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Encouraging wildlife.

Discussion in 'Flora & Fauna' started by Toddy, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    Oh very nice :D
    My Dad built boats like that :) I still have two set of hand made, leather grip, copper tipped, oars up the loft that he made, and thousands of drawings.
    He liked curves.
    We sometimes felt like we grew up in every wee boatyard in the Clyde. Everything from Zulus to dorys.

    Another fellow whose work you might like is Iain Oughtred :D
    http://www.oughtredboats.com
    Beautiful boats, they really are.
     
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  2. slowworm

    slowworm Settler

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    I noticed that as well. I might be a bit biased having my own free ranging hens but it's rather disappointing Sir Boyd doesn't seem to take into account animal welfare in his drive to intensify (i.e stuff more poor animals into a large shed).
     
  3. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    I read that article earlier today, and I admit I thought the same thing.
    I was under the impression that a mixed ecology and agriculture was a much better and more sustainable future, especially if animal welfare, and human, and green credentials were to be adhered to. Otherwise overcrowding leads to constant medication like antibiotics and insecticides.

    M
     
  4. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Crowding always leads to epidemic = principle of ecosystems, like it or not.
    Just a matter of waiting for the inevitable. Fish pond or a wheat field, same thing.
     
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  5. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    There's a quote that goes,
    "Mother Nature hates a monoculture, and throws every pest she can at it".

    I'm vegetarian, but I know fine well that growing crops exhaust unfertilised land. Not all fertilisers are benign in the wider scheme of things. From algal blooms to polluted rivers...yet land that is used in conjuction with livestock produces well.
    The euphemistically named 'night soil', i.e. human manure might be commonly used in other countries, but it's not considered suitable here.

    I reckon farming's hard work.

    M
     
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  6. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Once upon a time, there was a fertilizer experiment.
    The concept was to blow human sewage into an aspen forest.
    See what, if any, fertilizing effects it would have. So they spit tankers of the stuff into the forest.
    Apparently, a herd of elk found that forest patch, ate it all, killed the trees. End of experiment.

    Make the plant community too attractive and pay the price. Like kids stealing veg from a home garden.

    That's why, on bare mineral clay spoil, we elected to scatter clover seed.
    1. Erosion would reshape the landscape and flood the local water ways. Clover roots would be the soil binder.
    2. There's no nutrient in the clay mineral soil here. Less than inches below the surface,
    it's the leftovers from the last ice age lakes. Artificial fertilizer would be OK but we still need veg seed.
    3. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria in clover root nodules (like the Leguminoseae) add net new fixed nitrate to the soil.
    So does Alder (Alnus sp) but the micorhizzae is really slow to establish.
    4. So, over time, we went for 5 mile walks along the road shoulders, scattering clover seed.
    Fun to watch it grow, nobody knew what we had done. Clover-fed grouse and venison?
    = = =
    Hydroseeding is done along fresh, new major roads and berms. High pressure spray job.
    It's a water-resistant pulp of straw, mixed grass seed, adhesive and green paint.
    There's far better seed that could be used but it costs a bundle to collect.
     
  7. slowworm

    slowworm Settler

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    Sewage sludge from treatment works is frequently used by farmers. It can either be treated or untreated and has a very strong and unpleasant smell so is not generally used near built up areas.
     
  8. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    Ah, I understood that it was used on the forest plantings and long term improvement of 'not under immediate crop' land
     
  9. slowworm

    slowworm Settler

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  10. maximus otter

    maximus otter Member

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    Toddy's asked me to contribute a wee something about hedgehogs, as every year the mem and I end up rescuing and feeding up some undersized piggies. Here's an intro to these endearing, useful and endangered creatures:

    As a timely note - check your bonfires! To you, it's a cheerful blaze to share with your family. To a hedgehog, it's a dream home! If you haven't built it yet, protect the base with chicken wire or similar to prevent a piggy taking up residence. If you've already assembled it, try shifting the wood a few feet on the night before igniting it, or levering up the base tier to check that Mrs. Tiggywinkle hasn't taken up occupation. At least light only one side, to allow any creatures to make an escape, please.

    Hedgehog numbers have crashed over recent decades, down 66% in only the last 20 years. When I was a lad, there were 30,000,000 piggies in the UK. Now? Just 1 million...


    [​IMG]


    Piggies are currently trying to fatten up in order to survive winter. If they don't make 600 grams, they'll die. You can help.


    The gold standard would be to buy yourself a "hogitat" as an early Christmas present. They're readily available from Amazon for anywhere from just £20 to "the sky's the limit".


    You can also make a simple piggy feeding station out of a plastic storage box from your local High Street cheapo outlet. Instructions here.


    If nothing else, simply put out some Spike's hedgehog biscuits in a disposable takeaway tray or saucer, together with some clean tap water. The biscuits can also be ordered from Amazon here. Even more cheap and readily available are Tesco chicken & rice kitten biscuits at only £1.10 for 500g


    Don't put out bread and milk, it's an old wives' tale. It's actively harmful to piggies. Also avoid leaving out mealworms. They're a delicious treat for piggies, but too many can cause bone problems.


