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Thread: Fall or Spring Release?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    Default Fall or Spring Release?

    Hi there,

    So, Jasper (gray squirrel) is approximately seven weeks old now. We live in western New York, so the cold harsh fall and winter is heading our way. I just ordered a cage to begin the transition to outdoor life and will be setting the cage up in the garage, so he will slowly get used to the change in temperature. At what age/season will he have the best chance for survival?

    Thanks!
    Leslie

  2. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Leslie Ann:

    olorin19 (09-22-2019), RockyPops (09-22-2019)

  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Fall or Spring Release?

    i would not release a squirrel born this late in the year in your climate until next spring.

    I have overwintered then released two squirrels - Dustin (born August 2014) and Mookie (born September 2017).

    I recently acquired siblings Arya and Iggy (now about 8 1/2 weeks old) and i will be overwintering them as well.

    I have a home office that ends up as the squirrel room (or perhaps a squirrel room where I am permitted to keep my desk). I use a wire cage that is 6'H x 2'W x 6'L. The 2'W means I can move it in/out through my back door as needed, i.e. it can move outside to serve as a release cage then be stored outside when not in use.

    I also have a sun porch, and use that so that the squirrels are able to run around a bit more while being overwintered. (In Dustin's case, I did not have the sun porch and so used my basement.)

    Mookie was a chewer, so I needed to watch him when out of the cage and make sure he was not going to damage anything. Dustin was actually fine to roam the house, as he did not chew things.

    There are challenges, and lots to learn along the way, but in my opinion a squirrel that age in western NY needs to be overwintered.

    One major plus (based on the two I have overwintered, so yes, a small sample): The length of time helps to create quite the strong bond. Both Dustin and Mookie lived in my yard and remained quite gentle with me - eating from my hand, perching on me, etc. Dustin was around for about four years. Mookie turned two a week ago, and we see him almost every day. Both these guys moved back into their original nest boxes every year from about October to April, then back to the trees for the warmer weather.

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Fall or Spring Release?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leslie Ann View Post
    Hi there,

    So, Jasper (gray squirrel) is approximately seven weeks old now. We live in western New York, so the cold harsh fall and winter is heading our way. I just ordered a cage to begin the transition to outdoor life and will be setting the cage up in the garage, so he will slowly get used to the change in temperature. At what age/season will he have the best chance for survival?

    Thanks!
    Leslie
    There is NO WAY a seven week old squirrel will be ready to go to a release cage, even if it’s in your garage, and be ready for release this year. . It will be a death sentence for him. He won’t have the skills nor the food cache to survive the winter. Squirrels shouldn’t be released until they’re 14-16 weeks old, which for him is more than 2 months away! By then it will be the end of November in a climate that is very harsh.

    His best chance for survival would be to release him next spring when there is foliage on the trees and food becomes plentiful. I have always felt that older squirrels, when released, do better. They’re more tree smart.

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  7. #4
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    Default Re: Fall or Spring Release?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    There is NO WAY a seven week old squirrel will be ready to go to a release cage, even if it’s in your garage, and be ready for release this year. . It will be a death sentence for him. He won’t have the skills nor the food cache to survive the winter. Squirrels shouldn’t be released until they’re 14-16 weeks old, which for him is more than 2 months away! By then it will be the end of November in a climate that is very harsh.

    His best chance for survival would be to release him next spring when there is foliage on the trees and food becomes plentiful. I have always felt that older squirrels, when released, do better. They’re more tree smart.
    Up here the leaves start falling now. By the end of October they are gone from the trees.
    Makes the pickins' for hawks much easier, when there's no place to hide.

  8. 4 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Nancy in New York:

    Grinderhead (09-22-2019), Leslie Ann (09-22-2019), olorin19 (09-22-2019), RockyPops (09-22-2019)

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