Finally! I’ve got cat proof feeding stations.
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- This topic has 10 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 9 months ago by Hettihog.
26th July 2019 at 12:14 am #16900
Well it’s been a couple of months now that I’ve been feeding two prickly little visitors. Although to be honest, until recently I wasn’t really sure if the hogs were eating well, or if I was the best restaurant in town for the local cats 😂
So a month ago I bought a trail camera, and what fun it is watching all the night time visitors – although it was initially very disappointing to see just how many cats were visiting ( I’m an animal lover, but not really into cats!).
I initially got my hubby to make a feeding station out of a plastic under bed box, but the hogs wouldn’t go in. Then I tried the idea of plant pots with a board on top, suggested by Nic, hogs liked that idea but so did the cats! And it was a case of first come first serve on the food front!
Then I bought a load of bricks and copied a feeding station I’d seen on google – again unsuccessful!
Finally, I bought a hedgehog house with a partition, the hogs won’t go all the way round the partition, but they will go further in than the cats can manage to reach.
At last, what a joy it was to foil the cats and know for sure I’m feeding hogs !
I have one hedgehog living under my shed and another living at the bottom of the garden under an established bush. I had hoped that I might see hoglets and with that in mind, I bought a hedgehog house and put it in the wild part of my garden – something has definitely been in it, because the straw I put inside has been shoved out to the entrance – but no evidence as yet just who the occupant might be.
I’m truly hedgehog obsessed and think I’ve become one of those boring people who insist on sharing their obsession with the world, even when they are not really interested 😂 I’ve lost count of the people I have tried to encourage to welcome hogs into their gardens and suggested they take a look at hedgehog street. But sadly I have yet to convince anyone to provide hog access to their garden, other than my siblings who are all fascinated by my trail pics.
Once I learn how to upload from my trail camera to the forum ( or more likely get my hubby to upload) I will share some of my pics – it’s great fun and so entertaining.26th July 2019 at 1:12 am #16901
Hi Hettihog, I’m still awake as been out to say hello to one of the girls in my underbed box feeding station. The boys are back in town as well, big Benny and Tommy are eating me out of house and home! I was going to say hello to them as well, but of course no sign tonight yet, so given up. The nights are drawing in now and the hogs are out a bit earlier. Anyway, so glad you’ve managed to keep the cats out at last. It’s a constant battle. I’ve not seen any babies yet and two females are still missing. Glad your trail camera is being useful, I’ve still not put mine to use! The storms have provided plenty of water to bottle up. It was trying to rain tonight but dried up again. I’m exhausted with this heat, it’s not my idea of fun! Best wishes.28th July 2019 at 2:21 am #16929
I’m interested in reading your tales Hettihog – I’m like you, totally obsessed and talking about them a lot, probably boring everyone to tears.
I’m having problems with my feeding station too – the local cats like it too and if I put the food out too early it’s gone. So what I’m doing at the mo – is putting the dried hedgehog food and meaty cat biscuits first and refresh the water bowl – I do this early on, before sunset and then later on – in between 10-11pm, I put a small dish of wet dog food out –
The cats that visit must be bored of cat biscuits, and not too keen on the hedgehog food – but they love the wet food, regardless whether or not it’s dog or cat food. And they eat the whole lot – and the hedges love the dog food as well – they eat that first and almost in one go – before they eat the dried food.
I put the wet dog food out much later as there is more chance a hedgehog will be able to get their first – but put the dried food out early – just in case one comes earlier than usual, as I don’t want them to find no food and then decide not to come back to my garden again.
At first I had a quite small hole for the entrance 4 by 4 inch, and that seemed to do the trick, kept the cats out – but I kept reading that it should be at least 5 by 5 inch, so I made it bigger, made a tunnel out of bricks, put a wooden board on top of the bricks, so cat would have to crouch down low and turn 90 degrees a couple of times, but they seem to have no problem doing this –
I’m wondering if I should just go back to having a 4 inch hole again, I didn’t need to put bricks down or make a tunnel to keep the cats out – I’m sure most hedgehogs would be able to squeeze through it – 5 by 5 inch is big enough for a cat to get in, what do you think?
