Hedgehogs in the Hoghouse 

Good morning All! Great weather for ducks and frogs, but not quite so good for the human life-form. 

Lockdown continues, and so does my struggle with all of the Techy stuff to do with the installation and setting-up of mini-cameras and CCTV cameras in nest-boxes, a Hoghouse and a feeding pavilion (basically, a roof over a feed tray)!  

The Feeding Pavilion (!) above has the roof mounted on a cantilever frame with only two columns at the rear, in order to permit the least-obstructed view for the small PTZ CCTV camera out from under the eaves to the garden beyond. The camera is full technicolour in daylight, but changes to black-and-white imagery under InfraRed light during darkness. The Hoghouse (dark brown colour) can bee seen lurking behind the Pavilion on the flower bed, with the entrance on the fence-side to give some sense of security for the Hogs. 

As I have found to my delight / frustration / expense / assault-on-my-sanity, all of this is not in any way straightforward, with at least seven corners around the next one to be navigated, any number of which take me back to the fifth corner passed days prior, and leaving me with each of the myriad interleaved permutations ahead to be revisited yet again in the feint hope of attaining the next happy pace forward. This can be a deflating (and deflationary) experience  …..

And, all the while, as I wrote previously, the Hedgehogs, when present, remain blissfully unaware in their twitchy snorting sleep of the chaos that they have caused here. 

I am finding the Hedgehogs to be immersive and addictive and, as we all are aware, they do need any help that we can give to them.

I had been intending to write a blog (abridged) of the saga so far before now, but have been entirely taken over by the whole process of attempting to comprehend this equipment and related software that I have never before had anything to do with. And that is before I even get anywhere near the required video/audio editing software, which is a nightmare in itself! And on occasion I wish fervently that I had not seen that pair of Hedgehogs snuffling about in the garden during one balmy evening several months ago!

I have now got to the stage where I have (miles of) footage that, whilst all of strictly amateur quality (for which my apologies) shows the social (sometimes anti-) behaviour and interaction of the hedgehogs, and which can be both informative and entertaining to view. I would be very pleased if it were to bring you some pleasure too, and if you do view the YouTube channel please do feel free to share it if you believe that somebody else you know may enjoy the video clips. My intention overall, initially, was to provide accessible shelter here for the hedgehogs should they need or wish to use it. Having firstly determined that I should build a Hoghouse, I then thought I may as well install cameras in an attempt to monitor any occupancy and/or activity. 

I was astonished to see early on the second night of the Hoghouse being in-situ that one curious Hog paid a visit; and then, later that night, another Hog, and, over the next couple of weeks activity in and around increased manyfold. At one point there were three Hogs in the box (there have been four in there for a lengthy kip) with another two feeding outside at the same time. I had left the box empty to see whether the Hogs would drag in grass, leaves or other forms of bedding and, over a few days, they did so. They seemed to approve of the feeding-grass that I had left in a pipe adjacent to the entrance, and had dragged some inside; each individual Hog made it’s own temporary bed by shoving and pulling it all about until happy with the result. Whilst making adjustments to the cameras in the Hoghouse, I put more of the grass inside which, again, they seem to appreciate and happily bulldoze the grass and each other around the Hoghouse to settle in the best compromise spot they can engineer, often against the vocal and sometimes very physical opposition of an incumbent Hog. 

If I do actually succeed in overcoming the intransigence and obfuscation of the interlinked equipment and software – which regularly seems to have no intention whatsoever of talking to its mate on the other equipment – I intend to  put up video clips of different lengths and purpose. Some will show plenty of activity, some plenty of sleeping. Some will show singleton Hogs, others two or three – perhaps more – in the Hoghouse together.

In this weird stasis of Lockdown, I have found that watching a Hedgehog sleeping can be incredibly Therapeutic.  I believe that many others amongst us would benefit from this very simple view of life, too. 

My YouTube Channel: I have set up a window into this particular world of the Hedgehog:

The YouTube Channel is titled: HedgeHoggin’TheLimelight 

YouTube Channel URL:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc-uK0ujIfgFp4Le7eXd2xw

There are six short (14-seconds) and one longer video clip (8+ minutes) posted on there at present (18/11/20);  I had to start somewhere, and I hope that you do enjoy the clips. Again, my apologies for the less-than-desirable quality achieved, but I promise that I will try to do better! 

Here are the Links to all of the YouTube videos posted to date: (19/11/2020) : 

https://youtu.be/1Zl_9F0_m8Q

https://youtu.be/gKn1-qWoz5k

https://youtu.be/vq4kV8ts5Us

https://youtu.be/JhKp8f9IdWA

https://youtu.be/qgy_YQaUNo0

https://youtu.be/Q4bbJhZByBE

https://youtu.be/ObvXYhXmJhk

Best Wishes to All! Jerry  ……..  Oink, Oink ….. Snuffle….. Grunt !  

