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Do you feed every night?

Home Forums Champions’ chat Do you feed every night?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
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    Since realising we had a resident hedgehog under our decking I created a feeding station and set up wildlife cameras which has so far been very successful. I get nightly video clips of it coming out of it’s den and walking to the station and having a good feed and drinking a lot of water, it often goes out of shot so I assume it is roaming about. I am just a little concerned whether I am maybe feeding it too much so it doesn’t bother looking too far for other food.

    I read some other posts about what to feed including this

    So far I have been feeding it Pedigree Chum wet dog food (mixed of flavours) and I tried a posh dried dog food (no artificial additives or dairy) called Harringtons but it doesn’t seem to like it much. Not many pet food stores around here to get specialist hedgy food but I may try and find some if people think Spikes or whatever is much better

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    Hi Bushsnuffler

    The thing about most hogs is that once they have got used to one sort of food, they aren’t too keen on changing it. So that often if you offer them a choice they are inclined to show a preference for what they’ve been used to. But if you need to change the food for some reason, they are likely to eat the new food eventually (possibly after refusing to eat it for a few days).

    As far as I know, the jury is still out as to whether hog food – of which there are now quite a few varieties – are better for hogs than cat/dog food. Some people still seem to maintain that cat/dog food is better. So if you have found something the hog eats, and it’s one of cat/dog/hog food or cat/kitten biscuits, I would stick to it.

    I’m wondering how far your feedng station is from where the hog appears from. If it’s close and you’re worried that it might not be foraging as well, you could try gradually moving it a bit further away, so that the hog has more of a chance to forage on the way to or from the feeding station. It does, though, seem unlikely that the hog would not be looking for other food as well. Do you mean that the hog only makes one visit to the feeding station? In which case it seems likely it is also going elsewhere. Many hogs will make multiple visits to a feeding station in one night, usually with fairly decent gaps of time between visits.

    Maybe you need another camera in a different part of the garden to see what the hog is up to! i.e. possibly it’s leaving your garden at some stage.


    Hi Nic, thanks for the advice I have read many of your posts on the forum and you obviously know a lot about hedgehogs.

    The hedgehog is living under our small (and old) area of decking at the bottom of the garden, there is a small hole at the front where the wood has rotted which the hedgehog has been coming out of every night. The feeding station is really close to the entrance as I wanted to get video of it coming out and feeding. The hog often makes multiple trips into the feeding station and is active roughly between 22.00 and 03.00, it tends to eat some of the food then go for a roam and come back and finish it off later.

    I was partly asking as it has put on some weight in the 3 weeks I have been feeding it, although it wasn’t particularly big in the first place so may just be fattening up a bit after hibernation. Also it does often drink quite a lot, the video clips are 1 minute and it will spend the whole minute drinking sometimes and then return for another drink or two later for less time.

    I really just wondered if there is much salt content in dog food that was maybe making it drink more and also if the fat content could be an issue over time? Most domestic cats/dogs that are overfed will just keep eating it and become fat but not sure if this is common in hedgehogs. I don’t put out a lot of food but there is at least one other hedgehog around so I’m trying to cater for that one a bit also, I normally put a saucer of food out (so 1 can of dog food lasts about 4/5 nights) and the resident hedgy normally polishes it off every night. Does that sound about right?

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    Hi Bushsnuffler

    Hogs do tend to spend more time drinking than most people expect them to, but they have tiny little mouths, so probably aren’t getting a huge amount for each lap. But it does normally look as if they are drinking a lot. I don’t feed wet cat/dog food, but wouldn’t want to feed anything that had too much salt in it anyway. It might be something you could check before purchase (i.e. chose one with a lower salt content – I don’t know whether they vary much or not). Quarter to a fifth of a can doesn’t sound an excessive amount of food, to me.

