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Small hedgehog feeding in my garden

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Small hedgehog feeding in my garden

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    I was out watching the bats at dusk a few weeks ago, when a little hog appeared from the hedgehog hole in the fence, pottered over to the bird feeders, slurped up a slug then had a drink from the shallow dish near the bird bath before pottering off up the garden.

    I have seen hogs in my garden many times over the years, but recently had some fencing done and was worried it might have upset them – although that bit of fencing didn’t affect their tunnels into my garden, it did mean that my deliberately undisturbed end of the garden had to be very badly disturbed.

    I’ve now planted up a hawthorn, pyracantha, ivy, bramble and dog rose hedge along the new fence, and hopefully before too long it will make a really good thick undisturbed hedge for birds, hogs and other wildlife. There’s also a fledgling compost heap.

    So when I saw the little hog, I thought it would be a good time to start doing a bit more for hedgies. I’ve put a hogilo under a garden table near a privet hedge, covered with sheaves of bamboo bundled together for thatching, and loosely filled with hay, hoping it will become a hog home.

    I’ve put another hogilo (I know, expensive, right? I am just so bad at DIY there’s no other way!) near the bird bath and water area to act as a feeding station, to stop cats eating the food I put out for the hogs.

    I put a little dish with mealworms in the feeding station last night, and they were all gone today. I read on here that mealworms shouldn’t be fed in large quantities, so I’ll put out cat biscuits and sunflower hearts instead tonight.

    I’m so delighted that the food is being taken up, but found a surprisingly large amount of hog poo (I am sure it’s hog poo, I’ve become quite good at different kinds of poo over the years!) inside the feeding station. Hope it won’t put them off – I’ve cleaned it out with clean water and no chemicals, and will put down some newspaper tonight.

    I did a search about that, and found a thread on here about hogs pooing at their feeding stations, so decided to join the forum and keep getting this excellent advice and information so I can offer the hogs the best hospitality I can!

    I have a wildlife camera arriving soon, it’s been on my wish list for a while and while I was dusting off my purse for the hogs, I thought I’d take the plunge and get one.

    Looking forward to sharing all the hoggie goodness with you all!

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    Hi jpscloud

    All that work in your garden sounds brilliant – the hogs should love it. It sounds as if you have really got the bug! Habitat improvement has got to be the way to go. If the hogs can find their own natural food, it will be so much better for them than anything we can feed them.

    Really glad to hear you picked up the message about the mealworms. The ratio of calcium to phosphorous in sunflower hearts also goes the wrong way, although not quite as bad as the mealworms, so, I would keep them to a minimum too, especially as you have at least one youngster around. Don’t forget to leave water near the food as well if you are feeding dry food.

    I had to laugh at the bit about the poo! Not sure about the newspaper bit though. Knowing hogs, it could end up in shreds! Some of the hogs here love digging through their food. One of them, in particular sends food flying around all over the place – including sometimes all over her! Luckily not the sticky type of food and it doesn’t go to waste – one of the others usually comes and hoovers it up later.

    I’m sure you will find the camera really interesting. I only got one this year, after watching hogs for ages – other hog things always took priority. I normally watch them in real time, but it has been very interesting seeing the hogs in a different part of the garden and it even caught some video of bats – amazing and unexpected. I got two cheap ones, but unfortunately one has packed up already. The other, I was horrified one morning, to find 991 videos on, only to find out it had been taking video non-stop until the batteries ran out – mostly, needless to say, without a hog in sight! You can’t even set it to do that.


    I found hedgehogs to be really messy eaters as well and they poo in their feed bowel so that gets a thorough clean every day to limit parasites.
    I think you’ll love your trail camera I’ve had one for years it was one of the cheaper one’s by Ltl Acorn and its brilliant quality. You can set them up so they only record during a set time period i.e. 9pm to 1am so thats useful and you can set how long it records during each trigger of activity. i set mine to record for about 15-20 seconds with 2 minute intervals and the batteries last for ages.
    I imagine all wildlife cameras would have similar features.
    They make good stealth cameras for security and fly tipping to (my pet hate)
    Nice to hear you have bats i’m involved in bat conservation here in Suffolk and they are fascinating and need help. A Woodcrete bat box on you house may be successful


    Hello nic and baldwin, many thanks for the replies. Nic, I found that a couple of sheets of really strong kitchen towel did the trick. I’m putting out just dry cat biscuits tonight, as the visitor(s) left half of them last night in disgust at being denied more mealworms! I guess if they don’t want the biscuits they can’t be too hungry. There’s a large ceramic plant saucer next to the feeding station for them to drink from.

    There should be lots of natural food in my garden for hogs, but I’ll keep leaving some food for them as well, in case any need fattening up a bit for the winter.

    Does anyone know about how many hogs will hibernate in one garden, and distances that they need in between their nests? I’d be happy to put hog residences all over the place, if it helps survival.

    Baldwin, I really would like to put up some bat boxes but the walls I could put a box on are south or west facing – would that work for the bats?

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    Hi Jpscloud

    Good to hear the kitchen towel worked – they must be tidier eaters than the hogs here! I would definitely keep putting some food out now as we are in the run up to hibernation. If they have been used to mealworms, you might need to just put a few mixed in with the cat biscuits and gradually reduce them.

