A really good way of helping out the hedgehog visitors to the garden is to regularly leave out food and I’ve been doing this for the last couple of year.
I started by leaving a saucer of food in the open, unprotected. This worked fine for a while but I soon started to attract the local cats who often took all the food before the hedgehogs has arrived, especially as the food I tend to use is dried cat biscuits.
It4s possible to buy specialised hedgehog feeding stations but as I enjoy that sort of thing I decided to make one myself.
They can be quite simple, a clear plastic box with an entry hole can work quite well. Obviously very cheap and easy to make IT also has the advantage that you can see what’s going on inside.
I wanted to install a camera in my feed station, the same type of camera that I use in the bird nest boxes, so my initial design was made out of wood and first installed back in September 2020.
Initially it was a big success and by the spring of 2021 I was starting to get quite a few visitors, my personal best was, and still is, 4 Hedgehogs feeding away.
However I started to have a couple of problems as the year went on. Firstly one of my young cats discovered that actually he could squeeze through the entrance tunnel and get to the food. It was no longer cat proof.
Secondly with the design I had the food dish was on the ground. The problem here was that lots of insects, slugs and snails were being attracted to the food and this is not really ideal for the health of the hedgehogs.
So during the last Winter I’ve had another go and I now have a new hedgehog feeding station, converted from my old hedgehog house.
I’ve made the entrance hole much smaller, it’s now 10cm wide and high, which seems big enough for the hedgehogs but too small for the cats.
There is a wooden floor, so the food is not directly on the ground, and I’ve made the lid removal so that I can get in to put the food.
Even though we are still in the hibernation period when there aren’t too many hedgehogs about I started to put some food out during the last couple of weeks. It is quite important at this time of year to leave out food for any waking hedgehogs as it can be the difference between them making it through the winter or not.
And earlier this week I had my first visitor
So it’s looking good and I can hope for lots of action, especially during March and April which certainly last year was the peak period.
I’ve also been upgrading my technology during the Winter and I now have the ability to simultaneously stream several live cameras. So all of the hedgehog action from the feed station, and also eventually the hedgehog house can be seen on the live cameras available here.
Don’t forget that for hedgehogs the action starts when it gets dark.