A little help!
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- This topic has 7 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 7 months ago by Nic.
16th August 2019 at 11:22 am #17311
Good morning. I’d appreciate a little help as we are new to the hedgehog in the garden business.
A few weeks ago we spotted an adult hedgehog in our garden during late afternoon. Having dug up the garden a few months ago I can only assume it had been attracted to the large dirt piles remaining (and hence worms and other bug inside etc). We live on a relatively new estate not far from some fields.
Then a few days ago I spotted two young hedgehogs in the garden around my shed. This was again during daylight in late afternoon It became apparent that they were living under the shed. Since then I’ve put a bit of food out (crushed cat biscuits, some wet dog food and water) which is going daily. We’ve now seen five plus their Mother over the last few nights which tend to be dotted around the garden as soon as it’s completely dark. Luckily our back gate is a few inches off the ground at the bottom and a makeshift ramp over the steps is allowing them to come and go. Last night two were roaming free on the front garden.
In any case I’d like to help them and encourage them back. It’s clear they are spending the day under the shed in the garden. I’ve bought a hedgehog house which is like a dome and collected some fallen branches from local woodland. I was planning to fashion a safe area behind the shed (about one metre by half a metre) and set this up by piling the branches over and around the house. Is it worth me putting this setup down now with hay or dry leaves inside or wait a few months?
Could it be that this family were struggling for food if seen our in the day. They all look absolutely fine to me.
Thanks in advance
Chris.16th August 2019 at 11:44 am #17312
Just a quick question-
Are you still seeing any of them during the day?16th August 2019 at 1:13 pm #17314
No not for the last three days which was when I started putting our food.16th August 2019 at 1:53 pm #17315
I am not an expert but have picked up things whilst on the forum.
The hogs may have been attracted to your garden by the new bugs or a nest could have been disturbed.
In general they should not be out in the day though occasionally a nursing mummy may come out looking for food and a rest. As they are now back being nocturnal I wouldn’t be concerned but keep an eye out for any distressed ones out in the day.
It sounds as if they like living under your shed and from what I have read this is not unusual.
It’s great you want to help them and so lovely you have young ones. You are very lucky.
Hedgehogs like to roam to find natural food so any access in and out of your garden is great. We have dug holes under our gravel boards. They don’t need to be huge.
Supplementing their food is also very good particularly in extreme weathers and before hibernation so they can put on a decent amount of weight. Cat/dog food-preferably meaty flavours are ideal and so is hedgehog food.
Water is also VERY important. It needs to be in a shallow dish so a hoglet doesn’t get stuck/drown and topped up 24 hours a day. A thirsty hog may look for water during the day. Do not feed meal worms,suet balls, bread and milk.
Making or buying little houses for them is great too and possibly making a feeding station so that they aren’t vulnerable to predators while eating.
It sounds like you are already doing a great job so well done and welcome to the forum.16th August 2019 at 5:33 pm #17322
Sounds like you are doing fine with your hog support. I would just add that cats are expert at taking the hedgehog food before the hogs get it. You may want to build a feeding station which cats can’t get in. We don’t have a cat but at least 6 different ones come through our garden at night and some are desperate to get into the feeding stations. My husband has created them like a maze so it stops the cats.16th August 2019 at 5:38 pm #17323
Hi Chris R
I would definitely set the hog house in place now. Some hogs will move in fairly quickly but others need it to become part of the landscape first, so the sooner the better. Most hogs like to furnish their houses, themselves, so I would just put a very small amount of dry leaves, grasses, etc. in to give them the idea and then leave piles of suitable bedding nearby. Then a hog can choose what is wants and take it in itself.
Don’t be surprised if they still choose to nest under your shed! But they may use the (I’m guessing you mean one of the ones called hogilos) home later on. It can sometimes take a couple of years and they may use it for naps between snacks or as a day nest in the Summer. All useful for hogs.
If it is a hogilo, I would peg it down, so that predators can’t tip it up. I have one, which is wedged under a shrub at the back and fixed with a piece of wire over the arch and pegged down using tent peg type fixings.
Good luck with all the hogs. Hope you get a resident in the house.16th August 2019 at 10:12 pm #17325
Had a bit of a read and managed to weigh two of them tonight. They were 210g and 227g. Having been seen out with their Mother two nights ago I assume this is pretty standard and would put them somewhere near 6 weeks. I wore gardening gloves etc.
I don’t want to intervene any further in any case!17th August 2019 at 12:35 pm #17333
Hi Chris R
Yes, you are right to be cautious about intervening. There is no need to weigh the hogs at all, unless there is a problem. Mostly you can leave it to mum to look after the hoglets until they are ready to fend for themselves. It is really only much later in the year that a few may need to be weighed – when it has got to hibernation time and some late hoglets have not reached a reasonable weight to survive that. But the hoglets which are around now, should have plenty of time to put on sufficient weight. They grow quite quickly.
It’s important not to stress the hogs any more than is absolutely necessary. My own personal guideline is that, with hedgehogs, we should keep our interactions with them to a minimum and only intervene if it is for the benefit of that particular hedgehog or hedgehogs as a whole. Otherwise, I believe, they should be left to get on with their lives as wild hedgehogs. It’s fine to offer them appropriate food and water and potential homes to nest in, but anything which unnecessarily habituates them to humans, not so good. Sadly, not all humans are hedgehogs’ friends.
If you find hogs out in the open during the day, that is when you need to consult your nearest carer. You can get contact details from BHPS 01584 890801. You cannot tell whether a hog is well just by looking at it, so it’s best to describe any behaviour which you see, if they are out during the day, and take advice. You can give much more precise information to someone on the phone than you can give on the forum. Hopefully, the hogs there will be ok now that you have started feeding and providing water and that they are now remaining nocturnal. It is possible that they were out because they were hungry/thirsty, in which case your providing food and water will have been a great help to them.
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