Plastic crate feeding station
4th September 2021 at 12:59 am #33719
I bought an 80 litre plastic crate as a feeding station for rainy weather. I just laid the crate on it’s side with the stop as a large evtrsnce. I placed the food dishes inside the crate but not far inside. Neither of the hedgehogs explored inside the crate, they drank from the bowls at the side of the crate but did not entertain the inside. Presumably they could smell the food. Any reason why the choose not to venture inside?4th September 2021 at 1:38 am #33720
There’s several reasons why they might not have dared. Those plastic crates have quite a strong plasticky smell when they are new, and that might have put them off. But I think probably the main reason they weren’t keen is they aren’t always good with new things. Especially large things. They are used to how you fed them before, out in the open, so this is quite a big change. It’s enclosed, for a start, although I appreciate you made the entrance as large as possible, but it’s not what they are used to. But they don’t tend to trust new things until they have been there for a while. When I built them a new house it was usually a week or ten days before I saw them using it.
I would leave the feeding station as is for a few days and see if they adapt to it. It’s good that they were near it and drinking from the bowls at the sides, shows they aren’t totally freaked out. I suspect they are just wary because it is new and different. Hopefully next time they will venture a bit further, and a bit more, and so on. But some hogs just cannot bear to be enclosed, and if they refuse to use it, there are other options you can try. I remember Nic once suggested a sheet of perspex or similar, resting on four upturned flowerpots. Where that’s open on all sides, even the wary hogs will usually be ok. Good luck and keep us posted.4th September 2021 at 2:26 am #33723
Just thought- they might also not like the feel of the plastic under their feet. It’s a lot smoother and more slippery than most other surfaces they would usually encounter.4th September 2021 at 6:45 pm #33735
Thanks for the advice. At least on the turn ate some as there was pooh near the dish; probably Mr Snuffles, he grunts like a little piggy all the time, so cute. Wish they would entertain the house but it’s only been there theee days so give them chance.4th September 2021 at 7:24 pm #33736
That’s great to hear that all least one of them is using the feeding station. I’m sure it won’t be long till they are all running in and out. Hopefully you will soon have someone staying in the hose as well. It would be good to have a few houses if you can make them- they need separate houses for each hog.4th September 2021 at 7:50 pm #33738
I have been using a plastic step (like you would use to get into a caravan or for a child to reach the sink! I purchased a few plain white ones & the hedgehogs aren’t bothered by them at all. I sometimes have to put a brick on top if really windy. I only use them when rain is forecast. It might be an alternative if they don’t like the plastic box.5th September 2021 at 12:10 pm #33751
I use plastic step stools to. They work really well. Keeps the rain off the food and provides some shelter when it’s chucking it down. Also really good for when not in use, as they stack on top of each other and have a small footprint so don’t take up much space.5th September 2021 at 2:09 pm #33753
Hi KM Basingstoke and Marchel. This tip was given to me on here a while ago and I was keen to get these stools as it sounds so practical. I haven’t known where best to purchase though and some seem a bit pricey. May I ask where you find this type of step stool? Should say I’m in a rural area and will use online shopping as there are very few stockists of such nearby. Thank you, hope asking this doesn’t break any rules, but glad of advice.5th September 2021 at 4:03 pm #33755
Hi daffydill. I got mine from The Range. They are made by Addis and cost £4.99. They aren’t the folding type. Folding ones don’t work as they have sides on. They are black and very unobtrusive. Never had an issue with them blowing over either and my back garden is a bit of a wind tunnel. Hope this helps.5th September 2021 at 6:19 pm #33756
Another similar thing you can use are the tops of covered bird tables. It’s sometimes possible to get DIY ones quite cheaply and you can put them together without the stand. (very easy to put together). Can’t stack them up, of course, but they can double up for feeding the birds during the day. Ground feeding birds quite welcome them being on the ground.
The only drawback with both those and those footstools is if you have cat problems, when it is very easy for them to get at the food.6th September 2021 at 12:57 pm #33774
Hi Marchel & Nic. Thanks for that info. Unfortunately The Range is sold out of any step stools, as are so many other stores I tried online. Not to worry though, I did scavenge (asked first!) a pallet locally and hope to make another hedgehog house and some simple roofs on legs as Nic describes which I’m sure will be useful to keep food dry in bad weather.6th September 2021 at 7:37 pm #33787
Thank you all for the advice. I decided to cut one of the sides off and they prefer if, plus I don’t have to scrub dried Pooh off of the plastic. I have put two largish stones on it at the back in case of wind. I like the crate as you can watch them eat, which I find I can loose and hour or two waiting for them and then finally see them enjoy the food. I may build some houses myself, the one I bought is a semi detached one with too homes, but the entrances and corridors aren’t big enough especially for Mr Snuffles because he is quick the little chubster!! Besides the hard board it’s made from isn’t very thick so not well insulated; I intend to convert it into one very large house that can hold loads of leaves and dried grass to keep whoever moves in warm.7th September 2021 at 8:31 pm #33801
That’s great to hear CutiePinCushion! Glad they love the feeding station now.
With regards to the house, be careful you don’t make the entrances too big! Even big hedgehogs can squish through surprisingly small gaps, I think 12.5 cm by 12.5 is the recommended size. If you do convert the double house into a single, do make sure you block the other entrance, they just like one way in and out. Let us know if you manage to build more, you can use wood, bricks, paving slabs, all sort of things to make the right shape. I made some with some concrete slabs I had lying around, and another with a wooden box and some roofing felt. All of them are getting used to stay over, although nobody seems to be making their winter nests yet.7th September 2021 at 8:42 pm #33802
That’s an interesting idea Nic, about the bird table type feeding stations. I currently have a small kennel that I use as a feeding station. It has a wide door with plenty of room to pass by each other, and although I’ve seen three of them in the same time eating together, I’ve also seen encounters where two adults get grumpy and one or the other leaving the feeding station due to the presence of the other. Would an open sided feeding station reduce this sort of conflict, or is it better just to add another feeding station into the mix? I could easily convert the kennel into an extra hog house if an open sided station would be better for making sure everyone gets a share.7th September 2021 at 10:24 pm #33808
The best thing to do if you get multiple hogs visiting at the same time is to have multiple mini feeding stations spread out as much as possible. So have different bowls for the number of hogs you get at a time. They will sometimes still try to eat out of one that another is eating from, but at least they have the choice. Also putting a mini feeding station in a slightly more sheltered place could be a good option for more nervous hogs who tend to retreat if they know other hogs are about.
Just bear in mind that some hogs don’t like going inside anything too box like, so a mini feeding station with open sides (easy escape routes) (the footstool/bird covered bird table top would do for that) is a good idea if you don’t have a cat problem.
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