Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Front leg and Back leg - The Story of Two Hoglets

I know you shouldn't have favourites but in 2011 I had a number. One being Alan the hoglet (scroll down two posts and watch his video). Another two were Front leg and Back leg, who I collected on the 17th May. As soon as I saw them I knew the odds on their survival were slim. They were just days old, ears and eyes still closed, dehydrated and cold. Once home I weighed them to discover they were just 32 and 34 grams. Previously the smallest hoglet I'd ever managed to hand rear was Fatboy who had been 57 grams. So I prepared myself (as much as you can) to lose them.

Front leg and Back leg the day they arrived
and yes that is a ten pence piece beside them!

The next day I noticed both had one leg that was slightly swollen. Hence their names, one had a swollen back leg (female) and one had a swollen front leg (male). However a little antibiotics solved that problem. So over the next few days I fitted their 3 hourly feeds around work. However I did make them last 6 hours over night. Call me selfish but I need my eyes to open when I feed something as small as they were. As the days passed their weight increased and they became more responsive. 

Just one week later.

Daily weight check

Three hourly feeds were stretched to four hourly and the mixture of goats milk and Esbilac was slowly changed to a mixture of AD Hills and goats milk, warmed of course. 

Yet another feed!

There are obviously draw backs when hand rearing, which include lack of sleep as well as being unable to go out for the day. However I'm extremely lucky and have a fantastic vet who supports our work. So when I called to ask if anyone could hoglet sit one of the nurses (Liz) jumped at the chance.

Pretending they've not been fed for hours!

As I've said our vets (A120 Medivet) are fantastic and it's typical for the surgery to grind to a halt, so everyone can hug a hoglet. Oh and take a few shots!

"They're just sooo cute!"

Weaning can take time and Front leg gained the nick name of 'syringe boy' as he really didn't want to give up being fed by the syringe. So it was a great leap forward when he started to eat (very reluctantly) from a tea spoon.

By the 13th June both were almost fully weaned and had progressed to using a bowl (well a Pringle lid).

"That juicy morsel is mine!"

Exactly one month later they were being taken for walks around the back garden. Here they were encouraged to explore and discover good things to eat.

Sticking together

Up until this time both had been kept in door but  it was soon time to move them into the hedgehog shed. And rather than sleeping on towels they were given hay, so they could practise making their own nest.

Getting used to making a 'nest' in the hay

By the end of June they had both reached nearly 400 grams. So they were picked up by a carer and as part of their reintroduction to the wild were housed in a hutch and run. Also to encourage them to forage they were taken out each night for a wander around the garden. 
Back leg: taken the day she was picked up.

By the end of July both had reached the goal weight of 600 grams and were released into the garden they had become used to. I will never know what happened to them once released. However I keep my fingers crossed Mother Nature is kind to them and they enjoy a long and happy life.

If you'd like to support our work and you buy office supplies for the home or work then please click on this link and purchase your supplies from The Cartridge Warehouse. Each time you make a purchase we receive commission.     

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Funding Matters

When someone drops a hedgehog off to us I often get asked how much the RPSCA pay us. It's amusing to watch their jaws drop when I tell them we're totally non-funded and when the hedgehog bank account (yes they have their own account) is empty then myself and our volunteers (we now have 15 carers and 2 long term fosterers) fund the work. I'm then asked how do we fund our work. Well...

We attend open days at local vets and have a stall of local fetes where we sell items donated by supporters.

I do presentations for local schools, WI groups and after school clubs such as Brownies and Cubs. We ask for a minimum donation and if I have a hoglet well enough to take with me I do. If you'd like to book a visit then visit our website for info on how to contact me (remember we only cover an area within half an hours drive of Stansted Airport).

We have collection pots in local vets selling key rings  (£1.50 each) that are kindly made and donated by a local crafts person (who happens to be a close friend). If you'd like to see some more of her lovely work then click on this link and look for the name Pippa King.

We collect used printer cartridges and postage stamps, which make us a small income. Well not that small as the printer cartridges over the last ten years has covered the cost of caring for 40 hogs. Not quite the number we average per year (around 60ish) but still not bad from 'rubbish.'

We also have:
  • A volunteer who every so often cooks a meal for family/friends and asks them to give a small donation. He has a wonderful night entertaining and raises funds for us.
  • A supporter who sells our set of exclusive cards - £1.00 for the set of three.

  • Other supporters who pop a can or two of cat/dog food into their shopping basket. Once they have a few tins I either get a call and collect or come home to find a small pile of tins sitting on the doorstep.
  • And our longest serving volunteer organises a craft and art fair once a year and in 2011 she donated a third of the proceeds to us, raising a fantastic £300.

Recently we signed up as an affiliate seller for The Toner Warehouse.

Basically if anyone follows this link then:
  • Clicks on the 'join now' button
  • Becomes a member
  • Ensure the number 111107 is in the last box - 'reference'
Each time they make a purchase we earn commission. I must admit I was dubious, believing the items would be far more expensive than my usual supplier. However I placed an order for a set of printer cartridges and they were £7.50 cheaper. So I not only saved myself money but also earned commission for the hogs. Also the great thing is they cover most of the country, so even if someone live hundreds of mile away from us they can still support our work.
And in between all that fund raising we look after hedgehogs!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Alan the Hoglet

This is a short video of Alan the hoglet who came to us in the autumn of 2011 weighing less than 100 grams. He was close to death, extremly cold and covered in fly eggs, maggots and ticks. It took 2 hours for Sophie at our vets to carefully pick them off. After three days of hand feeding every three hours he started to show signs of improvment. He spent a further couple of weeks at HQ then went to stay with Alan our carer (who he was named after). In late October he was released into a private woods weighing a huge 900 grams.

I hope you enjoy.