10th October 2021 at 7:55 pm #34427
I have a resident hedgehog with a litter of six babies. Not sure how old they are, we only became aware of them a few days ago. They’re about three inches long. Two or three of the braver ones are just venturing out of their house during the day now, but not going very far. They do seem to have started foraging for bugs.
Can anyone make a guess as to how old they might be?
Also, I’m a little concerned about the lateness of the litter. I’m aware that they probably won’t all survive (sob!), but I’ll be increasing the amount of food, once I see them coming to the food bowl with Mum. This is a new experience for me!!
I’m planning on trying to weigh them about mid-November, so any advice on how to do that would be gratefully received.
Ta, Lily.10th October 2021 at 8:58 pm #34431
If they are just starting to venture out I think that means they are about 3 weeks old. Have you got kitten food for them? Tiny hogs sometimes can’t eat the bigger pieces of kibble. But you’re right that they may need to be overwintered with a carer as they have been born late. If you phone the number at the bottom left of the screen tomorrow, they should hopefully be able to put you in touch with a local carer, who will be able to advise you further, how to weigh them, when and if they need to be overwintered. Depending on the weather in your area they might not need to be, it’s obviously a last resort but it is quite late. Fingers crossed all six make it, if mother hog has got them this far she’s doing pretty well.10th October 2021 at 9:51 pm #34434
Thanks very much for the prompt reply. I am providing a specialist Hedgehog food that I buy from ‘Pets Corner’. It has pellets with banana chips, dried cranberries and soldier fly larvae, to which I add a little water. This is Mum’s second year in our hedgehog house, and she’s always preferred her food soggy. (Yep, I’m confident it’s the same hedgehog, partly because of her behaviour and partly because she has two distinctive patches on her bum!)
The food bowl is on the patio, away from our house, and the hoglets haven’t ventured that far yet. I’m hoping to see the little ones join her once they get braver, but at the moment they stay very close to their house at the other end of the garden.
We live in Oxfordshire, and last year Mum didn’t go into hibernation until a couple of weeks before Xmas. I’m hopeful that the hoglets will learn that there’s always food available here before they go their own way. Thanks for the number, it’ll be good to have someone to discuss options with.
Kind regards, Lily.10th October 2021 at 11:05 pm #34435
Hi Lily of the valley
Don’t worry too much at this stage. Hoglets grow incredibly quickly and they will quite likely have time to put on enough weight before they need to hibernate. Some hoglets even decide not to hibernate, in which case you can just continue to provide food and water. I have had some here in the past and they continued to visit in well minus zero temperatures – only being put off for a couple of nights when the snow was too deep. They continued to grow throughout the winter.
When it comes to the time to weigh them. Take your scales into a light place in the garden so that there is minimal disturbance to the hogs (i.e. you don’t have to take them inside) Then you can scoop them up weigh them and if they are an ok weight immediately let them go again. You might be able to get away with only weighing one if they are about the same size – i.e. if that one is well within the recommended minimum weight for hibernation (450g – but not now – later on).
It is still too early to be thinking about them needing overwintering. Personally I would leave it to ring a hog carer until a bit later on. Your suggestion of mid-November sounds sensible for an initial weighing. If they are below but very close to 450g you can make a decision at that stage, depending on weather conditions, etc.
Just bear in mind that overwintering hoglets with carers is not an easy option. Not all will survive and if possible it is better for them to stay in the wild.
Good luck. Let us know how they get on.17th October 2021 at 10:21 pm #34526
For those who replied to my ‘litter question’ post and are curious, all six hoglets are alive and doing well. I’m no longer worried about them making winter weight! I am reassured by how independent they’ve become, and how good they are at looking after themselves.
The two boldest have discovered the food bowls on the patio and they are visiting A LOT. I’ve noted that they like to eat from the same bowl and are keen to practise their ‘shoving’ moves, despite the second bowl being free! Are males more tolerant of eating with females? Sometimes they seem to get along better, so there might be more than two, but I can’t tell which is which.
Whatever’s going on, they have provided us with a ton of entertaining footage, I shall miss them when they are gone, although I hope they’ll stay around for a while yet.
Lily of the Valley.18th October 2021 at 12:25 pm #34532
Hi Lily of the Valley
Great news that the hoglets are doing well. Keep offering food and water and they will soon put on weight.
I don’t think it makes much difference re. male or female hoglets and any shoving. Some may just naturally be more pushy than others. Hoglets do seem to like sharing – even with adults. I have often seen the dominant adult male being edged off the bowl he’s been eating from, by a hoglet. The adults seem very tolerant of their antics – that is until they reach a certain size and then with the males the gloves are off! But hoglets will also sometimes get right into a bowl and almost eat from underneath themselves – a good way of stopping anyone else reaching the food!
You are lucky having them to watch – delightful little things!
You might find when they get older that the males might drift away and any females continue to visit.
Good luck and happy hog watching.
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