What To Feed A Baby Squirrel?

Are you wondering what to feed a baby squirrel because you stumbled upon one? Well, having found a baby squirrel, the first thing to do is to take the baby to its mother. A mother squirrel will care better. If this fails, then take it to a wildlife rehabilitator. If it takes longer to get to a wildlife rehabilitator, then you have to care for the baby for a couple of days or longer. This is where you need a squirrel care guide.

The first thing to do is to clean up the baby and keep it warm. Make a nest box for the baby using nesting materials from the environment where you found it. You can also wrap it with a soft cloth. Keep a hot water bottle close to it to remain warm. You can also place a heating pad by the side of the container. Make sure the heating pad is not in the nest box with the baby squirrel. Warm baby squirrels are safer. However, if it gets too hot, it is not safe.

Check on the baby several times a day to make sure that it is safe and does not gets too hot. Give the baby squirrel a small amount of warm water to keep it hydrated. After this, you can feed the baby with real food for it to regain its full strength. You should check on the baby every two hours because baby squirrels require care like  a human baby.

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What is the Best food for a baby squirrel?

The first food to give a baby squirrel is milk formula, also called milk replacer. You can feed it with a puppy milk replacer. Puppy milk is preferable to that of cows or humans.  Esbilac puppy formula is particularly good. This formula is essential for helping the baby squirrel gain weight. The digestive system of the squirrel is better adapted to this formula at this stage.

What to Feed A Baby Squirrel

However, when the pet stores around you run out of puppy milk replacer, you can feed the squirrel with homemade goat milk formula (HGMF+). This food is most suitable when the squirrel is 2 weeks old.

The homemade goat milk formula plus is easy to make. The constituents are three tablespoons of goat milk and plain yogurt each, two tablespoons of heavy cream, and half an egg yolk. It is better if the goat milk is fresh rather than powdered or canned. However, if fresh goat milk is not readily available, the alternative can be mixed with water.

When the baby squirrel is between 2 to 4 weeks old, the homemade goat milk formula is still suitable. At this stage, you can alternate this formula with the fox valley 32/40 formula. This formula is rich and better acceptable to the squirrels. When the squirrel is 4 weeks old, it can take Fox Valley 20/50.

How to Prepare Baby Squirrel's Food?

Preparing food for baby squirrels is basically mixing the formula. It is advisable to mix the food every day but mixing it the previous night is still okay. If you are feeding it with powdered formula, mix it with warm water. 

After getting the food ready, store it in a refrigerator to preserve it for the next day. When it is time to feed the squirrel, stir the cold formula, and draw up the desired amount in a syringe. The next step is to make the food warm before feeding it to the squirrel. 

To make the food warm, submerge the syringe in a glass of hot water for up to 60 seconds or less. The idea is to get the food warm. After this, take out the syringe and mix the food in it by shaking the syringe or turning it upside down, tilting it to let the formula mix properly.

Squirrels’ food should not be too hot or cold. To decipher the right temperature, test the food with the back of your hand or wrist before feeding it. While feeding the squirrel, if the food gets too cold, dip the syringe back into the hot water and take another one.

What to consider when feeding a baby squirrel?

When feeding a baby squirrel, one factor to consoder is the squirrel’s age. The quantity of food to feed the squirrel depends on how many weeks of age it is. A 2 weeks old squirrel will take a milk replacer. As it approaches 4 weeks, it will take a fox valley 32/40. When it is 4 weeks old and more, it will take fox valley 20/50. 5When the baby is less than a week old up to five weeks old, feeding it fluid food is better.

The baby squirrel starts weaning at 7 weeks to 8 weeks old. At this stage, the rate of feeding becomes low. When the squirrel starts refusing food, it is a sign that they are getting towards the stage of taking solid foods. By the 8th week, they are ready to take solid foods. 

At this stage, the baby squirrel needs something hard to gnaw on. It will help their teeth develop better. It is advisable to start with foods that are not so hard like potatoes. After this, they can develop to more solid foods like twigs.

What to Feed A Baby Squirrel

Another factor to consider is the state of the baby squirrel. If the squirrel still has its eyes close, it is advisable to feed it 5% of its body weight. If the baby squirrel has its eyes open, you should feed it food equivalent to 7% of its body weight. 

