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Newbie novice

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Newbie novice

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    Hi guys newbie novice here. So a week ago we found we have a hog living in our garden. We have been putting a small amount of dog food out for the last 4 nights and he is loving it. We have called him Bramble. Tonight I went out to check on him and he has bought a friend. We have called her BlackBerry. We only gave mealworms the first night and we didn’t know they were bad so now after research we have dog food. I’m like an excited child. We have many badgers and foxes but first time with hogs. We are also a breeding island for red squirrels.
    Any help and advice would be great. We are thinking about building a hog house. Thoughts please πŸ¦”πŸ¦”πŸ’œπŸ’œ

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    Hi rosiebubbles

    Welcome to the Forum! It’s lovely that you are so pleased about the hog. Glad that you worked out that mealworms weren’t good but dog food should be fine.

    It’s slightly surprising that there are hogs around – they often aren’t if there are lots of badgers around. Badgers are their main predator. But those hogs have obviously managed to evade them so far. If you have a wildlife friendly garden and lots of places where the hogs can find shelter from the badgers that will help, but if you are going to continue feeding it’s probably best to try to feed them in a completely badger proof place. They are probably most at risk from badgers when they are at a feeding station. A possible solution is to only feed them when you can supervise. But if the badgers become a problem i.e. start to be around when the hogs are, you might need to stop offering food – for the sake of the hogs. To be honest, if the badgers are in the habit of being in your garden I would be inclined not to offer food to the hogs.

    If your garden is otherwise hog friendly they may still continue to visit even if you don’t offer food. The worry is that they may come to see the feeding area as a safe space and lower their guards whilst they are there and then they would be very vulnerable to attacks by badgers.

    If you build a hog house make sure it is really strong so that the badgers could not break into it. Remember that they are used to digging (including into wood) with those strong claws. You may also need to make sure it is secured to the ground. We have heard reports on the forum of badgers picking up hog houses.

    Sorry not to sound more positive, but badgers and hedgehogs aren’t an ideal mix. But hopefully you meant that the badgers are just in the vicinity and don’t visit your garden.

    It sounds brilliant being a breeding place for red squirrels!


    Thank you Nic. Fortunately the badger set was causing an issue in the area so apparently they have been relocated to the more rural end of the island. Since then we haven’t seen any. All of our gardens are fence panelled with gravel boards which they were digging under. It’s been about 6 months now with no sign. We have fenced off a safe secure area where they are fed and have fresh water. I’m like an excited little girl lol


    That’s great to hear! And yes do try to build a hedgehog house or houses (they need separate houses for each hog). I warn you though, they are addictive. I started with one house at the end of July, and am currently working on the fifth purpose built berth, along with some other hideyholes I’m hoping may be suitable if I can build them a tunnel. I’m sat beside the first house as I write this andthe little hedgehog has just emerged, don’t know why she was in bed at this time. Maybe she had gorged herself on the cat kibble and needed a nap. You can use a lot of different materials to make the houses, I’ve seen several guides on the net. I’m rubbish at diy, so couldn’t build one of the cute little wooden ones from scratch, but have made mine from some concrete slabs and a wooden crate I got off freecycle. Best of luck and keep us posted with how they’re getting on.

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    Hi rosiebubbles

    That’s such good news that the badgers are no longer a problem in your garden! So you can watch the hogs without having to worry too much. So pleased for you!

    Yes, it is exciting and it’s great fun watching them – better than TV quite often!

    The other thing which is useful for the hogs is to leave water available all day every day. You never know when a dehydrated hog might come along desperate for drink when we aren’t there to see. Wide but shallow plant saucers are ideal – not so deep that a hoglet could get trapped in them. The ones I use are 8 inches or more across (mostly more) – hogs are very good at tipping smaller water containers over and getting a face full of water!

    If you happen to have a pond, make sure that the hogs can get out. They are good swimmers, but need somewhere shallow or sloping to get out. They are also excellent climbers so even a raised pond needs to have some ‘escape’ route.

    Once you have built your hog house, make sure there is plenty of nesting material in the vicinity. You could put a handful of material in the house to give them the idea, but most hogs prefer to do their own interior decorations and are far better nest builders than we would be! That is especially so for hibernation when they build really elaborate nests – strong, well insulated and waterproof. Preferred nest materials are medium sized leaves – lots of them (for a hibernation nest think how many leaves would fill the box loosely and multiply that several times – the hogs layer them like tiles, so use far more than we might think) – but also long grasses, etc.

