Badger: Bill, Rocky, Pebbles, Daisy, Sandy & Barney
6 Badger cubs came into us with various injuries and unable to fend for themselves. They were called
Bill, Rocky, Maisy, Pebbles, Daisy, Sandy and Barney. One cute girl called - Maisy - was spotted by a kind man. He noticed what he believed to be a badgers bottom in his flowerpot. The soil and flowers had been removed with the powerful digging claws and the badger was head first in the soil sleeping and probably believed she was hiding. Maisy was too tiny to care for herself. The garden she was found in was visited by three setts and we felt it unsafe to leave her there as sometimes other badgers are not so welcoming to playful orphans.
Bill arrived with us from a cattle farmer who had found Bill laying by the body of his mum next to a busy road. Bill had a deep wound and an infection. The infection was so deep that it took a long time to heal and a lot of attention.
The badgers arrived one by one apart from a brother and sister pair, Rocky and Pebbles. They were found in a stream in a heavy current and had to be pulled to safety, the original person on the scene saw three cubs but only two were ever found. Badgers are strong swimmers but sometimes the currents are just too strong for cubs.
Barney was found by a stable. He hung around for a few days and was fed by a friendly lady - he hid between the tack room and a stable.
It was hoped mum would find him but it was not to be. He was loosing weight and was getting distressed so he was brought in to join some waiting step brothers and sisters.
The badgers were put together as soon as possible and were slowly weaned on to three meals a day. Their food was varied and included banana baby porridge topped with honey which was a firm favourite at breakfast. They were growing in size and mother nature was guiding them away from us.
They spent a couple of months with us here and were monitored by camera as they were introduced to each other and we slowly got to understand the very different personalities of the delightful black and white orphans. Rocky was the largest male and pretty much in charge. The group played, foraged, dug up and trashed every part of their accommodation with enthusiasm and cuteness and some pretty devastating claws.
Once they had destroyed their run here, they were ready to move to their release site.
The release run was purpose built for our fox and badger cubs. It has several meters of compacted soil with reinforced mesh to a similar depth. It allowed them to dig but not to dig out. They had a purpose built heated brick house containing a badger box, some underground plastic tunnels, a pond and even a very old growing Cherry Tree lovingly pruned to flourish by some very talented gardeners. The tree provided perfect roots to dig amongst and build their first sett.
The area was surveyed for other badgers, our local badger group helped with the survey and all was well.
The badgers spent the first few months in their heated house. It contained a purpose built badger box for them to sleep in. They were not disturbed from here. Badgers are very clean animals and keep their bedding pristine. The floor of the house was insulated for added protection. Badgers change their bedding regularly and love fresh hay to take into their sett. Our badgers, guided once again by mother nature, did this naturally.
Over the next few weeks the heating was turned down and the badgers slowly became acclimatised. The clan soon started digging as mother nature intended and within a few months had their own wonderful sett. Bill was one of the few badgers we actually got to see but we could monitor all of them on special cameras.
They have spent the last five months in this run, in their sett, playing and forming strong ties. Sometimes with some unusual friends - foxes!
Bill still remains friends with one of our foxes even though both are free.
In spite of our survey, we discovered we had another badger outside the run. He was clearly a cub and sniffed at our cage most nights. The badgers met each other through the mesh and seemed OK. Young cubs can be vulnerable to large boars but our badgers were so well fed they were enormous and towered over this non aggressive newcomer. We were concerned that having been brought up in the safety of the run the dangers of this interloper may not have occurred to our play loving orphans.
We released them finally a few weeks ago and watched on the many cameras that surround the runs. The badgers were able to pass through our badger gate for the first time and were free to come and go as they pleased into the outside world. I was particularly concerned for the badger that was visiting our runs and hoped that there would be peace.
Well I need not have worried because instead of our badgers making any attempt to leave their sett and dig a new one they brought home not one but two other badgers and now we have nine. YES NINE!!!!
I am not so sure that worked as planned as we were supposed to be reducing the numbers of badgers in our runs not increasing them. We didn’t expect them to leave right away but we certainly didn’t expect them to bring home some more.
The release site is perfect even in deep snow it has an artificial stream so water is abundant even in the freezing weather. They are fed at the moment and will be for approximately twelve weeks until the spring when food is in abundance. We will then remove the extra food but still continue to monitor.
We will keep you updated with their progress but for now we have done all we can. They are back where they belong and have a second chance.
We have named our two newcomers Peaches and Flash in honour of the wonderful Brian May - Brian celebrates Queen’s 40th Birthday this year.
Badgers can live up to 20 years in captivity and an average of 15 years in the wild so we are hoping to get a glimpse of this happy clan for some time to come. We love them and miss them and wish them well.
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