Saturday, 3 November 2012

No Room At The Inn

This time of year it's not unusual for us to receive a large number of calls from people who have found small hedgehogs. However it is unusual for us to take in entire litters. Over the last month we have rescued a litter of four with their mum (see below) plus a second litter of four hoglets (without their mum).

This is mum with her four hoglets on the 10th October (still suckling)

Thankfully all eight are doing well. The sow who came in with her litter has been returned to the wild whilst her hoglets will stay with us for the entire winter. However this has caused us a slight problem in that all eight are now too big to share a hutch, so we have had to split them. So just two litters have used all eight of our hutches (left hand side of image at end of this post). This means we have had to get creative by using large plastic storage containers and rabbit houses as make shift accommodation.  

Sadly this means the shed is more than full (as you can see below) and we have had to close our doors to new hogs. We don't like to turn any hog away but we have now physically run out of room. 

Even the work surface on the right is now full!

This also means food bills have gone up. So if you would like to support our work please pass on our details to anyone who may be interested in a hog talk (we cover a 15 mile radius of Bishop's Stortford). I'm fully CRB checked so can do talks to Rainbows, Brownies, Cubs etc. We also give talks to WI's, Gardening clubs etc. They can contact us via our Facebook page or via our website for further details.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Our Latest Success - Little Stinky

I've written about this little chap before - to read his story just scroll down to previous post. However I wanted to share this success story with you.

On the 26th July I received a text from our youngest carer/fosterer Daisy. She'd found a small hoglet wandering around during the day with a badly infected, maggot filled wound on his back leg. If she hadn't have rescued him he would have died. But  just over a month later this is how he looks.

Looking on top form 

On the 1st September I'm pleased to announce 'Little Stinky' was released back into Daisy's garden, where he was found.  

Enjoying his re-found freedom

So congratulations to Daisy - a job well done!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Little Stinky's Story

Daisy one of our carers has been fattening hoglets for a few years now and releasing into her garden. On the 26th July I received a call from her, she'd found a small hoglet wandering around the garden during the day. We decided he'd need a little help and she placed him in one of her outdoor cages. 

'Little Stinky' the day Daisy found him

Daisy soon discovered this was a good idea as he had a badly infected wound in his back leg. The leg was very swollen and there were maggots in the wound. Daisy and her mother cleaned the wound as best they could then off to the vets he went. He spent the night at the vets, who cleaned the wound further and administered an antibiotic. 

I received a text on the 2nd August saying that although the wound was healing well it appeared he had broken toes. So back off to the vets for a check up. Since then Little Stinky has been going from strength to strength and on the 18th of August I received this photo of him.

Now weighing a fantastic 359 grams

If you look closely you can see his deformed toes, which thankfully shouldn't cause a problem when Daisy releases him in a few weeks time. Without help from Daisy this little chap would surely have died so THANK YOU Daisy for being such a star!!!

P.S. So if you ever see a hedgehog out during the day there is a very strong chance it needs a little help. Please pick it up and contact someone for advice. 

Monday, 13 August 2012

Nelson and Mrs X

Although HQ has been closed since the end of June our work looking after hedgehogs has continued. We received a phone call from the fab Roebucks vets in Stevenage. They had two hedgehogs who had unfortunately lost an eye each. As this left them very open to attack on their blind side they needed to go into a secure garden.

Thankfully we have a good network of volunteers and two of our fosterers have taken on the challenge of looking after Nelson and Mrs X (she has still to be named).

Nelson is the smaller hog (300 grams) and Mrs X is the larger (600 grams)

Nelson is now settled into his new home and as you can see has a lovely new hutch with a run all to himself. Once the garden is fully escape proof he'll have the run of the garden, which is full of lovely thick bushes and great places to forage. 

Nelson in his new home

Mrs X has gone to a garden and joins Vince who is partially paralysed. However this doesn't stop him getting into the house and hiding behind the washing machine!

Vince behind the washing machine again!

In readiness for their new tenant new houses were created for Vince and his new lady Mrs X. 

New purpose built home 

Both new homes in position

Homes being covered so they are snug, dry and warm ready for winter

As you can see we rely heavily on the support of vets such as Roebucks and our volunteer carers and fosterers. All of whom support us by giving their time for free and often support our work financially.

So I'd like to take this opportunity like to thank Elaine for taking Mrs X, Wayne for making two fab homes and John for taking Nelson. 

Lastly if you'd like to support our work you can do so by purchasing your office supplies using this link. Each time you make a purchase we are given a commission on the sale and it doesn't cost you a penny!  

