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Landscaper Eugene Higgins Helps His Furry Friends

Thursday, 5 October 2006


It's World Animal Week and our green fingered friend Eugene will be telling us what we can do to keep living animals and insects in the garden happy. As the cold weather sets in, this is the time to cater for your garden friends in whatever way you can.

World Animal Week runs this year from the 4th to the 9th of October. This week allows animal welfare organisations nationwide to highlight the importance of animal welfare in our society including nutritional needs.

World Animal Week is a very special week of the year when we celebrate the part that animals play in our lives and try to show them just how much they mean to us. This is a worldwide initiative, which is run by various animal welfare groups in various countries.

It takes place each year around October 4th, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, who is famous for his very special relationship with animals.

World Animal Week helps raise awareness of the unique needs of animals, specifically in relation to nutrition, exercise, spaying and grooming. By knowing more about the special needs of our pets, we will be able to look after them even better than we do at present, adopting a more responsible approach to their welfare.

You can log on to and click on the waw button. The website tells you all you need to know about looking after your pet as well as what's happening during World Animal Week.

Eugene is going to show us a few things you can do in your garden to help our furry friends
Make a Safe Home for Nature in your Garden
Hedgehog Box - €39.95

Contrary to rumor, hedgehogs do more than eat slugs and snails, in fact the lungworm (a disease) they carry can kill the poor hedgehog, and these guys are looking for a home at the moment. They might even be hibernating under your compost heap. They may wake up for a small jaunt during the winter so the hedgehog box will keep them safe. It should be placed in shelter under shrubs.
Bumble Bee -  €25.95
A hero of the Garden and the world but not to be confused with the honey bee. He/ she will be looking for a home for the Winter.
Blue Tit Bird Box - €16.95
We want to keep blue tits in the garden as they are sure to eat all the caterpillars in the spring. Clean out bird boxes before nesting starts as dirty boxes can harbour fleas and ticks which can be fatal for young birds,
Alternatively collect up your dogs moulted hair and place it in a hanging basket, the birds will use this for nest insulation.

A hedgehog's diet

It generally should consist of
30 per cent beetles
25 per cent caterpillars
11 per cent earthworms
10 per cent birds eggs
5 per cent slugs and snails (Unfortunately though they carry lungworm which can give them a smokers cough but also kill them)
Unfortunately once the weather gets colder it's harder to find sufficient amounts of these insects to nibble on.
Some Tips
. Once you begin to feed hedgehogs you must continue (creature habit)
. Slug pellets can kill them especially if they eat a slug or snail that has consumed some.
. They can be partial to a bit of cheese and also get very thirsty. They drink a lot of water.
. They also have very small teeth so make sure you chop up food for them.
. To help them do not give them bread ad milk. Bread will make their stomach swell and milk will give them diahorrea. Alternatively leave out tinned cat or dog food to help them double their body weight.

Feed the birds

. Create an area for birds and animals that has water and a shallow tray to drink from or create a small pond with shallow ends so that if the animal falls in it can get out.
. One million birds in the UK are saved every year as a result of people feeding them in the garden.
Suitable Seeds
Blackbird Food (Oat and Maize) - €3.95
Robin high energy treat with suet ball (fat based) - €3.95
Peanut triple pack - €3.95 - for wild birds - this is the time to put these out for the birds. Eugene advises to avoid using them in the spring as birds bring the peanuts back to their chicks who choke on them and die.
Suet Treat Pack - €2.55
Suet Pine Cone - €2.95

Useful Plants
Pyracantha - €8.95
These plants are a great example of a plant you should have in the garden. They com in red, yellow and orange. The berries on them are ripening at the moment and will get many birds through the winter. They are classed as a climber and have white flowers in summertime which the bees are partial to.
Viburnum -  €8.95
Birds eat the black berries that are on this plant at the moment. The Vibernum has white flowers that bloom in the winter. Bees will use the pollen in these flowers in the spring.
Heathers Willow Flame- €3.95
The first thing a bumble bee will look for in the spring is heather to get pollen for making honey.
Peter Sparks - €3.95
A contrasting heather to the previous one. This heather is an example of one that is flowering at the moment.

For More Information
Peckers for Animal boxes and food
Phone 01 201 9981
For Animal Welfare