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Hedgehog Dilemma

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Hedgehog Dilemma

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 23 total)
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    Hello all you hog lovers, I need your expert advice.
    I have two nightly hog visitors, one living under the shed (Hetty) and another (Big Bruiser ) living at the bottom of the garden. I’ve been feeding them for a few months now and cam footage would suggest both have extremely healthy appetites. Hetty has doubled in size since the first sighting at the beginning of the year, but recently she has also been nest building/ renovating, so not really sure if the weight gain is due to appetite or reproduction .
    I have two feeding stations and I have been feeding them 1 small pouch of Cesar chicken & turkey in jelly dog food mixed with moist spike in each feeding station and they seem to love it! I also leave out a dish of spike crunchy biscuit, ( but they are not so keen on that and the magpies, pigeons and blackbirds pinch it before I’m awake ) I also leave dishes of fresh water, with food and in various other locations in the garden.
    However, recently I noticed from cam footage and sightings, that Big Bruiser started visiting earlier ( a good hour earlier, scoffing all the food from both feeding stations while Hetty was still kipping!
    Worried that if there was the prospect of hoglets Hetty would be missing out, I started to put out a dish of food a little nearer to the shed and hidden amongst the plant pots just for Hetty and I am 100% certain that it is Hetty eating it all.
    So my dilemma!
    For the last two days, Hetty has come to feed amongst the plant pots as soon as the sound of the dish touches the floor, I can hear the food being eaten and then I hear Hetty return back under the shed to her nest.
    But I don’t think Big Bruiser has been to feed for two days, so where is all the other food going?
    There is definitely one hog caught on the cam between 4am – 5am feeding from both feeding stations on the lawn and all the food has gone by morning.
    Of course it could be a brand new visitor to the garden, but I really don’t think it is! I seriously think Hetty is now eating the lot – what a hog!
    Clearly I want to enhance and compliment the hedgehogs feeding, but I don’t want to risk interference with the natural foraging habits or create a problem with over feeding. Do hogs self regulate? Can you overfeed?
    I have thought about reducing the amounts I put out, but then Big Bruiser won’t get any on return and Big Bruiser is a very big hungry hog!
    I have read several articles that state hogs self regulate their food intake, but last night I was horrified to read about an obese hog that apparently needed rehab and a controlled diet!!
    I’m jetting off on holiday next week and my daughter is moving in to care for the hogs, but she is quite anxious and is asking for clear feeding instructions regarding amounts! I suggested she played it by ear and have told her not to worry too much if she is feeding enough, as this time of year there is plenty of natural food in the garden!
    But that said, I know I will worry!
    I maybe wouldn’t be so concerned if I knew for sure that Hetty has hoglets, as I know from experience that having babies is hard work and I just had one at a time! but these hogs sure keep you guessing!
    All advice very welcome and appreciated !


    I keep reading on various hedgehog sites that hedgies don’t come dependent on the food we give them as there should be plenty of insects to eat – when i’m hedgehog watching, they only eat a little bit at one time, but it takes them ages to eat a small amount, and I’ve noticed that the same hedgehogs come back later in the night to have a little nibble more.

    I also notice, that they are constantly foraging aswell, when they walk away from the feeding station, they often stop in their tracks with nose to the ground I expect they’ve found something tasty to eat.

    I put quite a lot of food out, but I think I have quite a few visiting, I know there is a minimum of four – don’t think they all visit every night – especially since i made the feeding station – but I do have two regulars, the big hedgehog who I call ‘mummy’ at the moment, and a little hedgehog that makes cute sounds when she eats – I’ve noticed she’d grown a bit since last month.

    I put two dishes out – I use a kidney shaped bowl from Ark Wildlife, that was sold as a water dish I put a layer of Spikes in it (which they don’t like that much, Morrisons, which they wolfed down each night, has sold out and not been in stock for two weeks) and then a layer of poultry cat biscuits (which they seem to like a bit more)- I have the another same kidney shaped bowl for their water (which I keep outside the station). And then I’ve got a very small shallow dish which I put about 2 tablespoons of dog food in it – A can of winalot lasts me about 4 nights.