Monday, 6 August 2012

Helen and friend (an update)

In March 2012 I introduced you to Helen the hedgehog who was very skinny, covered in ticks, unwilling to eat and had something wrong with one of her eyes. If you'd like to refresh yourself on her story simply follow this link:

I wanted to show you how well she's doing in her new home and how she also has a friend (another one of our rescue hogs) who she bumps into most nights when she visits her favourite eating place:

As you can see both hogs are doing exceptionally well and we keep fingers crossed that at some time in the year we see some hoglets tagging along behind her. 

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Sonic Formally Known as Cyclops - an update

If you follow our blog then you may remember Cyclops, who we introduced to you in May 2012. He'd been found lying on his side in the middle of a field and had been attacked by birds. Due to his injuries he had to have an eye removed.

This was the last time you saw Cyclops - just after his operation

Because he'd lost an eye unfortunately we couldn't return him to the wild. So he is now living in an enclosed garden and enjoying being the centre of attention. 

He has his very own house

His own five star restaurant that serves only the best food

 His very own ramps, to make wandering easier

Although some of his behaviour (we believe he also suffered a little brain damage) is not 100% hoggie he is loving life, has settled in well and has been renamed Sonic. 

P.S. If you tweet please follow us on Twitter just look for @hertshogline

Monday, 30 July 2012

Daisy's Delight

On the 23rd July I received a text from one of my carers telling me she'd discovered a huge female hedgehog visiting one of the many feeding stations in her garden. This hog appeared to be in perfect health and weighted a whopping 822 grams. We were both delighted because Daisy has been fattening our hand reared babies for a number of years and releasing into her garden. We've been hoping this would re-establish a healthy population in her area. It appeared we were getting there.

Then on the 26th she texted me with an image of a hoglet she'd discovered wandering around her garden during daylight hours. Delighted our hedgehogs were now breeding we were both a little concerned he was out during the day. So we decided she'd keep him in a hutch and a run for a while to fatten him up (he weighed just under 200 grams) and to keep an eye on him.

The little chap sitting on Daisy's hand

We are now both thankful she did because on the 28th Daisy noticed one of his back legs had become swollen. She also discovered a deep wound and a few large  maggots. This is the problem with hogs because their survival tactic of rolling up hinders a full examination (that is unless you have access to a little gas).  Luckily Daisy has a sympathetic local vet who cleaned the wound and administered anti-biotics. He is now convalescing in an indoor container with towels and will hopefully make a full recovery.

We'll keep you up-dated.

P.S. If you tweet please follow us on Twitter just look for @hertshogline

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Sophie's Babies

Unfortunately I've had to temporarily close HQ over the summer because work has taken me away from home. It was not a decision I took lightly but needs must. When I told our fab vets (the A120 Medivets) Sophie one of nurses offered to take on any babies that came in. Little did she realise that within a week or so she would be hand rearing two litters.

The first litter consisted of six babies (which is  big litter). Sadly four died over a period of days. One of the problems when trying to hand read such young hoglets. Thankfully the two surviving hoglets are doing well and the second litter (twins) are also doing well.

Sophie has been keeping me up-to-date with the progress and I wanted to share with you some of the images she has sent me.

So here goes:

The two surviving hoglets from the first litter Sophie took under her wing

A few days later - as you can see doing really well

One of the twins enjoying goats milk and Esbilac

As I get more news and additional images I'll keep you up to date.

P.S. If you tweet please follow us on Twitter just look for @hertshogline

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Mmmm - Banana

Recently one of our fosterers installed a motion sensitive camera in their garden. After a little adjusting of the cameras position they are achieving some great video footage of the hedgehogs they fostered. Rob and Di now have a ritual of placing the memory card into the camera each evening then retrieving it in the morning. The memory card is then popped into the computer and they watch the comings and goings of the previous night whilst they enjoy breakfast.

This is one of the first clips they've sent which shows a hedgehog really enjoying a piece of banana. The great thing is there's a 50% chance this is Helen the hedgehog who we rescued in March 2012. If you didn't read her story then click here.  

I hope you enjoy the clip and I'm sure there will be more in the near future for you to watch. 

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Hogs Love Dogs!

If you read our last post you'll know we met the lovely people from Mutts In Distress (a local dog rescue centre - situated in Little Hallingbury near Bishop's Stortford) at the A120 vets open day.

Whist talking they kindly offered to donate a few bags of cat biscuits to the hedgehogs. This evening I'm please to say I've collected enough to allow me to sprinkle the tinned cat food the hogs enjoy with tasty, crunchy cat biscuits for months.

