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Really pleased to hear that you have hogs there and are enjoying their visits. Sounds as if you have well and truly got the ‘bug’ already! Love the thought of a hog rushing to shelter from the rain under the rhubarb! It’s brilliant that you have holes in fence and gate.
The number of hog houses you have is really down to personal choice and how many good locations you have to site them. Generally somewhere fairly quiet and amongst or near plenty of ‘cover’ is good. They wouldn’t normally stay in a box for keeps. Very sensible, if you think about it, as it would soon become infested with parasites such as fleas and ticks.
They actually use boxes in all sorts of different ways. Some use them for overday stays and others will use them for hibernation, etc. I had two hogs here who, during the hot weather, kept taking it in turns to spend the day in a box I had been using to put food in. They normally make a more substantial nest for hibernation, for more insulation. In the Summer the males, in particular, can change sleeping places fairly frequently.
You might like to read:
Although it recommends cleaning out in the Spring and Autumn, if a hog has been using one of my boxes just for a short stay – and I am absolutely certain it has vacated – I sometimes clear them out in between, to minimise parasites. You need to be really careful, though, not to disturb a nesting female as they can desert or kill their babies. It’s best to clean the boxes out with boiling water to kill any eggs which may have got into the cracks.
You might like to put a small amount of ‘bedding’ in to start them off, but many hogs are very fussy about what they use and some may even empty out what you put in! Leave some more suitable materials nearby. Some people leave a bit of hay, but I have seen them using dried leaves, long grasses, mosses and even some green plant material which they ‘picked’ for themselves. I remember someone on the forum saying they had added some herbs to the nest they made there!
Good luck. Hope you continue to enjoy the hogs’ antics!