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Caring for Jersey's hedgehogs - jerseyhedgehogs@hotmail.co.uk 01534 734340
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Gardening for hedgehogs

 

Organic gardening:

 

Garden as organically as you can, let hedgehogs and other wildlife be your pest controllers. Please don’t use chemicals, slug pellets or weedkillers. Leave at least one corner a little bit “wild” with plenty of ground cover and arching shrubs for them to nest under. You will attract more insects and birds if you plant native species which have nectar rich flowers and berries to eat.

             

Leave seedheads on plants overwinter to provide places for insects

 

 

The aim is to attract ALL forms of wildlife from the tiniest bug to toads and hedgehogs, so it is most important to give up using harmful chemical sprays.

 

The most obvious first step is to STOP USING GARDEN CHEMICALS and let nature’s pest controllers do the work for you.   Pesticides are indiscriminate – you never know what else they may kill or harm – the first time you spray you kill both pests and their predators, but as the pests breed faster, they will get out of control because you will have also destroyed the beneficial insects which feed on them. If you must use something – use organic sprays – they break down faster (e.g. pyrethrum or soft soap) spot treat pest colonies and use the least toxic product you can, move helpful insects like ladybirds before spraying.

 Make sure hedgehogs can get in and out of your garden:
Make a hole in your fence or gate.....

  
 

 SLUG PELLETS  can kill hedgehogs, cats and dogs (if you really have to use them, choose “hedgehog friendly” ones and put them in a narrow pipe or under a slab and remove dead slugs every day).  Remember, hedgehogs may still eat the poisoned slugs.  Other methods to try are: beer traps (yoghurt pots or bottles sunk into the ground partly filled with beer), or barrier methods including: lime, soot, fine gravel, forest bark or human hair round your plants, or protect plants with cut off milk cartons or plastic bottles. Half grapefruit skins placed upside down may attract slugs and you can remove them the next day.  Parasitic nematodes are very effective in greenhouses, hanging baskets and containers.

If you use weedkillers you destroy the natural homes and food  source of many predatory and parasitic insects.  Organic gardening aims to recreate a natural balance between pests and predators by attracting beneficial creatures (of all sizes, including hedgehogs) to feed, breed and make their homes in your garden.

Strimmers and blades:  Check carefully before you use a strimmer, scythe or mower, cut 2’ or 0.5 m above the ground first, then check for hedgehogs and then cut lower to the ground if you wish. We see some horrific injuries caused by cutting tools before every branchage, remember, these are just the hedgehogs which people have rescued, it does not take account of the ones killed outright or the others which have crawled away to die a slow and painful death.    

 The hog at the top has had his wound sewn up by a vet and the one on the bottom has just been admittted with a maggot infested wound caused by a strimmer, he went to the vets after this picture was taken.

Netting: Don’t leave loose netting around on the ground, if it is in use in the garden, pull it taut and leave a gap of about 4” /10cm underneath for hedgehogs.  Hedgehogs get caught in all sorts of nets, wire mesh and lobster pots. If you have a tennis or a badminton net, make sure it is lifted off the ground at the end of play.

     

This hedgehog's leg had been trapped in garden netting, it did heal in the end.



 

 

Bonfires are also dangerous, they look like an inviting nest site, so please only set light to rubbish you have moved that day, don’t set fire to a pile of garden waste that has been there for even one night. The safest alternative is to use an incinerator.
           

Provide nest sites:

Sweep your grass cuttings and dry leaves under your hedge or shed so they can easily build a winter nest there. Your compost heap is also an inviting place for a hedgehog to nest,
but please take care when forking through the pile.


Build a log pile - this will act as a nest site for hedgehogs and also a home for the insects and invertebrates they will eat.

You might like to provide additional hedgehog homes either by buying a purpose-built nest box. Or you can build a simple home by propping a board against a wall or shed or putting an upside down crate under a pile of compost, or even putting out an old plastic dustbin on its side.  Fill any nest with plenty of dry leaves, grass, hay or straw.                 

             

 

Have a wildlife pond:

 

Dig a wildlife pond with gently sloping edges, this is a wonderful bonus for all sorts of wild creatures.  Please make sure that hedgehogs and other animals can get out easily if they fall in by providing escape ramps made from stones, rough wood or wire netting.
    

 
 

  Put out food and water for hedgehogs:                                           

                                                                

Always provide water on the ground and put out cat or dog food if you have hedgehogs visiting provided there are no rats.  You can put the food under an upturned wooden box with a 4”/10cm hole cut in one side to discourage cats or dogs from eating it before the hedgehogs get there. This is especially important in the autumn for young hedgehogs born late in the year, to enable them to gain sufficient weight to survive the winter - they must weigh a minimum of 550 - 600g before the weather gets cold. Plastic feeding stations are also a good idea, you can put a brick or piece of wood inside to prevent cats or birds getting to the food or you can make simple feeding stations with a few bricks and paving slabs or an upturned plastic crate
 




         

 

 How do you know there are hogs in your garden?   Look for their droppings which are black/brown and sausage-shaped, the size depends on the size of the hedgehog which left them! This is also the way to check that hedgehogs have emerged from hibernation in the Spring.

                

Hedgehogs are very agile climbers but if  you have a fence round your garden, you might like to cut a hole at the bottom to make access that bit easier!            

                          
NEST DISTURBANCE:

If you accidentally uncover a hedgehog nest whilst gardening: put all the nest material back and leave that bit of the garden until another day.  Or if his nest is destroyed, put him under a hedge or bush in an undisturbed part of the garden to go on his way that night.  If you have disturbed a mother and her babies, please cover the whole nest with a bucket or dustbin to prevent Mum running off and phone for help at once 734340 if you are in Jersey or your local hedgehog hospital in the UK so we can care for them until the babies are big enough to be released back into your garden.

 

       

Thank you for making your garden a hedgehog friendly place
.

Enjoy the hedgehogs which visit your garden at night!    Thank you for visiting our site and learning more about hedgehogs

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 sources for more information and further reading

Jersey Hedgehog Preservation Group

Tel 01534 734340 Email: jerseyhedgehogs@hotmail.co.uk    

 

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