    Hogs in the wild aren’t prone to over-eating, although some that are in care (potentially underweight hoglets who are being overwintered) may do. But of course they aren’t getting much exercise. Hogs in the wild can travel up to 2 miles a night (males) and I don’t know about the one there, but the ones here sometimes zoom along at quite a rate! The hog there may have been a last year’s hoglet, in which case it would be normal for it to put on quite a bit of weight. Also, as you say, some are sometimes a bit more skinny looking when they first emerge from hibernation.

    But having said that, I have seen some concern mentioned around cat/dog food fat content, but only in one place a while ago. As I recall, the concern was that hogs could potentailly get heart problems, etc. in the same way as humans do as a result of a fatty diet. But the food we put out for the hogs is generally considered to be supplementary to the wild food they can find for themselves, so perhaps is not considered to be a huge problem. But, again, you might want to chose a variety with lower fat levels, if you’re concerned.

    That sounds good if the hog is going for a wander between visits. Hopefully it’s still going about it’s normal wild hoggy business as well as taking advantage of the catering at your hog hostelry. 22.00 to 3.00 sounds a decent amount of time to be out and about.

    It’s normally considered not a good idea to put a feeding station too close to a hog house, partly due to the potential for attracting predators, but also a female may not like a load of hogs just outside if she had just given birth. But it’s slightly different if it’s under decking as, I suppose there might be a comparatively large area under there. And of course, as you say, the feeding area is a good place to focus your camera on.

    Good luck. I hope the hog/s there continue to do well. Happy hog watching.


    I think from looking under the decking the area it has access to is around 2 sq. metres so it should have plenty of room to move around under there, before I realised it was there I was thinking about making a hog house or moving the one I have in the front garden but the decking seems perfect for it really.

    I don’t know how dog/cat/hedgehog food compares in terms of fat/salt content but I will look into this and probably try and get some hedgehog food when the Pedigree Chum runs out just to try and vary what I’m putting out a bit.

    Thanks for all the advice


    The hedgehog hospital near me, always advise me to give mushed up wet dog food when I have rescued two autumn juveniles last Nov, and, recently, for Walter who was very poorly.

    I’m not sure why, but I think mushed up dog food is easier for small hogs to eat, and therefore, might be easier to eat if a hog is poorly.

    They also prefer dried kitten biscuits over adult cat biscuits for the same reason.

    They have never advised me to use specialist hedgehog food, however, I give my hogs Spikes semi moist, which always get’s demolished each night, along with the cat biscuits and a bowl of wet dog food.

    I have found, with my hogs, they prefer the wet dog food the most, and will clean the entire bowl, and they tend to go to that bowl first, then they eat the cat biscuits, and then Spikes seems to be last on the list.

    I have also seen my hogs foraging too, as I think they probably enjoy doing that, even if they are full.

    At the hospital, when hoglets have started to wean, she blends the dog food, which looks totally gross.

    I’ve seen some websites that advise you to look at the ingredients for specialist hedgehog food, as some have dried mealworms in. But I am just sticking to Spikes, as my hogs like it, which doesn’t have mealworms in.

    The good thing about dog food is that it has a lot of meat content in it, therefore a lot of protein.


    On the subject of ‘How much food’, the picture below shows the daily (7 day a week) supplemental snacks I put out. I don’t have any skinny hedgehogs visiting the garden, and indeed the tunnel entrances I have to each of the feeding stations act as a sort of Go-No go gauge, so if they are too big to get through the tunnel then they have to go elsewhere. That said they seem to manage to squeeze through ok, getting back out after a gorge is a little more challenging.



    Thanks for the advice.

    I compared wet Whiskas and Pedigree Chum:

    Pedigree Chum – protein 7%, fat 3.8%, calories 79/100g
    Whiskas 1+ – protein 8%, fat 4.7%, calories ?
    Whiskas Kitten – protein 13%, fat 3%, calories 72/85g

    Based on the above the kitten food looks the most nutritious. I couldn’t get nutritional percentages for Spikes hedgehog food so can’t really compare it and I couldn’t get any figures for salt, phosphorus or calcium content on any of them.

