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Home Forums Champions’ chat Can you overfeed? Reply To: Can you overfeed?

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Hi Laura

Usually the hogs won’t overeat, but I did hear of one recently who got rather over-weight! But it may have had as much to do with what was being fed as it actually eating large amounts. I didn’t hear that bit of information – about what it had been eating.

If you are worried, you could limit the amount of time, daily, that you leave the food out. I used to do that for several years, and it does have many advantages. Not least that the hogs used to visit at a time when I was still up to see them. Seeing hogs in real time beats video by a long way, for me. So I used to leave the food out for 2 – 3 hours a night. The hogs seemed to learn to arrive during that time. But always make sure there is water available 24 hours a day. A dehydrated hog may come out during the day and the water may be a life-saver.

Re. what you are feeding – I would give the raspberries and pears a miss. Hogs are thought to eat fruit occasionally, but only occasionally. To feed them fruit, which is high in sugars, isn’t good for their teeth. Bear in mind that they might still eat the occasional fruit which they find themselves. But I think it normally forms a very small part of some hogs’ diet and many may not eat it at all unless offered it by humans.

Ideally, what we feed the hogs should only be supplementary, so that it shouldn’t effect them too much if you go on holiday. Some people get friends/neighours/relatives to continue putting food out. But the best thing you can do is to try to make your garden as hedgehog friendly as possible so that the hogs can find ‘wild’ food for themselves. Some tips here:
As well, of course, as linking gardens. This not only increases the area of habitat the hogs can access, but also makes it less likely that they will need to cross roads to find suitable habitat, with all the dangers which arise from that.

Re. the tap water. Some people think that tap water is not so good for the hogs, but I think it is better than putting out nothing. If you are worried about the chlorine (or whatever they use these days) you could always leave it in an open dish for a while, or even boil and cool it before putting it out. That should allow any chemicals in it to evaporate a bit. If you have water softener, make sure that you only give the hogs water which has not been treated by that. i.e. that is suitable for human consumption. I, personally, would not buy bottled water for them – which, of course, usually has other environmental implications as well. I did also hear that some have much higher levels of minerals in them than others. So potentially, that might not be so good for the hogs, either.

Good luck. Hope you continue to enjoy the visits of Mr. Snout and his mates.