Orphans through the seasons
We care for a range of young orphans, and they arrive through all the seasons, needing constant care. There's never a quiet moment and always lots to be done!
Springing into summer
From the very start of spring our centre is inundated with fledgling birds and orphaned and injured ducklings.
They keep coming through our doors right through the summer. Joanne Mead, wildlife supervisor at the centre, said:
Feeding the fledglings is a demanding job, each one needs to be fed using a syringe every 20 minutes and there are so many of them that by the time you’ve fed them all it’s time to go round again.
The ducklings are reared in small groups then moved on to a small shallow outside pool with other ducklings until they are ready to be released.
Unweaned hedgehogs are next up. These tiny creatures are admitted to what is affectionately known as ‘Hogwarts’ a multi-purpose room that is used to house many small animals throughout the year, including fledgling birds.
Through the warmest months
In June and July our first admissions of common seal pups start to arrive. Rehabilitating such large mammals is a demanding job as Joanne described:
It’s not just the seals that we have to lift, transport and move around the centre - it’s the fish. What they eat - 20 kilo blocks of fish.
Sometimes when we’ve got loads of seals in you might need to get six of those out a day that’s 120 kilos! Even with the help of someone else they’re still heavy and awkward - lifting in and out of the fridge. It’s very physical work.
Into autumn and the start of winter
November sees the arrival of the autumn litter of hedgehogs.
Once weaned the hoglets are fed with puppy food mixed with a special high calorie feed; progressing onto a mix of puppy food and dog food once they’re a bit bigger.
So many hedgehogs can be admitted to East Winch that the centre can get through 40 tins of puppy food per day.
Eventually the hedgehogs are moved out to the ‘beach huts’ - a series of garden sheds set up to help the young hedgehogs get used to living outside again before they are released. Joanne said:
It’s a very slow hardening off process to acclimatise the hedgehogs.
Christmas and the New Year
During the festive season, whilst most people are at home with their families, our isolation wards are busy with grey seal pups hungrily calling out for food and attention.
Seal pups will stay at the centre for an average of four months. They are the only wild animals which are given names whilst in our care. This enables our staff to easily recognise which seal needs which specific treatment.
During 2011 all of the common seal pups were named according to the theme ‘shipwrecks’. The grey seals are being named after 'creatures of the deep'. Find out how you can name a seals in our care through our sponsor a seal scheme.
Other admittances to East Winch
It's not just orphaned animals that come through the doors at East Winch.
Everyday is unpredictable as we admit all sorts of wildlife for a variety of reasons. Adult birds that have been blown off course during migration, young swans that have left their parents and become injured whilst finding their wings, and all sorts of other animals that have suffered injuries caused by the conflict between wildlife and humans are treated at our centre.
Read more about our work with injured wildlife.