Whether to move a hog house with resident?
23rd January 2021 at 1:29 pm #29302
I have a hog house which I am fairly certain has a resident hog hibernating in it as it made a hibernacula within it in November/December and I have fed it and watched it many times on camera. We have arranged to have the drive block paved, don’t really want to get it done but street parking is near impossible anywhere near the house now. We were given no specific date when we arranged to have it done other than “the back end of February/March” so I had hoped the hog might have emerged by then but the contractor has now given us a date in a few days.
We are leaving a part of the garden intact but the hog house is right on the border of where the paving will come up to. They have to break up old concrete, lay new concrete, blocks etc so the disturbance will be quite considerable I imagine. If I move the house it would have to be through to the back garden I think.
Does anyone have any experience of this and/or how much noise/disturbance they can put up with without being woken up? My inclination is not to move it and hope it is not disturbed as lifting the house will no doubt disturb it, but I’m really not sure which way to go with this.
If I move it and it wakes will it then leave the house?
If I leave it I will of course tell the builders to keep an eye on it for any movement. Any advice appreciated25th January 2021 at 1:41 pm #29306
Pick up the house as quietly and smoothly as possible and resite it in the back garden – preferably facing the same direction it’s currently in. Make sure you leave food and water out for a few days at least.
Don’t wait for the builders to come to do this as the noise and disturbance they will create will wake the hog and they may even endanger it/the house26th January 2021 at 6:56 am #29307
Thanks for the advice.
The work starts today and we are having to get a wall removed also now which is right behind the hog house so I decided to move it on Sunday. Pretty much did exactly what you suggested, I gently lifted it and carried it through to the back garden and have placed a feeding station with food and water in right in front of the house so if the hog wants to come out for a snack it doesn’t have to go far.
Pretty sure from the weight and way the entrance is blocked with nesting material that there is a hog in it and I didn’t hear any movement while carrying it through so I hope I didn’t disturb it. I set a camera up to see if there is any movement but nothing so far.26th January 2021 at 10:32 am #29310
I strongly recommend that you move the food and water a short distance away from the house as you don’t want to encourage other animals to go into the house – eg rats
If the hog gets up it will be able to smell the food from some distance26th January 2021 at 1:17 pm #29314
I only put the feeding station right up against the hog house so that if it was disturbed it would hopefully just eat/drink and go back into hibernation and not evacuate the hibernacula. I’ve separated them now but I’ll move the feeding station a bit further away. Thanks21st March 2021 at 12:01 pm #29885
After moving the hog house in January I have kept checking to see if there was any sign the hibernating hog had been disturbed and I have seen none so initially that was good. As spring began and I have started to see hogs again I hoped the hibernating one would emerge but there was no evidence the hibernacula had a hole in it indicating it had left. I was a bit concerned it might not have made it through the winter as it wasn’t fully grown when it started hibernating. After a while the suspense was killing me so I bought an inspection camera for £40 from Lidl….
and gently inserted it through the air pipe at the back to have a look around inside. No sign of any hog inside so I double checked by removing some straw and the hog has definitely left. It’s amazing how densely packed they make the hibernacula and also that it has somehow left without leaving a hog-sized hole in it? Not sure how it managed that but really pleased the hog survived the move and the winter.21st March 2021 at 6:33 pm #29890
Good news that the hog safely left. Yes, the hibernacula are pretty amazing – they build them so that they could stand up to even being amongst shrubs, etc. But the hog sized hole may have collapsed when you inserted the camera. With the really well made ones a hog sized chamber is left in the middle
It is still quite early for the females – they might still be hibernating.
Fingers crossed more hogs eventually return.22nd March 2021 at 10:27 am #29895
Yes there was a hog-sized chamber in the middle when I removed some of the nesting material. I put a bit of straw and hay in there to start it off last year but the sheer volume of stuff it added to it is amazing, I emptied it out and it two-thirds filled a standard 50L compost bag. Considering the small mouthfuls of stuff they take in at a time it’s a lot of work for the hog.
I put the camera in the air pipe at the back and weirdly there was a gap all along the back of the house so although the hibernacula was very dense and compact it didn’t actually fill the space. I could get the camera probe in quite easily at the back but at the front it immediately hit a lot of resistance so I didn’t push it further just in case the hog was still in there and I didn’t want to prod it with the probe.
I had the camera pointed at the front last year and noticed when the hog entered each time it was quite careful to scooch down as it went in so as not to bulldoze a big hole in the hibernacula each time so maybe it did the same coming out this year and it just didn’t leave a noticeable hole. It now seems to be staying under the decking in the back garden at least some of the time. Do they always evacuate the hibernacula when they wake up as it would seem sensible to keep using it as a nightly nest and not have to find somewhere else?22nd March 2021 at 1:44 pm #29897
It probably varies a bit from one hog to another. Some may continue using the hibernaculum for a while, especially if it’s a bit cold. But there is the external parasite issue, so they normally vacate eventually.
If a hibernaculum was built in a natural location it would have a mounded sort of effect and the hog houses we provide are really only structures within which the hogs can built their hibernacula. So it’s not completely surprising that it may have been less dense against the back.
You will probably have seen that the structure had the leaves sort of layered like tiles, so that they are waterproof. With a really well built one, you could probably pick it up without it falling apart! They are so clever! We wouldn’t be able to build one as well, I think!
But they do seem to manage to get quite a bit in their mouths. I had a hog here where the camera was right in front of the box. Quite funny to see the hog with mouthfuls of long grasses hanging out either side looking like a very long moustache! But it was as if a switch had been turned on and the hog went into more active mode and scurried backwards and forwards collecting all the material – seemingly at a much faster rate than they normally move around. It wasn’t finished the first night and the next night (actually early morning, but still dark) at exactly the same time, off the hog went again collecting more material. Fascinating to watch.24th March 2021 at 11:48 am #29950
Very interesting, thanks for the insight as always Nic
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