Most of our wildlife can cope with the cold but it will not survive without food and water. Some creatures hibernate when food supplies disappear, some migrate but many of our wildlife simply braves the winter with us. Food gives energy and energy is heat. Without energy they will not survive. Extreme weather can prevent our wildlife from finding its natural food. In extreme weather birds and wildlife will need feeding as in many cases their food supply will be unavailable. Nuts, fat balls, seeds meal worms, and fatty bread are all a good source of energy for both birds and squirrels and but water is essential. To stop water being frozen we use heat pads under metal water bowls, they can last for several hours in a sheltered location. Birds will use nesting boxes, garages, porches and sheds for shelter and it may be possible to leave these open or create small holes for them to access these areas.
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, lettuce and meal worms will help them survive along with water taken along in a bucket if the pond is frozen.
Foxes, badgers and hedgehogs eat lots of earthworms and beetles and none of these will be available through the frozen ground. They would all benefit from peanuts and dog food. Badgers will be greatful for hay used for their bedding and you can just leave it outside 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 550g, always call for advice.
Deer will 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 so please help them through this difficult time.
Please note that under normal circumstances we do not recommend feeding wild animals. This is in extreme weather only. Always go for the healthy option where ever possible and ensure your safety first.