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New Hedgehog House – do I put it outside now?

Home Forums Champions’ chat New Hedgehog House – do I put it outside now?

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    Hi, newish member with a question here.
    My husband gave me a hedgehog house for Christmas, as we have hedgehogs visiting our new garden and feeders in the summer. It’s the kind with a short tunnel entrance and 2 chambers which is meant to be good for nesting hogs I think. Is it worth me putting it out in the garden now? I haven’t seen ‘my’ hogs since October, though sometimes something eats the small amount of hog food I put out in case any hogs come out of hibernation. Might any hedgehogs that wake up now change their digs if they find my new house on their travels?
    Thanks for any help!
    (Hope I’ve put this in the right section!)

    Avatar photo

    Hi CrummyMummy

    Great news about the new hog house for Christmas! Definitely worth putting it out now. Yes, some hogs do change nests and apparently sometimes build new ones during hibernation time. But also there are some hogs which decide not to hibernate at all and you never know when one might come across the hog house and welcome a new place to stay.

    The best thing to do is to put a small amount of bedding inside the hog house and leave loads of supplies of potential bedding nearby which the hog can select for itself.

    Don’t forget to always leave water available for any hogs, even during winter, just in case.


    Hi Nic,
    Thanks for your reply. I’m trying to decide where to put the hog house, not sure where is best.
    We have quite a large garden & orchard, surrounded by a big hedge (mostly holly), though the hedge also has electric fencing in front of it so that would make placing a house there difficult. There is an established shrubbery, but it is north facing and I think I read that it is better to place hog houses facing south. The third alternative is somewhere in a shady spinney at the very end of the orchard. How important is the aspect and the amount of sun that might shine on the hog house? And is it better for it to be somewhere further away from our house, although the sightings and feeding station have all been on or near our driveway?
    Many thanks!

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    Hi CrummyMummy

    Yes, it’s best to put the entrance of the hog house facing south – so that the cold north wind doesn’t blow in! But you can put the entrance facing towards the boundary, if you wish. The shaded spinney sounds quite nice – although, of course I have no idea what it looks like! But personally, unless the hog house is covered in loads of brushwood, etc, I would try to keep it out of the sun. Being in the sun could cause quite big changes in temperature and during hibernation the hogs need to be able to maintain a fairly regular temperature. Also I suppose the hog house would still be there in the Summer when if it’s in the sun it could get pretty hot at times. (Thinking of it potentially becoming a nest for youngsters).

    It doesn’t really matter if a hog house is near your house. Better of course in a place where it won’t be disturbed too much, but other than that, being near the house probably doesn’t make much difference to the hogs. Ideally you wouldn’t want it immediately next to a feeding station – partly because there may be too many other hogs around (in the Summer, at least), but also it has the potential of attracting predators.

    Once you have chosen a site, it’s best to leave a hog house there for a decent length of time. Sometimes hogs won’t use a hog house until it has become ‘part of the furniture’. But I think they are more likely to use one if there is a good supply of nesting material nearby. For a hibernation nest the amount of nesting material they need is huge. Imagine how much you think would be needed to completely fill the hog house and multiply that several times. For hibernation nests, the hogs manouevre the leaves so that they are neatly overlapping and laying on top of each other, a bit like tiles – making a waterproof and well insulated structure. But they will fill the whole box in that manner. Long grasses are also useful to help weave it all together.

    Good luck for a tenant, if not this winter maybe for a family later on.


    Hi Nic,
    Thanks for your advice. I think initially I’ll try putting it under a hedge which is close to the less used north side of the house, so it’s easier to check on (the ground leading to the spinney is getting quite soggy at the moment!). I think I have seen a hedgehog poo in the area once or twice. If I don’t see any evidence of visitors eventually I’ll move it to the spinney, and I’ll move it there in any case in time for the nesting season. I can shelter it under a big conifer in the spinney out of direct sun, and cover it with fallen leaves too. We have pet guinea pigs so I can ‘borrow’ some of their hay and leave it for the hogs to take.
    I would be dead chuffed if I had tenants this year, but as I don’t know the hogs’ route into and around my garden, I don’t know if they will come close enough to spot them. Time will tell 🙂

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