Rescued Badger Story - Huwie

Clwyd Badger Group Charity Number: 518271

Bringing Up Baby

In March I was called out to a farm in Connah's Quay, where the farmer had noticed a very young badger cub moving about in the straw in his hay barn. I was quite concerned about this as it was far too early in the year for any badger cub to be out of the sett on it's own.

When I arrived at the farm, the farmer took me to the barn, where I found the cub still shuffling about in the straw, and 'whickering' quite loudly. I picked it up and placed it in a box containing bedding material where it soon settled down. Even now, several months later, I am at a loss to know where the cub came from or how it came to be in the hay barn. The farmer could offer no explanation and the nearest sett was too far away for the young cub to have travelled such a distance on its own.

I took the cub to the Vet in Mold, where it was given a clean bill of health. It was then time for me to start on the task of hand-rearing the cub, which would take several weeks. Our Sanctuary Manager kindly gave me a lot of advice on how to carry out this work and also provided me with a large cage and bedding material, which proved invaluable. I also received advice from Secret World

The cub, which was named Huwie by one of our group members, was fed on 'puppy' powdered milk and water. Initially, Huwie had to be bottle-fed every two hours including nights! After a few days the feed was increased in volume and given every four hours.

A week after having Huwie, I had to transfer him to our Sanctuary Manager while I was in Cardiff for a week. When I returned, I had him back. He was now being fed at six-hourly intervals and the night feeds had been dispensed with. On the whole, Huwie took his feeds very well and he steadily gained weight over the weeks that he was with me. I would let him have the run of the kitchen every day, where he loved exploring although I had to watch him in case he disappeared behind the kitchen units.

I had the job of weighing Huwie every morning, something that he thoroughly disliked. I would place him in a box, which I would place on the scales. This always resulted in a pair of front paws appearing on the edge of the box followed by an angry looking badger face with Huwie demanding to know what I was trying to do to him! After five weeks of bottle-feeding, he started on solid food. It was now time to decide on a long-term plan for Huwie. He was now at an age where he needed to be integrated with other badgers. A decision was taken to take him to Secret World in Somerset, where he could be integrated with several other orphaned cubs.

He was first taken to Stapeley Grange in Cheshire to be tested, which proved negative. It was not thought wise to take to Stapeley to be rehabilitated, as they did not have any orphaned cubs in their compound.

My wife and I took Huwie down to Secret World on 25th April. He slept all of the way down. On arrival, he was placed in a pen with one other badger with whom he immediately made friends. A couple of weeks later, both badgers were moved to a larger pen with several other cubs where they had access to an out-door area where they could dig for worms to their heart's content. All of the badgers will be released together at a suitable site in the Autumn.

It was a privilege for me to look after Huwie. I can hope that he and his new found family have a happy life together at their eventual home.

by HR

We are putting biodiversity into practice!