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Hi again Darren,
I have 6 houses currently, hoping to make a couple more. All of them have had hogs sleeping over at some point, and I think 3 or 4 are occupied each day, although not always the same houses, they sometimes swap around. As for year round, I only saw the hogs this summer, although it was a bit of a shock when I realised I’d already had a nest with baby hogs in my garden for several weeks. So I don’t know how many of the houses might be used for hibernation purposes, although I hope some of them are used.
No, my garden is not particularly big. We have often heard of hogs nesting underneath sheds/summerhouses or under decking though, so if they have access to the space under these features and plenty of nesting material they may well set up nests there. My shed is unfortunately on concrete, which is a shame as there would be space for at least half a dozen hogs under there! I have tried to disguise and decorate the hog houses by putting pot plants on them, but this obviously didn’t work too well given the neighbours clearly recognised I’d set up houses for something, even though they couldn’t work out what.
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that you can’t or shouldn’t feed them hedgehog food, only that it’s not necessary and it can be really hard to tell what you’re getting. We are all trained to respect a label though, we assume the packaging will tell us the truth, but where it’s not approved, licensed or regulated, there is no guarantee that the foods are suitable for hedgehogs. I would have probably bought them myself if I didn’t already have cat food on hand. It’s just automatic, like if I had a hamster, I would get them hamster food, and the same with rats or guinea pigs. You believe that food must be suitable, safe and healthy for the animal it’s intended for, but with hedgehogs it’s not always the case. Some of the foods are excellent, of course, but even then they tend to be overpriced because you can get something similar cheaper because it’s on the cat food market.
Glad to hear you’ve upped the food and that there was a little left over. Just providing food, water and housing is a massive help for hedgehogs, and makes a real and immediate difference to their chances of surviving winter.