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Thread: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

  1. #1

    Default Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    I have a bird feeder that I fill up throughout the winter which includs hulled millet, hulled peanuts and hulled sesame seeds. This is for the birds but the wild squirrels eat it as well. I also put hulled peanuts aside for the squirrels to eat. The food is quite expensive in the bird feeder but is being wiped out daily (I am guessing by the squirrels). So I am looking to supplement the squirrels diet with healthy food options in my fridge that I may not use and am going to throw out. Can I please get a list of healthy foods for squirrels that I can put out for them to feed on daily in hopes that I can save money on the bird seed....

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition


    actually, there is a good chance the millet and sesame seeds are eaten by birds, too.
    If you could find unhulled sesame seeds that would be better b/c unhulled sesame seeds have more calcium

    If you would like to help your wilds with nutrition during winter, there are different things you could do:

    1. you can give them peeled apple slices, bananan and kiwi slices, avocado - no pit, no skin because they are toxic. Other veggies that wilds may eat are belgian endive, chickory/escarole, cucumber slices.
    Generally, wilds are not into our veggies because they have their wild foods.
    But in my experience the foods above have been eaten by wilds, too, frequently.

    2. You could also buy commercial rodent block. At pet stores you could look for Kaytee Forti diet for rats and mice, blue bag (not green bag - breen is really green).
    There is also Harlan Teklad block but it has to be ordered online.

    When/if you buy commercial block, you can do a couple of things with them (because no wild in their right mind will eat a plain commercial rodent block):
    a) grind the block, mix it with enough baby food to make a pliable dough.
    Add some flavorful nut butter (natural pb, almond etc). Just enough butter to make the dough flavorful (nut butter amount will be just under the amount of ground block).
    Instead of nut butters, you can ground up some nuts - about the same amount as the block, and mix them. you may have to use something like pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts. I find that almonds do not add enough flavor. At least, that has been my experience.

    once you mix all of the above, make into balls and feed.

    b) one of people here - CritterMom - takes blocks, pours some nut butter and a small amount of veggie oil over the blocks, nukes until the butter is hot - it penetrates the block very well that way. Stir and make sure blocks are well coated and soaked.
    Let them cool off a bit and feed.
    If you are interested in this, you may want to contact CritterMom through a private message for more details, because I may have missed something.

    Also, look for in-shell nuts - almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans - at supermarkets and Walmart - they will go on sale soon after Christmas. Stock up, keep in the fridge (or freezer) and feed them throughout the winter.

    If you feed peanuts, make sure they are roasted.

    others will chime in.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    one VERY important thing:

    do not leave food out overnight or you will end up with raccoons, especially, in warm months.

    Always clean up your feeders by the end of the day

  4. #4

    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    A couple things that I used to think of as garbage and throw out and now feed to squirrels: 1) The seed cores of green/yellow/red sweet peppers; and 2) The seeds from squash, pumpkins, and just about anything else. They'll also eat just about any kind of fruit, and many vegetables, including lettuces. Truth be told, I kind of raid the trash at work because we have a couple places nearby that include an apple or orange with takeout lunches but probably only half the people eat them. I take them and slice them up and they disappear within minutes.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    everyone for the advice.

    I have alot of those in my fridge that I sometimes do not eat before they expire. So, I will be happy to treat the squirrels to it I have some apples that I have to throw out but now will skin and cut up and give to the squirrels for christmas morning. they deserve to be treated special on christmas to.

    Can they eat skinned lemons?

    I use hulled seeds and nuts because I don't like the weeds that grow from the unhulled ones.

    I just looked out the back window and there are a bunch of birds hidden in my cedars and 5 on my fence and 3 at the feeder. Oh ya, and 2 squirrels on the fence

  6. #6

    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    I'm not sure why Astra instructs to peel the apples unless she's concerned about pesticides. I just wash mine thoroughly and the squirrels eat the whole thing. There's actually a lot of nutrients in the apple skin.

