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Home Forums Champions’ chat Providing bedding Reply To: Providing bedding

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Hi Roy Finch

Yes I believe both hay and straw are sometimes suggested when appropriate leaves aren’t available. They are probably adequate in a waterproof hog house, but probably not so useful in a naturally built hibernacula. Hogs layer the leaves like tiles in a well built hibernaculum, which would not be so easy with straw or hay – hence my personal preference for leaves.

I have heard the thoughts about straw being too spiky – but hogs will also incorporate twiggy material (which they have collected for themselves) into building hibernacula, so maybe they could also cope with straw. They also use long grasses, so maybe wouldn’t find the hay any more of a problem than that either. I haven’t heard mention of the hay being too dusty, but it sounds logical. Maybe a few days in the rain would wash the dust away. There are probably pros and cons to both.

But hogs natural hibernacula are made with a varitey of materials, i.e. leaves and some other plant material. One hog here recently used the long trailing sections with new plantlets from alpine strawberries to help weave the structure together. They will also ‘pick’ green material from plants to include in the mix!

You may be able to get some long grasses from a friends garden? I have some ornamental, fairly long grasses which I cut and leave near the hog houses and they seem to go down well with the hogs. They look quite comical walking along with what look like enormously long trailing moustaches when they take them into the hog houses!

It’s best to just put a handful of material into a hog box to give them the idea and leave it to the hogs to build the hibernaculum themselves. They are likely to be much better at it than we are. Making sure there are lots of building materials fairly nearby is a good idea – even during the winter. Hogs are known to emerge from hibernation at times during the hibernation period and sometimes even change nests, so they might value materials being available all winter.

Good luck. If you haven’t got a tenant for hibernation yet, maybe you could still get one.