needed. However, it should not be the only food source for nutrition, rather it is a contribution to the entire diet.
You might wonder why? Well, it’s because chicken lacks one important component your hedgehog needs: Fibre/Chitin. Chitin is a fibrous substance forming the major constituent in the exoskeleton of arthropods.
In the wild, hedgehogs consume many arthropods as they are insectivores. A pet hedgehog will consume less, of course, unless insects are provided often and are prioritized.
While fibre can be given as a substitute, it is not as ideal as the real thing, in reality.
Therefore, half a chicken breast together with some cautiously sourced insects (not caught and fed as it can contain toxins), a few pieces of fruit and veg and some cat or dog food occasionally, is definitely a good start.
Do Hedgehogs Eat All Meat?
Not necessarily all, but apart from chicken, lean meat like turkey can be incorporated into their diet because it contains less fat. There’s, therefore, a lower chance of your pet gaining weight.
Take note that you can’t feed hedgehogs a diet that’s lean meat alone, since they need other nutrients, too. Before feeding them, make sure the meat’s completely cooked to get rid of harmful bacteria.
You can also feed them other cooked meat like pork or beef but in moderation due to their high-fat content.
To help meet the protein requirement of your hedgehog, offering small amounts of high-protein canned dog or cat food is also ideal. Just make sure it has low carbohydrates and fat. Again, when feeding your hedgehog with meat, avoid seasoning and frying it.
Are Hedgehogs Carnivores?
Hedgehogs are often described as insectivores, but they can be labelled as carnivores, too. This means hedgehogs will eat various insects, plants, and meat during the course of a day. However, their diet would consist mainly of insects and certain meat.
While fruits, vegetables, and other things would occasionally be consumed only if the latter isn’t available. Hedgehogs are opportunistic after all.
Hedgehogs have a simple and short digestive tract compared to humans, and other more direct omnivores. Their digestive tract simply does not let them extract and use the nutrients coming from vegetables in a similar way as animals that are omnivores.
Can Wild Hedgehogs Eat Chicken?
When in the wild, hedgehogs are in their element. They start to explore, find, and feed themselves. Wild hedgehogs eat a wide array of foods which includes:
- Insects and Invertebrates – This includes beetles, moth or fly larvae, termites, millipedes, earthworms, slugs and spiders
- Small Rodents
- Small Frogs and Lizards
- Some Plant Matter – Such as berries, mushrooms, and roots
- Small Bird Eggs
Were they to come across some cooked chicken meat they would probably consume it as they are opportunistic food gatherers and are, generally, not too fussy.
Since they have a pretty much multifarious diet in the wild, a domesticated hedgehog should have a similarly varied diet to ensure all important nutrients are obtainable. Balancing a diet like this can be challenging since there are more involved factors when it comes to several food groups—meat, insects, and fruits/veggies.
Hedgehogs can consume different types of meat, just make sure these are cooked and contain less fat—chicken and turkey for example. Don’t forget to provide them with a varied diet so that there’s proper nutrition.
Though this is quite obvious, part of a good diet is giving them sufficient water consumption, so keep that in mind as well. There you have it! Hope this simple guide will help you better understand feeding your hedgie’s chicken and other food sources.