Jewellery Open House

Standard

I’ll be opening my doors this Saturday 2 December at my third Open House event in York.

Ethical handmade Christmas gifts

Ethical handmade Christmas gifts

It’s a chance to peruse my handmade silver jewellery and pick up leaflets, posters and information about helping hedgehogs. The proceeds support my work rescuing poorly and injured wild hedgehogs.

I’ll also have hedgehog Christmas cards, notebooks and tiny glass hedgehogs for sale.

23659453_1467888026582226_5744128550721093799_n

Hedgehog Christmas cards, notebooks and glass hedgehogs will also be for sale

You can find out more about the event here.

23905174_1472200009484361_7490496410678482413_n

Some of the gorgeous handmade jewellery that will be for sale at the Open House

I hope to see you there but, if you can’t make it, don’t worry because Little Silver Hedgehog is always open online at www.littlesilverhedgehog.etsy.com

You can also discover other ideas for ethical Christmas gifts on my blog.

Advertisements

Strimmed hedgehog

Hedgehog with strimmer injury
Standard

The sound of people people using a strimmer sets my teeth on edge. I hate them! They do so much damage to wildlife including hedgehogs, frogs and toads.

This is the story of Holly and her journey to recovery from a terrible strimmer wound. She was found at the end of July with her head sliced open, underneath a Holly bush. You can see from the pictures where the strimmer blade has cut deep into her head.

Holly is lucky – a few mm closer and the blade would have entered her skull.

When Holly was found, it was Summer and flies had laid eggs in the wound and hatched into maggots. These had to be painstakingly removed one by one and then the wound washed out with antimicrobial wound treatment and saline.

strimmer-injury-1

You can see where the blade has cut across Holly’s head

strimmer-injury-2

Flies had laid eggs in the open wound, which had hatched into maggots

Holly was put on a course of antibiotics and pain relief. The wound was cleaned daily to stop infection and a special wound gel was added to aid healing.

img_5427

Holly’s wound after around 10 days of treatment. It has scabbed over but needs cleaning daily to prevent infection.

Eventually, the wound healed and new spines started to grow through where the wound was.

strimmed-hedgehog-during-treatment

New spines starting to grow though – around a month after treatment started

img_5685

Holly fit and well and ready to go back to the wild.

Holly is incredibly lucky. Sadly, injuries like Holly’s are far from uncommon. Many hedgehogs are not so fortunate and strimmer and mowing injuries are a major cause of suffering and death. It also took me 6 weeks of intensive care to nurse her back to health. To help prevent injuries and suffering please:

  • Check all areas of long grass carefully before mowing or strimming. Hedgehogs nest in long grass.
  • Ideally keep areas of grass long for wildlife and don’t strim at all.
  • Encourage everyone you know to check before they mow – a simple check can save hedgehogs as well as frogs, toads and other wildlife that loves to nest or forage in long grass.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England and have nursed hundreds of hedgehogs back to health. You can support my work at www.littlesilverhedgehog.etsy.com

My blog is full of tips and advice on helping wild hedgehogs – please take a look around my other blog posts and see what you can do to help our spiky friends.

Save

Hedgehog friendly gardening

Feeding garden hedgehogs
Standard

The sound of a hedgehog snuffling round your garden has got to be one of nature’s most glorious delights but hedgehog numbers have dwindled in recent decades with habitat loss and human activity thought to be the biggest causes. There are now believed to be less than a million wild hedgehogs left in the UK, with gardens providing a vital stronghold.

Here are a few simple tips to help the spiky residents in your garden.

Before you start, get down on your hands and knees and think like a hedgehog! Take a good look around your garden from this new perspective. How easy is it to get between gardens? Are there any good hidey holes? What hazards are there at ground level?

Tip 1 – Make a hedgehog highway! Hedgehogs need access to lots of gardens to find enough food and to find a mate. They can travel up to 2 miles a night. Please provide a gap at least 5” square within or underneath wooden/wire fences to enable them to travel between neighbouring gardens.