    But mostly, just enjoy the visits of the hogs. Good luck and happy hog watching!


    So, just to clarify, the time and effort we (meaning me!) put into trying to make the hedgehog houses waterproof, windproof, well insulated and raised off the ground in case of heavy rain, that’s all unnecessary and no assistance to the hogs for hibernation purposes? All they need is a box and a tunnel and they’ll do the rest? I feel a bit daft now. I was aware that they are good at building nests but I thought with their environment changing and the disappearance of the hedges they’re named after, that a reasonably weatherproof house would be a good replacement for the dense undergrowth and piles of leaves and things that they would naturally nest in. I’m also concerned that as the hibernacula are so much bigger and denser than the summer nests and baby nests I may not have made the hog houses big enough…


    Aww thanks guys. Yes I have small plastic picnic plates for food and water. Oh your houses sound great. Don’t be put off building them if you enjoy it and they use them. Just off now to feed them πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ¦”πŸ¦”πŸ¦”


    Thanks Rosie. If you are looking to make houses it might be better to do it soon- nic told us the other day that the males can be looking to hibernate as early as September! Yeah I do enjoy it. They do use them for now to stay over during the day but just concerned they might not be suitable for hibernation. I hope they do decide to overwinter in the houses. I’m really going to miss seeing them! I’ll keep putting out food for them over winter for when they wake up, but I don’t expect I’ll be lucky enough to see them, I think they only come out very occasionally and it will be too cold to sit out for hours at night.

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    Hi Kitty878

    No need to feel daft. Any structure you provide for the hogs will help them as there are not so many natural sites available to them these days. They will take into account what the structure is and build their nest accordingly. So outside they can make it waterproof, well insulated, etc. and may be likely to build it bigger – there might be more space. But they will also build their hibernacula in the hog box – some more effectively than others, no doubt! But to fit into the space available. But there’s no need to get too stressed if it leaks a tiny bit because a well built nest will be waterproof due to the layering of the leaves. But it’s probably helpful to them if it doesn’t leak – also for the ones who haven’t built their nest quite so well!

    But basically, to a hog, a hog box is a structure within which they can build a nest or hibernaculum. But that doesn’t make it any less important – find another natural structure which would fit the bill so well!

    Some hogs do like a bit of time before they accept a new hog house. But, the availability of nesting material is important too. If there is lots nearby they might be more likely to use the box/structure. But if the box is filled with nesting material some hogs will actually take nesting material out and choose their own. But it’s probably easier for them to build a really good hibernaculum if the actual nest building inside the box is left to them.

    Don’t worry if they don’t use any boxes straight away or if they use them for other purposes. One hog here build the most amazing nest and he was only that year’s hoglet (started over the top of a food bowl, which luckily I managed to move when he was out – the box was being used as a feeding box at the time. Not something I recommend but the nest was in the very early stages of building and he continued to build it afterwards). Luckily for me the box was right in front of the camera, so I saw all the building material being taken in. But in the end he chose not to hibernate but used it for naps between snacks and spent the occasional day there during the winter. It must have been a nice winter retreat, but he obviously had another nest elsewhere. But that nest, next Spring, I could have lifted out of the box and it wouldn’t have fallen apart.

    But apparently they do sometimes build more than one nest and they are also known to sometimes move nests during hibernation, so it’s not a bad idea to have a spare box or two. And still leave nesting material available throughout the winter.


    Dear Nic,

    Thanks so much for your advice and kind words. I’m so glad you think the boxes may still be suitable. I took the view that it doesn’t matter too much if there’s a few drips in the tunnel as long as the nest chamber is mostly dry. I had put the minimum of bedding in but left plenty outside so they could move it in as required. I will collect some leaves for them when the trees start to drop them. And it’s nice to know that my waterproofing may benefit the hogs that are less gifted at nest building. I would have thought it would be the hoglets that struggled, not having much prior experience, but from your story about the hoglet, that’s clearly not the case. Good to know they sometimes switch nests as well, I had thought I’d taken it a bit far when I had six houses and only three hogs that regularly visit. But I wanted them to have options, plus some more might turn up, like the mother hog who nested here in the summer, and now you’ve said they might switch nests so it’s great to have alternatives ready and waiting.


    You guys have been amazing. Our little guys are now coming every night and clearing their plates from food. Will be making a hog house this weekend with some bricks and a paving slab. I’m also going to get some logs to build some more natural ones πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ¦”πŸ¦”


    You go for it Rosiebubbles! I’d love to see what you make, is there any way we can add photos to the message thread? Are you going to make them a logpile?

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