Feeding badgers in your garden will divide opinions as some people love these furry animals, while others don’t want them anywhere near their homes.
Badgers are wild animals and can find food in the wild. However, feeding badgers gives them a source of food that they may not be able to find in the wild. Do not let them become reliant on your generosity, and remember to feed them responsibly.
If you want to feed badgers, especially during the most challenging times of the year, you can do so. However, it is essential to consider the pros and cons and feed them responsibly.
Benefits of feeding badgers
Badgers have different strategies and behaviours depending on their environment when finding food. Badgers will take advantage of any food offered via trash or food deliberately left out.
Badgers are mostly nocturnal, coming out to feast at night, but you can still enjoy watching them from a safe distance. This gives the animals a chance to feed on a nutrient-rich meal if they struggle during colder months while you learn more about their behaviour.
If you decide to start feeding animals in your garden, consider setting up some remote cameras. This is a great way to learn more about their habits and preferences. You can see what they eat first, what they do with the food, and how often they appear.
This information can help you adapt the food you put out to their tastes and provide better portions. You will also see what other animals are benefiting from your efforts.
Badgers aren’t as dangerous as their reputation suggests. Badgers are often portrayed as vicious creatures, and there are unjust stories about them killing pets because they have been seen eating roadkill.
Badgers can be a threat to your cats and dogs. However, they aren’t going to attack them for food. But, badgers will get aggressive to defend themselves if needed. If a badger was cornered, it could bare its teeth and attack. However, they are more likely to run away.
Disadvantages of feeding badgers
While badgers don’t pose a risk to cats and dogs, which can quickly come inside and give the badger some space, there may be a problem in encouraging badgers if you have other animals.
Smaller animals that live in runs or hutches outside could be seen as easy prey as badgers eat large rodents. There are also many cases of badgers killing chickens and taking their eggs.
It is essential to feed badgers responsibly. Watch out that you aren’t attracting them to an area that isn’t sustainable. Could they become overly reliant on you but at risk from your neighbours or busy roads? If so, please don’t start feeding them.
Don’t encourage badgers into your garden to feed them and then get upset when they start burrowing or making a home in your garden.
What do badgers eat?
Badgers have a varied diet and will take advantage of what they can get. Badgers shouldn’t need supplemental feeding unless the weather is terrible. However, they will still be grateful for anything offered.
Badgers have a varied carnivorous diet of kinds of rodents and small mammals. They use their claws not just for digging burrows, and their powerful jaws can make short work of all types of animals.
Badgers will feed on squirrels, moles, rats, and similar creatures. They are also opportunistic enough to eat small amphibians and will feed on carrion when they need to.
Badgers will also cache food for later. This is a great strategy that allows them to save large meals for later. They can stock up when they make a big kill or find something large and return to the spot if they struggle to find food the next day.
One of the most remarkable examples of this is the badger that buried a calf over many nights.
What to feed badgers
If you have a secure environment and the space for badgers and want to help the local population, you need to know what to feed them.
The badger’s carnivorous diet in the wild means that you need to replicate this with plenty of meat. The best way to do this is to get fresh meat and leave it out in a bowl.
Cat food or dog food is a great substitute and will be a nice meal for a badger. Just make sure that it isn’t processed meat as this can be too salty and may contain other dangerous ingredients.
Another great source of food for badgers is eggs. They will happily take nutritious eggs as they are easy snacks full of energy. You can leave some raw eggs out beside the bowl of meat or hide them around the garden for the badgers to sniff out and find.
A large part of a badger’s diet consists of worms. Mealworms are easy to find in most pet stores as bird food, so these can be put out for them.
Although they are carnivores, badgers also enjoy many different types of fruit and nuts. Study which ones they like and which nuts they leave.
Remember to provide plenty of fresh food and replenish the bowls each night. Just because they can eat carrion doesn’t mean they should be left with old meat. There is a chance that the badger won’t return each night, as they may have other gardens and feeding areas to try first. However, if you offer just enough fresh food each night, they may return.
Don’t forget to leave a bowl of fresh water out beside the food. Hydration is essential, and there may not be that many freshwater sources close by. Please don’t put out milk as the badgers cannot digest it properly, which could make them ill.
Feeding badgers in your garden can be a rewarding experience if you start to see the same individuals coming back regularly.
You will learn more about these beautiful animals’ characteristics and personalities and know you are helping them out. Just make sure you can do so responsibly before you start.