Hedgehog Feeding Station

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Hedgehog Feeding Station

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My hedgehog feeding station has been up and running for a couple of months now, and it has at least one visitor every evening.  At first, I wasn't sure it was a hog taking the food and was concerned it might attract rats.  After a couple of days, I found hedgehog poo in the station, so was a little happier.

I used to check the food about 11pm, before bed, to see if had been taken, but no.  Yet it was always gone by morning.  Then about three weeks ago, I was in the garden about 9:30pm and saw our hog go into the station and start eating.  As I stood there watching, I felt something brush against my foot, and there was a second hog heading for the station.

Since then, one of the hogs has been arriving, regular as clockwork at 8:30 every evening, without fail, for a feed and drink of water.  She (could be he) heads directly to the feeding station and gets tucked into the day's offering, then has a good drink before moving on to explore the garden and into next door.

A question I have is about the rights / wrongs of providing a feeding station for hedgehogs.  I feed the birds and provide plants and wild corners in the garden for bugs and insects, and any other wildlife that wants to use it.  But is there a risk of the hog(s) becoming too dependent on the station, or lazy and not hunting for its own food?  I'm sure it needs more than the small amount I put out, and I think the fresh water is helpful.  Several other folk in the village have well used hedgehog feeding stations so we know there are a few hogs in the village.  But, on balance, is it a good thing?

Breakfast at 8:30pm

Off to explore the wild parts of the garden (there are bugs here)

Verified Answer
  • I would agree. They are in decline so, like birds, giving your garden visitors a helping hand by supplementing their food should be no bad thing and of course they are nice to have around and will maybe tuck into a few slugs and snails while they are about it. A win-win situation, I think.

All Replies
  • Hi FJ

    I don't think it hurts to put a little food out for them they need all the help they can get and as you say would probably eat more than you put out

  • I would agree. They are in decline so, like birds, giving your garden visitors a helping hand by supplementing their food should be no bad thing and of course they are nice to have around and will maybe tuck into a few slugs and snails while they are about it. A win-win situation, I think.

  • Hi, I have hedgehogs and have tried almost everything I can think of to stop cats from getting the food.  I put up long, narrow brick tunnels leading into an upturned crate, put buckets of heavy large pebbles on top of the crate, make it so narrow and long tunnel so that only Hedgie can get in - all to no avail; the cats round here must have muscles like Popeye!  I still have cats getting in.  At the moment I only put out fresh water and am getting a length of soil pipe that I hope might solve the problem as the autumn draws on.  Hopefully then I can feed them up for winter.  I do also have a Hedgie House in the garden and in the autumn I'm going to get a collection of logs from a local wild park to cover it over and then get a lot of oak leaves to go over the top.  Hedgie is sleeping in the house as it has an indentation in the hay inside, but is not there regularly. If only I could solve the feeding situation!  I do hope that the soil pipe might do it.  Jill

  • Hello Jill,

    I do hope that the soil pipe works. If however it does not work a motion activated cat deterrent (scarecrow) may do the trick.

  • All I did was put a cheap plastic electric-fence post in front of the entrance to make it more difficult for our cat to get in, and that has done the trick.  But I too hope the soil pipe works.

    After three weeks of arriving at 8:30pm for a feed, I'm not seeing any activity until after 10pm this last week.  But I think I've identified 3 individual hedgehogs visiting.  Certainly, we had two in the station at once the other evening, a large one and a small one.  Half-past-eight (rather hastily named in hindsight) is somewhere in between in size.

    I do love summer evenings, with a mug of tea (or glass of red wine), sitting out at dusk waiting for the first hedgehog and bats to appear.  Last night was a bonus with the approaching thunder storm, and the bats seemed extra active over the garden.

  • thanks a lot.  I don't see so much of them now, and only a few droppings so I'm just watching and waiting.  

    Jill

  • I'm not sure how I could fix up one of those, but making the entrance narrower like that sounds a good idea.  The ginger cat round here is large, yet he seems to be able to morph into any shape / size needed to get to the food.

  • Hi Jill,

    What are you feeding them? I feed mine in the open and had trouble with cats eating the food.

    I no leave dry cat biscuits out for the cats, and dried mealworms for the hogs. They are happy to eat alongside each other!

    Neil

  • Hi Neil

    Last autumn, when the hedgehog needed feeding up I left out dry kitten food and also wet (pate type) cat food. Fortunately the hog managed to feed up! I understand that it is not good to leave out mealworms (I was doing that). I got advice from our local hedgehog rescue and we also have a wildlife trust hedgehog officer no less, and both said that hedgehogs get addicted to mealworms and they are not good for them, very little nutritious value.  I've just seen this on RSPCA website: Leave out foods like minced meat, tinned dog or cat food (not fish-based), crushed cat biscuits, or chopped boiled eggs. Specialist hedgehog food can also be bought from wild bird food supplier.  The cats like the specialist hedgehog food ... but I thought you couldn't give them dog food so I'll try that, I wonder if cats will eat that?? But they might not eat chopped hardboiled eggs ...

  • That is interesting, Jill.  I wasn't sure about dried mealworms, but failed to find anything definitive on the interweb.  One blog did say he'd never met a hedgehog that didn't like mealworms.  I confess I have been putting out dried mealworms and commercial hedgehog food mix, and occasionally half a chopped boiled egg (I eat the other half).  But I notice that the mealworms do get hoovered up first.  Maybe I should wean them off the mealworms.

    Our cat eats the dog's food if it gets half a chance.

  • thanks a lot.  I guessed that cats would eat the dog food, and asked my friend who has dogs who confirmed it... hey ho, if only mealworms were good for them I'd be sorted.  I'll be getting my length of soil pipe soon and I'll try to rig it up so that only Hedgie can get in. I'll also put out a chopped egg to see if that goes.  I was advised to wean them off the worms.  I did read that they like peanuts too, so I'll get some of those.  I don't have enough tits around to put peanuts up for the birds unfortunately. J

  • Hi.

    Certain people suggest that mealworms can strip the hedgehogs of calcium, however others advise giving them. I personally think they are fine in moderation and mix with other foods as you've suggested. It's nice to just feed the little guys!

    Cheers

  • Hi, that's helpful, many thanks.

  • Definitely three hedgehogs visiting our garden.  The other evening, just before dark, I had a look at the feeding station and a large hog was enjoying a feed.  His rear-end, however, was blocking the entrance.  A second, slightly smaller hog, arrived, realised it couldn't get into the station, so squeezed under the fence into our neighbour's garden and off up their lawn.

    Almost immediately, another even smaller hog arrived.  The large hog had moved a little and the small hog was able to push its way into the station, but soon realised it couldn't reach the food, so pushed back out and went to explore the log pile.

    So three hogs.  Observation: hedgehogs don't do queueing.

  • Fabulous news FJ, always good to know Hoggies still being seen ... just not by me sadly!