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in Wildlife gardening
Just had our first visit from a hedgehog - and am carefully reading all your advice. We are novices here - so today my husband went and gathered leaves (as I had tidied up for the winter) to scatter around. We now need to get some shelter for our visitor and some food, Do not want to leave out cat food as I try to discourage cats - I feed the birds and our neighbouring feline spends hours prowling in our garden. What else would you suggest to leave out for our wee friend. We discovered our visitor last night eating sunflower hearts which I had scattered for the birds. He also seemed to enjoy mealworms. What else can we do to help our visitor survive this winter and remain in our garden.
I buy whatever hedgehog food I can get, Spikes is good, so is Chapelwood. I find Garden Centres are the best places to get them from. From time to time, especially as hibernation time draws near, I also put out sunflower hearts, chopped unsalted peanuts and mealworms (dried are fine), oh and banana chips are favourites. I use small terracotta saucers from the garden centre as dishes. I had a large terracotta pot that had cracked from top to bottom so I broke it in half and put each half on it's side and place it over the dish of food to keep the rain off and the cats out. A shallow bowl of clean fresh water (rainwater if possible) is important.
We bought a Chapelwood hedgehog house, which is being used. I also made one from a large fruit crate from the farm shop - I took part of the end out, stapled a plastic sheet over the outside and made some air holes in the end, then put some dry hay in it and placed it in a quiet corner, with the entrance towards a fence about 6" away from it, making a little tunnel, then piled the stalks of sweetcorn plants, some runner bean haulms and leaves etc over the top. We also left some pet hay in a dry corner nearby. The hedgehogs have taken leaves and hay into both the houses, and have been out during the day on dry days collecting fallen leaves. We put the food out each evening before dark and they are still eating it, but not as much as they were, which makes me think that possibly there are only our two residents feeding here now, and not other visiting hoggies.
Thank you so much for all the information. We are quite excited about our wee visitor and are hoping he/she will stay. We have made a small shelter with a mushroom box and put some hay in there too - very close to a great big mound of leaves. I like the idea of the plastic sheet - will do that. Tonight the menu consists of mealworms, raisins and sunflower seeds. I will get some banana chips to add variety. Will also get some hedgehog food, Once again, thanks for the very helpful hints. Will see now how we get on.
Looking forward to updates