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Just wondering… advice please

Home Forums Champions’ chat Just wondering… advice please

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    I have managed to clean out the hog houses for this year when I was sure that there were no hoggies occupying them. And thankfully, both hog houses were completely empty (apart from the odd spider), when I decided to clean them.

    However, I was just wondering, if I thought that they were empty, however I found a mum with her newborns in there, then I would have run the risk of mum abondoning, or even eating them.

    I would like to know, when newborns arrive, does mum leave the nest, to go to the feeding station (but return back to her babies) and how long after they are born? Would it be the same night, or would she leave it a couple of nights?

    My worry is that, if a mum is in there, and she doesn’t leave the nest, I might think it’s empty and clean it out.

    It was really upsetting as I saw photos of newborns that had come in yesterday to the hospital, as a nest had been disturbed, and mum had abondoned them. Thankfully though all the hoglets got rescued and are getting looked after well, and they have been given a teddy bear to snuggle up to, to replace mum.

    I feel, even if I lift up the lid of the house, I’d disturb mum. So what I did was, I put some straw in front of the tunnel, and then checked if a hole had been made through the straw.

    I did that to both of by houses in April, and one had a hog sized hole through straw, so I gathered it was occupied, so cleaned out just the one. Then tried again in May, no hole, so I cleaned the second one out successfully.

    I thought that, although not ideal, leaving some straw was better than lifting the lid?

    What do you think?


    You did exactly the right thing to check if a hog was in residence. April is a good time to clean out – it would be a bit early for the babies to be born, although again not unheard of – and it would depend on that year’s weather as to when they came out of hibernation – but then don’t do it again until either early autumn or really next year.
    All mum’s are different but as a general rule she will stay with them for 2/3 day’s before venturing out. However if she knows a food source is very close she may be tempted earlier.
    While mum’s are known to abandon/kill their young – it is rare!
    In all the years I’ve been working with hogs on only one occassion has a mum truly abandoned her babies. She may leave the nest for 12 – 24hrs but usually comes back – unless splattered on the road
    I have even had several instances where babies are brought to me that people think are abandoned and then they find mum a day later – in all those instances mum has gone straight back to her babies and reared them – even though they were in a cage somewhere completely different
    Don’t worry too much about nest cleaning


    Thanks Stef, I was really worried, both of the times I did it. And felt relieved when nothing was in there. But afterwards, it felt great feeling that they now have nice clean homes to live in.

    I was surprised how clean they were, Hogs clearly don’t like to poop near where they sleep and like to keep their nests clean. At least adult hogs who aren’t poorly I guess.

    The first one, that I cleaned in April has been used for about 3 nights since, but has been empty for some weeks now, the second one, that I cleaned out last week, hasn’t been used yet. At present, I have no hogs nesting in my garden. But it will happen, I was lucky to have a resident hog all winter nesting in my garden, and then Calvin in January (when he came out of hospital).

    But it’s been very busy each night, I miss a lot of the action as I’m usually in bed by midnight, but all the food is gone each morning. They don’t arrive until 10pm so I miss most of it. But at least I get a chance to see at least one hog per evening. I don’t like to fall asleep until I’ve seen just one, then I’m satisfied.

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