I started off my putting the food outside on the garden – and all night I’d see hedgehogs in my garden – but since I made the feeding station – I see about one a night – I think there are probably more that visit when I’m asleep – but it’s certainly not as busy as it was originally – does it usually take a while for Hedgies to get used to going inside feeding stations?28th July 2019 at 10:17 am #16931
Morning Hedgie Lover – Yes I agree, it’s great reading what other hedgehog fans are doing to help their little visitors/residents. I’ve learnt such a lot over recent months from the forums.
I must be doing something right, because both of the hedgehogs that I’m caring for have put on weight and are looking really healthy. In fact the one living under the shed has doubled in size since first sighting a few months ago. It’s the under shed one that is moving the straw and seems to be renovating /building the nest. Of course there is the possibility some of the weight gain may be related to a pregnancy, but either way both hogs are feeding really well and I’m confident of their ability to get through a winter in their current state.
There is no doubt though that this hog loving business becomes obsessional and a constant worry. Initially I worried about cats eating the food before the hogs got a look in, but I know from the trail cam the hogs get to the food first and although the cats still try to get in the feeding station, they are unable to get around the partition. I also use to worry about the cats hurting the hogs, but the visiting cats don’t seem to bother the hogs in the slightest!
So nothing to worry about I hear my hubby say !
But as lovely as it would be to have little hoglets in my garden, I’m now worrying about the potential dangers to them and their survival ! And I have no evidence yet that there will be hoglets! LOL !
As a retired mental health social worker I’ve dealt with real life threatening emergencies – I’m not and never have been a worrier ! !
So tell me just how have these little spiky creatures wheedled their way into my heart and invaded my head space ! LOL
Best Wishes happy hog watching! xx28th July 2019 at 12:53 pm #16936
I have no understanding of why I have become so obsessed by the spikey ones or why I get so upset when I see injured or dead ones.
The hubby shares some of the love but he can’t understand why I have to keep all the footage from the trail cams. I also talk about them non stop and any opportunity I get to talk about them and making holes in fences etc- off I go !!!
Sadly the beautiful regular we had has vanished. Looking at time lines and cross referencing with another hedgehog lady a few doors away I have come to the conclusion that she had 5 babies, who were seen out with her. Then there was big machinery used in a garden and since then they have not been seen. I have rescued a little one out in the day who is now out of the vet and at Brent Lodge being looked after until ready for release. AND yesterday I was just opening the French doors to get some air when I saw something on the lawn that got my heart thumping. Another hoglet, not moving. It too is now at the vet and they have seen a damaged foot. Only weighing in at 117 grams i really hope he makes it. The lovely nurses have said that they will have to give antibiotics and hopefully if he gets better he too will be at Brent Lodge. I am worrying about this one as he is soooo small and probably not fully weaned. I am thinking that these 2 are from the 5 hoglets previously seen and something has happened to mummy.
Will ring for an update tomorrow28th July 2019 at 2:01 pm #16937
Interesting reading all your experiences with various feeding stations – when I built mine, I’d followed several principle ideas & incorporated a few different design elements.. split duplex apartment, Communal Hall, 1 Bed + 1 Kitchen / Breakfast Reception..!! All mod cons..! Oh & Location, Location, Location..!!
Luckily, the Hogs seem to approve! We’ve had visitors using it every night since it went out..
I learned that Hogs generally won’t sleep where they eat ( altho footage & the messed up hog shaped bedding both suggest they occasionally like to ‘cat’ nap after a big meal.. as we all do..!! )
So initially, I constructed the tunnel to create a labyrinth entrance at 130mm as recommended.. but being square ( therefore wider across the diagonals ) I found alarmingly, the local small fox could crunch his shoulders up & pretty much get 3/4 of the way in, but not sufficiently to reach round the corner to the feed..
