Most of our wildlife can cope with the cold but will not survive without food and water. Some creatures hibernate when food supplies disappear , some migrate but most of wildlife braves the winter with us,
Food gives energy and energy is heat. Extreme weather can also prevent our wildlife from finding its natural food.
Birds and wildlife will need feeding as in many cases their food supply will be unavailable.
Nuts, fat balls, seeds meal worms, left over cakes and bread will be good for most birds and squirrels and but water is essential . Birds will use nesting boxes and garages, porches and sheds for shelter.
Waterfowl not only drink the water they swim in but also feed in it. Frozen ponds will prevent them from finding food or water. Breads, seeds and meal worms will help them survive along with water taken along in a bucket.
Foxes, badgers and hedgehogs eat vast amounts of earthworms and beetles and none of these will be available through the frozen ground. They would all benefit from left over cakes and bread and peanuts and dog food. Badgers will benefit from hay for their bedding, just leave it out side their setts.
Hedgehogs often wake through the winter hibernation so please be vigilant for them especially any underweight hedgehogs as these should be taken to your nearest wildlife rescues. Minimum weight is 650g
Deer will eat bread and cakes, they will also eat goat food and rabbit mix. Deer are often unable to find the grass and shoots they need under snow.
If you are concerned about specific creatures please do not hesitate to contact us for advice and help on all aspects of wildlife care through this cold weather.
Food and water are a matter of life and death to our creatures please help them through this difficult time.
Please note that under normal circumstances we do not recommend feeding wild animals cakes as just like us it’s not good for their health on a long term basis. This is in extreme weather only. Always go for the health option where ever possible and ensure your safety first.
FREEZING PONDS AND AMPHIBIANS
Ponds are a fantastic ways of attracting wildlife into your garden and create permanent and temporary homes for a wide spectrum of insects and amphibians.
Fast flowing water does not freeze as you can see from this man made stream below only the slower moving edges have frozen. However in extreme weather a powerful pump will be needed to prevent water freezing.
Even when the pond freezes over fully life continues underneath. Many amphibians hibernate in the sludge at the bottom of the pond. Most amphibians are equipped for this temporary freeze. If the weather is harsh and prolonged the freeze can sometimes trap harmful gasses below the ice.
Do not attempt to smash the ice. To create a hole in your frozen pond place a bottle filled with hot water on the ice and it will slowly melt a hole and allow any trapped gasses to release. If this is carried out daily in extreme weather it can be very effective. During short freeze periods your pond life will be normally be fine.