Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Front leg and Back leg - The Story of Two Hoglets

I know you shouldn't have favourites but in 2011 I had a number. One being Alan the hoglet (scroll down two posts and watch his video). Another two were Front leg and Back leg, who I collected on the 17th May. As soon as I saw them I knew the odds on their survival were slim. They were just days old, ears and eyes still closed, dehydrated and cold. Once home I weighed them to discover they were just 32 and 34 grams. Previously the smallest hoglet I'd ever managed to hand rear was Fatboy who had been 57 grams. So I prepared myself (as much as you can) to lose them.

Front leg and Back leg the day they arrived
and yes that is a ten pence piece beside them!

The next day I noticed both had one leg that was slightly swollen. Hence their names, one had a swollen back leg (female) and one had a swollen front leg (male). However a little antibiotics solved that problem. So over the next few days I fitted their 3 hourly feeds around work. However I did make them last 6 hours over night. Call me selfish but I need my eyes to open when I feed something as small as they were. As the days passed their weight increased and they became more responsive. 

Just one week later.

Daily weight check

Three hourly feeds were stretched to four hourly and the mixture of goats milk and Esbilac was slowly changed to a mixture of AD Hills and goats milk, warmed of course. 

Yet another feed!

There are obviously draw backs when hand rearing, which include lack of sleep as well as being unable to go out for the day. However I'm extremely lucky and have a fantastic vet who supports our work. So when I called to ask if anyone could hoglet sit one of the nurses (Liz) jumped at the chance.

Pretending they've not been fed for hours!

As I've said our vets (A120 Medivet) are fantastic and it's typical for the surgery to grind to a halt, so everyone can hug a hoglet. Oh and take a few shots!

"They're just sooo cute!"

Weaning can take time and Front leg gained the nick name of 'syringe boy' as he really didn't want to give up being fed by the syringe. So it was a great leap forward when he started to eat (very reluctantly) from a tea spoon.

By the 13th June both were almost fully weaned and had progressed to using a bowl (well a Pringle lid).

"That juicy morsel is mine!"

Exactly one month later they were being taken for walks around the back garden. Here they were encouraged to explore and discover good things to eat.

Sticking together

Up until this time both had been kept in door but  it was soon time to move them into the hedgehog shed. And rather than sleeping on towels they were given hay, so they could practise making their own nest.

Getting used to making a 'nest' in the hay

By the end of June they had both reached nearly 400 grams. So they were picked up by a carer and as part of their reintroduction to the wild were housed in a hutch and run. Also to encourage them to forage they were taken out each night for a wander around the garden. 
Back leg: taken the day she was picked up.

By the end of July both had reached the goal weight of 600 grams and were released into the garden they had become used to. I will never know what happened to them once released. However I keep my fingers crossed Mother Nature is kind to them and they enjoy a long and happy life.

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