    I bought some Spikes Semi Moist when I was last shopping and thought it was very expensive at £4.99 for 550g compared to £4 for 2400g (6 tins) of Pedigree Chum which I have been buying so far. I noticed Spikes recommends a 20g portion which seems very small compared to the around 80-100g of dog food I normally put out, do people only use this much Spikes generally?


    I compared the spikes semi moist to a can of winalot chicken in jelly dog food, and the fat content and protein were fairly similar –

    I just put two bowls out – one with the dried cat biscuits and spikes in, and a smaller one for the wet dog food.

    The hog hospital do give their hogs large portions of wet dog food, and they use pedigree chum, most of it, if not all of it, is donated by supporters.

    So I wouldn’t worry too much.

    I’ve found with some dried kitten food, it has some milk in – so those brands need to be avoided.

    I feel Spikes semi moist is good for hoglets to eat, as it’s smaller pieces.

    If you have hoglets, that are eating solids, probably best to leave a lot of mashed up wet dog/cat food.

    Spikes is expensive, so I believe that’s why the hospital doesn’t use specialist hedgehog food, and some brands (probably US brands not UK) can have the odd harmful ingredient in the hog food, such as mealworms apparentley.

    So it’s not necessary to spend a fortune of specialist hedgehog food, when wet or dried dog/cat/kitten food is fine (but not if it has milk in).


    Remember with food it is a supplement. It’s still important that hogs forage for their natural food. However in very dry times we put out extra as we are on clay and very hard for them to dig. When food is plentiful and conditions good we reduce a bit.
    Enjoying your video diary.


    I think I’m going to stick with Pedigree Chum for now and add a little bit of Spikes Semi Moist now and then for variety as feeding solely Spikes seems a bit expensive, the hedgy seems to love Pedigree Chum also.

    The Harringtons dried dog food I tried has been utterly rejected by all hedgehogs (little balls/cubes) despite being good quality and having decent meat content. I’ve been mixing it in with the wet stuff but they just dig through it and leave the dry stuff, picky little buggers! I’m thinking about grinding it up with a pestle and mortar and mixing it in 😃

    I’m going to limit the amount of food I put out while it’s only being eaten by our resident and increase it if more hogs turn up regularly, he entered the feeding station 12 times two nights ago! He had polished the food off after the third or fourth visit but continued to go in and lick the plate 🤣

    Glad you like the video diary simbo65.

    Any cat biscuits brands recommendations is appreciated


    Spoke to the hospital last night as i collected Sweetpea. BTW they did say not to feed hogs just on wet food all the time, they need crunchy stuff as well as it’s good for their teeth.

    So they said best to give them a variety of things. So I stick to three things, and reluctant to change, as when I have changed brands they have gone on strike. So I put out the wet food each night, and the cat biscuits and the Spikes semi moist.

    I want to change the cat biscuits to kitten biscuits, but they like the current cat biscuits so much, I’m reluctant to do this. However, the spikes semi moist is small enough and not as hard and crunchy.

    If we gave them just semi-moist and nothing else, I don’t think it would help their teeth as much as the dried crunchy cat/kitten biscuits.

    The Harringtons food has been utterley rejected by my hogs to – even a rat who came to visit refuses to eat it. Someone gave me a bag as his cat didn’t like it, then it went to 3 other cat owners, before he gave it to me.

    Perhaps we should write to Harringtons to kindly let them know that not even a Rat would eat your food.


    Was in Tesco today looking at the cat treats/biscuits but there’s quite a few different types, what’s the name of the stuff your hogs like?


    my like Go Kat – only because the local shop sells it (Chicken & Duck flavour), and then I’ve just stuck to it – ideally I want the same flavour but in kitten pieces – as it goes down really well, but the chunks would be too large for hoglets. I’m sticking with the Spikes semi-moist though so it should be ok.

    Then for dog meat, it doesn’t seem to bother them what brand or flavour they have, or if I give them wet cat food, the bowl gets licked clean each night.

    Mine are just fussy with the dried food.


    Great thanks will give the Go Kat biscuits a go alongside the Pedigree Chum/Spikes

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