    Even though you think your garden has no 'hogs, either try installing a feeder or buy one for someone else.




    [​IMG]


    Doing nothing won't help; doing something may save what is rapidly becoming an endangered species.

    If you find an underweight piggy, or one that's feeding in the daytime, it's a sign that they need help. Don't worry about catching anything: hedgehogs carry no diseases that humans can catch, and their fleas won't infest humans or breed in houses. Neither will hedgehogs bite, except under the most stressful circumstances; and even then, their bite is pitiful against anything larger than a worm or larva!

    All veterinary surgeries will either care for hedgehogs free of charge, or refer you to a local volunteer or wildlife centre who will.


    Lots of useful info and contacts at the Hedgehog Preservation Society and St. Tiggywinkles.

    Here's our latest guest, little Pumpkin. Look into her eyes and tell me you won't help her to survive:

    [​IMG]


    maximus otter
     
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  11. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    Good on you ! :D

    Thank you for posting :cool: it's much appreciated.

    Some of those Hogitat's look very much like something folks interested in bushcraft might make :)

    M
     
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  12. slowworm

    slowworm Settler

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    For some reason hedgehogs are about the only animal I've not seen here even though it seems an ideal habitat. When we lived a few miles away we had one that lived under our shed and our dog always reacted to it when it was hogging about the garden; she has not reacted in the same way here hence thinking we don't have them.

    Is there any truth in what people say you'll find less hedgehogs about if you have badgers about? That's about the only reason I can think of why we don't have them.
     
  13. Nomad64

    Nomad64 Full Member

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  14. maximus otter

    maximus otter Member

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    Badgers do eat hedgehogs, but the main reasons for the decline in piggy numbers are, in my opinion:

    a) Habitat loss and denial. Hedgehogs roam a mile or two every night in search of food and/or mates. Modern 40’ x 40’ gardens, with walls and fences to ground level; no ponds; no plants except 1” high grass; no old trees, leaves or dead, fallen wood under which to shelter...well, they’re not exactly piggy paradise.

    b) Careless drivers. If that Facebook post announcing Kim Kardashian’s new nail polish colour has your eyes glued to your phone while you’re doing 30mph, you’re going to crush Mrs. Tiggywinkle. lf not something higher up the food chain...

    maximus otter
     
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  15. slowworm

    slowworm Settler

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm aware of the problems in general, having lived near a roads that were littered with squashed hogs. I'm just wondering about where I live now as we have fields of long grass, plenty of stacked brash for shelter, woodland, deep hedges etc but no hogs and no signs of them.

    If anything we'd be an ideal place to release any rehabilitated hogs as we even our road is very, very quiet.

    Perhaps they are avoiding the area as it does have loads of badgers.
     
  16. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Dog food and cat food is ok for hedgehogs I recall?
     
  17. maximus otter

    maximus otter Member

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    Yes. Chicken-based seems to be preferred.

    If local moggies or foxes steal it, buy a cheap plastic storage box from a local cheapo outlet, then convert it as in the video l linked to above.

    maximus otter
     
  18. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    Saw one near my parents street. Stood in the middle of a road junction. I stopped the van and started to get out to shoo it away. Fortunately it decided to move. Lovely seeing those little legs move.

    My partner asked what it was. It was simply not moving. She didn't think they moved like the way they do. We see a fair few round our way unfortunately. It's unfortunate because this was the only live one.

    My son joined Beavers in spring just as they did hedgehog week. The scouting group has its own building with grounds. I believe there's those hog houses for them, certainly a few suitable hideyholes around the place. It's always good to see kids groups teaching about nature. Think I'll consider volunteering as a leader to help them expand. It's so important to pass on a love for nature and the outdoors to kids. Especially when a lot of parents don't know much about it.
     
  19. Wander

    Wander Nomad

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    They are gorgeous pictures and it would take a heart of steel not to go all silly and soft looking at them.

    I own a 2.5 acre field that I have been trying to improve.
    A couple of years ago we created a couple of wood piles (made up of dropped and felled branches no broader than your arm, but most even smaller than that) a few feet tall. My actual motivation was to create a habitat for snakes and reptiles. But I've seen no evidence of those taking up residence. I think they've turned into insect ghettos (which is just fine).
    Now it occurs to me that they could just as well prove useful to hedgehogs (they are, after all, in many ways bonfire stacks).
    But I've seen no sign of hedgehogs either (though I haven't been looking because it never occurred to me).

    So, two questions.
    Firstly, what signs should I be looking for to tell if a hedgehog has taken up residence?
    Secondly, what things could I do to encourage hedgehogs in to the field?
     
  20. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    No such beasts in the wild here.
    I'd want to learn what all hedge hogs eat. Then, I'd work on enhancing those food types.
    I expect they will find it. Lovely to live where there's lots of food and shelter, yes?
     

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