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Home Forums Champions’ chat Mealworm help Reply To: Mealworm help

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Hi Kamodedo

Once they get a taste for something hedgehogs will sometimes refuse to eat anything else for a few days, but if they are hungry they will eventually eat something else.

Ideally you need to make sure that the hog doesn’t have access to the mealworms left by the birds. How do you feed mealworms to the birds? i.e. if on the ground, perhaps you could put them into (for instance) straight sided bowls and maybe on trays to catch any spills. You could also feed them on a bird table, where hopefully the slightly raised edges would minimise spills. I have some tops of bird tables (i.e. not on poles) which can be put on the ground if you are worried about ground feeding birds. They are quite happy to use them. Then it’s easy to clean up what has been left.

Hogs who have been accustomed to eating mealworms (i.e. dried food) won’t always immediately take to wet cat/dog food. Have you tried cat/kitten biscuits? Or one of the other varieties of hog food. Some people do as you have done and just add a very few mealworms and then gradually reduce them, but if that hasn’t worked, I would just leave cat/dog/hog food on it’s own. As said, if the hog is hungry it will eat it. The important thing is to make sure it doesn’t have any other access to mealworms. But give it time (at least a week, if necessary) and the hog will get used to the new offering.

There are beginning to be available an alternative to mealworms called calci-worms, which when produced well have a higher level of calcium in relation to phosphorous. (One problem with mealworms being that they have higher levels of phosphorous than calcium, causing calcium to be leached from the bones of the hogs). They are looking promising, but the jury is still slightly out, as with any new food, but you might like to think about feeding the birds calci-worms instead of mealworms. They are probably more expensive but apparently good for the birds, having higher calcium levels – especially at nesting time when they use a lot of calcium for their eggs. Just make sure that any you buy have a higher level of calcium than phosphorous. I understand that if the calci-worms are not fed on a good diet themselves, the calcium levels are not so good. So that cheaper ones may have been fed on a poorer diet and have less calcium.

Personally I would not feed too many calci-worms at a time to hogs – you could be exchanging one addiction for another, even though it appears (currently) to be a less harmful one. But less harmful for them to eat calci-worms spilt by the birds than mealworms.

Good luck and happy hog watching.