Very often a hedgehog feeder needs to be made in a rush; you've seen the cat/fox polish off the hedgehog food and need to protect it with a feeder - that very night. But eventually that plastic box feeder will become brittle in the sun, and will need replacing. And you will get fed up lifting bricks/slabs etc that protect brick built feeding stations. And you'll tire of thinking of ways to outsmart the cat who defies all your carefully placed obstacles.
Making a proper wooden feeding station will make your life so much easier - trust me! I made this feeder 5 years ago and, apart from occasionally replacing the plastic cover it has required zero maintainance. And because of the design and placement the hogs love it and it is used every night.
Although we often see more than one hedgehog together in our gardens, that's only because they have been drawn to the same place by the food we provide. With the exception of young siblings, hedgehogs really are solitary animals and prefer not to meet each other (apart from in the mating season). This 'tunnel' design ensures that if the first hog is still eating when a second hog arrives, the first hog can leave through the opposite doorway, thus avoiding any skirmishes.
Any wood will do as long as it's reasonably thick (this is 2cm). Mine was made from some offcuts of floorboard I found in a skip.
Hedgehogs absolutely love tunnels, and that's just what this is, basically. It's a wooden box measuring 61cm long, 38cm wide, and 18cm high, with doorways at each end that are 12cm square. The hinged lid slightly overhangs it, to keep the wet weather out.
Hedgehogs are creatures of habit and, as prey animals, like to move along keeping close to a boundary (where shadows are deepest), so placing the feeder directly on their route (so they either have to enter it or walk around it) works best.
The size of the doorways is critical - a 12cm square admits all hogs (they have a very bendy bone structure that allows them access to the tightest of spaces) but deters foxes and most cats.
The baffles are also crucial, as they will stop cats and foxes taking the food by entering, or by stretching in a paw and hooking the dishes out. They are placed 15cm in front of the doorways, leaving a space in between for the food and water dishes.
Cut to size is a cheap rubber-backed doormat turned rubber side up, which lines and protects the floor from spills. Securing the baffles with just one long screw (instead of the usual two) allows them to be swung to one side, leaving a gap for a sheet of newspaper to be slid in. This makes morning cleaning so simple.
Some plastic cut to size and secured with staples makes it waterproof. It's not really necessary but if you want to paint it, please ensure the product you use says it is safe for animals, and coat just the outside only.
I have a lot of feeders and need to keep costs to an absolute minimum. But if you don't have to, then of course you can save a lot of work and buy a ready made feeding station. This beautiful feeder is cat and fox proof and is made by Riverside Woodcraft and cost £52.