So I would just like to say a huge THANK YOU to Mutts in Distress for supporting our work in this way. Without the help and generosity of people such as this we would never be able to care for the hedgehogs we rescue.

I'd also like to add that if you are ever looking for a new K9 friend please visit the gallery of Mutts looking for new homes by clicking on this link.

P.S. To show you just how much hogs love their cat biscuits here is Millie (kindly sponsored by Elizabeth Happer) enjoying her tea a week of so ago.

Friday, 15 June 2012

June 2012 up-date

It's been a busy month so I wanted to up-date you on a few things that have happened.

Cyclops was given the all clear last week by our vets (A120 Medivet) and last night (14th June) he went to stay with one of our carers for assessment. As long as he shows signs of being a hedgehog again he will be going to a new enclosed garden. We don't encourage people to keep hedgehogs in enclosed gardens (as it can cause stress). However because Cyclops only has vision on one side he is very open to predators and unseen dangers, so he has to go into a closed environment. I'll let you know how he gets on.

Cyclops receiving his check up

On the 10th of this month we attended the A120 Medivet open day. The event was to raise money for Mutts In Distress. This is a charity that is dear to my heart because it is where our dog Tasha came from. They rescue dogs and care for them until they find a new home. They have also started to support our work by donating cat food.

Just a few of the bikes that filled the A120 car park

Now you may be wondering why I've included a shot of a row of shiny bikes. Well Mutts In Distress recently gained some new supporters in the form of a bikers group. This group have not only donated food but also money to help cover vet bills. And on the day around a dozen bikers turned up to show their support. 

Millie enjoying her tea

Last but not least I'd like to introduce you to Millie, out latest hog. An adult female she was taken into the A120 Medivets and was found to be very under weight and suffering from a very upset stomach. Although this didn't stop her escaping from her box and making a run for it. Once caught she didn't appear to be too upset because she soon tucked into some tasty biscuits. We'd like to thank Elizabeth Happer for adopting Millie and donating towards the cost of her care. 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Donate Without Giving Cash

Do you buy office supplies for your business or home?

Would you like to: 

- Save money? 
- Receive a £10 voucher with your first order? 
- Support our work at no extra cost?   

If yes then please read on...

Recently we signed up as an affiliate seller for The Toner Warehouse. Basically anyone can sign up for FREE using the link below and each time they make a purchase we earn commission on that purchase. The great thing is it doesn't cost the buyer any extra. So a win, win! 

So if you'd like to save money and help us simply: 

  • Follow this link
  • Click on the 'join now' button
  • Complete the form (ensuring 111107 in the last box called 'reference')

Then each time a purchase is made we earn a commission.

I must admit when I signed up I was dubious and believed items would be more expensive than my usual supplier. However I placed an order for a set of printer cartridges and a ream of paper and the cartridges were £7.50 cheaper. So I not only saved myself money but also earned a commission for the hogs. Also because my order was over the minimum I received FREE p and p.  

The Toner Warehouse cover most of the country, so even if someone live hundreds of mile away from us they can still support our work.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Story of Cyclops

Yesterday morning (Wednesday 30th May) I received a call from Marta (the head clinician) at a Medivet surgery based in the lovely village of Stansted Abbots, Herts. Marta had operated on a male hedgehog the day before and wanted to know if we could take him. It is very rare we are unable to take a hedgehog so on my way home I took a small detour to pick him up.

Cyclops enjoying his tea

Poor Cyclops had been found lying in the full sun in the middle of some grass. Because he had been spotted by Magpies they had attacked him, leaving nasty peck marks on his face and a badly damaged right eye. Marta was unable to save the eye so removed it. The operation went well and there is no infection however Cyclops is now circling. We are keeping fingers crossed this is his way of coming to terms with losing the sight of his right eye rather than another problem (neurological). Should he make it I doubt we will be able to release him, but he is young enough to adapt to a life in an enclosed garden.

If there is a lesson to be learned here it is if you see birds (namely rooks, ravens and magpies) circling and landing on a small brown lump in the middle of the grass it could be a hedgehog in dire need of assistance. The lady who picked Cyclops up most definitely saved his life and thankfully she found a sympathetic vet in Marta, who was willing to help any way she could. 

It is early days but we will keep you updated on his progress!

P.S. If you are wondering about Harry-ette she is doing extremely well. The infection appears to have completely cleared and she is putting on weight. If you missed Harry-ettes story simply scroll down.  

