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Amount of food to give an adult hedgehog

Home Forums Champions’ chat Amount of food to give an adult hedgehog

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    This is our second year of feeding the hedgehogs who we are lucky enough to have visit our garden. This year we only have one visiting and we leave food and water out each night. I was wondering if anyone could tell me how much food to leave out, weight wise. He/she always eats the food, not always at one ‘sitting’ mind but I appreciate it is only supplementing their natural diet and don’t want to leave too much.
    Last year the hedgehogs used to come regular as clockwork at the same time every night but this year it seem to be anytime between 8.15pm and midnight or later.


    Hi Nash25,
    Yes it does feel such a privilege to have them visiting. I have now spotted 4 different hogs visiting my garden. Sometimes they eat it all and other nights not as it depends who has visited and depends on the weather. 3 are large adults (2 male and 1 female) and another smaller one that i think is female. Last night I put out 150 grams of dry food ( a mix of Brambles, Spikes semi moist and Gardman hedgehog bites ) which I spread out across 5 bowls in different feeder stations. This was all eaten last night, which was cooler. I have cameras and can see at least 3 different hogs each night so confident its not just one hog eating all of it.

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    Hi nash25

    You really need to ‘play it by ear’. There are so many variables that it isn’t possible to give a definitive answer. i.e. number of hogs visiting (sometimes there are more or fewer than people imagine), whether there are other people nearby also feeding, etc.

    So the best thing to do is if everything is eaten, try putting a little more out and if there is usually some left, a bit less. At the same time, make your garden as wildlife friendly as you can so that the hogs can find some wild food for themselves and make sure your garden is linked with others so they have access to as much habitat as possible.

    Yes, some hogs do seem to have in internal clock and turn up at regular times – more often females, I’ve found – but others seem to like to keep us guessing!

    Glad to hear you are also leaving out water as well. Ideally it’s best to leave water available all day every day, in case a dehydrated hog should come along during the day time.

    Hope you continue to enjoy the hogs’ visits. Happy hog watching!


    I would have to agree with Nic. I put out a nominal 6-7 terracotta dishes in two feeding areas of Hedgehog nibbles + calci worms each night. Some nights it is all eaten and others there is the equivalent of a dish left over. I then adjust the quantity accordingly.

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    Hi alanfrew

    I would give the calciworms a miss, if I were you. The jury is out about them – they may not be good for hogs, this time that they have too much calcium in them (the opposite to mealworms). i.e. it is best if the levels of phosophorous and calcium are in sync. to quote from Vale Wildlife The healthy ratio of calcium to phosphorus is considered to be 1:1 or 1:2. In many cases the level for calcium in calci-worms is much higher which could potentially be bad for i.e. kidneys and heart. So that unless they are part of a balanced feed, I wouldn’t risk feeding them – especially when it isn’t necessary. Probably best to stick to cat/dog/hog food as there are so many other things which turn out not to be good for the hogs upon further investigation.

    I haven’t actually seen any definitive information about them, yet, but where hogs are concerned, as you know, I am inclined to err on the side of caution.


    Hello, I have been putting dog food out ,but only half between the 2 hoggies. They enjoy M &S & Waitrose dog food the small ones & brambles biscuits. I judge on warm or cool weather how much to give them. Both are healthy.


    Sorry to bring this perennial question up again – but asking how much food to leave out? Is it wrong to put more food out if it is all eaten? Or does this make the hedgehogs we see in our gardens too reliant on us?
    I do not have a camera but by early evening see 3 hedgies visiting the food bowls. It all goes, everything is eaten. That is 200 g of wet dog food and a ‘handful’ of hedgie biscuits in 5 different dishes.
    On the rare occasions I am up after midnight I often see a hedgie
    looking in all the empty dishes then doing a bit of scavenging of dropped bird food, so maybe I should put out more food?
    I do think my garden (not large) should provide plenty of food for wildlife, I try hard to make it so and these hedgies are not pets that rely on me so I am torn here.
    What do others do? Thanks for advice.


    Hi Daffydill,

    Thing is with hedgehogs is you never know for sure how many there are! Although you have seen three, there could be many more you haven’t spotted, and if you have two or more hedgehogs that are about the same size it can be virtually impossible to tell them apart.

