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How Did We Come Up With Our Food Recipe?

  • By Katie McNeal

How Did We Come Up With Our Food Recipe?

We get lots of questions about how we came up with our food recipe. In our hedgehog breeding business we often advised customers to buy high-quality cat food and not hedgehog food, because there wasn’t any hedgehog food on the market that was actually nutritionally appropriate for hedgehogs. We often found our customers would ignore our advice and feed something like Spike’s Delite.

This spurred our desire to create a “Really Good Hedgehog Food”. We did a lot of research on natural hedgehog diets in the wild, and hedgehog nutritional needs. We created a wish-list of ingredients, including insect protein.

Then we started researching pet food manufacturing companies. It was a really challenging process because we wanted to find one that specialized in really high-end ingredients, and didn’t use cheap fillers.

In searching for a partner, we encountered a problem. Namely that the hedgehog food market is much smaller than cats or dogs, and the reputable pet food manufacturers had massive minimums.

We also learned from talking to them that the FDA does not allow insect protein in pet food except for Black Soldier Fly larvae. (They allow it in treats, but not in products marketed as food.)

After several years of continuous outreach, we found a pet food manufacturer that was willing to work with us as a smaller client than they normally do because they saw our passion. The food formula we moved forward with ticked a lot of the boxes for the ingredients we wanted and contained the macro-ingredient ratios we wanted. It contained egg protein, blueberries, was free of wheat/grains/soy and chicken-based.

What we landed on has a slightly higher fat content than you typically see recommended for hedgehog. This higher fat content counter-intuitively helps maintain a healthy weight. Because hedgehogs are prone to obesity so this was important to us. It also has ingredients that help keep hedgie’s skin from being dry, from the inside out. Another problem domestic hedgehogs are prone to.

We’ve received many questions about the fat content in our food. A lot of people mistakenly believe that higher protein and higher fat in and of themselves lead to bigger waistlines. But this isn’t accurate. “Cheap” carbs from sugar and nutrient-devoid grains like wheat lead to fat accumulation. Because our ingredients are full of nutrition and not made from cheap fillers, they support a healthy weight for both hedgies that are prone to being thin or fat, or are at a normal weight. When you pair bad carbs with protein and fat, yes, it'll lead to fat accumulation in the body, but weight management is not as simple as calories in and calories out, the type of calories matter.

We fed this food to our own herd of hedgehogs for a year before offering it for sale and were extremely happy with the results we got as compared to the other quality food we had long been feeding. We have had good results with our herd with this formula and hope others find success with it as well.

At Hedgehogs and Friends, we understand that not all hedgehogs like the same food, and ultimately owners know what their pet likes best. We want our customers (both hedgies and humans alike) to be happy with their purchase which is why we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee - it allows hedgie owners to try out our food with no risk. If there are any issues whatsoever, please contact us within 30 days of receiving your first order and we’ll be happy to offer a refund.

Thank you to all those who have bought and supported our food. It means the world to us to be able to share a quality product with others. We hope this backstory of why we decided to develop a hedgehog food, how we developed the product, and our thought process in deciding what was important in the formula helps show our passion and dedication to selling quality and healthy products.. We will always continue to work to improve our food and other products.
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