If the baby squirrel is emaciated, the feeding will be slightly different from this. The squirrel needs to go slowly. You will have to start lower than 5%. The baby squirrel will not be able to take much food like other squirrels. After starting from a lower percentage, you will work it up to 7% at a slower rate. 

It is not difficult to get the bodyweight of the squirrel. Weigh it on a scale measured in grams. Having got the body weight,  multiply the number by 5% or 7% as the case may be. The resulting figure is the measure of food to give it. The food might be measured in cc’s or ml’s accordingly. You can feed the baby several times a day as is necessary. It can be every 4 hours or every 3 hours. You can feed the baby up to 6 times per day.

Complications to avoid when feeding a baby squirrel

While feeding a baby squirrel, complications like overfeeding can arise. When feeding the baby squirrel, avoid overfeeding. It can lead to bloating. But, when this happens to baby squirrels, they need to be stimulated by striking the genital area. 

You can also resolve this by submerging the baby squirrel halfway inside warm water. While still submerged, you should massage the squirrel’s stomach or stroke the genital area gently for some minutes. If effective, the baby squirrel will pass out urine, gas, or stool. Once this happens, it will be relieved. If, after the first warm water massage, the squirrel is not relieved, repeat the process.

Another complication to avoid is an aspiration. Aspiration occurs when the animal is misfed. If you feed the squirrel too fast and the fluid goes into its nose, it will lead to aspiration. When aspiration occurs, the fluid will bubble out of the nose.  If the fluid goes into the squirrel’s lungs, it will lead to pneumonia and this is bad. To avoid pneumonia, prevent the fluid from getting into the lungs when aspiration occurs.

What to Feed A Baby Squirrel

You can do this by tilting the squirrel forward and pointing its head downwards. Sustain the animal in this position until the fluid completely flows out of its nose. With this method, you should be able to help the baby recover. If it recovers, you can continue feeding it. If however, the condition persists, take it to a wildlife rehabilitator as fast as possible.

You can avoid aspiration from occurring by feeding the animal the right way and with the right feeder. Ideally, squirrels ought to be fed slowly. If fed very fast, it might lead to complications like an aspiration. When giving squirrels fluid, use a small syringe. A big syringe will let out the fluid at a rate too fast for the good of the animal. A syringe ranging from 1cc to 3cc will do just fine. A large syringe will possibly aspirate a baby squirrel.

Never feed baby squirrels with baby feeding bootle or an eyedropper. The rate of fluid flow from the feeder is usually too high for the baby squirrel. In a situation where there is no other choice but to use an eyedropper or baby feeding bottle, then you have to be careful. Do not allow the squirrel to suck directly on the feeder or eyedropper.  

The best practice will be to drop the fluid on the squirrel’s lips for it to lap. Also, when feeding it, hold the baby in an upright position so that it will not choke on the food. If it is fed in a lying position, it may swallow the food the wrong way.

FAQs

A baby squirrel will die if unfed after 24 hours.

To control your gluttonous squirrel, it would be helpful to put the squirrel’s feed in a medical pipette. You may also feed them on a table and put a bath towel on their pipette to curtail waste of milk.

A baby squirrel can survive on its own from 8-9 weeks.

The percentage of food You give to a baby squirrel should be 5% of its body weight. If the baby squirrel has opened its eyes, you should feed it food equivalent to 7% of its body weight. If the baby squirrel is emaciated, you will have to start feeding lower than 5% of its body weight.Gradually, you can work it up to 7%.

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Conclusion

Have you found a baby squirrel? Take the squirrel to its mother or find a wildlife rehabilitator to better care for it. Where taking the baby to a wildlife rehabilitation center is not feasible, make sure you keep it safe. 

Keep the baby warm by placing it close to a heat source like a hot water bottle or heating pad. If it is a heating pad, make sure it is only on one side and not inside the nesting box. After this, you can give it food after deciphering how many weeks of age it is. Warm baby squirrels are safer.

If the baby has its eyes closed, feed it with food 5% of its body weight. But, with its eyes open 7% is advisable. Do not feed it solid food but fluid. Esbilac puppy formula, HGMF+ will keep the baby well fed. Keep in mind that squirrel babies need care like a human baby. So check on it every 2 hours.

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