10633672_826801097357592_3793020090034008757_o.jpg

A hedgehog hole linking my garden with my neighbour’s garden

 

Tip 2 – Provide a wild corner in your garden and don’t be too tidy – keep piles of leaves, logs and branches. These provide homes for insects (a hedgehog’s favourite food) and are also great hibernation sites.

12031573_878083095562725_5188161318803484175_o

I’ve turned a gap under a disused BBQ into a hedgehog house full of dried leaves and twigs. Great for insects and hedgehogs!

Tip 3 – Check before you use a strimmer on areas of long grass or fork over a compost heap – they may be home to a hedgehog.

Tip 4 – Avoid using pesticides, slug pellets and herbicides. These can all make hedgehogs very poorly and even cause death. My garden flourishes beautifully without them.

Tip 5 – Provide an escape route from ponds. Hedgehogs can swim but they will soon get tired and drown if they cannot find an easy escape route.

10475731_673632336007803_5490782353025590477_n

A corner of my garden left wild for hedgehogs to forage in

Tip 6 – Keep netting at least a foot off the ground. Hedgehogs can get trapped in it.

Tip 7 – Avoid dismantling sheds during the summer nesting period. Hedgehogs often make their nests under sheds.

Tip 8 – Leave out food and water. If you feed them, they will come! Here’s some advice on what to feed them.

10543594_832420926795609_648555195443977511_oTip 9 – Check for hedgehogs before you light a bonfire and ideally move the wood pile to a completely different spot on the day of the bonfire. Wood piles are ideal homes for hedgehogs.

Tip 10 – Cover drain holes and keep rubbish tidied away. Hedgehogs can get trapped in plastic and tins and may try to nest or hibernate in bags of garden rubbish left open.

Tip 11 – Plants, plants and more plants! Hedgehogs love foraging in the undergrowth for beetles and caterpillars. The more ground cover the better. Grow a wide range of native plants which will attract insects – read my blog about the top plants for your hedgehog haven

11825846_854055797965455_8932158671618834226_n

My garden is packed with shrubs and flowers to attract insects and provide cover for hedgehogs

Tip 12 – provide a hedgehog des-res. Give your spiky visitors a helping hand by providing them with a good quality hedgehog home. Fill it with some hay to create the perfect starter home.

12132557_887712147933153_3003938633891313433_o

My husband Joe with one of his homemade hedgehog houses. The divider helps stop wind, rain and predators entering the house.

Good luck and let me know how you get on!

You can find out more about me and my work rescuing hedgehogs here

Gifts that give back – building an ethical brand

Handmade silver nature jewellery
Standard

I make silver jewellery to support my hospital for poorly and injured hedgehogs and buy food and medicines to help them back to the wild. It’s a gift that gives back. My customers receive something beautiful for themselves or a loved one and these adorable garden residents are helped in the process.

LSHjewellerybox1

Silver jewellery by Little Silver Hedgehog

My jewellery is inspired by nature and wildlife and I work hard to carry these values throughout the business; from the materials I use to make the jewellery, to the boxes I package it in. Where possible, everything is recycled and recyclable.
I use silver clay to create my designs. It is an amazing product that allows nature to literally be imprinted upon silver. Leaves, flower heads, plant stems, shells, can all be pressed into the clay, which is then fired to 99% silver. Best of all, it is a recycled product, made from recycled metals including silver from film stock and negatives.

11884657_868540439850324_8072763198436740728_o

Designs made in silver clay ready for firing

Each piece of jewellery comes packaged in a Little Silver Hedgehog gift box – ready to give as a gift or to keep for yourself if you can’t bear to part with it. I use these gorgeous boxes from the Tiny Box Company. The card is made from consumer waste and the paper outer from sustainable sources. The inserts are made from recycled cotton. The outer boxes I use for sending orders through the post are also made of recycled card, which can itself be recycled.

il_570xN.781114015_m0yr

Little Silver Hedgehog gift boxes

As well as raising vital funds, my aim is also to use the jewellery to raise awareness of the plight of hedgehogs – whose numbers have dwindled in recent decades. There are now thought to be less than one million left in the wild with humans being the number one threat to their survival.

