Open a hedgehog cafe
- Activity time:
- Less than 2 hours
- Difficulty level:
- Suitable for:
- Small garden, Large garden, Medium garden
- To help:
Hedgehogs are small creatures with big appetites!
Feed the hungry hogs in your garden to help them build the energy they need when raising hoglets, and their fat reserves for their long winter hibernation.
With the UK population of hedgehogs declining alarmingly, it’s vital that we give our prickly friends a home in our gardens.
One way to do this is to build a feeding station in your garden with lots of hedgehog-friendly food and water!
You won't get any takers in winter when all your hogs are fast asleep, but you can start your feeding at any other season if there are hogs around.
Why not stock your hedgehog cafe with Spike's dry hedgehog food?
What you will need
- Shallow dishes
- Hedgehog food
- Wet cat or dog food (not fish- or beef-based)
- Crushed cat biscuits
- Cooked potatoes
- Minced meat (of any variety)
- Large-lidded plastic or wood box
- Sharp knife
- Duct tape
- Find a safe place for your cafe. It should be in a quiet, sheltered and safe spot. Of course, hedgehogs need to be able to get in and out of your garden to start with, so if that isn't yet the case, start by creating nature's highways and byways.
- Get a sturdy box (wood or plastic) with a removable lid for your feeding station. It needs to be big enough for a hedgehog to fit through, but not a cat or fox.
- Create a hedgehog-sized hole at the base of one of the sides of your box. It should be about 13cm square so the hog can get in and out safely. If your box is wooden, you’ll need a saw. If your box is plastic, carefully use a sharp knife. Cover the edges of the hole with duct tape to make sure there are no sharp bits that could hurt your hedgehogs.
- Add your grub. Line the box with newspaper and dry leaves. Hedgehogs prefer small-sized leaves such as birch, oak and hazel. As the sun goes down lay shallow dishes of hedgehog-friendly food and water inside the box.
Make sure you don’t put out too much food, as it’s not good to have leftovers lying around. Put out a little to start with. If your cafe is popular, you can gradually increase the amount on the menu.
Never feed hedgehogs milk or bread. They can't digest them - it upsets their stomachs.
- Add your roof. Put the lid on top of the box and place a brick or two on top of the lid. This will stop a fox tipping the box up or dragging it away.
- Clear away any leftovers in the morning and refill your dishes every evening. But be vigilant - if you think that anything other than a hedgehog is eating the food, stop feeding.
- Time to watch. Very quietly as the sun goes down, go out and sit somewhere within view of the box and hopefully you'll be rewarded with a view of this snuffling, grunting little beauty. Next why not give a hog a home?