Getting ready for winter's arrival

It does not seem possible that another month has just flown by. We seem to be forever playing catch up with the seasons. At minus four degrees this morning, we're realising that winter is very much on its way.

Saturday, 3rd November 2018, 11:09 am
Tiny hog.

Our swans and cygnets are doing well.

The tiny cygnet that came in last month is now gaining weight and we have to look carefully to pick him out at a distance.

We have taken in several wood pigeon squabs recently. We have had to hand-feed these downy, fat babies.

Sadly, we found as they grew bigger that they had a nasty fungal infection in their crops, which had been passed to them by their parents when they were fed as tiny babies. The infection then grows up into the throat of the bird so that it cannot eat and eventually dies of starvation.

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The infection can be treated if found early enough, but we suspect most of these young birds were orphaned because their parents had died of the infection. Sadly, we had to put the babies to sleep as by the time we were aware of the infection it was too late and was already blocking their throats.

The infection can occur in any bird, but particularly in birds that are fed food from the crop of the parent. A sad end to all the hours spent looking after the birds.

Our biggest problem at the moment is hedgehogs. We currently have 30 staying with us, all of which will have to stay with us through the winter.

Only 12 or so have been sponsored so if you would like to help, please call in and perhaps give sponsorship as a gift for a person who is fond of wildlife.

Every winter we have the problem of funding the food, heating and cleaning materials for all these little cuties. Sponsoring really helps, also any donation of canned dog food (the loaf variety preferred as it goes further), mealworms, clean hand towels and newspapers are also very gratefully received.

A very big thank you for the kind donation of four bales of straw for outside hog bedding. This should keep us going for some time. We rely on kind donations like this and could not keep going without the generosity of the public.

Our volunteers are noticing the change in the weather, indeed Kay and myself were out cleaning and feeding hogs n the outside hutches on Sunday morning when the heavens opened without warning and soaked us with icy rain.

We are also busy preparing for our Christmas (dare I say the word yet) Fair, which will be at Berwick Baptist Church Hall on Saturday, December 24. There will be seasonal sales, as well as a huge tombola and ‘Wine or Water’, which is always popular. This is our last big fund raiser of the year and we are hoping it will help keep us going through the rest of the winter.

We also have our Christmas Raffle, with first prize of a £50 Morrisons voucher. Tickets are on sale at the David Rollo Centre and Baby Steps shop in Marygate.