Each order includes a leaflet about how to help hedgehogs by feeding them, creating a wildlife garden and what to do if you find a poorly one out in daylight. I hope that all my customers will be inspired to do their bit and pass the information on to family or friends, multiplying the impact and the numbers I can reach with this vital message.

11412225_835502723154096_568123127824418007_o.jpg

An orphaned baby hoglet – one of the hedgehogs helped by my rescue work

I hope that my customers can take heart in the fact that their purchase helps a hedgehog and doesn’t hurt the planet in the process – it really is a gift that gives back.

www.littlesilverhedgehog.etsy.com

2015 – A spike in admissions

European hedgehog hoglet
Standard

Hoggy New Year! A huge thank you to everyone that has supported me on my journey and my third year of hedgehog rescue. This is a quick look back on Little Silver Hedgehog during 2015 and a look forward to the year ahead.

We started 2015 with 13 hedgehogs being over-wintered from 2014. Spring saw them successfully released back to the wild including my special boy, Max. He was found in Winter 2014 severely underweight and not eating. He was hand fed and given fluids all over Christmas including Christmas Day and lived in our spare bedroom to ensure he was warm. What a brilliant Christmas present when he turned a corner and started to thrive!

Max face.JPG

Max

The rest of the year brought in almost 70 hedgehogs – a huge spike in admissions on 2014 as awareness of Little Silver Hedgehog has grown and the public has become more knowledgeable of the plight facing our prickly pals.

Spring saw an influx of orphans including Fred and Ginger who had rolled out of their nest and down a steep bank. The bank was so overgrown it was impossible to find their nest again. ‘Peeping’ for their mum alerted the finder to their plight and they were luckily rescued. And baby Iggy who was found in a car park with no sign of his mum, severely dehydrated.

Hoglet heart Fred and Ginger June 2015.JPG

Fred and Ginger

Late Summer and Autumn and still they kept arriving. Many in Summer 2014 arrived with multiple internal parasites – roundworm, lungworm and fluke, on top of severe dehydration and starvation. A contrast to 2013 when most arrived with only one internal parasite. Cold, wet weather struck just as baby hedgehogs were emerging on their first foraging trips and food sources dwindled. We suffered a number of tragic losses – our worst since opening in 2012.

But there were also happy stories. Two babies, Spike and Fuzzypeg, whose nest had been attacked and had been left for days in the hot weather on their own on a lawn, survived. A miracle given that fly eggs had hatched on Spike and got inside his ear. They were the smallest orphans I have raised at only 66g and 70g.

11953425_864306976940337_5869535525633232796_o

Fuzzypeg, who arrived at only 66g

I learned a lot last year, including how to hand feed orphaned hoglets and to help them go to the toilet as well as how to remove maggots from ears – gross!

Hedgehogs kept coming right through December and we currently have 27 in care here or out with with foster carers. It’s a busy start to 2016!

Wildlife rescues are entirely self-funded and, with even more mouths to feed and medicines to buy, fundraising has been more important than ever. I am indebted to the many people who have donated food, equipment and money to help us keep going.

The handmade jewellery I create to raise funds also went from strength to strength in 2015 www.littlesilverhedgehog.etsy.com. I introduced new wildlife designs and created a new Little Silver Hedgehog logo, working with a local York illustrator. I wrote a leaflet to accompany each order to help spread the word about how people can help hedgehogs.

LSHjewellerybox1

Little Silver Hedgehog logo and jewellery

There is much to look forward to in 2016. I’m planning to increase the number of talks I give to help raise awareness of how people can help hedgehogs. My network of foster carers play a vital role over-wintering hedgehogs once they are fit and well and I’d like to expand and grow the army of volunteers I’ll need to help even more hedgehogs. I hope to find more time to be creative and create even more jewellery to help raise vital funds.