    With the morrisons dried food 400g pack, I was getting through that just over a week, but with the spikes it’s not going down as fast, I buy a small box of GoCat biscuits each week.

    If Morrisons restocks, I’ll ditch the cat biscuits, but only using them as they don’t eat much of spikes – the slugs and snails love Spikes though.

    The little dish of dog food gets eaten in one go by the first hedgehog to get there – with the morrisons food, the dish was nearly always empty in the morning, but now I’ve changed to spikes not much of it gets eaten. I’m having to bin some of it when I wash the bowl out.

    How much are you feeding them and what are you feeding them? I wouldn’t worry too much – I think it’s best to give hedgehogs some food rather than not at all, especially as they have to fatten up for hibernation- I reckon they might have more chance of survival if we feed them, especially for hoglets who desperately need to fatten up for winter.

    I’m constantly worrying about whether or not I’m doing the right thing too – so glad to have this forum.


    Hey Hedgie Lover It was really interesting reading your post, sounds as if your putting about the same amount of food out as I am!
    Although the hogs in my garden seem to enjoy the spike moist biscuit. I mix it into their meat (I buy the little cartons of chicken and turkey Cesar for small breeds of dogs) the hogs seem to love it, but won’t eat the one with vegetables added. I also buy the Spikes hard biscuit but they are not so keen and will just snack on that when the rest of the food has gone!
    It’s strangely comforting to know others worry about the same things lol
    I agree the forum is great to share concerns and check that your doing the best thing for the hogs.
    Thank you for taking the time to reply, much appreciated x


    Someone gave me 3 tins of Ceaser’s so they been having that this week instead of winalot – it’s gone down a treat.

    If morrisons don’t restock – I’ll try the spikes moist stuff from pets at home, and continue to mix it in with the cat biscuits.

    It’s been busy tonight in my garden, the dog food was demolished shortly after I put it out, but missed seeing the hog eating it – and two small hedgehogs were in the garden at the same time, they’ve eaten quite a lot of the dried food tonight.

    When I first started to feed them, I put a lot less dried food in the bowl, now I fill it right to the brim each night as I’ve realised I’ve got quite a few regular visitors – so that’s probably why the bowl isn’t empty in the morning.

    Was a bit upset today, went into town, and they had some market stalls in the centre, one was a hedgehog rescue, so of course I went over, but he had a hedgehog with him in a clear box, with ventilation. The hedgehog was lying down on a towel sleeping. The man said that it is blind as someone sprayed a garden chemical on it which made him go blind, so they look after him permanently at the rescue centre. But he opened the lid and stroked it, waking the hog up, the hog got a bit angry.

    Was really annoyed as it was a pretty warm day, and it was in the centre of town busy with loads of shoppers, and I wonder how many times during the day he has disturbed the poor soul.

    Thankfully that rescue centre is 60 miles from me, there are two closer ones, but an hours drive to get to each one. One of them had a stall up in a local park festival I went to, but they had the decency not to bring a hedgehog out with them, they just had photographs of cute hoglets.

    It really wasn’t necessary to show people a hedgehog, and feel really annoyed that he was from a rescue centre, I just can’t believe they did that.


    Oh wow – yet another visit tonight by a newbie – and it’s a hoglet – so glad it’s found how to get into the feeding station.

    I made a tunnel out of bricks for the feeding station with a wooden top on it, and proving a success with the slugs and snails, they’ve all decided that’s a nice shady spot to hang out in, so when I empty the dish out and clean and refill, I don’t actually put it in the bin, I put it in the tunnel so slugs and snails can feed on that instead of going in the food bowl – and I think the hedgehogs might be eating the slugs and snails there, cos each one spends quite a bit of time in the tunnel.

    So the little hedgehogs that visit, might not be hoglets, but there is a hedgehog that is a bit larger – so perhaps the little ones are actually adults – but this one I’ve just seen now was definitely small, so has to be a hoglet. Obviously old enough to separate from mum and find it’s own way in the world. So I wonder if I’ll see more of them.

    I have no idea now how many hedgehogs come to visit – so now it’s a minimum of 5.


