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Three tonnes of fish and hundreds of tinned dog food- Christmas shopping list at RSPCA East Winch

PUBLISHED: 13:27 20 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:04 20 December 2017

Tina Bareford feeds the swans. Picture: Chris Bishop

Tina Bareford feeds the swans. Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

If you’re worrying about cooking Christmas lunch for the family spare a thought for staff at the RSPCA’s East Winch Wildlife Centre, who have more than 500 mouths to feed.

Kevin Leighton weighs one of the hundreds of hedghogs being cared for at the RSPCA's east Winch Wildlife Centre near King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop Kevin Leighton weighs one of the hundreds of hedghogs being cared for at the RSPCA's east Winch Wildlife Centre near King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop

Their festive guests include dozens of seals, owls, swans, ducks, deer and more than 300 hedgehogs.

It can be stressful not being able to get everything on the shopping list, but for the wildlife centre it is vital everything is delivered as ordered no matter how big the list.

To keep the animals fed for the next three weeks, the centre has ordered three tonnes of fish and hundreds of cans of dog food.

They have also recieved nearly 10,000 old newspapers weighing close to a tonne from Archant, in order to keep the poorly hedgehogs warm and their boxes regularly cleaned.

A hedgehog at the RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre. Picture: Chris Bishop A hedgehog at the RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre. Picture: Chris Bishop

Alison Charles, centre manager, said: “We are always using quite a large amount of food as we need to make sure the food is always there.

“You never know what is round the corner, there could be an oil spill or a tidal surge like we had in 2013, and a huge influx of animals come into the centre. The food never goes to waste,” she added.

Staff and volunteers will be working tirelessly all through Christmas to feed and care for all the animals at the centre, with some also needing medication.

The poorly animals need feeding at least three times a day, with the seals going through 120 kilos of fish and the hedgehogs chowing down on tins of dog food.

SEals await their lunch. Picture: Chris Bishop SEals await their lunch. Picture: Chris Bishop

The centre is now looking after a huge number of hedgehogs who have not been able to build enough fat reserves to survive the winter.

As more and more hedgehogs are being brought in, the centre is having to rely on donations to cope with the numbers.

Supervisor Kevin Leighton said: “We take it in turns to work on Christmas day, we need to have six people in the morning and then three in the evening.
“With the number of animals that need caring we would not really have skeleton staff.

“But it is what we are here for and we enjoy it,” he added.

A to do list at the centere. Picture: Chris Bishop A to do list at the centere. Picture: Chris Bishop

Centre manager Alison Charles mixes hedgehog food by the bowl full. Picture: Chris Bishop Centre manager Alison Charles mixes hedgehog food by the bowl full. Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant have donated newspapers to the RSPCA Wildlife Centre at East Winch, to help save the hedgehogs at the centre. Picture: Ian Burt Archant have donated newspapers to the RSPCA Wildlife Centre at East Winch, to help save the hedgehogs at the centre. Picture: Ian Burt

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