A wildlife rescue worker has told how her life was turned upside down when she became a foster mum to FIVE orphaned baby badgers

·4-min read

A wildlife rescue worker has told how her life was turned upside down when she became a foster mum to five orphaned baby - BADGERS.

Hayley Robinson, 27, had no choice but to step up and be a round-the-clock full time mum to the days old cubs who were yet to open their eyes.

The wildlife rescue centre worker was looking after just one tiny badger when another FOUR were brought in days later after their mother abandoned their flooded sett.

Too tiny to leave at the rescue centre where she works, she had to bring the five - Valentine, Rose, Cupid, Juliette and Casanova - home so she could be on hand 24/7.

Just like all first-time new parents, her nights are filled with round the clock feeds, initially waking up every two hours to feed the squeaking hungry newborns.

And after sleepless nights, she bundles them all into their incubator which she straps into the passenger seat of her car, to take them to work with her.

Between sterilising bottles and syringe feeding, she's also had to step up and perform the grooming, cleaning and even potty training their mum would usually do.

A month in, she still has four more weeks of intense mum duty before the cubs are big enough to be left alone at Cuan Wildlife Rescue ahead of their release back into the wild.

Hayley, who is single and lives in Wolverhampton, said: "It's definitely unusual having five badgers in the house.

"It's good fun, but very demanding.

"When they first arrived I was getting up every two hours to feed them throughout the night - it is like having a new-born baby, times five!

"Outside of this industry, people would never normally see animals this small, so I wanted to give people an insight into my world.

"They're adorable to have around, and I can't wait for them to start playing and eating real food - but I know we're working towards the end goal of releasing them back into the wild.

"That's where they should be - so it's great to play part in that."

A single rescued badger cub was brought to Cuan Wildlife Rescue in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, on February 16.

Just a few days old, it was found abandoned by a badger rescue group in Derbyshire.

Hayley agreed to become foster mum to the tiny cub, but she couldn't have predicted that just days later, another four tiny cubs would also arrive after being rescued from their flooded home by members of the public.

Her job involved sterilising and bottle-feeding the cubs every two hours, as well as cleaning out their bedding and helping them go to the toilet.

She described how she would traipse downstairs in her two-bed home several times throughout the night to feed the cubs in their bed in her living room.

She said: "As cute as they were, it was definitely demanding at first.

"I was having to take power-naps between feeds!"

Hayley shared a video of the realities of being a full-time foster mum to five baby badgers - including hand feeding them with syringes.

She added: "Outside this industry, you'd never normally see them this small, so it's nice to share the experience with people and show the badgers' progress as they grow."

Now around five weeks old, the cubs are old enough to sleep through the night without regular feeds.

Hayley has been taking them into the Wildlife Centre with her in the daytime, and they are beginning to get their black and white markings and open their eyes.

Hayley said: "They've grown so much already - but I must say it's nice to get a full night's sleep!

"I'll probably have them for another four weeks yet, before they can go to live at the rescue centre - so my job is far from over."

Once they've been moved to the rescue centre, they will live there before being released into a safe man-made home in the wild in autumn.

Before they are released they'll be tested for and vaccinated against bovine tuberculosis.

Hayley said she'll miss the badgers when they eventually return to the wild.

She said: "In this job, it's not just about liking animals - they become your life and you think about them all the time.

"Sometimes you have to put your own feelings aside and do what's right for the animals - even if all you want to do is give them a cuddle.

"As much as I enjoy having them at home with me, I have to keep the end goal in mind - to give them the life they deserve back in the wild, so they can live like proper badgers."