Tips & Advice

Birds

When and what to feed

  • Birds can be fed all year round. In Spring and Summer this helps them to feed their young, particularly when dry ground makes it harder to find natural food. In Autumn and Winter they are moulting, and preparing for the colder months.
  • With a wide variety of food options available to attract a variety of birds to your garden, and the different species which may frequent your garden, you may need to try different feeds for sustained periods to find out what works. It can take a few days for a new feed location to be found by local birds and hedgehogs – but by combining different feeds, you can help to ensure the birds benefit from a balanced diet and find something they like when they find your garden.

 Water

  • It’s important to also ensure you have a source of fresh water nearby, (but away from where cats can reach) – this keeps birds healthy, hygienic and hydrated, and gives them another reason to come to your garden. 

Environment

  • Avoid placing your bird food on the ground – it’s best to place your feeders high up, and away from walls or other areas where cats can reach.
  • Some smaller birds may be discouraged from your feeding station by the larger visitors – so try leaving your bird food in two or three different locations in your garden so that they can eat in safety, and you can also consider dedicated feeders which have smaller holes for smaller species.

Hedgehogs

Food

  • Hedgehogs need a balanced diet to stay healthy, and food with a good Calcium:Phosphorous balance, to avoid getting Hedgehog Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
  • Whilst Peanuts, Sunflower Hearts and Mealworms aren’t specifically harmful to Hedgehogs, they don’t provide a good balance of Calcium to Phosphorous – so these should only be provided as part of a balanced diet. Ideally, better to provide our Hedgehog-specific foods instead.
  • The hedgehog pellets and muesli we offer will provide an excellent balance when used together. 

Drink

  • Be sure to leave some water out in a shallow dish, especially during the warmer summer months. Ensure the bowl is heavy, as hedgehogs are experts at treading on the edges of small bowls, and tipping them over!
  • NEVER leave out milk – Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, so cows’ milk and other milk products can cause sever digestive upset, causing diarrhoea, and may kill them.

 Environment

  • Where possible, leave small gaps between or under neighbouring fences, so that hedgehogs can easily travel between Gardens, and to help create a “Hedgehog Highway”!
  • Slug pellets are poisonous to hedgehogs, so should be avoided. Natural alternatives like crushed eggshells are safer.
  • Check for nesting hedgehogs before using your strimmer or mower and check your composter before forking through. Check bonfires thoroughly before lighting – you may be burning a hedgehog out of its home!
  • Cover any drain holes in your garden, and if you have a pond be sure to leave an escape route for any wayward Hedgehogs who accidentally go for a swim!

Food-specific tips

Mealworms

  • Mealworms are enjoyed by many different bird varieties, and you may see a frenzy of activity when you put them out! However they’re low in protein, so you should also offer some other bird seeds alongside, to help your feathered guests to get a more balanced diet.
  • Whilst Hedgehogs love Mealworms, they can become addicted to them, and they have a poor Calcium:Phosphorous ratio, so should only be provided as a supplement to other foods, but probably better to avoid in favour of hedgehog-specific foods (which can include small amounts of Mealworm) if you can . 
  • Avoid feeding Mealworms on the floor, to prevent hedgehogs from finding them.

Peanuts

  • Be sure to use Peanuts suitable for wildlife – NEVER use salted or flavoured peanuts.
  • Whole or larger Peanut chunks can choke younger/smaller birds, so always use a rigid mesh feeder so they can be enjoyed by smaller birds too. To attract smaller birds, try breaking up the Peanuts first – this can be easily done in a closed bag with a rolling pin.
  • Make sure the Peanuts you use are free from aflatoxins (all of ours are tested to be safe from aflatoxins.)

Hedgehog Muesli

  • Ark Hedgehog Muesli is less favoured by Cats, and so often fares better when left out overnight, however should not be fed as a complete diet on its own – best to combine it with Hedgehog Pellets too.

Hedgehog Pellets

  • Ark Hedgehog pellets can be enjoyed by Hedgehogs of all ages, and their shape and size help with dental hygiene. The pellets can also be soaked in warm water for a few minutes before serving to make them easier to eat for younger or frail hedgehogs.
  • If your Hedgehog Pellets are being eaten by cats, you could consider trying Hedgehog Muesli instead, or giving a balance of both.

Hygiene

  • Make sure to keep your feeding areas clean.
  • Regularly wash out feeders, trays and tables. 
  • Clean water stations every time you’re topping up.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling feeders and food, and particularly after cleaning your feed stations and feeders.