I hope 2016 is a happy and healthy one for hedgehogs but somehow I think we’ll be busier than ever….

Prickly flood evacuees

European hedgehog
Standard

The terrible floods in Northern England are all over the news and their impact on people and human life is absolutely devastating. But very few news channels are mentioning the horrific impact on wildlife.

Last night I welcomed 6 hedgehog evacuees from the RSPCA in York, which is at risk of flooding. All the animals have been evacuated for their safety. Dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, hedgehogs – the ark was full and all have gone to emergency homes until the flood waters subside.

The hedgehogs include this ‘old timer’ above. Her ginger spikes and pink nose (normally brown) give her age away. She has survived at least three winters but time has taken its toll and this year she has fared badly and is severely underweight.

1937217_1217089961641715_7720616151012721378_n

Flood waters encroach upon the RSPCA buildings in York

But despite her problems, she is one of the lucky ones. She is safe, dry and has a home. How many animals have lost their lives and homes in the floods? Farm animals and particularly sheep are susceptible to the effects of flooding with many grazing areas being located near rivers. Abandoned animals, neglected by their owners, may also have suffered.

Wildlife casualties will also be many – although the impact is difficult to quantify. They can’t be interviewed about how the flood waters have destroyed their homes. And it was already bad before the floods came. Hedgehogs were already teetering on the brink. Their numbers have declined rapidly since the 1950s and there are thought to be less than a million left in the wild. Will the floods hasten their demise?

But there may be a glimmer of hope. Hedgehog scientists have suggested that hedgehogs choose to nest on higher ground, avoiding the worst flood prone areas.

This mild weather also means that many have not hibernated and so may have stood a chance of reaching higher ground before they were washed away in the flood water.

I can but hope and we will know in the Spring when we see how many emerge from hibernation and whether my friends in the flood zone see their regular spikey visitors again….

1003593_1217089941641717_205624473669711892_n

The entrance to the York RSPCA under water

Feeding garden hedgehogs

Hedgehogs feeding in the garden
Standard

Hedgehog numbers are declining at an alarming rate, with there thought to be less than a million now left in the wild. Supplementary feeding is crucial to help them survive.

What do hedgehogs eat?

It is a myth that hedgehogs solely or mainly eat slugs. Whilst they do occasionally like to get their teeth into a juicy fat slug, they mainly eat insects, including beetles and caterpillars. Hedgehogs are also opportunistic and will eat a wide range of other foods including birds’ eggs and small dead animals like mice.

Too many slugs, snails and earthworms are bad for them as they carry lungworm and roundworm which, in large numbers, can cause hedgehogs to become very poorly and die.

One of the best things you can do to help hedgehogs find their favourite food sources is to grow a wide variety of shrubs and plants to attract insects. Also provide plenty of piles of old logs and other hidey holes for beetles.

Providing extra food and water helps to keep hedgehogs fit and healthy and to put on weight for hibernation. It also stops them resorting to worms and slugs. Supplementary feeding is particularly important in the Spring as hedgehogs are emerging hungry from hibernation and in the Autumn to help them get up to weight for Winter. Leave out a shallow bowl of water year round.

NEVER feed hedgehogs bread and milk. They are lactose intolerant and it can make them very ill.

Also avoid dried mealworms, peanut kibble and sunflower hearts. You can find out why here.

Suitable hedgehog foods include:

  • Meaty cat or dog food (they don’t like fish flavours)
  • Cat or kitten biscuits
  • Specialist hedgehog food e.g. Spike’s or Ark Wildlife

11891528_866053960098972_1510544505999199004_o

Watching hedgehogs feeding is a popular pass time for all members of our family, including our cat Alfie!

Silver jewellery supporting my hedgehog hospital