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New hedgehog house

Home Forums Champions’ chat New hedgehog house

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  • #8606

    Hi, I’ve just joined this group and still have lots to read and learn.
    I have had a hedgehog house in my garden for around 8 years. As far as I know it has not been used although I have seen hogs in the garden. I do feed but not on a regular basis as I’m away a lot in the summer. My hog house is now rotting away and so I have bought a new Hogilo. I put the new house in a temporary location until spring and I also put som hog food in it as an experiment. I know the hogs will still be hibernating so wanted to see if any other visitors might eat the hog food. They did. I suspect it was a cat.
    As the house is especially designed for hedgehogs are there any modifications I can make, given that my DIY skills are few, to prevent the local cats feasting on the hog food?

    #8608

    Nic

    Hi Elless

    Welcome to Hedgehog Street.

    Sorry to hear the hogs didn’t use your old box. I have one box which a hoglet made a nest in this winter (only for short stays – it decided not to hibernate) but I had had it quite a few years previously.

    When you have been on Hedgehog Street a bit longer you will find that stopping cats eating the hog food is a perennial problem. I used to use the box the nest was built in for feeding, which I thought was cat proof ….. wrong. The cat got in there the day before the hoglet started building the nest. A friend quickly made me another feeding box with two partitions so that it had to turn sharp left, sharp right, sharp left. I thought a cat really couldn’t get in there ….. wrong again. I put a half brick in the first corner and to date, although a cat has attempted and got halfway in, it hasn’t succeded …. yet. Luckily the hedgehog hasn’t found it a problem.

    So, I’m not sure whether you will be able to make a hogilo cat proof. The only thing I did wonder though, is have you pegged it down so that the cat can’t lift it up? A cat might find it more difficult to get through the tunnel if you have. I just looped a bit of garden wire over the top of the tunnel part and pegged it down with whatever I could find. I have seen tent pegs suggested. (It is a good idea – to deter predators, too) If you have already tried that, maybe you could try to make the tunnel longer somehow (?) But, really I would think some other arrangement would be better for feeding and hope that a hog uses the hogilo for nesting, either Summer or hibernation. I think one answer might be not to have whatever you use for feeding too high, so that the hog can get in but it’s not so easy for a cat. I remember someone used one of those clear plastic under bed boxes, quite successfully.

    There are some kinds of hedgehog food which cats aren’t supposed to like. I normally use ‘I Love Hedgehogs’ food which has recently improved its recipe. Most cats didn’t like the old version, but one did. I haven’t seen any cats eating the new version yet. There are other varieties which cats aren’t supposed to like. I have been using kitten biscuits recently in the hope that any rats wouldn’t like them so much.

    Although it seems as if the hogs should still be hibernating, they do apparently wake up sometimes during hibernation and might welcome some food and especially water. I have also heard this year that some hogs have come out of hibernation early. It has been quite strange weather with some very mild spells. So it isn’t a bad idea to put some food and water out in case.

    #8609

    Thank you Nic for your reply. The house I bought doesn’t have a separate tunnel like my old one. It is one piece, circular, with the entrance going round it. So it is shaped like a comma, with the tail of the comma being the entrance, if you know what I mean.
    I placed the food dish in what I thought would be the most awkward place to get at but whoever it was persevered and after the third night the food had gone. I think there may be some feral cats round here. They’re certainly not friendly.
    I do have a Labrador and she would do triple back flips for any food but think she would have arrived at the back door with a hogilo stuck on her head if she was the culprit.
    Would a dog deter a hedge hog. I know she wouldn’t harm it as she has always given it a very wide berth, as she does the frogs and any other creatures we meet on our walks.
    The new hog house at the moment is right up near the house, tucked away in a corner. It will be placed at the bottom of the garden in what is known as the wild area, with the log store, shed and compost heap and it’s partitioned off from the rest of the garden by laurel hedge, so it’s nice and quiet. The old hog house is down there under the laurels. Does that sound like a good place?
    I didn’t see my hedgehog at all last year but have been spending most of the summer at my Caravan in Scotland, where we also have a visiting hedgehog. We also have rabbits and stoats up there, would a stoat harm a hedgehog?
    The food I bought is called Spikes dinner.
    Thanks again for your help.

