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Thread: A couple of unrelated questions

  1. #1
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    Default A couple of unrelated questions

    I have very limited experience with rehabbing, so I hope you folks with many years and hundreds of babies can help. Obviously squirrels have quite different personalities, just like us. I have had at least three babies (from 3 different groups) that seem to be very scared and intimidated by everything. As youngsters they spend much of their time in the cube. When put in the release cage they spend most of their time inside the nest box. May is a perfect example. She spent 90% of her time in the nest box. When it came time for release she still stayed in the nest box up in the tree. She was scared of all the other squirrels. Her method to get away was to drop to the ground. Iím sure this is how she ended up with head trauma and why she seems quite happy inside the house. . My question is, is there something I can do to help alleviate some of this fear that I see developing at an early age? I have a 10 week old that literally shakes while being fed, even though sheís wrapped in fleece. Am I doing something wrong?

    My second question is about feeding block. These 5 Irma babies, who are about 10 weeks old, were given nothing but block and formula for about the first 3 weeks I had them. They are still taking formula a couple of times a day. They were eating the Harlan block very well before I introduced veggies. I have only introduced healthy veggies like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, brussel sprouts and cabbage, and I offer it one time a day. They eat all of them, but they also donít eat much of the block anymore. And there lies the problem and my question. Is there something I should be doing to get them to consume more of their block? Should I offer fewer veggies? Should I decrease their formula? They take as much as they want at this point. Should I offer veggies every other day? I know the block is the healthy foundation for their diet, but I also know they are getting all the nutrients they need from the formula and donít want to make them wean. Have any of you experienced rehabbers encountered this quandary? If so, how did you handle it?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: A couple of unrelated questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    I have very limited experience with rehabbing, so I hope you folks with many years and hundreds of babies can help. Obviously squirrels have quite different personalities, just like us. I have had at least three babies (from 3 different groups) that seem to be very scared and intimidated by everything. As youngsters they spend much of their time in the cube. When put in the release cage they spend most of their time inside the nest box. May is a perfect example. She spent 90% of her time in the nest box. When it came time for release she still stayed in the nest box up in the tree. She was scared of all the other squirrels. Her method to get away was to drop to the ground. I’m sure this is how she ended up with head trauma and why she seems quite happy inside the house. . My question is, is there something I can do to help alleviate some of this fear that I see developing at an early age? I have a 10 week old that literally shakes while being fed, even though she’s wrapped in fleece. Am I doing something wrong?

    My second question is about feeding block. These 5 Irma babies, who are about 10 weeks old, were given nothing but block and formula for about the first 3 weeks I had them. They are still taking formula a couple of times a day. They were eating the Harlan block very well before I introduced veggies. I have only introduced healthy veggies like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, brussel sprouts and cabbage, and I offer it one time a day. They eat all of them, but they also don’t eat much of the block anymore. And there lies the problem and my question. Is there something I should be doing to get them to consume more of their block? Should I offer fewer veggies? Should I decrease their formula? They take as much as they want at this point. Should I offer veggies every other day? I know the block is the healthy foundation for their diet, but I also know they are getting all the nutrients they need from the formula and don’t want to make them wean. Have any of you experienced rehabbers encountered this quandary? If so, how did you handle it?

    First I don't think you're doing anything wrong. I really believe that some babies are just programmed to be more skittish/sensitive/leary. You typically see it after their eyes open.
    I have raised mine all the same. Holding them, kissing them, loving on them. Some of them, when they get older, will start to become more standoffish, and you can tell they need the extra confidence. I have tried numerous way to instill that. I encourage anything new that they try, I try to reassure them more by stroking them, trying to make them feel more secure/relaxed, I just try to give them extra everything. Once in a great while they do start to come out of their shell, while with others, I really believe that is just the way they are programmed.
    I hope that others will share their experience with this as well. I don't really know if there is any one thing that works.
    YUP, I have had the same problem. It's written all over the board to only feed blocks and no other solids until they are eating their block well. BAM once they taste the veggies, good bye block. I always feed the HHB's. I will then make boo balls and try to serve them up a different way. I've recently purchased Harlan as well, and will make balls from that as well, as they won't eat that plain.

