Six simple ways you can help animals in your garden this winter

As we plough towards the winter season weather changes will begin to affect wildlife across the UK.

Hedgehogs are at their most vulnerable in the autumn and winter (photo: Adobe)
Hedgehogs are at their most vulnerable in the autumn and winter (photo: Adobe)

With lower temperatures disrupting hibernations and plant growth, animals and nature will need extra attention.

So, how can we help the wildlife in our gardens this winter?

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The original wooden duck company DCUK has teamed up with Sean McMenemy, wildlife expert and founder of bird food provider Ark Wildlife, to provide gardening guidance for keeping animals in mind.

Most gardens can accommodate a bird box (photo: Adobe)
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Don’t cut the grass

Take advantage of not having to cut the grass often in winter months.

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“More grass means more habitats for all kinds of animals,” says Sean. “You can achieve a beautiful look with a mix of grasses and wildflowers, helped along by using wildflower seed balls.”

Bug Hotel

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Next time the garden is being tidied, put aside any twigs, leaves, stones and foliage and create a pile in a quieter part of the garden.

“Beneficial insects like damp and undisturbed spaces to shelter in throughout the winter months,” says Sean. “This is why they often take up residence in small piles of logs or stones that are found in gardens.”

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Hedgehog House

Hedgehogs, which have hugely dropped in numbers over the years, are at their most vulnerable in the autumn and winter so why not build them their very own home?

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“The best place to put a hedgehog house out is a quiet, shaded position in your garden (ideally facing east to south), where the entrance hole will be shielded from bad weather,” says Sean.

Feeders

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Set up feeders, birdhouses and bird baths throughout the garden and buy high-protein foods such as fat balls, nuts and sunflower seeds as an ideal food choice.

“Blue tits and house sparrows will flock to a bird box attached to the wall of a house,” says Sean.

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Don’t overdo it

Try to avoid making too many adjustments to the garden as it could affect any areas where wildlife has started to adapt to its surroundings.

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“Although there are some changes we should consider making, we still need to appreciate nature in all its glory and not exercise too much control,” says Sean.

Injured animals

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If there is an injured animal in your garden, approach with caution as it could be distressed and react with a bite or scratch.

Sean says to contact your local rescue centre for advice on how to proceed.