    Well the question of who is eating all the food was answered tonight! As I suspected hetty hog ( the smallest hedgehog living under the shed) is scoffing the food before heading out for the night!
    I sat outside tonight from 9pm – 10.30 pm and like clockwork out she came. Following a good scratch she started at the feeding station near the shed and was there for a good 10 minutes, before heading to one of the feeders on the lawn. She seems to have overcome her fear of enclosed spaces, because she was straight into the under-bed plastic box feeder and had quite a feast in there, followed by a long drink of water before hitting the town.
    I’ve seen her go out out under the gate to the front of the house a few times now and it always worries me when she heads out towards the town – roads, cars, bright lights, dogs etc! It feels like letting your child go out alone in the world for the first time! I must say it would be much better for my mental health if she went out the back gate into the fields! But a good life always comes with risks!
    Although I’m always very relieved when I see the cam footage the next morning and I can see she made it back safely. At about 4pm she’s usually back and seems to end her foraging with a spike biscuit snack and a drink on the lawn before returning to the nest! Im always reminded of my much younger days, when after a night out we’d partake in a kebab or a burger before bed lol!


    Hi Hettihog and Hedgie Lover, so glad you’ve got some little friends around. Pippa, the tiny one who appeared a few months ago has now grown a lot and is packing the Spike moist away like nobodys business! I’m putting quite a lot out each night as Big Benny is back and Tommy so I’ve given up on measuring it now, in fact I’ve forgotten what the amounts were per hog, but you can’t seem to tell them they are only supposed to eat so much each! I hope you get on with your neighbours as I’ve had a todo today with one of mine! I have a drop at the bottom of my garden, it’s a wild bit, growing cotoneaster, firethorn and blackberries with hawthorn at each end and some lilac and beach inbetween. We went out today to cut off overhangings to the pavement. Apart from giving the birds something to eat it was also meant to keep the local terrorists out. I got one of those “gardener of the year” types who leaned on the gate to watch and then of course had to say something which was “its a rat feast in there” I believe I was polite when I answered there were none in there, I had cctv I monitored and with my neighbours cats we had at least 10 around all night. I noticed this neighbour also “dropped in” on a new neighbour and was nodding towards my garden and also sent her gardener round to another house to cut the hedges when she was out! I may not be so civil next time! So, people out there, if you want a beautiful garden, no weeds anywhere and you cut the grass to within an inch of its life and you have beautiful hanging baskets all over, good for you, well done, but please don’t try and shame people who don’t keep their gardens up to your standards, because they are not your gardens! Best wishes to you all.


    hi Hettihog,
    It’s lovely to watch them and I am obsessed with watching my footage and there is always a favourite. But with that comes the sadness when one day that special one just doesn’t show up again.
    It’s dangerous out here and we can but try to help.
    I have a regular boy turning up at the moment and a new boy too.
    Sadly no females at the moment.
    Happy watching


    Hi simbo65 I consider myself blessed to be allowed to help the little hogs in any way I can. And I realise it can’t be all sunshine and rainbows!
    Indeed I go to my bed tonight very worried, as there was no sign of hetty since about 9pm last night!
    Fingers crossed 🤞she found a good stop over last night and she will be back in the morning.


    Hi Annker
    It brought a smile to my face reading your post. I have also had to defend my actions of late. I have one neighbor that has always taken an overly keen interest in what’s happening in my garden, several times I’ve been aware of her staring out of her bedroom window watching my every move.
    Anyway the other day I was on my way out and she stopped me on the drive and asked me what the boxes on the lawn were for.
    Eager to recruit her interest in helping hogs and seeing the encounter as an ideal opportunity to educate her on the dangers of strimmers , I was quick, (maybe a bit too quick ) to tell her I’m feeding two hogs every night !
    Oh my lord she responded, you must stop at once ! We will be overrun with rats and all kinds of vermin. It’s bad enough that you feed the birds!
    I informed her that I don’t have any rats visiting the garden and I know exactly what is coming into my garden because I have a camera that I am able to screen every morning.
    Oh she said well just where is this camera?
    I really didn’t like her tone! But I kept my cool and advised her that if she strained her neck just a little more to the left when she is spying on my every move from her bedroom window, there might just be a small chance that she will be captured in the pics with the hogs and about half a dozen cats, but no rats!
    Haven’t seen her at that window since! LOL


