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Hedgehog house cleaning

Home Forums Champions’ chat Hedgehog house cleaning

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    During March after hibernation had finished and the hogs had left their winter boltholes I cleaned out all five houses (four wooden and one ‘igloo’). Over the following months I captured several instances with hogs nest building. However, none of them used their new nests on a permanent footing and they were abandoned. So now looking at the four wooden ones (can lift the roof off) all four have nest material in them, although not the full 360deg coverage, but don’t appear to be in use. Indeed a couple have cobwebs etc in them. I know hogs move around and don’t necessary have a fixed home so I don’t have a problem with them not being occupied. However, I am not clear whether to leave the current nests in place, or should the houses be cleaned out again. Will hedgehogs use nests made by other hogs ?


    Yes they will.
    Hogs that have been monitored have been found to have up to 10 day nests and will often use other hogs nests
    I would leave them alone until next year


    How often should one clean out a house? I installed my first last Autumn (2019), but wasn’t aware it was in use until about Feb this year (2020). My first resident used it for several weeks, then abandoned it once the weather became warmer. I then cleaned it, replacing with fresh bedding. Over the summer it was used very occasionally, but we now have a new ‘resident’ who’s put a lot of effort into bringing in extra bedding. Can I assume it shouldn’t now be cleaned out until next spring? Is once a year enough? And when I do clean it, is it okay to use washing up liquid? I rinse with plenty of fresh water afterwards and allow to dry naturally before adding new bedding.

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    Hi Lily of the Valley

    Normally twice a year is recommended in Spring and Autumn.
    But if you know the house is empty you could clean it other times, especially if you know or suspect it has ticks in it. But the house must be completely vacated – i.e. not the hog just gone out for the night.

    Bearing in mind it isn’t quite autumn (astronomically) I would wait and see whether that hog moves out and if it does, give the box a clean out then. If it stays, you should not disturb it, so may have to wait until Spring.

    The best thing to clean the houses with is boiling water, so that it kills any parasite eggs which may be hiding in the cracks.


    I am confused as to what time of day I should clean the hedgehog house if in use during the day. I don’t think I am meant to remove the hedgehog to clean the house or am I?
    Alternatively do you do it late at night?

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    Hi Indy

    You need to wait until the hedgehog has completely vacated the house i.e. it has moved out. If you cleaned out the hog house when a hog was still in residence but just out for the night, it might not be very pleased and move somewhere else anyway. It would be a bit like somone coming in and moving all your possessions around differently whilst you were out for the day – I don’t suppose you’d like it much!

    So I would clean hog houses out during the day, but only if I was absolutely certain that the hedehog had moved on elsewhere. Hog houses are not like pet hutches that we need to keep cleaning out. They are, in effect, just another structure within which a hog can make it’s home. If we want the hog or another hog to use it again, it’s a good idea to clean it out occasionally to limit any problems with external parasites, ie. fleas and ticks (but only when a hog has moved elsewhere).

    You are not meant to remove a hedgehog to clean out a hog house. Nor is it necessary to do it late at night.

    Remember that hogs don’t find a place and stay there for ever, they tend to change where they sleep or make nests comparatively often.


    Ok cheers


    Hi Nic.
    Thanks very much for the advice. Our ‘resident’ moved out for one night, but has definitely returned, so I’ll let it be. I’ll definitely look up your link.
    Lily of the valley.


    I have at least 3 or 4 Hogs that visit every night. I have a wooden Hog House and an Igloo type both in the veg garden. I also have 2 large feeding stations near the house which I also put some ‘shop bought’ Meadow Hay down one end and often a Hog will sleep the day in that. I have started to get an infestation in the feeding boxes of tiny dots of a gold/beige insect (even too small to see under eyeglass) and I mean infestation !!! I have cleaned them out completely with hot soapy water (obviously throwing away all the contents) and I am sure these insects are off the Hay and NOT the Hedgehogs.. (Happy to be corrected). Anything I can use to treat the hay.. I have been thinking of dusting with diatomaceous earth (food grade). Hoping that this will not impact on the Hogs, shouldn’t do as I take this product myself.. Any ideas ??

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    Hi grumpyhog123

    You really need to clean the hog houses with boiling water so that any parasite eggs which might be in any cracks in the construction, are killed. Otherwise new parasites (ticks/fleas) could keep hatching. Ticks are quite pale when they’re young. I’m not familiar with the substance you mention but it’s best not to use chemicals around hedgehogs – them not being harmful to humans doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t harmful to hedgehogs.

    I would try the boiling water and see if that helps.


    Had 3 hog visiting eating and drinking and resting in wood hog house now only comes and eat and drink but not resting or sleeping.

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