New to the world of hedgehogs
4th May 2018 at 2:38 pm #9403
Hi, I have been lurking for a few weeks reading with great interest all your posts and comments. I have been in my current house for 18 months. And since moving in we have built a wildlife pond, put up nesting boxes and bee boxes and hoped one day hedgehogs would visit. To our delighted we saw our first visiting hedgehogs back in late March. And as soon as we saw we had hogs we bought a hedgehog house, which seems to be used for short periods some nights but I don’t think anyone has taken up residence.
For about a month we were getting three regular visitors each night arriving about 9pm and continuing to visit throughout the night. We still receive regular visits from the hogs and in fact had 4 in the garden at one time the other night there. But these days they are less predictable when they visit. This could be they are finding their own food in the scrub land that our garden leads onto, or they are getting well fed from other gardens. I still leave food out for them but now find they tend to go for the sunflower hearts that the goldfinches have dropped (and they drop a lot!) or the mealworms that the birds miss. We send up a cheer now when they go and eat “proper” food.
Added to that we now have two cats visiting nightly to hoover up what the hogs don’t eat. To date I have left the food out in the open but this weekend we will be building a feeding station to hopefully stop the cats. But if they are anything like our cat, who is very food orientated, then Fort Knox wouldn’t be strong enough. Once we have the feeding station up I think we will try wet cat food and see if that is more suitable to their refined palate! To date we have put out Gardman hedgehog food for them. Maybe they only ate it as they were starving? And they don’t actually find it that nice. The cats, and crows (who also hoover up any dregs, and our cat who also managed to get some) seem to like it though.
My husband and I are totally charmed by our visitors. To the point we have hooked up numerous CCTV cameras around the garden so we can watch their antics without disturbing them.
And one question…I know hedgehogs are lactose intolerant so can they drink cat friendly milk? – I did type “cat milk” first and then I had images of me milking a cat which is all wrong! 🙂4th May 2018 at 4:22 pm #9406
I use puppy milk for baby hedgehogs, you can use lactol also. I have found that it is rarely taken by older hogs and can cause stomach upsets – I would not include this in what you are giving wild hogs.
The best drink you can put down is water.
Hogs LOVE mealworms, but they are linked to metabolic bone disease in hogs so please limit how many they have access to. They will always elect to eat them in place of proper food. Peanuts and sunflower seeds are also not great in abundance. Nic will probably send you lots of info on what not to feed and why.
Cat, kitten, ferret or small dog food is great for hogs. Wet food can attract cats and rats with the stronger smell.4th May 2018 at 9:08 pm #9408
I think you have pretty much covered everything, Stef – far better than I could have done. Here was I, trying wet cat food in the hope the rat wouldn’t eat it and was probably attracting it instead! As it turned out the hog (winter hog who didn’t hibernate) didn’t like it anyway. At least we weren’t responding at the same time, this time – which seems to have been happening recently.
Welcome to the forum, LynnMc. Happy hog watching!5th May 2018 at 2:45 pm #9419
Your garden sounds like a wildlife paradise for all sorts of animals so keep up the good work.
Stef has given you some great advice on feeding hogs backed up by Nic.
When I first saw my hogs back in 2015, after a long abscence, I gave them mealworms, sunflower hearts & peanuts which I now know are not good for them but thats all I had at the time e.g. the food I give to birds and of course the hogs loved it.
After info from the forum and own research I now give them proper hog food (I give them Wild Things hog biscuits) but also have log piles and a compost heap for them to forage for natural food which is what we all really want them to eat of course (who doesn’t enjoy a nice juicy beetle!).
I have tried wet cat food several times without sucess even when I have put nothing else out. The hogs sniff it but just walk away. I also tried some of the Spikes hog food with the same negative result.
My hogs do snuffle around under the bird feeders looking for spillage which is inevitable but they won’t find too many sunflower hearts or mealworms as the blackbirds and woodpigeons hoover up a lot of what the small birds drop anyway.
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