Hedgehogs stopped feeding

Hi everyone, we've been feeding hedgehogs since they came out of hibernation this year. We are very lucky and sometimes get three or four a night, though that has dwindled naturally as the year has gone on. I have two hog feeding stations and use dry biscuits, semi-moist feed, and a wet cat-food style food, rotating them every few days, but usually offer more than one food type each night. The hogs have without fail been clearing all food (and leaving their little, or sometimes big, presents around the garden to prove it...). As of about three weeks ago, they stopped taking any food - just very abdruptly stopped. I use trail cams so i know that hogs are still visiting regularly, but they ignore the feeding stations now. They don't even go inside them anymore. Just wondered if anyone has had a similar experience. Could it be they have other priorities right now, like building hibernation nests, or maybe there is more natural food to forage (we have a very 'buggy' garden and lots of slugs right now). In previous years we've had it where hogs stop visiting for a few weeks/months and then turn up again, but never had it where they are still around, but not taking any food at all (wood mice are happy with this situaion i should add - more for them!). It just seems so sudden and abrupt!

  • Hi Neil, welcome to the forum, have no experience of hoggies visiting but not eating ... I have been lucky this year with Mum & Dad since April & four babies fattening up for a few weeks now with one, maybe two, sharing my hoghouse!
    Are you on Facebook? There's a big group called 'Hedgehog Highways' with thousands of posters offering advice, lots of rehabbers too, many people with lots of experience ... might be that you will get an answer from there as the hoggie following on here is very limited!
    If you do not use FB then I am quite willing to post on your behalf!

     

     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • Thanks Wendy. I don't want to burden you with posting on my behalf, but if you really don't mind and you think it would be a better avenue for other experiences and advice then that would be most appreciated - thank you for the kind offer (but no worries if you don't get round to it!). I don't really do social media myself!

    That's great, sounds like you have a busy little hog family there - i hope those baby hogs fatten up! Yes it's the first year ours have just stopped like this. I even tried different feeding stations, different locations in the garden, but can't tempt them, which is fine i guess as long as they are getting something to eat! They have also stopped drinking from the water dish which they always used to do. Trail cam footage shows them legging it past it all now as though they are on very important business!

    If you do get any helpful replies from FB i'd be really grateful if you could paste them here, but don't worry if not! I will look into it myself as it can be a really useful resourcce for this kind of thing.

    Thanks again!
  • Afternoon Neil,

    Like Wendy, I've no experience of hogs ignoring food, although our experience with hogs is that consumption does go up and down.

    I'm not sure that slugs are at play; my understanding is that they only make up---on average---a small portion of the natural diet.

    In your place, I'd ask myself if there's anything that's changed  re the food you're giving.

    We give a dietary supplement to a neighbouring cat (with no home), and a few months ago she went from eagerly eating it to looking at it like it were a threat. No food manufacturer is immune from manufacturing error, and there have been some pretty appalling cases these last few years where animals have died after consuming "bad" food, from fairly respectable manufacturers.

    Even if you've not changed food but have opened a new bag (which can mean a new manufacturing batch), that might be the culprit.

    Try beef, minced. Should be fairly safe.

    Good luck - 

    Dave 

  • Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your reply. I'd also read that about slugs, so it was a bit of a long shot/wishful thinking! That's really interesting about the food supply - and i hadn't really considered that. I am on a new bag of dry bicuits - which chimes with what you are saying, but i also provide semi-moist and wet food, which also are ignored. Although i'd be super unlucky if all the food sources were bad, it could be that the new biscuits are dodgy, and that has caused the hogs to avoid the feeding stations by association. My next idea is to put the food out under cover but not in the feeding stations, to see if that makes a difference (will have to be strategic in case any cats visit in the night!).

    Neil
  • Hi Neil,
    Yes, you're right, you'd be very, very unlucky.
    Here's a link to (US) Today.com (careful: autoplay video, but there's a text explanation). Re dry food, it's a grain mold thing. The same happened a few years back in the US and Europe, but with another manufacturer. The same happened in the UK this or last year (dog food again):
    www.today.com/.../fda-warns-hundreds-dog-deaths-illnesses-linked-company-s-pet-t228567

    You've a good strategy re taking the stations out of the mix. And hopefully Wendy will be able to help you out.

    Again, best of luck. And please post and let all the hedgehog appreciators in the Community know how it works out -
    Dave
  • Mine here have always devoured the Tesco brand kitten biscuits but they recently changed the formula & hoggies all over the Country have refused to eat them ... this caused much angst as you can imagine but the posters on 'HH' all chipped in with what successes, or not, they'd had with alternative dry & wet food! I personally tried Purina but it's quite pricey ... found Iams kitten on Amazon slightly more reasonable, also started to put out Whiskas chicken in jelly (tins more reasonable than sachets) for the babies in order to fatten them up quickly, seems to have been a successful combination so far! Wet food has to be fresh every day as flies are laying eggs in anything left over, usually only the jelly!
    Certainly I will post your question, see what response there is!

     Edit:  Have now posted, question has gone to Admin for their approval to publish, hope for replies soon!

     

     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • In reply to WendyBartter:

    A local rehab centre uses Purina hypoallergenic for hogletts, Wendy. It's the usual protein breakdown thing, and might be a mono-protein.

    But as you say, "vet food" isn't cheap.

    But if you have a lot of animals, it feels cheaper (I write from experience).

    All the best - 

    Dave 

  • Ouch! That's mighty expensive in comparison!!
    It's the grain proportion to protein content that has to be checked as many really cheap ones are bulked out with too much cereal!

    I started off using Spike's dry & semi- moist but not very well received by my original Mum who turned up with three babies in tow out of the blue three years ago now!

     

     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • In reply to WendyBartter:

    We've made steps to go cereal free with the cats, and have had some success with Natrina (German). Vet Concept is another interesting brand to look at (relatively new here), and once you've had a few prescription purchases, the manufacturer is happy for you to order online, direct (or that's been our experience).

    Interesting (perhaps), I've heard (quite often) a "beef only" approach to dry and wet food for hogs.

    I don't know enough to say that that's what we should do. But I've heard it.

    Good look with FB, Wendy.

    All the best -
    Dave
  • Wendy, Dave, thanks for this and for the information and links regarding food - really interesting. I had no idea about the grain mould thing. I have also used Spike's semi-moist and wet food for years and its been a success for our hoggers. The dry biscuits i started using more recently are Wildlife World and come in a compostable bag (hence switching to try them). The hogs were chomping them down and got through a whole bag. Then i started the new bag, and it's during that they have abandoned the food altogether - soon after opening it. I do still put out Spikes semi-moist and wet on rotation, so they have access to alternatives some nights, but they still don't take it and i end up throwing away what the wood mice don't eat (although i have reduced the amount i put out to save waste).

    Wendy - thanks for posting to FB for me! I will trial some feeding without the feeding station boxes i've always used and will update in a few days on that.

    Incidentally - when do hogs have later litters? I'd read they can have two litters in a year and sometimes have one into autumn? Just wondering if there are babies somewhere - but it feels too late in the year for that?