 

Published in Member Blogs
17 Comments
  1. Hi Jerry – loving your Hog Blogs.

  2. Bum! Didn’t mean to finish then…………..I would be interested to know what cameras you are using. I have rigged up all sorts of cams around the garden, nest box and hog box (empty apart from mouse and spider) I have configured my home network to give WiFi and Lan around most of the garden and sheds and also got a piece of software that “talks” to all my different cameras. If you wanted I would be happy to have a chat and see if I can help alleviate some of your pain. Contact details in my profile

    • Hi again Howard! Haha, is that me: the Bum?!!? (:O)))))
      Brill, thanks for your kind offer and I will make contact asI would be interested to learn more.

      I have fitted eight cameras in all so far. All of the gear that I have I have bought through Mike Nash at Handykam.com, which is their Family company; they supply numerous individuals and Organisations with a broad spectrum of kit, and do a lot of work with TV companies etc.

      I have five MiniCams, which are chinese import [what isn’t?!] and modified in some ways for specific use with wildlife. These are fitted into three of my nest boxes, and two in the Hoghouse. They have audio too, through a very sensitive inbuilt mic.

      I have one HIKvision MiniDome camera in the Owl box that I built, again with audio built-in.

      I have installed a bigger HIKvivion PTZ CCTV camera on a pole in the garden, at a height so that the lens is just below the level of the fence-top so as not to upset the (very accommodating and pleasant) neighbours. What I had not realised when reading the spec is that the lens will not elevate above the horizontal, which has stuffed my intention of a zoomed-in outside-view of the Owl box that I have built and mounted in the neighbour’s Maple tree at the far diagonal end of the garden. I have asked whether it is possible to set up the PTZ so that the view can be elevated to around 15-20 degrees above horizontal, which would fix that particular problem. If I had thought about it, as it is a CCTV camera for viewing Friday night brawls in the Gorbals (other Cities are similarly embellished!) at a control centre, of course those cameras are not mounted at street level where they can be easily ripped from the mountings and placed where the sun don’t shine! The cameras are mounted up high, with full vertical movement and 360 horizontal capability, so they do not need to look above the horizontal. ++++++++++++

      Hi again Howard! Haha, is that me: the Bum?!!? (:O)))))

      Brill, thanks for your kind offer and I will make contact as I would be interested to learn more.

      I have fitted eight cameras in all so far. All of the gear that I have I have bought through Mike Nash at Handykam.com, which is their Family company; they supply numerous individuals and Organisations with a broad spectrum of kit, and do a lot of work with TV companies etc.

      I have five MiniCams, which are chinese import [what isn’t?!] and modified in some ways for specific use with wildlife. These are fitted into three of my nest boxes, and two in the Hoghouse. They have audio too, through a very sensitive inbuilt mic. They are the size of a slightly oversized matchbox and can be either WiFi or hard wired, and are fitted for micro-SD card local recording too.

      I have one HIKvision Mini-Dome camera in the Owl box that I built, again with audio built-in.

      I have installed a bigger HIKvision PTZ CCTV camera on a pole in the garden, at a height so that the lens is just below the level of the fence-top so as not to upset the (very accommodating and pleasant) neighbours.
      What I had not realised when reading the spec is that the lens will not elevate above the horizontal, which has stuffed my intention of a zoomed-in outside-view of the Owl box that I have built and mounted in the neighbour’s Maple tree at the far diagonal end of the garden. I have asked whether it is possible to set up the PTZ so that the view can be elevated to around 15-20 degrees above horizontal, which would fix that particular problem.

      If I had thought more about it, since it is a CCTV camera for viewing Friday-night brawls in the Gorbals (other Cities are similarly embellished!) at a CCTV control centre, of course those cameras are not mounted at street level where they might (will) be easily ripped from their mountings and rammed into “a place where the sun don’t shine”! The cameras are mounted up high, with total relevant coverage permitted due to their full vertical movement and 360 horizontal capability, so they do not need to look above the horizontal.

      All of the cameras are Hard-wired using PoE via either individual supplies (for the CCTV PTZs, which are more power-hungry than the other six static, fixed-focus cameras) or through an 8-Port PoE Switch which I have fed into the LAN through a TP HomePlug (ie plug it into the electric mains and use that as the data transfer highway, rather than running even more cables through the house!).