30th May 2012
You can still see the bite mark but she much improved 

Friday, 25 May 2012

An Update On Harry-ette

Harry-ette has been with us for just over a week (see previous post) and unfortunately in that time the wound on her face has shown no signs of healing. So our fab vet Helen and her team at the A120 surgery spent time today trying to solve the mystery.

She discovered that unfortunately when Harry-ette was bitten she also fractured a bone in her face. This can clearly be seen on the x-ray Helen took on her dental x-ray machine.

You can clearly see the break

Once the x-ray was taken Helen removed any dead skin tissue and thoroughly washed out the wound with a saline solution. The wound was then closed and Harry-ette was left to recover.

Harry-ette understandably looking very sorry for herself

We are hoping this procedure has worked and with a change of drugs the infection will be beaten. However our worry is the infection has gone into the bone. If this is the case then sadly there is nothing else we can do. So over the weekend it's a case of waiting with fingers tightly crossed to see what happens. 

We'll keep you up-dated. 


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Harry-ette's Story

I'd like to introduce Harry-ette, who is the latest hedgehog to stay with us. As you can see she looked very sorry for herself when I picked her up from our vets.

Harry-ette waiting to be picked up

It's little wonder. If you look closely you can see a small red area under her eye. This is matched by another on the other side of her face. It would appear she has been bitten, as these are puncture marks. Both are infected (she is now on anti-biotics) and one has caused an issue with her third eye lid - something I never knew hedgehogs had!

Whilst under sedation (so her wounds could be cleaned) it was noted one of her back legs was not 100%. So Helen (our vet) having discovered her new dental x-ray machine could be used to x-ray exotics (which daft as it sounds hedgehogs are treated as) decided to check for broken bones. Although the image below is a little dark I'm hoping you can see poor Harry-ette has suffered a broken fibula (that's the smaller of the two leg bones - another thing I've learned). This break is obviously an old one and has healed.

X-ray showing the old break in Harry-ette's back leg

When I picked her up I was told by Sophie (the nurse) she was very disappointed by the number of ticks she had to pick off (just three) and apart from a single red mite Harry-ette had no other 'lodgers.' 

A little side note: Sophie finds removing such nasties highly satisfying and it's not a job I'm going to fight her for!  

Harry-ette is making slow but steady progress and this morning huffed at me as I picked her up, always a good sign. She is eating well, putting on weight and I have also been able to take her off the heat pad. 

And if you're wondering I didn't name Harry-ette. She had been named by the lady who found her Harry and when it was discovered Harry was a she Sophie added the 'ette.'        

Friday, 4 May 2012

Hairbands Trip To The Vets

Some of you will have read how poor Hairband not only had a hairband wrapped around his waist but also how he was found caught on a nail. If you didn't read then simply scroll down.

Well this is his up-date.

On the 3rd May off we went to see Rebecca at our wonderful vets (the A120 surgery). As is typical with hedgehogs they have to be sedated a little so they can be checked. Otherwise they simply roll up and refuse to cooperate.

Sweet dreams are made of this!

Once asleep (hedgehogs are very suborn when it comes to this) Rebecca was able to look at the damage the nail had done. Luckily the antibiotics appear to have worked and although Hairband is very swollen there is no infection. After cleaning the area Rebecca decided to take the opportunity to check him over fully.

No broken bones or other injuries 

Thankfully no broken bones were found. However a few ticks were found hidden away in the fur so these were removed. Rebecca then turned Hairband over to check the condition of his spines, skin and check for parasites.

Checking for fleas, ticks and skin condition

As she checked we discussed the problem he might be having passing urine as the nail had caught his mmm how can I put this politely? Well... his boy parts. So she felt his bladder and decided that it might be wise to slightly empty it. 

Just a 'wee' test!

Once she'd managed to gently coax his bladder to work she decided to carry out a quick urine test. Thankfully although a very few spots of blood were found to be present everything else was clear.

Pleased with the results Hairband was then allowed to slowly come to before I placed him, still on his heat pad back into the carry case. 

Hairband appears to be doing well and we think it's just a case of waiting for his body to repair itself. 

I will however keep you up-to-date on his progress.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Little Things Create BIG Problems

On 30th April I picked up a hedgehog from our local vet which I didn't think would still be here on the 2nd May. A large male who was named 300412 (also known as Hair Band) was in a pretty bad way. If he hadn't been found when he had he most certainly would have died.

Hairband was so unwell he was allowed to eat tea whilst still in bed!

He had been discovered caught on a nail on a fence (thankfully it had not penetrated too deeply) and had a hair band wrapped around his middle. He had endured the downpours we have experienced without shelter and was covered in mud.  He was very cold and in a great deal of distress and was having problems standing. Thankfully he appears to be on the mend, although I think it may take a few weeks before he sees grass again.

