BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine

Garden guests vs pesky pests


For the last three years we have fed hedgehogs in our garden every night, summer and winter. In summer we have had as many as five feeding at the same time. They mostly eat specific hedgehog food, but will also eat the cat and dog food that we put out for the foxes, which we also feed regularly. We have enclosed a photo (above) of a hedgehog and fox feeding together – a common occurrence.

We are also visited often by a very active wood mouse, which eats the hedgehog food. A number of the local cats also come in to eat the tinned food; they appear not to be bothered by the hedgehogs, who ignore them and carry on feeding.

Our garden is very wildlife-orientated. There are all types of plants and it’s definitely peat-free, without pesticides. During the recent RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch we recorded over 50 different birds on our feeding stations.

Joyce and Keith Sims, Somerset

We have for years fed birds in our garden using bird feeders. Now in our early 80s, we are no longer able to do this.

Recently a neighbour said that he had found rats and mice nesting under his floorboard­s and that he expected they had been encouraged by “well-intentione­d people putting out food for wildlife”.

He perhaps has a valid point to make, and reading his comments, should gardeners continue to feed birds?

Alan Luff, by email

OUR WILDLIFE EDITOR SAYS: To avoid pest and avian disease problems, it’s best to feed birds by creating natural habitats, where they have reliable natural food sources. Actions such as growing native plants for invertebra­tes, letting seedheads develop and growing plants that produce berries will lead to a functional ecosystem that is much better for the birds and far less likely to attract rodents.

 ?? ?? Feeding wildlife in the garden can bring in all sorts of creatures
Feeding wildlife in the garden can bring in all sorts of creatures

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