    I leave out as much food as I need to. During the summer it’s not so crucial, (unless you are specifically feeding a nursing mother or baby hoglets, who are always grateful for a little extra help) but at this time of year they are trying to put on as much weight as possible to get them in good shape for hibernation. Male hogs can apparently go into hibernation as early as September, so it’s a pressing and immediate problem for them. At the same time, their natural food sources are starting to decline. Not quite the dearth there will be in midwinter, but definitely not as much as there was in summer. There’s also more competition between hogs as they are all trying to eat as much as possible, especially the hoglets and juveniles. Although there is still some wild food around, eating the pet food we leave out for them is a lot more efficient, because they are able to eat a lot in one sitting, as it were, rather than running all over the shop finding food, where the running around uses the precious calories they are getting from their food. They will still eat the natural food, although you may not always notice as it happens largely on the move, but any supplementary food you can provide will be gratefully received and is a significant benefit to the hogs, increasing their chances of surviving the winter.

    You are correct in that they are wild animals and I understand your concern about them becoming reliant on the food. This is usually a major concern with predators when there is a chance they will stop hunting prey, or in the case of youngsters, never learn how to hunt properly, and would be unable to fend for themselves should the food sources be removed. While hedgehogs are technically predators, the don’t have to stalk or chase down their prey, they just rootle in the garden for the small invertebrates that they eat. Although feeding them is helpful, they won’t stop foraging for themselves, and there is no danger of them losing the ability to forage. Even hedgehogs who have been overwintered with a carer are able to find their own food when released in the spring.

    If you can, I would encourage you to put out as much food as you can, especially as their wild diet will decline further through autumn. You will probably find dry pet food is more economical to buy, and also has the advantage that it will last ages without going off, as long as it doesn’t get wet. It also has more energy, gram for gram, than wet food. Even after they go into hibernation, hedgehogs will wake up periodically and go out to forage, so it would be very helpful for them if there was some food available when they wake hungry and there is very little natural food available.

    I’m sure you do this anyway, but please make sure there is always water available. It’s not been sunny in the past couple of weeks, but it’s also not been raining, and a lot of the usual puddles and water sources are long gone.

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    Hi daffydil

    I don’t think it would hurt to put out a bit more food if it is all being eaten early on – especially at this time of year. Whilst some hogs being cared for in captivity may be inclined to overeat, wild hogs do not normally do so and are likely to still do some foraging. Hopefully they are still finding some food in your garden and others nearby.


    I agree with Kitty. How much they eat is seasonal. But I’d rather find some left over in the morning than to have a late arrival little hog finding empty bowl. In the early hours.

    My main concerns are:

    *Decrease in habitat which leads to decrease in the insects hogs eat. I’ve noticed BIG decrease in insects here in N W Kent.
    *Giving dried food to any animal I think is wrong, unless it’s been moistened.
    You can leave out 20 bowls of water in your garden, but after feasting on dried food….just where else in your area is there available water? Especially in summer.
    I live near open land, which was once a hogs paradise, now it’s being strimmed, cut back & destroyed by humans.
    Each day I soak my cats left over food & then pour the “gravy” over dried hogs food & stir. I add a little black fly larvae which looks like meal worms but w/o calcium issues
    Ive found that the Best & cheapest dried hog fòod is from BRINVALE £3.80 per kilo. Free del
    Just work out how much you are paying per kilo not per bag….per kilo !
    Would love to hear if there’s cheaper around. Or if anyone disagrees with anything….
    Thank you to all in advance!!


    Hi Jenny. Last night I watched as 2 of my early visitors each ate a dish containing half a large tin of wet dog food – in 10 minutes . Not shared and all finished! I am wondering whether to put even more wet food in dishes for later arrivals. It looked a lot of food when I dished it up. ! There are also several dishes of Brambles hedgehog biscuits distributed around the garden, many bowls of water and a pond.


    Hi Jenny,

    I was initially dubious about the dried food as well, but I read a lot of things saying it’s fine. I leave water very close by, a shallow litter tray with a rock in it to aid any insects to climb out. It’s already shallow enough for hedgehogs to scramble out. My hedgehogs tend to eat and drink a lot, then go for a nap in one of the hedgehog houses, so I hope they are staying sufficiently hydrated. I’ve not deliberately moistened the dry food, although I guess it becomes slightly moist from the dew… I didn’t think they would still eat it if it got wet, my cats won’t touch their food unless it’s perfectly dry so I think I thought hedgehogs would be the same… I have tried them on pouches of wet food and they just totally ignored and continued eating the dry.


    Black fly larvae? Isn’t that what they also call calciworms? I googled it and can only find ads for black soldier fly larvae, which are the same as calciworms, and also not good for hogs, although for the opposite reason to mealworms. If it is the black soldier fly larvae, please look at Hedgehog Tales. There’s a Hedgehog Tails thread that contains a discussion about black soldier fly larvae/calciworms.

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