    Re. the hibernation nests. I haven ‘t ever had any hogs hibernate in my garden (unless it was under the shed and I didn’t know about it). The new Hedgehog Housing Survey might be able to answer your question eventually, although I guess it will be a while before they get the results in.

    Baldwin hedgehog. I would be interested re. the bat boxes too. But will all species of bats use boxes? The ones caught on cam looked as if they were long eared, but not sure what type.


    Hi Jpscloud and Nic,
    I have 3 boxes for the hedgehogs to sleep in and they are roughly 100 yards apart. Only one is on my property (under the compost heap) the other two are in neighbours gardens, i believe they all get used from time to time but i don’t disturb them. i use my trail camera to confirm my compost heap box is being used.
    I’m becoming involved in hedgehog rehab and my contact there says independent hoglets often sleep together in pairs. I have a book by P A Morris which suggests hedgehogs are known to hibernate close together such as under a shed but unlikely in the same nest.
    Regards bats i put up a woodcrete box on my house in April and bats were using it by June. Narrow cavity boxes are good for Pips and Long eared bats i have both in my box. A good website is NHBS. South and West facing are ideal. mine is facing south. Bats use warmer sites to breed in and cooler sites to hibernate in. Position your box high under the eaves if possible. Nic i believe most bats will use boxes with the exception of only a few but Long eared bats definitely. your a lucky man or women to have those in your garden.


    Fantastic news Baldwin, thanks! I will get on to my local bat group and offer my house as a site – I will need a bit of help putting boxes up.

    I put my trail camera out last night and it’s recorded dozens of 10 second videos. Unless one or two hogs are walking back and forth, in and out of the feeding station, there are a few hogs visiting my garden. I haven’t time to really look at the videos and see if I can separate them out, I’ll have to wait till weekend – but the videos are quite poor so not sure I can.

    I will need to experiment a bit with the trail camera to get better videos, but at least I can see the feeding station is being used. Interestingly, some of the hog activity just bumbles past the feeding station, and doesn’t go in at all. Maybe one or two hogs are going around a few times for natural food as well as having a scoff of the biscuits?

    The biscuits are going well now Nic, I’ll keep putting them out!


    Just adding – I have a reasonable size garden, about 13m by 20+m and the back fence that’s just been done is my undisturbed area. I’m nurturing a hedge (as mentioned in my first post) and compost heap there again, and can put a couple of hog houses down there next spring.

    I have one nest box (hogilo) at the house end of the garden just now, and will set up the trail camera on that at the weekend to see if it’s being used at all.

    I will try to get about four hog nest sites set up by next year.


    Hi jpscloud,
    glad you like you camera, they need experimenting with. i have mine set up to record for about 10-15 seconds with about 2 minute gap between recordings otherwise you’ll keep recording the same hedgehog doing not a lot.
    Maybe the hedgehog that avoided your feed station was aware of another one inside so scooted past or was just full up.
    Good luck with all your nest boxes i hope it works out, i think my resident female hog has another litter as I’ve started finding giant poo’s in my feed station which is a good sign.


    Great news Baldwin! The first night I put food out there was a massive poo inside the feeding station – much bigger than the usual ones I see in the garden. I thought a cat was maybe getting in but I was pretty sure it was hog. Does extra large poo indicate a female with young? No cats are getting in, I’ve seen a few have a look on the videos but none went in.


    Hi jpscloud,
    yes giant poo’s should mean a litter in a nest nearby.
    Apparently when female hogs have young they spend so much more time in the nest than normal that they can’t poo as regularly and tend to store it up. your situation sounds the same as mine. she’ll probably come for your food fairly quickly at dusk have a good feed up, big poo then back to her babies.


    This keeps getting better and better! Thanks for that Baldwin. I hope if there is a litter I can help them out with fattening up. What’s best to leave out for the young?


    I’ll be feeding cat biscuits (i crush mine up), there appear to be issues with mealworms and to a lesser degree sunflower hearts which i used to feed but no more. There is so much phosphorus in mealworms it could create a problem with soft bones especially in growing young animals. people experience this problem with indoor reptiles and have to provide extra calcium supplements so its probably best not to feed them. i know someone who works for hedgehog rescue and they also say hedgehogs can become addicted to mealworms to the exclusion of anything else so although hedgies love them i’d stick to cat biscuits and plenty of water.
    Cant wait to hear if you spot them on your night cam


    Thanks Baldwin, I’m going to crush the cat biscuits from now on as well. I’ve stopped feeding mealworms, but what a shame they’re so bad for them, they really do love them.

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    Not sure I’m completely convinced by your theory, Baldwin hedgehog, about big poos meaning a female has babies nearby. I think it could easily be misleading. Some hogs naturally do bigger poos than others anyway, so not sure how you would differentiate.

    The reasoning sounds ok on the surface, but if the hog spends more time in the nest, then why couldn’t she just do more of the same sized poos and, also, she would probably be eating less food than normal.

    But, I hope, for your sake, you’re right and hoglets are in a nest nearby.

    Re. the cat biscuits. You shouldn’t really need to crush them. If you are worried about the hoglets not being able to manage them, you can always get kitten biscuits. If they are uncrushed, they can help to keep their teeth clean!

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