FOUR years ago, (2012) a tiny orphaned duckling arrived at my front door. This was the start of the Wildlife Rescue. After the duckling arrived, a baby bird followed and then a baby hedgehog. I had to learn quickly as I had no formal training in Wildlife rehabilitation. The big wildlife hospitals offered training courses, so when I was able, I travelled to Gloucester and Somerset to do whatever courses were on offer.
At first, my conservatory was used for my little charges, but as spring moved into summer, the conservatory became too hot and I had no option but to find somewhere else.
I decided to sell my beloved car, a lovely Mitsibushi Warrior 4 x 4 in order to fund a wildlife cabin. I was so proud the day it was finished. But all too soon, the wildlife cabin was bursting at the seams and I extended the cabin to the right.
Still more animals arrived and soon a second extension was added to the left.
I have come to the conclusion that there will never be enough space and as awareness increases, so does the demand for a service such as Wildlife Rescue. I have a feeling that another move will be on the cards shortly !
With freshly painted white walls, white kitchen units and charcoal work surfaces, the wildlife cabin looks fresh and clean.
In one corner we have a multi fuel burner which keeps the cabin cosy in winter and also free from damp.
Hygiene is a top priority and all cages are cleaned daily and patients receive the highest standard of care possible with good quality foods which is always appropriate for their age and stage of development.
Spring heralds the start of the "orphan" season with hundreds of baby birds, hedgehogs, owls, kestrels, fox cubs, weasels and ducklings arriving at our door.
It's a busy time with the day starting at 5 am and not ending until 9pm or dusk. 15 hour days are the normal.
As spring moves into summer we see the arrival of the aerial birds, swifts, swallows and house martins.
As summer moves into Autumn, the second litters of orphaned baby hedgehogs arrive. These little ones will remain with us all through winter until the following spring when their weight will be sufficient for them to be released.
Winter is a quiet time in Wildlife Rescue, although on Christmas Day and New Year's Day admissions of adult owls involved in RTA's are not unknown.
January and February is a time to take last year's summer holiday with February seeing the lowest number of admissions. Phew !
AND THEN BACK TO MARCH when it begins all over again :)
The Wildlife Cabin, as it stands today, is cosy, compact and a great place to be. It is well equipped with four intensive care units, microscope, medicines, fridge, freezer and hot water boiler.
It may only be small, but I built it up from nothing and I am very proud.
On the 1st April, a female hedgehog was admitted with lacerations and a broken leg. These were caused by a dog attack. The leg had to be amputated
The Wildlife Orphanage has had an influx of small hedgehogs over the last few weeks. These are the Autumn Juveniles, born late in the year. They are often seen out in daytime and looking a bit wobbly. Please act quickly if you see one as they go downhill rapidly.
With winter just around the corner, these little hogs will be just too light for hibernation. They need to put on lots of weight to see them through the winter.
If you see a tiny hedgehog roaming about, often in daylight,
Please ring 0771 1883072 for advice.