    Hi Hettihog, long time no speak! Priceless, you’ve made me laugh! I am trying to be careful as the “lady” may have dementia for all I know, but more likely not! May provide the bullets for others to fire. I’ve already had a council worker here and he’s seen my feeding station and the cctv I check when I wrote to them about the grass cutters checking the grass before mowing. I hope your missing hog comes back soon and your not loosing too much sleep. I’m same wondering where 2 of the girls are and still no babies around. Also, I’ve never yet had one of my blackberries, the birds have them all. Just to let you know, if I go quiet towards the end of the month it’s because my data is running out, lol. Perhaps we will have to think up some stratagies (wrong spelling) to annoy our neighbours. I have just bought one of those hedgehogs with green flock on the front like grass. My next door neighbour was going mad to get one. I did notice her cat stopped in mid stride, one foot in the air, when it saw it. Best wishes.


    I hope Hetti Hog comes back, please keep us updated.

    Your neighbour sounds like a nightmare. Usually, when I’ve told people about the hedgehogs, they say lucky you, and seem excited, I think that’s the normal response since they’ve been dwindling in numbers rapidly – your neighbour is probably very strange, obviously not a wildlife lover.

    I bought some semi-moist Spikes today, and gave them a sprinkling along with the dried spikes and the cat biscuits, I’ll see if it gets eaten tomorrow. Morrisons still hasn’t restocked.

    Is it the semi-moist spikes that you use, and do hedgies prefer it over the dried spikes do you think?


    Hi Hedgie Lover and Annker- I’m guessing you have problems sleeping, just like me! Still every cloud as they say – at least were up with the hogs!
    To be fair, I think my neighbor is just discontented with her lot. I’ve known her for 40yrs and she has never been one to just ‘live and let live’ – she seems to have the mindset of ‘my way or hit the highway’. and she says she has never been one to like any animals. – wild or domesticated! But I’m use to her stringent ways. Don’t worry Annker, there is definitely no dementia! She’s as bright as a button and knows all the gossip! Lol The mad woman feeding hogs is probably at the top of the gossip topic list Lol
    Hedgie Lover I use the moist spike and the biscuit, but it seems to be the moist that is preferred by my dining guests.
    Will keep you all posted about Hetty ! Best wishes x


    she sounds like a nightmare!!!

    So you don’t use semi-moist – you just use moist, I presume that comes out of a tin? I’m not sure if my local Pets at Home sells the tinned stuff. The Hedgies are eating the dried spikes, but I think that cat biscuits are winning, but I want them to eat more of the hedgehog food so I don’t have to buy cat biscuits.

    Although I’ve read the ingredients, I’m scared that the cat biscuits might have a hidden ingredient that isn’t good for hedgehogs, so I’d rather buy something that they love, which is specially for hedgehogs – rather than put up with, they loved the morrisons stuff, so frustrated they haven’t restocked , at it was almost half the price of spikes.

    If they don’t eat much of the semi-moist stuff, I think I’ll just have to stick to cat biscuits and the dog food (which they love regardless of what flavour meat and brand).

    Had two male hedgehogs fighting tonight, one was biffing the other, and the other had his spikes up and was in a ball. Unfortunately the one in the ball went away without getting any food, and the bad behaved one got to eat all the dog food.

    And then to top that off, I have two spiders fighting, and now the winner is eating the loser, and I trod on a slug last night (by accident), and another little slug appears to be eating it. It’s completely gross.

    Oh the joys of wildlife!

    I guess if we were animals, we would have eaten our neighbours by now like the rest of the animal kingdom (one of my neighbour’s is a nightmare too).


    Tomorrow I’m going to put half the moist spikes and half the dried spikes in the same dish without the cat biscuits and see what gets eaten the most. I want to get rid of the cat biscuits completely. The Morrisons stuff was actually Webbox Hedgehog food – if they don’t eat the food tomorrow, I might try to order a pack online if I can. – I feel okay giving them Winalot chicken in jelly dog food, but just not convinced that these cat biscuits are totally good for them.

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