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Thread: Floor bedding for outdoor release cage

  1. #1
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    Default Floor bedding for outdoor release cage

    Hi everyone. SO I am going to put 4 of our larger squirrels out in their release cage. I want them to get acclimated to the colder weather by the time winter is here. Should I put something on the bottom of the cage like woodchips or bark so it is not just the wire guage. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. They also have not been eating much formula either so I have been making sure they have plenty of rodent block and apples, sweet potatoes and pumpkin seeds. Thank you all so much.

    J&J

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Floor bedding for outdoor release cage

    Actually I donít put anything on the floor of the release cage. They spend so little time on the floor I donít see the need. I once put sod squares in the bottom and that was a nightmare. They loved it at first but then it rained and rained and rained. Even with a roof the ground was so saturated the sod rotted and that was a nightmare. I had to pull it out with squirrels on my head and back trying to escape. It wasnít pretty.

    I do put a LOT of branches with leaves and larger limbs in the cage. It gives them the feel of real trees. They strip the leaves and usually the bottom is littered with leaves.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Floor bedding for outdoor release cage

    Quote Originally Posted by jandjrehab View Post
    Hi everyone. SO I am going to put 4 of our larger squirrels out in their release cage. I want them to get acclimated to the colder weather by the time winter is here. Should I put something on the bottom of the cage like woodchips or bark so it is not just the wire guage. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. They also have not been eating much formula either so I have been making sure they have plenty of rodent block and apples, sweet potatoes and pumpkin seeds. Thank you all so much.

    J&J
    How old are your babies? Are you hoping to release before winter?
    redwuff
    State Licensed
    Master Wildlife Rehabilitator

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Floor bedding for outdoor release cage

    Hi, they are 9-10 weeks old. They are siblings and one of them is getting to the point he does not want anything to do with us. haha. Showing all the classic signs with stomping and vocal as well as not wanting to get picked up or eat formula. The rest are not eating as much formula either but all enjoying the other foods we give them. We have a larger cage outside and put logs and nesting box with leaves and twigs. Water source of course. I assumed they would be in there for about a month before we open the gate to let them come in and out on their own. We have pine trees and maple as well as a decorative pear tree that only produces seeds that all the other squirrels enjoy. We still have them inside during evenings and bring them in at night but in a much smaller cage. And yes, we were plannning on them getting acclimated now so that they had a few weeks before the full winter hit.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Floor bedding for outdoor release cage

    Hi Have you released this late in the year before? My concern is that they are not fully weaned yet. Once the babies stop formula, they should be kept for another 2-3 weeks to make sure they hold their weight. We don’t usually actually open the portal till they are 16 weeks and had a couple of weeks in the release cage, and we want leaves still attached to trees.

    It seems that you are rushing a release in a very harsh, heavily snowed area of the country. I hate overwintering babies, but I don’t want to throw away all the hard work I did raising these guys either....

    My advice would be to release in the spring.
    redwuff
    State Licensed
    Master Wildlife Rehabilitator

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    Nancy in New York (10-17-2019), Scooterzmom (10-17-2019)

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Floor bedding for outdoor release cage

    Quote Originally Posted by redwuff View Post
    Hi Have you released this late in the year before? My concern is that they are not fully weaned yet. Once the babies stop formula, they should be kept for another 2-3 weeks to make sure they hold their weight. We don’t usually actually open the portal till they are 16 weeks and had a couple of weeks in the release cage, and we want leaves still attached to trees.

    It seems that you are rushing a release in a very harsh, heavily snowed area of the country. I hate overwintering babies, but I don’t want to throw away all the hard work I did raising these guys either....

    My advice would be to release in the spring.
    I must say I agree with redwulf here. I'm in Quebec and our winters are harsh but not even as harsh as in Colorado.

    You have to keep in mind that these babies have not had mom to teach them how to build a proper nest; and if you do install a nest for them, there is no guarantee that some other, older, more experienced ones won't chase them out of it. They also didn't have mom to teach them where the best foraging spots are, they don't have enough time to build a proper stash to last them all the way through the harshest days of January and February. You put all these concerns and couple them with having to be on the look out, more wary of predators than more experienced ones, and their odds are getting quite low, in my book.

    IMHO I would think they definitely would be better off with a spring release.
    "In the midst of our lives we must find the magic that makes our souls soar."
    My sweet Scooter, my darling Hami... YOU brought that magic in my life. You've changed the way I see all things around me now and, because of you, I want to be a better person. This is not goodbye, my sweethearts. You be at peace, your work here on earth is done now and you can enjoy your freedom. We'll meet at the Bridge again some day... and I will always love you.
    The greatness of a nation can be measured by the way it treats its animals.
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  8. 4 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Scooterzmom:

    Mel1959 (10-18-2019), Nancy in New York (10-17-2019), redwuff (10-17-2019), stepnstone (10-17-2019)

  9. #7
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    Smile Re: Floor bedding for outdoor release cage

    Thank you everyone. I will take your advice. Denver is not harsh like the mountains. We get some snowy days and very cold at times for sure but it is not as harsh as most people think. The foothills and mountains get the brunt of it and the city is not nearly as bad. The snow usually melts in a day or two after a storm. However, I thank you all so much for your input.

  10. Serious fuzzy thank you's to jandjrehab from:

    RockyPops (10-18-2019)

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