Cleaning hog house – when
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- This topic has 5 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 2 years, 11 months ago by Nic.
20th April 2020 at 10:42 am #22185
Hi Have just registered here so this is my first question. Realised I had visiting hogs to my very small garden about 3 years ago and started putting down food . Realised in the second year that most of the food was probably being eaten by the local cats ( of which there are many), so created a feeding station out of a plastic storage box. Wanted to update it a little so last year bought a wooden feeding station which was well used. In early autumn I put straw and leaves in and soon guessed that it was being used by at least one hog to hibernate in and it had been almost filled with bedding material. Started putting food in again a while ago and noticed that there was still at least one hog using it during the day. I have used a friends night cam and have seen movement of two hogs . After all this I have two questions ! 1.neither of the hogs appear to be very large but is it normal for two to share quite a small nest ? 2. Also as it is used during the day when should I clean it out? I noticed an engorged tick had fallen into the food bowl and one of them spends a long time scratching when I see him on the camera. Sorry for the diatribe but would be grateful for your advice. Thanks20th April 2020 at 11:35 am #22187
Welcome to the Forum!
It’s really good to hear that the hogs have been putting your facilities to such good use.
Hogs, especially small/young ones will sometimes share a box, but there could be two nests inside a box. Alternatively two hogs may use the same box, but at different times. In general, once they’re mature they prettty much like to have their own space and not share, but there are exceptions to every rule!
It’s best really to keep feeding boxes and hog home boxes separately, although hogs sometimes decide to make a nest in a feeding station. But if you think there is a hog there during the day, you really need to wait until it vacates before cleaning it out and in the meantime shouldn’t use it for feeding. By vacating, I mean completely, not just out for the night.
There is more information about cleaning out hog houses here: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/cleaning-out-boxes/
When you do clean it out, make sure you use boiling water to kill any parasite eggs. They can hide in the cracks/joints in the wood.
Even night cams are not totally reliable at telling what’s going on with boxes – they normally have time gaps between clips, as well as a bit of a delay between detecting and beginning to video/photo. Hogs seem to be very clever at moving around during those time spaces to confuse us all! (Stories of hog invisibility cloaks abound). So it’s best to check with a twig/rolled up paper/flower, as suggested in the cleaning boxes info. to try to be sure there is no hog in residence before cleaning. Even then I always lift the opening very carefully, just in case. If a hog is in there, leave it alone.
Hogs normally change nests from time to time, not least because of potential external parasite problems, so if one is in residence, hopefully it will move soon. Although some people have had to resort to getting a new hog house in the hope the hog moves out!
You probably do already, but in case not, please leave water available for the hogs all day every day. It’s much easier for them to find wild food than to find water. Shallow but wide plant saucers are ideal, as long as they are shallow enough that a hoglet can’t get trapped. Most of mine are ten inches or more wide – not so easy to tip over, which hogs are very good at!
Good luck. I hope you get a chance to clean out the hog house soon. Meanwhile, happy hog watching.20th April 2020 at 1:24 pm #22190
Thanks for the quick response. It appears the best thing would be for me to stop putting food out and especially into the feeding station to try and make it a little less tempting for the hog(s) and hope one morning it will be empty so I can clean it!.. I have water out all year.
Thank you20th April 2020 at 5:21 pm #22191
Personally, I wouldn’t stop putting out food completely, just at the moment, because some hogs may only just be coming out of hibernation and be needing to feed up a bit. But perhaps, as you suggested, not put it in the feeding station for a while. Do you, by any chance, still have the plastic storage box – maybe you could use that, in the short term, a little away from the main hog box? Until the hog moves out and you can clean the box.21st April 2020 at 10:02 pm #22206
Unfortunately it cracked after being out in the weather and a cat jumping on it ! I’ll see if I can find something else to use. thanks22nd April 2020 at 1:34 pm #22228
Cats!! But where are they when there are rats around?!
I use a sheet of perspex type stuff propped up on 2 or 3 litre flower pots full of soil. With something on the top to weigh it down. Just things I had around. But you could use a sheet of wood. Some very persistent cats crawl on their bellies underneath mine occasionally (looks a very uncomfortable position to eat in!), but most leave it alone. You could position it against a wall and put the food near the wall, so the furthest distance the cats would have to go. I have found over the years that some hogs don’t like going into hog boxes, but they seem quite happy to go underneath the perspex, which of course provides more potential exit routes for them.
Hope you manage to find something.
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