I've refurbished the diners
14th September 2018 at 1:14 pm #11807
I started feeding the garden hedgehogs early in the summer using an arrangement of a few bricks to keep out cats and foxes.
Well that was the plan, but I soon discovered that young foxes can scrunch themselves up remarkably small to squeeze through tiny openings.
Fortunately it seems that hedgehogs can flatten their spines and squeeze through even smaller openings, so the entrance size of MKII brick was reduced and an internal baffle added.
So popular was the original diner, a second was added, but these were meant to be just a temporary thing. Two bricks high and although quite stable I had my concerns.
A couple of nights ago and I assume a fox had finally figured out that he could shove the side wall down, prompting me to re-think.
The other problem I was having was the hedgies didn’t seem to understand that the dining area was not meant to double as a toilet area, which meant removing hedgie poo and urine soaked earth each morning and even then I wasn’t happy with the hygiene of the system.
So, I either had to cement the bricks into a more permanent structure or do it differently.
Another problem was not knowing if there was a diner resident when I checked before refilling the feeding-dish before going to bed (I put out the first feed just before dusk). This would too often mean I’d lift the lid and disturb a feeding hedgehog (not that they seemed to mind much).
I don’t like buying things made of plastic generally, but I was impressed with the use of plastic ‘under-the-bed’ boxes used as feeding stations by others, especially as you can see the diners inside.
So that’s what I went for.
In cutting the entrance hole, I was already aware of the problems of various means of cutting that risked cracking the plastic and leaving sharp edges. Experience had shown me that the best solution is to use an old steak knife, heated red-hot over a gas ring, which slices through the plastic like butter, with a gentle sawing action (let the heat of the knife do the work, with just a little pressure).
I found the hole I made lined up nicely with the existing brick tunnels to the old brick station, so left them in place (at least the hedgehogs had learned that there was food down the tunnel).
A couple of bricks laid upon the lid makes the whole thing secure.
I wondered what they would think, having gone down the tunnel to find themselves in a very different place to that they were used to.
But unlike the garden birds who are very suspicious of anything new, hedgehogs are naturally inquisitive and eager to explore.
Last night on checking shortly after dusk, there was not one but two of the young hedgehogs enjoying a dish of cat-food in jelly (except they always leave the jelly!).
Second helpings were being devoured by a larger hedgehog when I checked before going to bed. 🙂
Come the morning and I shook out the customary poos, and hosed the plastic box out before putting to dry inside the garage, out of the UV light of the sun (which causes plastic boxes left outside to deteriorate).
I think the refurbishment has been a success 🙂
Some pictures at:
Pictures on Facebook14th September 2018 at 2:02 pm #11808
I think, like you, most people end up with the plastic boxes – as ugly as they are, they do work well.
we put several layers of brown paper on the bottom of ours, which makes it easier to simply lift the poo and soakings out very once in a while, depending how dirty they get, and these can go into the brown recycling bin.
It does seem to be the case that hogs prefer an untidy environment to a pristine one, but we have always considered the poo deposits to be a sign of gratitude.
having overwintered hogs for a number of years – I can say with a degree of certainty that the poo activity is used as a communication tool – and they can be very creative about it as well!
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