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Thread: When to wean off formula and how

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Thanked: 0

    Default When to wean off formula and how

    Hello all,

    so when do they start weaning off formula? do I cut back on the formula some while giving them solid foods? I have no access to rodent block at the moment but they've been eating strawberries (I haven't gave them any less formula than they've been on) they're probably 7weeks old now

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Thanked: 5222

    Default Re: When to wean off formula and how

    Will get some info to you in a little while... got moufs to feed now
    State Licensed
    Master Wildlife Rehabilitator

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Cumming, GA
    Thanked: 902

    Default Re: When to wean off formula and how

    I follow the listed schedule for number of feedings, but let them decide how to modify it.
    If they start refusing a feeding, or eating less (I record all feedings) I step to a longer interval.
    If they are still eating consistently, I delay stepping to a longer interval.

    I note that we are always guessing at their age.. and they may be more or less progressed than we think.

    I never wean them.. I let them wean themselves.

    Some decide they are done with baby food in the 8th week.. and sneeze at the formula.
    I am okay with that as long as they are drinking water and gaining weight.

    Others keep taking formula all the way up to (and after) release.
    I feel they wind up being larger and healthier, and a lot bigger than my local squirrels.
    They all wind up being Alpha Squirrels, and the local neighborhood bullies.

    As an example.. by current 6 squirrels all refused formula today for the first time.
    (I had already had to move to a shallow dish, because they started destroying the syringe instead of suckling it.)
    Their ages vary from 10 to 13 weeks.
    But I will still offer a dish of it once per day for a couple of more days.

    Yours need to be eating less strawberries and more vegetables.
    If you do not have access to rodent block at least try to get them to eat bok choy, arugula, cabbage, lettuce, etc.
    Check the 'Healthy Diet for Pet Squirrels' post in the nutrition section.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    East coast of Florida
    Thanked: 8933

    Default Re: When to wean off formula and how

    7 weeks is too young to begin the weaning process without them eating a good quality block.

    The block has to be a staple in their diet for them to remain healthy and free from metabolic bone disease. You can purchase Harlan Teklad 2018 (Envigo) online from multiple sources. I shop for the cheapest while factoring in the shipping cost. This is a free feeding block. They can have as much as they want.

    Another very good option is Henry’s Healthy blocks, which are also available online at Henry’s Healthy Pets. This block is readily accepted by most squirrels, especially if they’re a little older before being introduced to block. This is a supplemental block and only 2-3 are needed per day in conjunction with healthy veggies from the healthy squirrel diet. There’s one flat shipping charge of $5.99.

    The other decent quality blocks that can be purchased at chain pet stores or local feed stores are Mazuri rat block and Oxbow Regal rat block.

    This gives you lots of options to buy some type of block, which is necessary.

    Once you have a block and they’re eating it well and not just shredding or peeing on it, then you introduce some healthy veggies like, kale, radicchio, broccoli, romaine, arugula, etc. Fruits are a treat and nuts are a special treat. Giving fruits first is like giving a toddler ice cream and then expecting them to eat a bowl of spinach.

    As the squirrel consumes more and more block and veggies they will naturally begin to consume less formula. This is them self weaning. We let them gauge when they no longer want formula. Many will continue to take it for months from a bowl instead of a syringe. I even have a released adult that will take formula, from a syringe, every night. It’s highly unusual, but I know it’s good for her especially since she continues to have babies.

    I hope this answers your question. If you have any others, please feel free to ask.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    tinytown, USA
    Thanked: 242

    Default Re: When to wean off formula and how

    I've seen my babies start to wean themselves between 10 and 13 weeks. If I have a group, I'll see one begin the process or even begin to outright refuse formula; but then if they see their sibling still happy to take formula, they often will re-start taking small amounts so as not to be left out.

    I'm transitioning my 9-10 week-old now on his timetable. Some days he still wants his full meal of formula; other times he will only take maybe 5.0ml. I started offering him healthy block last week as he started taking less of the formula. He's definitely eating the block with gusto plus still taking some formula, more or less, depending on the day/his appetite. I started with 1 block last week, now he gets 1 in the morning and 1 in the evening.
    We can bring a heart of understanding and compassion to a world that needs it so much. ~~ Jack Kornfield

  6. Serious fuzzy thank you's to missPixy from:

    Mel1959 (05-08-2019)

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