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Empty house and Cleaning Out.

Home Forums Champions’ chat Empty house and Cleaning Out.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
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    For the last few days haven’t had any hogs using my hedgie box to nest in overnight. Am a bit disappointed and wondered if this is normal as it is so warm. I’m still leaving dry food out and plenty of water which is being taken but in far smaller quantities. Also whilst no one using it wondered if I should take advantage and clean it out. Any thoughts? X


    Hi TyburyDuck,

    I am in the same boat. The last lodger in one of our houses was a male and he vacated it about a week ago. I am pretty sure that he must have had a few lodgers of his own, as he was caught on camera constantly going in and out of the house scratching. I know hedgehogs do scratch A LOT, but this was to the extreme! I am very keen to clean it out, as I wouldn’t want any strays finding a new host, but I also wouldn’t want to risk disturbing a nursing mum. There has been nothing captured on the camera and the sticks in the entrance haven’t moved for over a week, so I am fairly confident it is empty, but shall be very cautious all the same.

    As for the food, I think that there is plenty of their natural food around at the moment, especially with all the rain that we have had lately. Interestingly enough, one of our neighbour’s had a new fence put up at the weekend. Their old fence was very hedgehog friendly, but on the night that the new one went up the food was barely touched. Last night it was nearly all gone, so they must have found a new route…it just goes to show how one new fence can make a big difference.


    Hi Penny,
    Glad your visitors seem to have found a new route into your garden.
    Must admit I noticed the Hog that frequented the box until recently did a lot of scratching too. The inside of the box looks dry and in good condition. Leaves inside look ok too, but as it’s wooden would love to give it a good clear out. I know they like to collect their own bedding but wondered whether to line the bottom with some hay or is something else more suitable?


    I usually just put a small amount of hay inside and then leave little piles lying around for them to drag in themselves. Still no sign of any activity in ours, so I’m pretty sure that it’s safe.


    Thanks for info. More food gone today but no house activity. Thinking of a clean out this weekend if still no visitors. Hopefully they’ll return eventually.

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    Hi TyburyDuck

    If you are going to clean the box out, it’s a good idea to use boiling water. Even if you can’t see them, there may be eggs from ticks, etc. hiding in the corners.

    In response to your original question, I have read that male hogs can change nests every day and females every week and that different hogs will use the same nest at different times.


    Hi Nic,
    Thanks for your reply. If still no residents by weekend and no rain forecast think I’ll take advantage of warmer weather so it can dry out properly. Any advice on any bedding, even if its only to line the floor? I know leaves are best but there’s not a very good supply at minute.

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    Hi TyburyDuck

    Like Penny says, hay can be good and if you are hoping for the box to be used for sleeping in, it’s not a bad idea to put a little in the box to start it off and then some more outside. Some hogs are very fussy about what they will use and may take it all out again but that’s their choice!

    When a hoglet here decided to make a nest last autumn, he used quite a lot of long grasses woven in amongst the leaves, so you could try that. The box was being used for feeding at the time, but he just started building his nest on top of the food bowl! Someone else on the forum said a hog there made a nest completely out of grasses, but I think that was outside.

    Trimmings from shrubs and prunings might be used. Any of the sort of things they might find in the wild, really. I don’t imagine they will need a very elaborate nest at this time of year if they are using it just for sleeping. A nesting female, though, would make a more elaborate one, but really the same thing applies – leave lots of likely materials nearby so she wouldn’t have to go too far to find it. I have heard of them even using some herbs in the mix!

    Might be a good experiment to put piles of different things and see which were most popular!


    We have a hogilo which has been totally ignored by all hedgehogs! It is tucked against a fence, under some bushes, facing the ‘right’ way so there are no draughts, supply of hay inside and outside together with leaves etc etc – and the little b**ggers take no notice! Once or twice we have seen one peer in and then reverse out but it just doesn’t meet their expectations! In the first days one must have gone in because the hay was made into a very rough circle – so someone had a nap – but nothing since! It’s quite close to the feeding station and where they ‘snuffle’ under the choysia so they can’t have missed it! I’m thinking of putting a ‘hedgehog maternity unit’ sign outside but have heard that hedgies can’t read? They are still taking food though, cat food and hedgehog biscuits last night, so I am ever hopeful! Oh, and I think I now have one female – or maybe another boy who is very shy about his ‘bits’.

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    Hi DwarfHog

    I agree, it is frustrating. I have a hogilo too, and don’t think it has been much used, although it is under a bush and hidden by a lot of vegetation so it’s difficult to be sure.

    I wonder, though, whether part of the problem with yours is that it is too near to the feeding station. Females in particular would probably want to pick somewhere where they are less likely to be disturbed by other hogs.

    Having said that, I had one of my boxes for about 2 years – mostly used for putting food in – before a hog decided to make a nest in it and maybe it just takes a while for them to ‘accept it’ or for it to smell right. I think the results of the hedgehog houses survey are supposed to be out around now. Maybe that will throw some more light on things.


    we also have a variety of hog homes and hogilos. a female we released a month or so ago could be seen routinely investigating each and every one on a regular basis and spending a few nights in one then moving to another. she often bumped into other interested parties and occupants, but they never seemed particularly bothered by each other and seemed satisfied with swapping homes regularly. she often disappears for a week or so at a time too – and I wonder whether the warmer weather we are having prompts them to prefer sleeping outside rather than in any house anyway? We are also finding that the food isnt being taken as regularly or in the same quantities – which I’m concluding as a good thing, as they must be finding more of their own or have reached a more comfortable weight which means they dont need it as much.


    Good point, I’ll move it and see if that makes any difference. Meanwhile I’m just happy to see them come and go! (When I set my camera correctly that is! I am getting either tops of heads or feet at the moment!) This hedgehog lark is very time consuming – not to say frustrating, but it’s all worth it when you see a hog running across the garden and straight into the food station! Bless!

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    I probably should have said a female looking for a ‘maternity home’ may want to choose somewhere more private! You’re right about it being time consuming and I find the cameras can be very frustrating! Mine that takes the best pictures, doesn’t show the image on it’s own window, so you have to take the card out to check elsewhere whether it’s in the right position. Can’t remember how many trips backwards and forwards it took me to get it in the right place. But like you say, worth it to see the hogs. Especially to see them in areas of the garden you can’t see them in person/hog!

    My misbehaving camera took over 400 videos (again) last night. I know most of them will have nothing on, but they all need to be checked. No wonder I am now days behind with my hog videos!


    Just a quick thank you to Penny and Nic for advice about cleaning out. No doubt my neighbours will think I’ve gone mad when I start collecting leaves from the wood across from my house like I did last year! That and checking under my car when I leave early for work – have seen them in the car port where I park. Who cares!! My feeding stations are quite near the hog house so that could be affecting things. Will just have to wait and hope they return. I feel lucky they used it at all. They are still feeding but I agree it’s not as much as before. It’s good they’re finding stuff in the wild.


    Quick update, relocated hog house to quiet corner and supplied lots of dry straw – much of which has now been pulled inside the house! Not counting my chickens (hoglets) but I also have a female who visits the feeding station and water bowl – so at least a step in the right direction! Also, not such good news but quite funny – on last night’s video there were 4 large black slugs creeping across the feeding station threshold, I assume to get to the cat food! Said hog was inside feeding and took no notice of his/her roommates! Back to stalking the garden at night with a torch and a plastic bucket to catch the blighters! Hogs take no notice of me!

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