    I have never feed squirrels lemons, but I have seen people do it and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. They actually contain a lot of sugar. If you're going to throw them out, you've got nothing to lose. Different squirrels have different tastes. For example, though many if not most squirrels seem to like red bell pepper, the ones around here won't touch it. They'll eat the seeds and that's about it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    Quote Originally Posted by farrelli
    I'm not sure why Astra instructs to peel the apples unless she's concerned about pesticides. I just wash mine thoroughly and the squirrels eat the whole thing. There's actually a lot of nutrients in the apple skin.
    the reason I peel, sometimes, is that younger juvies can choke on skin.
    It is similar to grapes - babies and juvies in rehab easily choke on skin, that's why even grapes should be peeled for them (as well as the center-tready-thingy should be taken out).
    I guess, it's a habit from feeding rehabbed squirrels

    BUT even in my experience with the wilds - they don't care for the skin: they either peel it off, or they kind of scoop the apple meat and leave the skin.
    And since there is a risk of accidental choking for juvies,
    I try to peel apples whenever possible

  8. #8

    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    Good to know. Mine eat the skin but come juvenile season, I'll start peeling. What a pain!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    Quote Originally Posted by farrelli
    Good to know. Mine eat the skin but come juvenile season, I'll start peeling. What a pain!
    not that you have to. Some ppl give unpeeled slices.
    After all, apple skin is thicker than grape skin,
    But I prefer to be on the safe side - i'd rather peel that apple than deal with choking.

    But if you decide to give grapes - they do have to be peeled and at least halved to remove the thready thing in the centre

    most adult squrrels know to peel grapes and apples, but... don't want to take chances with juvies

  10. #10

    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    I gave some sliced apples to the squirrels on Christmas Day! I did see a bird try to fly away with a piece. Not sure if it was the squirrels that ate them but by the end of the day they were gone.

    So, I was blaming the squirrels for eating me out of the bird seed every day. But since I have been home for a week and half on holidays I think I have to retrack my statement. I have been doing a fair amount of bird watching throughout the day at my bird feeder. And there is a constant flow of birds throughout the day. Way more then I thought previous. I thought they came maybe 3 times a day. Nope, I think they take shifts all day...lol! Now I am thinking my birdfeeder is the community buffet for the birds. I have also seen the squirrels on the bird feeder a few times but not enough to empty the feeder so often.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    I have Oak trees all around and every year we are inindated with acorns in the fall. I have to rake up a bunch of them. I thought of this too late this fall but I am going to collect all of the acorns next fall for the squirrels during the winter. I collected a few a little too late this year

  12. #12

    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    I was under the impression that bell peppers were somewhat toxic to squirrels...

    RIP Hyouta... I loved you and your great mommy.

    ."Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals "love" them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more." ~Edwin Way Teale, Circle of the Seasons, 1953

     I'm Squammy to Bonnie and Nissa, both thriving and released in '09 and '10...and to 3 new beautiful black grand-babies ('13)!!! Way to go Bonnie!!! 
    ~~~~~~~~
    TSB ROCKS!!

  13. #13

    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    It's uncertain, but after a couple or more incidents of death where the only commonality was recent ingestion of them, they were put on the AVOID list.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    Quote Originally Posted by farrelli View Post
    It's uncertain, but after a couple or more incidents of death where the only commonality was recent ingestion of them, they were put on the AVOID list.
    Better SAFE than SORRY I always say...
    I stick to the tried and trues... Things like arugula, kale, avocado etc... They love them and so far, so good!!!
    have a wonderful day!!!!

    RIP Hyouta... I loved you and your great mommy.

