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Daylight hedgehog: is my new feeding station starving them?

Home Forums Carers / rescuing a hedgehog Daylight hedgehog: is my new feeding station starving them?

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    I’ve rescued a fairly large hedgehog from my back lawn early this afternoon. It seemed to be dragging a rear leg, but apart from that looked fairly healthy. I can’t take it anywhere today so have followed advice on how to take care of it overnight and will take it to the local vet tomorrow to get it checked out.

    It’s gobbled up a lot of hedgehog biscuits and is now curled up under a nest of shredded paper, snuggling against a wrapped hot water bottle. I’ve got some meaty cat food to give it later. I’m hoping it will drink too, but it’s not shown any interest yet.

    I feed the garden hedgehogs every night (I’m pretty certain the one I’ve picked up is a regular visitor) so it worries me it was so hungry. I’ve only recently put a feeding station down to stop the cats greeding on everything, and although some food inside is being eaten, and there are droppings left, I’m wondering if the larger hedgehogs can’t get in. Should I keep feeding outside the feeding station as well as inside?

    Also, I’m a bit nervous of weighing the small, very active hoglet that’s started turning up with its mother. I’m not sure what I should do with it if it’s underweight – I don’t know if I can give it the attention it might need. But it does seem tiny.


    Hi Antique,
    I am not an expert so hope that Stef or Nic will see your post.
    I am just going to see if I can find a previous post with Nics advice about the little hog. Be back ASAP


    One of Nic’s posts below:
    “You may have seen that hoglets need to weigh at least 450g to survive hibernation, but the cut-off point depends a bit from place to place – weather conditions, etc. So it might be a good idea to check with your local carer/rehabilitator as to when it needs to be that weight in your area. (you can get contact details from BHPS 01584 890801) Then you can weigh the little hog. Hopefully it will already be over 450g and you can let it go again immediately. Otherwise, hopefully the local rescue will have room for it to be over-wintered.”

    The thing is to check with local carer re weight for your area.
    You would have to tell them that the little one is still with mum as this might be important.

    Re your big hedgehog with bad leg- I have had 2 like this and both times they have had leg amputated. I don’t know if he needs a hot water bottle hopefully one of the experts will let you know. I did read they mustn’t be too hot or get cold though.
    I doubt your feeding station is starving them unless the entrance is tiny. Mine have an 10cm diameter pipe going into them and the hogs are getting through to the food without a problem.

    Please let us know what the carer says and good luck


    The rescued hedgehog is now called Houdini. It’s very active and I’m glad I placed the big rescue box inside an even bigger cardboard one. It’s so active it’s tempting to let it go….but it was out in the open during the day and yes, I’d like to get its leg checked out. I’m no expert but it does seem to be sticking out behind it.

    A local carer said I should be worried if the hoglet is under 300gms. I think. I’d better check.

    The mother and baby were out after dark this evening, and the little one zooms around like a little race car.


    Good luck catching it.
    Have everything ready……gloves, scales,torch, box that fits on scales and that the little one can’t get out of.
    Good luck with it all and let us know how you go with both the hoggies.

    Avatar photo

    Hi Antique

    If the little hog is underweight you will need to find a local carer who can over-winter it. But if it’s very tiny and still with the Mother, it’s possible it isn’t independant yet, so you might want to check with your local carer whether it should be left with the Mother until it’s independant. Hopefully Stef might see this and be able to give some advice about that – it’s not my area of knowledge. But I imagine the hoglet might do better staying with mother until weaned, if it isn’t already.

    The important thing if using a hot water bottle is to make sure that the hog has room to get well away from it, if it gets too hot. Although it may not need it if it’s inside your house. But it sounds as if the hog really does need checking over if it’s dragging a leg and also the fact that it was out during the day rings alarm bells.

    Good luck


    Thank you. I put the rescued adult in a plastic box, then placed that box inside a much bigger/taller cardboard one. The hot water bottle was in the outer part, next to one wall of the inner box, so the hog could move away from it if it wanted. The boxes were in a heated room.

    What happened was the hedgehog kept climbing out of the smaller box (where I put it when I was cleaning up the mess) onto the wrapped hot water bottle, where it would fall asleep. Every now and then it would go and get some food, then climb back onto the hot water bottle (I was rotating two). Before I went to bed I cut an old fleece jacket into smaller pieces and it seemed to like snuggling up in that too.

    It survived the night (it was very active) and is now with the vet. If it survives I have asked if it can be released back into the garden. It’s my first attempt at a rescue and after the noise, smell, mess and angst I feel a) happy I gave it a go and b) better prepared to do it again.

    Thanks again for the advice. There was frost on the ground this morning so I’ll focus on what to do (or not do) about the hoglet next.


    Hi, if you’re going to catch the baby then catch mum too so that if all is well and you release they can go together calmly – ie put in a box with a hole and leave them to go together.
    I don’t know where you live but if it’s not the far north I wouldn’t consider rescuing anything under 350gms at this time – especially not if it’s still with mum and you are putting out food regularly.
    Yes you should make sure all hogs can get the food, so put both inside and outside your station
    Finally I suggest you find an experienced carer to look at your other hogs leg if you can. If not speak to the vet about doing everything possible to save the leg rather than going for the easy option of amputation. A limp won’t cause as many problems in the wild as an amputation will


    Thanks. I posted earlier but must have accidentally deleted it when I tried to add a photo of the adult rescue, who kept climbing out of the inner box so it could sleep on top of the hot water bottle.

    It had a good night (active, ate a lot) and went to the vet this morning. I will phone to ask what they think and what they plan to do. They were recommended as being very good with wildlife, and I’ve said I’m happy for it to be released back in the garden.

    I won’t be able to do anything about the hoglet for the next few days but thanks for the advice. I feel a lot more confident after dealing with my first smelly, noisy, messy rescue, who seemed quite happy in its impromptu hedgehog spa.

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