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Hog houses

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  • #36176

    Hi guys, hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the Spring and the return of the hogs. It appears I have a lot of hogs around currently, the food is disappearing at a rate of knots and most of the houses are occupied. I currently have eight houses and seven are occupied every night. As the weather becomes better and food becomes more widely available, are some of the hogs likely to disperse, or will they just decide to they are on to a good thing and return frequently? While obviously I love feeding the hogs and having them stay over, I would like to have some houses available to provide a safe space for expectant mothers. I’m also not sure how to clean them without disturbing hogs when they seem to be in use every night. I don’t think I can realistically build more houses as I’m pretty much out of room, my garden isn’t big anyway and the houses take up a fair bit of space. Any thoughts?

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    Hi Kitty878

    If any of them are male hoglets from last year, they might disperse. But also as more people begin feeding again some of the others might go back to previous haunts.

    Yes, it would be nice to have some spare houses, for prospective mother hogs, but you might also find that as the weather improves the hogs might move out of the hog boxes more. Some of them prefer to spend the days in the undergrowth when the weather is warmer. They would not normally continue to stay in their hibernation nests long term – apart from anything else, due to potential parasite problems. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to give the boxes a good clean out soon. It is still quite early.

    Good luck and happy hog watching!


    Hi Kitty878.
    We had a male hibernate in a house in our garden. He was out early and we’ve been watching the house with a trail camera for sign of a decamp so we can clean it out. No signs of that have been happening. Comes and goes through the night and then back in for the day.
    A couple of days ago a female appeared which he’s very interested in. Her less so. More interested in eating.
    Last night the male came out about 7.30. The female was about most of the night. She went into the house on 2 occasions, once for a few minutes and then for over an hour.
    Then a completely new third hog appeared and also went in for a few minutes and then out.
    About 5.30 the female turned up carrying a mouthful of grass and in she went and there she stayed.
    Original occupant hog went back in once through the night but no sign of him early morning.
    Will have to keep watching and waiting. No sign of a lull here at the moment.


    Thanks Nic and Marchel for the info and observations. I don’t think all of the houses were in use over winter- just four or five were used for hibernation- but it seems to have gotten popular with visiting hogs that often stay over. I suppose their natural food sources may still be a bit scarce. Hopefully they will spread out a bit more once the food stocks pick up and mating season begins. Interesting to hear some people are already seeing mating behaviour, I didn’t realise it started quite so early.


    About 2 weeks ago , a hedgehog was slowly wobbling along the path towards to patio doors. It was around 5-5.30pm and still light. It didn’t seem to know where it was going to.

    I threw a few hedgehog biscuits infront of it, which made it scared and it wandered off back in the other direction. It stopped on the lawn and was trying to eat grass or bird food.

    So, I decided to nip out very quickly to the little local shop to get some meaty chicken dog/cat food . The ones on the little tinfoil packs.

    When I got back hedgehog was still in the same place, and so I place some of the mashed up food infront of it. He ate but very slowly.
    After about 20mins , I checked again, still eating. More time passed and eventually it had eaten all the food, but still in the same place.
    Around 8.30pm I went out to have a look and the poor little thing had fallen asleep, curled up on the lawn.

    I am lucky to have a hedghog house which was not being used, so I placed him in there with straw and hoped for the best.

    Over the days , having placed water and food at the house , which get’s eaten but not necessarily by my hedgehog , and the last few days hedgehog has been so still not moved and when touched absolutely no sign of life or ripples of spines…. nothing.

    Yesterday, as there was a slight smell which had been evident for about 3 days, (but no flies), I assumed he was almost certainly dead, and considered taking him out and burying him .

    Oh my goodness, how close that was….. ! This morning , it’s clear he’s been moving around through the night and in a different position.

    One lucky little hedghog.

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    Hi Kitty878

    If there are both males and females around, courtship behaviour will take place.

    In the past the normal state of affairs has been that most males hibernate earlier and come out of hibernation earlier. The females who have had to put on condition after their hoglet duties have finished, hibernate and come out of hibernation later – it could be as much as 2 months difference. That used to give the males the chance to build up condition after hibernation before the arduous task of tearing around seeking for females and rolling up other males, etc. So it all worked out quite well. In those circumstances, courtship behaviour, in general, would have started later – due to the relative absence of females.

    There were probably always some females, who did not produce young for some reason, who hibernated earlier – having not had their energy taken up by providing for hoglets, which would have enabled them to put on condition for hibernation sooner.

    But, it seems things are changing. Possible reasons are: Those female hoglets who decide not to hibernate may be able to grow sufficiently through the winter to become interesting to the males earlier; It may be that some adult females are also choosing not to hibernate; But also some of the over-wintered hogs may be released earlier, i.e. once people have started seeing hogs around, who have emerged from hibernation, and the weather is better. Any female hoglets would likely still have continued to grow in captivity and likewise, may be interesting to the males earlier than they otherwise might have been. But there may also be adult females who have been over-wintered, etc. due to sickness or injury that may be released earlier. It is stressful for hogs in captivity, so it is understandable that people would want to release them back to where they came from as soon as possible.

    But these are possible ways that our behaviour, in our attempts to help the hogs, may be changing the behaviour of some hogs.


    hi, I had the trailcam inside my feeder last night. For well over an hour there were two hogs inside together. No pushing or shoving, but one remained half-curled, ‘frowning’ and snorting/hissing (all the while sitting on top of the feed dishes). The other one just sniffed quietly around the first one and nibbled occasionally at a fallen bit of food. Not enough space for full circling, but I do wonder if this was some early courtship behaviour. Previous footage of two together in the feeder showed that one vacated the premises after 5 minutes or so, and there was a lot more shoving and head-butting.


    hello Puddle Duck, hedgehog may be unwell or struggling? The helpline 01584 890801 may be able to give more advice.


    Thank you for that, Mags. I will call them tomorrow. He seems to have buried himself more in the straw by today, but we had a cold night last night, and another tonight is expected.

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    Hi Puddle Duck

    Yes, it definitely sounds as if the hog needs help. So I would ring that number Mags63 gave you (also at bottom left of this page) as soon as possible. It sounds as if the hog needed help 2 weeks ago.

    Apologies I didn’t notice your post earlier – it must have been posted whilst I was writing my previous one and so got buried.

    If anyone has a potentially sick or injured hog at any time, it is best to start a new topic – then it is more likely to be spotted earlier.

    But also if a hog appears to be ill, the best thing to do is to ring the number for BHPS straight away and get the number of a carer. When speaking to a carer, more information can be provided and advice taken. It’s better to be safe than sorry. But if a hog is wobbling and looking unwell, it probably is. Hogs being wild animals would not want to show to potential predators that they are unwell until they absolutely can’t help it, by which time they might be past help.

    If anyone finds a sick or injured hog, don’t put it off until the next day. Get the hog inside in a box with either a small towel or torn up paper it can burrow in, provide food and water and ring 01584 890801 for contact details of a carer to get advice.

    More information from BHPS

    Good luck. Let us know how the little hog gets on.

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