      All of the cameras are taken from the LAN into a shiny new Network Video Recorder, which has 16 PoE Ports, although I do not use these currently with my (still-evolving) installation!
      The NVR is a HIKvision unit, Model Number DS-7616NI-K2/16P
      I have had two 6TB HDDs installed in mine, and it could take up to 14- or 16TB. Other units have different capacity capabilities – either more or less depending upon wat you require.
      The NVR can record in various modes, and I have mine set to continuous for all eight cameras, which has now filled up one of the 6TB HDDs over a period of around five-six weeks. There are so many different settings that can vary the file sizes of recordings, and I have not even had the time or inclination to look at those yet.
      A note of caution, and yet another thing I had not thought about but whucvh is not a show-stopper, is that, being CCTV industry standard haerdware and used in evidentiary processes, it is not possible to manage files as one would on a PC or MAC. You cannot delete files at all, other than by formatting the HDD in which ase you lose the lot. The whole idea is to monitor footage, and take video clips of whatever is of interest to you, exporting the clips via USB stick or onto another HDD as you wish.
      BUT, and here’s yet another thing: because it is industry standard CCTV stuff, the coding and protocols are specific to the units themselves, and are NOT easy to transfer to Mac, particularly, or even easily to Windows as far as I can see, as the Format is alien to those OS. This is one area that is doing my head in, because it lays on additional layeres of manipulation that I really could do without, and although I had made progress, over the past few days I have done something that now prevents me exporting to the USB stix and to a new HDD bought for that purpose. Aieeeeeee! I have borrowed one of my Daughter’s Windows-based laptops on which to re-format the various storage devices in the attempt to get back to where I was before, having done exactvly that in order to get things working. Hopefully, it will prove straightforward. Yeah, Right!!
      I hope that the above makes sense Howard, and I will out into a reply box on FB and also into a reply on your email (:O))))).
      Two days’ footage from eight cameras to look through now ……. Wish me perseverance – and preservation!
      Cheers again, Jerry

      • It was good to have a chat. This video clip is from one of my Indoor cameras in a box. https://youtu.be/tF3sJBgb13Q

        • The footage of the Vixen with her three cubs is great to see Howard, and thank you for showing it. I hope the fox Family does return so that you can enjoy them some more and take lots more footage over the months. Your idea for the Fox den sounds exciting and I am sure they would take well to such a palace! It would be a fantastic set-up with the cameras installed within. You’ll be living in your shed for months!

        • Hi Howard, yes it was good to talk with you, and thank you for your valuable input (:O))))

      • Doh! More apologies – in my (long) reply to Howard [Third in line from top in the comments above], the block of text before the row of ++++++++ was supposed to have been deleted – somehow I contrived in cut-and-paste for it to remain. Still – good value as you will have two bites at that particular cherry ….. or double-ennui!

  3. Hi Howard, Thank you, and I am very pleased to hear so! I am hoping that I can keep putting videos up on the YouTube channel! To be honest, I am really struggling with so much of the tech stuff, largely because it involves not just one new piece of kit and associated programmes and protocols, but many, and all at once! I am getting there, albeit at sub-Snail-pace and Mike, from whom I have bought all the gear, is very helpful indeed. And also very patient, indeed! (:O))))). You may have noticed from the time-stamp on the videos that I have posted that they are a tiny selection from only September 22-30 ish so far, and that means a wee bit of a backlog …… Yikes!
    Much of the footage involves sleeping Hogs, which tends to be rather soporific, and therefore not very conducive to productivity! Cheers, Jerry

  4. Jerry, if you use the share URLs for each video, rather than the page URLs, the videos will play on here. Anyway, interesting blog and great hog work 😀.

    • Thanks AJ, glad you like it. I am not sure exactly off-the-cuff how to do that wrt URLs, but will investigate on YT and see if I can make the change. !

    • Hi AJ, I have just gone to YouTube and for each video have clicked on the “Get Shareable Link” on the video choices. Will that have done the trick? My apologies – again – as I am completely new to this!

    • Hi again AJ! Sorry – me again! I think I have cracked it: I have copied the URL for each video into the Blog, all now viewable at the bottom of the text. They seem to work when I click on them, so hope the edit has worked for FB (:O))))) Fingers crossed!

  5. Wow! That looks like a majorly good set-up for the hedgehogs! I can well understand how addictive and yet therapeutic it is watching for them. Great quality images and videos and fascinating that you are getting to witness their interactions as a group.

    • Thanks Paul – the hogs are certainly keeping me pinned down, but I am very happy and privileged that they should choose to be here when they visit.

  6. great videos, keep them coming

    • Thank you Jayne – I will do my best (:O)))))). I haven’t laughed so much for years as when watching some of their antics!

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