    Sent from my iPad

    #8614

    Nic

    Hi Elless

    I’m just imagining your lovely Labrador with a hogilo stuck on her head! I think if she has been trained or naturally leaves hedgehogs alone, you should be ok, although it’s possible some hogs may be put off. But people with dogs sometimes have hedgehogs in their gardens even if they don’t feed them.

    I have never seen a hogilo like you’ve described. You would think it would be hard for a cat to get in if it was pegged down. Maybe it was a hedgehog who is out and about, or alternatively it could have been a rat or even a stoat. Maybe you need a wildlife camera!

    Your wildlife area sounds a lovely place for hogs. Hopefully lots of creepy crawlies for them to eat.

    I have seen stoats listed as predators of hedgehogs (‘when the opportunity arises’) so it is possible, but I’m not sure how frequent that is or whether it would only be an ill or very young hedgehog.

    If you are going to be away a lot, it would be handy if you could leave some water, somehow, for the hogs, especially when it gets hot in the Summer. If you have a pond, I’m sure you will know to make sure a hog could get out easily if it got in. It would probably also be a good idea to make sure the hogs don’t get to rely on the food you put out too much, unless you can get someone else to feed them when you are away.

    You are very lucky having hogs around in both places you stay.

    #8659

    Hi Nic
    I have always had hedgehogs in my garden and always had dogs but I wonder if that is why they haven’t nested in my old hog house. Having said that, I didn’t check inside it very often as I was afraid that if there was a hog in it, it would disappear never to cross my garden path again.

    I have a pond and a waterfall which is all hog friendly and when I’m away I have friends that come in regularly to feed my fish and keep the bird feeders topped up. I’m sure they won’t mind one more mouth to feed.

    I think I now know it was cats eating my hog food. For the last few days I have had food in the house. The house was placed in the corner of the patio as before but with the entrance facing the side of house with only a 5 inch gap between the two. The house was then weighted down heavily so that nothing could turn it away from the wall and the food is still there. I think a hog could get in a 5 inch gap do you? If so I will find a similar position in the wild garden, maybe close to the shed or the log store and weight it down sufficiently and then wait, but I don’t do patience so roll on March. Lol.

    I may be able to adapt my old hog house as a feeding station and just use the Hogilo as a nesting box.

    The Hogilo came recommended on one of the wildlife tv programs like Spring/Autumn watch and I have tried to post a link on here and also a photo. I’m not able to but technology and I seem to work against each other.
    Thank you for your help so far.
    Sent from my iPhone

    #8668

    Nic

    Hi Elless

    I don’t think it is a good idea to look in the boxes too much either. In the Summer a nesting Mother could eat or desert her babies if disturbed when they are very young and in the Winter a hog could prematurely be aroused from hibernation which could use up valuable energy.

    I agree, I think a hog should be able to get through a 5 inch gap, but I think your suggestion of leaving that for nesting might be better. Hogilos don’t lend themselves easily to being feeding places. Judging by what is happening in some places, you may not need to wait until March. The girls don’t usually return here until a couple of months later. I am always worried about some of the older girls not coming back. Not sure what the hoglet will think of having a lot of company, after having the place to his/her self all winter! That is, hoping that, at least some, of the others return.

    Re. putting photos on here, I think they need to be somewhere else on line for you to do that. The only other way is to temporarily change your profile pic. I don’t have photos, etc. anywhere else on line, so can’t put them on here either.

    Apologies if you have already signed, but have you seen the information re. The Petition against the A24 trap? It’s a really ghastly thing which can reset itself, so could kill multiple hogs on a single night. I don’t understand what anyone was thinking licensing it for use here in the first place. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/206274

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