Preserving a new wooden hedgehog house – ideas for doing this?
20th October 2019 at 10:12 am #19017
I have just ordered a new wooden hedgehog house. In our climate in Cornwall it won’t last long unless I preserve or cover it in some way. I found some ideas on another forum from some years back. It mentioned using Danish Oil which I looked up as apparently it is good due to being non toxic and lowish odour. However it appears that it is made from a variety of oils which can be Tung Oil or Linseed and in fact this forum didn’t recommend Linseed due to the smell lingering. I do however already have some Tung Oil in my cupboard. It does smell at first like most oils, but I think if left outside the smell would go pretty quickly. I would of course only be using on the outside of the box.
I could also cover the box with something too like an old plastic compost bag cut up or pond liner which I also have I think.
The person in this old post also talked about raising the box off the ground such as standing it on a seed tray upside down. Would the hedgehog have trouble then accessing it, though a seed tray is not very high? How far can hedgehogs climb? This issue has actually been a slight worry for me as our garden is terraced and though we do have a path one side where clearly the hog walks from the poos we find on it, I do wonder how it manoeuvres from one layer to another. Can it do this in fact I wonder? There are steps in some parts.20th October 2019 at 1:29 pm #19023
It’s usually suggested that it’s best not to use any preservative on hog houses. If it smells to us, it’s likely to smell much more to the hogs. I don’t know about the oils you mention. But, I have a feeling that if the hog house was wrapped in plastic sacks, it might rot more quickly and you would almost certainly get insects in between. I think the most important thing is to have a good roof, which overlaps the edges a decent amount, and perhaps raising it off the ground.
Raising the hog house of the ground a bit, is fine. Hogs are actually good climbers (probably some more than others). Although I would be worried that a seed tray is too flimsy and also doesn’t allow for much ventilation underneath. I have one wooden hog house raised off the ground on bricks (just 4 bricks at the corners). It has a brick as a step outside the door – they have no problem at all with that. Another (raised on those things you can get to raise plant tubs off the ground) has a stepping stone as a step – with a hedgehog on it, of course! but if it’s slightly higher, or you found the hogs weren’t keen you could use more steps. Offcuts of wood can also be handy for that sort of thing. i.e. making shallower steps.
My hog house with the bricks has been used for nesting, although it started life as a feed box. The hoglet made a very elaborate nest in it, coming up to hibernation time, but decided not to hibernate and used it for over day stays and naps between snacks. That’s just to illustrate the he didn’t mind the step at all, even with huge mouthfuls of vegetation to build his nest.
Good luck. Hope the hogs like the new hog house.21st October 2019 at 3:36 am #19025
We purchased three very good hedgehog houses from Amazon then a plastic box from Homebase for their feeding station .The most hedgehogs in one night visiting us stands at fourteen babies adults all popping in and out some just having fresh water drink from one of the three bowls we have put down in the garden .We use fresh straw in the houses after weve cleaned them out these hogs seemed too make tunnels in the straw.We do see lot less visitors now as hibernation period is almost here.We have had sleep overs in these houses amazing site seeing two baby hogs curled up under the straw.Love keeping these hedgehogs safe.21st October 2019 at 11:20 pm #19031
Thanks Nic. I think I have bought the wrong hedgehog house again then, as it has a flat roof! Oh dear. I can see from what I have read that could be a problem maybe with leaking, though it hasn’t arrived yet for me to examine properly.
It’s interesting about what you say re hedgehogs and the steps. I have since found out that our hedgehog (or maybe another one) has left us a nice present of a poo on our front step which he would have had to climb first to do this. We have a terraced house and my hogilo that he was sleeping in (but now isn’t) is round the back, and to get to our step he had to walk around the end house from back to the side and then the front, and through the hedge and into our front and onto the step. I am now thinking of putting food at the front as well to try and catch him there but maybe he’s now long gone. I gather that they can walk long distances at night. I will probably put the new house at the front too when I have decided how I am going to stop it leaking.
Incidentally, I gather that it’s a good idea to put ventilation holes at the side of it too. Another challenge, with both me and husband having no DIY skills or tools.22nd October 2019 at 2:59 pm #19040
You may find that the hog house has a slightly sloping roof. Mine look more or less flat, but are in fact sloping. It shouldn’t be completely flat, that wouldn’t be a very sensible way to build it. But if it does turn out to be completely flat, I would just place it not completely flat, so that the water would still run off. (i.e. maybe a cm. higher one side than the other). If the hogs are making a nest, they will soon even that out inside. It should also already have ventilation holes in it.
The only thing about feeding out the front of your house is to bear in mind the road situation. I had a similar situation. Some of the hogs used to go through the garden a couple of doors down to get here, but some come from the other side as well. Probably most now. I have in the past thought about feeding out the front as well, but decided not to in case it encouraged them to cross the road.25th October 2019 at 1:26 pm #19154
Thanks Nic! My hedgehog house has just arrived and my husband has just put it together. I didn’t realise it was flat packed and was wondering if I would have the wrist strength to screw it together, so glad he went to it, otherwise it was going to go to the neighbour!
The top in theory is flat, though because it doesn’t fit very well there is a slight slope to it. However, yes, that is a good idea to place it slightly on a slope too so that it will drain off. No ventilation holes either though there is a tiny crack at the top due to the non fitting top but of course unless I cover that then the water will go in! Otherwise it seems OK and at least they have raised it off the ground properly plus put a nice long tunnel to repel other invaders.
With regard to the front and back of our house, we (and the hedgehogs) are lucky on that score as we only have a footpath front and back and have hedging front and back too. The back footpath does lead to a parking bay and steep short road which goes up to a busier road, but it’s a few minutes walk away for a hedgehog. At the front end they have quite a way to get to a road and are unlikely to go down the flight of steps that leads to it, and there are more back gardens in front anyway (some have fences so not so hedgehog friendly) for them to visit. Next to my neighbour’s garden on one side is a huge wonderful garden for them, except there has been a lot of tree cutting this autumn and I wonder if this hedgehog moved out due to the weeks of noise.
Thank you Clevedon hog for your comments too. It sounds as if you have a busy time there with all those hedgehogs to feed!25th October 2019 at 4:15 pm #19159
Oh, the dreaded flat pack! Good luck with it. Hope the hogs like it.
Sounds as if the hogs are fairly well catered for there then. Access to as many gardens as possible is the most important thing and means they’re less likely to want to cross any roads. But the males can travel up to 2 miles a night, so could be covering quite a large area.25th October 2019 at 8:44 pm #19163
Wow! 2 miles a night is a real trek. More than I can walk anyway. That is an amazing distance. We have fields just up the road so maybe they came from there then.25th October 2019 at 9:56 pm #19165
It does sound quite long, but I suppose a lot of it is meandering around foraging for food, etc.26th October 2019 at 11:13 pm #19183
Well the food is disappearing both back and front now so I am wondering if the hedgehog is doing the rounds or is it the local cats taking it? Or rats or squirrels? Now I have moved the food from the hog house, it’s accessible to all and sundry unless I get a plastic feeder centre set up. It’s a long way from back to front through my neighbour’s hedge and round to the other hedge. Not a mile unless he goes by the very scenic route! We saw a small hedgehog poo on the step where the front food dish currently sited, so think at least he has been to the front one.
i have got the roof fitting better on my new hog house, so that is going to be sited tomorrow in the front garden under a hedge .27th October 2019 at 10:28 pm #19214
Well done getting the hog house roof to fit better. I hope you get a tenant in there soon.
You might even find there are different hogs out the front from those round the back.
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