    ."Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals "love" them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more." ~Edwin Way Teale, Circle of the Seasons, 1953

     I'm Squammy to Bonnie and Nissa, both thriving and released in '09 and '10...and to 3 new beautiful black grand-babies ('13)!!! Way to go Bonnie!!! 
    ~~~~~~~~
    TSB ROCKS!!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    Attachment 220159
    I'm no expert and can only comment on what seems to work for my western Pa city squirrels. One thing that crossed my mind was the need for drinking water especially during dry spells. I attached a pic of how i modified a bird bath... i attached a metal grate that i believe was intended to be hung across the top or down the inside of a 5 gallon bucket to either let things drain or rub off excess paint. I bent 2 of the ends so that all 4 corners would grip the bird bath and prevent birds from taking a bath. An uncovered bird bath can be emptied and need refilling many times a day and the water that isn't splashed out is very dirty, so the grate allows squirrels and birds to drink but doesn't give enough open area for a bird to try to bathe. I normally wash it out daily and add fresh water and wire brush the moss off once a week. In the cold of winter there isn't much i can do about putting out fresh water. If i put a bowl on the porch it freezes quickly and the bird bath stay frozen solid for sometimes long periods.
    As for food i put out..... i have said this on my intro but will say most of it again for those that may not have seen it. I do put out shelled pecans, walnuts, almonds but mostly raw unsalted peanuts. I know peanuts aren't the best thing for them but i see my 4-6 squirrels rarely eating them. Most peanuts get hidden and it seems the squirrels are happiest when running around with something to hide or bury. I know more than once when sitting on the porch i was thinking to myself "just bury the darn thing ANYWHERE" cause i know the squirrel spent at least 15 minutes before it hid the peanut. The squirrels here compete with bluejays and large black birds or crows(not sure what they are but are big). If the bluejays don't pick up the peanuts before the squirrels, then they watch the squirrel hide them and then go take it. Since a squirrel can think something is hidden under a leaf or even when i can still see it, the bluejays don't have to look hard. So i doubt if many of the peanuts are actually eaten by the squirrels but they have such great fun with them. One thing i do is to buy a coconut, saw it in 1/2 and use a short 1 3/8" stainless deck screw to attach it to the tree. That way they can't try to drag it off and just eat what they are hungry for. A 1/2 coconut will last me maybe 2 days... i zip lock bag and refridge the other 1/2 and put it out maybe 4-5 days after the 1st 1/2. In the summer i do a 3 way cut to put out a smaller portion since heat makes it go bad quicker and the ants will also go after it. Only problem with buying coconuts is that many times once you saw it in 1/2, you find out it is rotten on the inside. They aren't fast moving sellers. Very hard to tell or at least i don't know how to tell a good from bad coconut from the outside shell. Some of my squirrels seem to like the coconuts, some i'm not sure about. I'm sure coconuts are not a normal food for western Pa squirrels, but pizza doesn't grow on trees but i could live on it. As for sliced up apples... it seems birds ate more than the squirrels did. I tend to spend a decent amout feeding my squirrels and sparrows and the the other birds that eat the stuff intended for those 2 species, but i can afford it and it makes me happy to see the squirrels and sparrows happy. Especially the squirrels don't have a long life expectancy in a city, but at least mine won't know hunger in their short lifetime.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    As for that sandstone with red white and blue hearts against the tree... that was fairly simple to make... used a marker to make the hearts and used a Dremel with a carbide bit to gouge out the hearts and then painted the gouges. Didn't take long to do, maybe 1/2 hour for the gouges and less to paint. Not sure if patriotic comments are allowed but the hearts show my feelings.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Proper Wild Squirrel Nutrition

    Another thought....
    this time of year they have whole in-shell nuts, pecans walnuts etc for sale but i prefer the shelled ones....... peanut shells are easily chewed up by the lawn mower but the pecan-walnut-almond-brazil nut shells are harder and make the lawn harder on bare feet. I do give out some of the whole shelled nuts as treat and hopefully they end up lost or in a neighbor's yard. It is funny to watch a squirrel run off with a big walnut in it's mouth.... kind of like us trying to carry a basketball in our mouth but they seem happy.

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