The sad thing is if that nail had not been sticking out and someone had picked up that hairband he may never have needed to come in to us.

So next time you're out in the garden try to think small things create big problems. Look around and ask yourself is there anything in your garden that could cause a problem to wildlife. For example an empty flower pot can be a death trap for a fledging if it becomes trapped and cannot escape. Also when out and about if you see an elastic band, hair band or one of the plastic can holders please pick it up, pop in your pocket and pop into the bin (once you've cut it up).

That small act can make a big difference!  

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Behind The Scenes

Not many people get to see behind the scenes and inside the hedgehog shed. Which is lucky really because most of the time it smells of hedgehogs (not a good smell) and it isn't often tidy (much like my house). However I recently discovered there was a competition for Shed Of The Year. So decided our shed may just be different enough to have a chance of winning the prize.

So I gave it a quick tidy and took some shots. I then completed the application form and uploaded some images. If you'd like to see our entry please click here.

Now the hedgehog shed (also known as the hedgehog rehabilitation unit) was part funded by the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species and as you can see it looks an ordinary 6' x 8' green shed from the outside.

Tasha often helps at feeding time by picking up food I drop  

However a lot is packed into a small space. The shed can house (comfortably) 12 hedgehogs but there have been times when it's housed 16. This meant I had to prepare meals on the floor, as the work surface was covered by pet carriers housing hoglets.

The view as I open the door

On the left there are 8 purpose built hutches. All made by my Uncle Albert from reclaimed wood. These are lined with tiles for ease of cleaning and have a separate sleeping and run area. Each hutch houses (normally) a single hedgehog and on the front is a data card.

Cleaned with dinner ready and waiting

Under the work surface on the right there are two cages that house our really sick hedgehogs and hoglets. These contain plug in heat pads that keep a constant temperature. When unwell hedgehogs often have problems keeping their body temperature up, so a heat pad helps with this.      

Ready and waiting for the next unwell hedgehog

Above these I have two high sided grey pallets (donated by a friend) that are used for the very small hoglets. I use these as it allows me to keep a constant temperature (they also have heat pads in them) and also the hoglets can't escape by squeezing through the bars (which has happened in the past). 

The smallest hoglets raised to date weighing just 32 and 34 grams

Now you've seen inside HQ I'll take this opportunity to show you just two of the gardens owned by our carers. 
This is owned by Alan and is totally enclosed

Alan's job is to assess how a hedgehog will cope if released. Once a hedgehog has been with him for a couple of weeks we can decide if it is suitable for release or needs to live in one of our large enclosed gardens. 

This belongs to Rob and Di and is used as part of our release strategy

In here we can hibernate hedgehogs over winter. Then when the weather is right the door is opened and if they stay they stay if they go they go! We do try to alternate the gender of the hedgehogs in the hopes they discover one another and breed.   

I hope you have enjoyed seeing behind the scenes and if you have time please like our entry for Shed Of The Year 2012 clicking here.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Tripods Check-up

On the 22nd March I picked up from one of our carers a hedgehog who'd had a back leg amputated. As with all major operations we always play it safe and get our vet to do a check-up for us. Today Tripod (don't blame me for the name that was our vet Helen's suggestion) had his.

I just wanted to share with you how it went.

Now if you know anything about hedgehogs you'll know if they don't want to co-operate they just curl into a ball and refuse to uncurl. Therefore they often need a little persuasion. So Tripod was popped into a box and given a little whiff of gas:

After a while Tripod became sleepy and Helen was able to have a good look at his wound:

She found the wound was healing well however it needed a clean up. So poor Sophie (she needs hands-on experience with wildlife as part of her nurse training) was given the task of carefully cleaning with wash and cotton wool buds:

Once the wound was cleaned and checked again it was time for a little oxygen to help Tripod wake up and a little warm on a heat pad:

You may notice a few flakes of 'stuff' on the blanket. I had noticed Tripod was losing a few spines and hoped it was mange and treated. However the spine loss has continued and the skin is now a little flaky, so these were collected up and have been sent off to the lab. They're going to see if they can grow us anything nasty. If they do at least we know what to treat Tripod for.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the following:

John, one of our supporters/hog carers who did a little fund raising for us and the money he raised covered the cost of the lab test. 

The A120 Medivets for providing their expertise free of charge.

Attimore Vets in Welwyn Garden City for providing the primary care and the removal of Tripods leg.

Without the support of such fantastic vets we would never be able to do our job - so THANK YOU guys!