We currently have 34 hoglets (baby hedgehogs) in our care;
25 are with their mothers
9 orphans are in incubators and are being hand reared – fed formula by syringe.
A couple of them are difficult to feed, but they are gradually getting the idea that being picked up and having a teat shoved in their mouth means food Just about all of them have their eyes open now.
Some of the orphans came in as singles, and these have been paired up with other orphans of a similar age/size, as experience shows they do better with company than on their own.
To illustrate how much hoglets crave company, we put a single orphan in an incubator with a litter, in separate nests as we had run out of incubators.
The single hoglet climbed out of his nest and got in with the others, snuggled up to them and went to sleep. The other hoglets, all siblings, totally accepted the single hoglet, and they now act as one litter.
For those hoglets that are with their mums, at about 4 weeks of age, we will weigh and mark them, and they will then be weighed once a week. We do this at 4 weeks as up until then they rely on their mother to feed them, and we do not want to risk her rejecting them due to being handled etc. From 4 weeks old, the hoglets can feed themselves, and will be weaned onto solids.
When they weigh around 200g, they will be paired up with a hoglet of similar size and moved into their own cage.
When they weigh 300 – 350g they will be placed into individual cages.
At around 400g we will move them into garden pens, from which they will be released at a later date – some will be going back to where they came from.
Once the hoglets are removed from the mothers (at 200g) we will move the mothers into outdoor pens, let them have a week or so rest, and then release them. Again, some will be going back where they came from.
This is a long, tiring and resource heavy period for rescues, but the hard work is made up for with the sense of satisfaction of releasing healthy hedgehogs into the wild. It’s also lovely to sit and feed the little buggers too.