Friday, 24 May 2013

Thank You to Ark Wildlife

I was feeling low, I'd just made the very difficult decision the battle our latest guest was fighting was one he could not win. Although I'm still feeling low (I always do when we lose a hog) there is now a little lightness to my mood. I've just taken delivery of 15kg of donated hedgehog food from Ark Wildlife.  We'd been nominated by Janet Gerrard (thank you - thank you - thank you) as a Hedgehog Hero and because so many of you voted (again thank you) we are now looking at the marvellous results. This will really make a difference and greatly reduce our food bill over the next few months.

One huge bag of donated hedgehog food from Ark Wildlife

However your support does not have to end there. We plan to join Ark Wildlife's Charity Partner Scheme. Basically every time you make a purchase from the Ark Wildlife website they donate 5% of the total value of your order to us. On average it costs £25 per hedgehog and as a small non-funded not-for-profit organisation every penny counts. So as they say watch this space and once we're signed up to this scheme we'll let you. In the meantime visit their website and check out how you can help all the visitors to your garden. 


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Get Ready For Hoglets - by The British Hedgehog Preservation Society

Although the natural world is a little behind schedule this year, there will still be some hoglets born in June.  Mum will have 4-5 hoglets in a litter.  They are born blind, deaf and naked; however the first set of prickles starts to poke through when the hoglets are just 2 hours old.

Hand reared hoglet lapping goats milk NEVER give cows

If you have a regular visitor to your garden at this time of year it is likely to be a female rather than a nomadic male.  Be aware that she may have chosen your garden in which to make her nest and take extra care when gardening, so you do not disturb that nest.  Should you accidentally disturb a nest then recover it as best you can.  With luck the female will return and over the next few days she may well move her litter to a new nest.  If however she does not return, then the litter will need to be taken into care.  You can tell if she returns by making an opening into the nest and putting a small object that will be pushed aside as she enters the nest.  Do not keep checking the nest by opening it up (this applies to undisturbed nests as well) as extra disturbance may well make her disappear altogether or even attack her young. 

In general any small hoglets found in the garden squeaking or just lying about will need to be rescued.  Bring them indoors, put in a high-sided box and most importantly provide them with a covered warm hot water bottle (keep replacing the water so it does not get too cold).  If there is only one hoglet, please search for more.  Call us or the British HedgehogPreservation Society ASAP for advice.

If a nest is in an inappropriate place or a dog will continually disturb it and it needs to be move please do make sure you catch the mother first as she is the one that will run away.  Without mum the chances of the litter surviving will be reduced, especially if they are new born.  There is no substitute for the real mum with real hedgehog milk.

Note - putting an object at or in the entrance of a nest box will also tell you whether it is in use without opening it up and checking.

If you want to find out more about hedgehogs visit the British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s web.  If you find a hedgehog needing help or if you need more advice call the BHPS on 01584 890801 – it is better to be safe than sorry.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

October Babies Now Released

On the 10th October 2012 we rescued an entire litter of four hoglets (who were still suckling) and their mother. If you didn't read their story click here.

Mother and four hoglets 

It's unusual to have such young hoglets come to us that late in the year and even more unusual for their mother to come with them. It caused a slight problem in that none of our indoor hutches were big enough for such a large family. So we had to be a little inventive and create a large indoor run using a pet carrier as a house and sheets of A2 mount board as the walls.

Their new home

Thankfully their mother wasn't too stressed and did a great job of looking after them. They grew and grew and soon we were able to take them away from her and she was released (during a mild spell) into a gorgeous garden that belongs to Di and Rob (two of our fab carers).

Just a small part of Mum hogs new home

Soon those little prickly balls were big prickly balls, well three of them were; you always get a runt in the litter. So these three were packed off to the same garden as their mother to fatten up and hopefully hibernate.

The little hog who stayed at HQ rather than go 'out' with his brothers and sisters

They spent the winter putting on weight and eventually when all were nearing or over 800 grams they were placed outside in a large escape proof run.

What a run!

The problem was there was already a hedgehog in there hibernating. So a wall was created centrally along the length of the run. They were given two lovely houses to live in and loads of interesting things to sniff in and around.   

Their cosy new home

After a couple of days Di decided to check  on them and started to root around in the hay filled houses. The couldn't be found anywhere! Out of desperation she decided to look in the hutch on the other side of the fence. To her astonishment all three had moved into the hog home with the hibernating hog in. 

Four bodies in one hog house - not a lot of room left!

We decided to leave them together as they appear to be getting on and Di took down the wall. All four continued to live together until they were released over the bank holiday weekend. Food will be left out for them and they will still have access to the houses. So with fingers crossed they'll quickly make the adjustment to being wild hedgehogs. 

A night camera has been set up to monitor the comings and goings over the next few weeks. So watch this space!