Stroud Gardening Club with the local Hedgehog Hospital

STROUD Gardening Club held their October meeting at the Congregational Church Rooms when Chairperson Sharon Pellatt welcomed everyone, and asked for a show of hands to gauge whether we run the Harvest Show next year following the success of the evening this year which took place in September.

This was unanimous, and the show will be put on in September next year.

Sharon then introduced John Crowther and Gillian from the local Hedgehog Hospital, and John started by telling the audience that it was the tenth anniversary of the setting up of the hospital, and in the first year there were only three or four hedgehogs to look after, but that last year there were 120.

Mostly the hedgehogs were sick/injured/orphans which are looked after until well enough to be re-released into the wild.

Generally, the hedgehog has two litters a year in April/May and in September/October with anything from three - six in a litter.

Second litter hedgehogs are more likely to need help, as they have not usually stored enough body fat to survive the winter.

They need to weigh about 500gms to survive without help.

Predators are mainly the badger and road traffic.

Their diet in the wild consists mainly of slugs/worms and water.

If found out in the daytime, hogs are usually sick, and we should call the hospital.

Elastic bands and the four hole plastic can holders are dangerous to hedgehogs, as is the green plastic netting used by gardeners, which can trap the hogs.

Gardeners should check the netting regularly.

Ponds are not normally dangerous for hedgehogs as they can swim, they just need a shallow area for them to climb out.

Bonfires which have been made but not lit can be used by hogs to sleep or hibernate; always check before setting fire to it.

Strimmers are dangerous to hogs, as they can slice into spines and even damage the skin.

Slug pellets are dangerous to hedgehogs; nematodes are better to avoid killing hogs.

Hedgehogs are in decline, mainly from loss of hedgerow which means the populations are dropping.

Use of insecticides and chemical weed controls are also to blame.

The badger also contributes to the decline of hedgehogs.

The average lifespan is only about two years, but some do survive five years.

John and Gillian brought a range of calendars, Christmas cards and stationery items all being sold in aid of the Hedgehog Hospital funds.

John also brought a little female hoglet, who was in hibernation, for members to see.

There was a question and answer session, followed by refreshments and cakes made by Jan and Sharon, and the raffle was drawn.

A number of members brought donations of chicken in jelly cat food to help feed the hogs through the winter if they are not big enough to hibernate.

Sharon brought the meeting to a close, and thanked John and Gillian for an extremely interesting evening.

Our next meeting is on Wednesday, November 21, when we welcome Dr Lee Hayward to speak on Fungi - The Forgotten Kingdom.

All members and visitors are welcome to join us at the Bedford Street Congregational Church Rooms, Stroud at 7.30pm.

Jan Davis - Secretary Stroud Gardening Club