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Nesting in feeding station

Home Forums Champions’ chat Nesting in feeding station

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    Hi, I have a cat-proof feeding station, with a tunnel going through the fence into the back field (I’ve got cat-proof fencing too to keep the cats off the road). It’s well used by visiting hogs. I’ve also got a deluxe hog house with fresh straw about 15 feet away half hidden in the shrubbery. This has been used in the past, but not for the last few years.
    In the last 2 days I’ve noticed a hog is building a nest in the feeding station, piling leaves on top of the food bowl! I would rather he went to the nesting box, as if I let him nest here, any hogs wanting a food top up during hibernation won’t be able to access this (he’s nesting in the only access point between the garden and field) and I obviously don’t want to disturb him checking and topping up the food. Making a second access from the field is too complicated, (you wouldn’t believe the problems we had keeping our tiny and determined cat from getting through the “cat proof” tunnels into the field) and putting food out in a little weatherproof cabin that we used in pre-idiotic-cat days will just get eaten by said cat.
    Any suggestions? Do I just shrug and leave them to it? If I do, should I put some hay in or will that scare him off? They do explore the garden from time to time, and the cats don’t seem to both them on the few times they’ve met (I keep the cats in at night, but they like using the feeding station roof as a look out point which hasn’t put the hogs off). I’m not sure how I can encourage him to use the nesting box instead.
    I’d be grateful for any suggestions.

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    Hi annamary

    Sounds about right – hogs being perverse! I had one once who built his nest in my feed box – like yours on top of the food bowl! It wasn’t quite such a problem here – I just had to get a new feed box.

    It’s not a good idea to add anything yourself – hogs are far better at making hibernation nests than we would be, I think. They use leaves and layer them like tiles – pretty amazing really!

    The only thing is, that just because the hog builds a nest there, doesn’t necessarily mean it will use it – but I imagine it would still block the access (if I’m understanding it correctly). You could try to encourage the hog to use your nest box by putting a handful or two of leaves into it to give the hog the idea to use that instead and leave a good supply close to it of medium sized leaves, long grasses, etc. Don’t put too much in the box – it might put the hog off as most seem to like building their nests themselves.


    Hi Nic, thanks for replying. You have understood the access issue correctly. Should I remove the food from the bowl? There isn’t much space to put it anywhere else though without blocking the accesses, and I don’t want to take the water bowl away as it’s dried food.

    I did have a hog use the lovely hay-filled ready-to-occupy one a few years ago, and they didn’t bother adding to it. The problem is I don’t think the hogs have even explored it or found it at all this year – there’s certainly no sign of disturbance. I put a small piece of kitchen roll in the entrance to see if anyone has been over it. I don’t want to give up, but equally I don’t want to dissuade him from stopping with us for the winter, and know I can’t force anything on him…

    I don’t know, you try to do your best, but they obviously didn’t read the memo!

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    Hi annamary

    I did take the food bowl out from the one here. But it was really early on in the building and the hog wasn’t using the nest yet. If you can get it out easily, and the hog isn’t there, I would try to get the food bowl out. Hopefully the whole structure (of the nest) will lift up quite easily.

    As you say, all we can do is our best. I would keep dropping hints. Leaves are best for hibernating nests – they can layer them more easily. They really are a bit like a woven birds nest, but bigger. So I would leave loads of leaves around in the area of the box you want them to use.

    No they definitely don’t seem to read the memos!

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