So I fitted a circular reducer at 120mm which put off Fox & seems to present no issue to even our largest, official guest, who weighs in at just under a kilo..!
Reviewing the trail cam footage throughout the summer, I think a scheduled Mk2 Winter Hog Haus project is on the cards! I’ll be interested in reducing the entrance further, perhaps, to 110mm – make the internals a little more maze like & see how that goes – as it’s become apparent that this season’s Fox Cub CAN actually get in & fully turn around in the feeding chamber! ( I leave some of the food out now for it as an easy offering.. usually, the Hog arrives moments after he’s left, nips straight inside where he knows there’s more to be had..! They’re not silly, these Hogs..!! )
But what I have learned with Mk1 is that a relatively long, dark internal tunnel deters the majority of cats ( & squirrels, interestingly who are too skittish to venture fully inside )
Foxes generally leave the Hogs alone, learning very quickly that they’re spiky! Fully grown Hogs don’t seem too massively concerned by foxes either, offering a protective front line of defensive quills to them.. ( Although Fox will nip at their back legs as they unroll & make a break for it.. but more for ‘fun’ it seems, than actually trying to eat them.. Hence, back leg injuries are quite common..
Nosy Cats freak out when Hog comes barrelling thru the shrubs at them in the night & usually make rapid exits in the opposite direction!!
But I think, with a little help & awareness from a those that care, plus some simple considerations, when laying out & maintaining our gardens, there’s no reason why these fab little creatures can’t thrive – they seem remarkably robust, given everything they’re up against..
Indeed, Happy Hog watching as you say, HettiHog!
Oh, one more thing I discovered about Hogs.. I think I’ve shared before, but might amuse you.. they’re quill tips, seemingly, fluoresce highlighter pink under UV light..!!! ( ..if you ever happen to be looking for any injured one in the bushes.. as I was late one evening..!! ) LOL! Honestly, who knew..?!!28th July 2019 at 2:14 pm #16938
Simbo65 Reading your post regarding your hubby wondering why you need to keep all the trail footage brought a smile to my face. We have the same conversation in this house most days LOL!
Really sad to hear about the hogs in your area . I have fields behind me and this time of year the landowner usually cuts all the long grass down using a tractor and large rotary blade. My neighbors have been complaining that dog walking is not so pleasant with the long grass, but I’ve been praying they don’t bother to cut it at all! The potential for injury to all the wildlife worries me to death!
I do hope you receive good news about the little hogs.
As I’ve become more aware of hedgehog habits and lifestyle I have become quite prepared for finding injured or abandoned hogs when I’m out and about in my car, I have a box, blanket and gloves in the boot just in case! But I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’m never going to need them – to date I have been very fortunate and haven’t had to deal with any illness or injury .
It’s truly heartwarming to read the posts on this forum, renews your faith in human kindness.
Best wishes to all you kind hog watching folk! x28th July 2019 at 2:24 pm #16939
Puds, LOL! I loved reading your post very funny and entertaining.
Agreed! It’s all about construction and location location, location!
I’m afraid I haven’t the skills to construct a three bed detached, but I’m very impressed with your efforts! Lol!
Happy construction and hog watching! x28th July 2019 at 6:04 pm #16943
Mmmmmmm- I think I know where all the hogs are now!
If I was a hog I would want to be in your garden.28th July 2019 at 11:06 pm #16946
Simbo65, In response to your comment – lol, now wouldn’t that be fun to be overrun with hogs !
All would be welcome! x17th August 2019 at 12:31 pm #17332
So much for my post a couple of weeks ago, gleefully stating I’d got cat proof feeders! I’ve not!
It may have taken a couple of weeks, but the devious, body bending cat got in last night! Quite entertaining to watch the little Houdini on the cam footage this morning.
The cat belongs to a woman a few streets away, who I suspect works away and leaves the cat to fend for itself- the poor thing looks half staved and is very skinny. So mixed feelings really about it thieving the hog food.
So my next plan is to use an extra brick inside the feeder and to leave a dish of food on the outside for Houdini!
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