    I NEVER cut back on their formula, ever.

    It's nutritionally encompassing and if they decide the block is no longer their favorite at least they are still taking formula and eating healthy veggies.
    I've told this story many times. I had 4 babies, I called the Tuft Babies. All 4 were over 200 grams when their eyes opened. They took A LOT of formula for the first 6 months. When I brought them to a member here, Squirrelgirl for release, she would put a warmed bowl of formula in their cage. They ALL drank it. She kept them for 3 weeks and then released. She told me that they returned DAILY for their warmed formula for weeks after.
    I used to have to put 2 bowls of formula in morning and night.
    By far these were the healthiest babies I ever raised.


    3+ month old. They let me take them out for formula feedings up until close to 4 months.
    After that they got WAY too squirmy.


    Edit: I meant to add that even our children can be different.
    We raise them the same yet I have 2 totally opposite.
    One is more reserved, while the other is a social butterfly and ready to
    tackle anything you put in front of her.

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: A couple of unrelated questions

    Nancy - that baby in the bottom photo....he is absolutely gorgeous!!!

    Im certainly no expert but Im with Nancy, Mel...I give my guys formula to the day they are released. Lulu & Ruby (20 weeks/18 weeks) still get bowls of formula & yogurt twice a day in the RC ( i only leave it out for about 20-30 mins & pull in due to our hot Florida weather). I say stick with the formula as long as they will drink it. Start introducing it in a small dish so they get used to drinking from a bowl. I am scared to death of MBD, so calcium is my #1 concern always. My guys take or leave blocks. Sometime they shred, sometimes they eat, sometimes they hide them. But they get them everyday whether they eat them or not. Veggies are always eaten. I think I am one to offer more than less options (hubby says they get 7 course meals & eat better than him). I rather give more than less to ensure they have full bellies.

    As far as personality, they are all different. Im not sure how much we can do with the "scaredy cats". Lulu is a wild cat, very social, active, wants to play & ready to run. Ruby is afraid of everything, doesnt play much, really doesnt like to be touched & is leary of everything. Ive noticed since the girls have been in the RC, Ruby has come out of her shell a bit & I now see her playing more & being active. She surprised me b/c she doesnt like the wild squees climbing on the RC & chases them off best she can. They may just need time to mature or figure things out. Even in the wild they are different, some dominate, some not. I attribute Ruby's scaredness to the fact that she was attacked by a cat as a baby. I think that kind of scarred her & made her who she is.

    I think you are doing great Mel. I know how much you love these babies & how much you devote to them. Keep doing what your doing!

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  7. #4
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    Default Re: A couple of unrelated questions

    Hi Mel,

    I too think you are doing well with the food, and I do feel that the formula gives good protection against MBD. I think that one of the main reasons block is so important to give them first, is that when they eventually stop their formula (if ever), the block replaces much of what the formula was offering; so as long as they are still on formula, I would not worry too much about the block though keep offering it.

    I have one thought to add. If they came from the hurricane, that had to create stress, shock, and trauma in their lives. Trauma can get locked in the body and have short or long term effects, and may very well be causing much of what you see. I do agree that each squirrel is different as in both of the ones I raised fell out of their nest when the tree came down, but one grew up to conquer the world, and one is still courageous, but wary of everything. Falling out of ones nest is still a type of trauma, and I would imagine a hurricane would be even worse.

    Keep loving on them as much as possible, and sending them all the positive vibes you can.

    The one suggestion I have is for homeopathy. I am so new to this myself, so I can't offer what a squirrel size dose would be. But I have been slowly understanding that these unique preparations have the power to change the psyche that has been taken out of balance, I've read that they work as well on animals as humans. So I fully believe that they would be able to help the squirrel regain a sense of inner stability and wellness that it had prior to the hurricane trauma. This is what you are asking.

    I don't know if you are into this sort of thing, and it's totally okay if you are not. Here is a website I just looked up that gives different options for the trauma of human issues. They are very similar to what the squirrel would have experienced, fear, loss, shock, a sudden change etc.

    http://www.thehomeopathiccoach.com/s...ma-homeopathy/

    Again, this is food for thought... maybe someone who has more experience in this could recommend a correct squirrel dose if it is something you are interested in.

