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Compost Heap – hedgehog advice

Home Forums Champions’ chat Compost Heap – hedgehog advice

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    The year before last, I got two new compost containers – wooden slatted with horizontal gaps on every side. I’ve removed some of the wooden slats on the front to give larger gaps for hibernating hedgehogs (never seen any in my garden, but my neighbour over the road has seen them, so I’m hopeful).
    I didn’t empty them last year because I was worried about disturbing any hedgehogs – in hibernating time and breeding time (when I was little, my parents came across a hedghog nest (with about 4 hoglets) when they emptied theirs one year)..
    I now have two compost heaps which are seriously overflowing. When is the best time of year to empty my compost heaps – just in case there are hedgehogs using them in my garden? Looking at the hibernating & breeding times given on your website, it’s looks like it’s pretty much never ๐Ÿ™

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    Hi elleyfant

    You’re just about right there (‘looks like it’s pretty much never’)!

    But, seriously, the best time would probably be in the Spring just after the hogs have returned from hibernation and hopefully before they have babies. So probably some time in May. Even then, one could be using it as a day nest. But that wouldn’t be quite as bad as disturbing a hibernating hog or one with babies. The trouble with hogs is that they all do their own thing, and so can be unpredictable.

    Just be really careful – i.e. don’t use a fork, etc. If it was me, I would try to move the compost by hand. I know it sounds like hard work, but would be the safest way from the hog point of view. That way, you are more likely to notice a hog there before the nest area was disturbed too much and could then leave it alone. Maybe you could, at least, explore a bit by hand, first. You will probably be wanting to put the compost down earlier than May, so I would just be really careful how you do it and stop if you see any signs of hogs.

    In reality, it’s more likely there isn’t one there than there is, but you never know and it would be distressing to injure one by mistake. Sorry not to be more help!


    No – that’s perfect help thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ Our garden is supposed to be for the wildlife (and our cats), so the compost heaps do have more twigs etc than a proper gardeners would do. I’m fine waiting till May until I empty it. And shifting everything by hand is good advice (although not a totally appealing prospect)! I had a rat nest there one year, so hopefully if I have one again next year, the adults will run away when I start to clear it out rather than decide to defend and nip at my fingers..

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