    Best to you and your beautiful squirrels, I'll keep them in my prayers that they let go of as much fear as they can.

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  9. #5
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    Default Re: A couple of unrelated questions

    Mel1959, I will chime in with everyone else here that you are doing exactly what I do and I don't think there is a way to get them to eat the 75% block that the experts suggest unless you ONLY give them 75% block. That would mean literally restricting their veggies to a chunk or two of something and then a pile of blocks. I tried that, and had skinny babies, especially after they started to wean. The blocks were hidden under their blankets or thrown on the floor.
    Last fall, Attila and Julio were excellent block eaters but they weaned early. Their tails were horrible all through the winter and right up until spring release; Regina and I could pick them out of the 18 babies we released because of their pathetic tails. SO, as Nancy suggested, formula is far more important IMHO to complete nutrition, and I augment the formula with HHB's and, of course, veggies and blocks. I do know of one or two rehabbers who literally feed nothing but blocks and water.....their babies look fine but it just seems cruel to me.
    Island Rehabber
    NY State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator


    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)
    Michelangelo


    *
    If you can't afford the vet,
    You can't afford a pet.
    NEGLECT IS ABUSE.

    "Better one day in the trees, than a lifetime in a cage."

    '...and the greatest of these, is Love. '

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    Default Re: A couple of unrelated questions

    So wonderful if you to take in some Hurricane babies! Wish I still lived in Florida to help. Sounds like your doing great with the babies!

    I was advised when my red was a baby to keep offering formula as he would eventually wean himself. Ben didn't read that memo! He is fifteen months old and still demands formula with his morning block. I finally got him off the evening formula but he refuses to stop altogether. If I only bring a block and no formula in the morning, he won't eat the block and screams at the top of his lungs and stomps his back feet! He's like a child having a trantrum!!! Guess what? He is still on formula, no one wants a mad Squirrel!!! Lol!!!

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  13. #7
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    Default Re: A couple of unrelated questions

    Quote Originally Posted by gunpackingrandma View Post
    So wonderful if you to take in some Hurricane babies! Wish I still lived in Florida to help. Sounds like your doing great with the babies!

    I was advised when my red was a baby to keep offering formula as he would eventually wean himself. Ben didn't read that memo! He is fifteen months old and still demands formula with his morning block. I finally got him off the evening formula but he refuses to stop altogether. If I only bring a block and no formula in the morning, he won't eat the block and screams at the top of his lungs and stomps his back feet! He's like a child having a trantrum!!! Guess what? He is still on formula, no one wants a mad Squirrel!!! Lol!!!
    I LOVE that Ben is still taking formula. Jeffrrey used to take his formula "dry" at that age.
    And your right, nobody wants a mad RED squirrel for sure.

    Short Video of Jeffrey on Rich, eating his Fox Valley.

    CLICK ON PHOTO


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    Default Re: A couple of unrelated questions

    I think too many people are afraid to let a squirrel get attached.
    They actually need lots of attention and play... to feel safe and comfortable.

    My very first squirrel.. I cut off attention once her eyes were open.
    Because I worried about her approaching other people.
    I moved her to the sun room, and she only saw me when I brought food and formula.
    Sometimes I found her just sitting in the cage... crying. I have regretted not spending more time with her ever since.
    She was scared of everything, and at release took off at a full run.. and spent the entire night crying in a tree.
    i can't really claim to have ever seen her again after that.

    I think close loving contact is good for a baby squirrel... if you only let them bond with you.
    You don't want to let them get comfortable with multiple people, or with pets.

    I spend about 15 to 20 minutes, three times per day, playing with them.
    They all seem to be comfortable with the world, but leery of other humans.

    After release, they come up to me now and then, and run all over me in greeting.
    But after a month or two, they get only close enough to grab a tossed nut.
    The ones who used to demand I pet them wont let me even get near them...
    ...Pretty much like how they would have treated their own moms.

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