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Thread: Release or Overwinter?

  1. #1
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    Default Release or Overwinter?

    Hi Everyone!
    I'm torn by what's to my squirrels best interest as far as releasing him or keeping him thru the cold mos. I'm not really sure of his age (exactly) but I think a fair estimate would be at least 4-5 mos. That being said he was orphaned by his momma and I had to take him in and provide his care. He has a dog cage (large) and inside I put a nesting box, he was going in there at first and now he doesn't seem to want anything to do with it, however he is in my house currently and has a whole room to himself, but I don't think he's happy being inside and I have put him out a few times and he either gets attacked by the other wilds or he just comes back. I had intended to try and release again this weekend but the weather says cold, poss rain, and snow. Now "Andy" has no foraged food out in my yard nor has a den or drey. But I always kept his cage out so he knows he has a safe place. I'm worried about him starving or freezing because he is a singleton/orphaned male. I would not have a problem if I had to overwinter him but I want to do everything within my ability to ensure his success/survival. Sorry for rambling on....

    Andy's foster mom🐿

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Release or Overwinter?

    With rough winters coming and unsure of his age I vote to overwinter him. I'm no expert and others will chime in.

    How did you get him? Backstory?

    Have any pics or video's?

    Thank you for taking care of Andy!

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Release or Overwinter?

    I think winters in your state are entirely too cold for release now. The tree canopy that protects him from predators is bare. You have no guarantee that he would be able to stay near your home. Squirrels are territorial. If Andy is deemed an intruder by the local wilds he could be driven away. If he relocates now he would have no stashes of food to help him survive the long, cold winter. He would likely starve.

    Iím sure he would like to be outside but he has no idea what is out there in a couple months. Mom will have to make this decision for him. Without any doubt, his best chance of survival is a spring release. I donít even release in Jan and Feb and Iím in Florida.

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  7. #4
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    Default Re: Release or Overwinter?

    If it was me I would over winter too. I live in a warmer climate than you and I over winter.
    You mentioned that you have let him out several times.
    Has he been through a soft release process and has a release cage, or are you taking his indoor cage outside?
    Some pictures would be great, we love pictures.

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  9. #5
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    Default Re: Release or Overwinter?

    Heya.

    I overwintered my very first squees (Daisy, Luke and Bo) last winter and while it just about drove me INSANE, it was worth it. Yes, they wanted to be outside, but with them being orphans in October of last year, releasing them would not have set them up for the success they enjoy now. All three were successfully released in the spring, and Bo and Daisy still come to visit after establishing themselves in the local wild population.

    As mentioned, Andy won't have a stash or a drey and the fact that he hasn't been building relationships with the wilds means he'll be on his own (the squirrels in my parents' yard will all sleep together in boxes that my dad mounted in a tree when it's really cold out).

    Be prepared with lots of enrichment toys, careful balancing of Andy's nutrition and if you need any help or encouragement for the insanity that a tiny little critter will bring, I discovered that the people here are second to none when it comes to assistance from afar.

    ~T.
    --
    V/r,

    ~T.

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  11. #6
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    Default Re: Release or Overwinter?

    Quote Originally Posted by RockyPops View Post
    With rough winters coming and unsure of his age I vote to overwinter him. I'm no expert and others will chime in.

    How did you get him? Backstory?

    Have any pics or video's?

    Thank you for taking care of Andy!
    First I would like to thank you all for your responses, and I want to do the right thing for Andy and his success. I will gladly over-winter him to keep him safe. I know he doesn't understand, he just seems so unhappy inside like he wants out and I feel like he's going to hate me for denying him. My next question to this forum is: due to his age of 5mos. Will it create a problem in spring for release if he's not interacting with the other squirrels? winter seems to last longer in Illinois. I know it's at least another 4-5 mos away and by then Andy will be at least 9-10 mos by then? Second question: I try to provide him a balanced diet of veggies fruit and nuts everyday but he's a picky eater..he would rather have just the nuts, but I've been keeping that to just a few a day, and then he finds places to hide them in his room, so when I give him the veggies and fruits he takes a couple nibbles or nothing at all and then I end up throwing them out and preparing him fresh everyday. But again I feel I'm throwing out more than he eats. I want to keep him healthy. Thoughts??

    Oh Backstory on how he came to me: well Labor Day I was sitting out front on my porch when my dog suddenly gave chase. I didn't know the reason until my husband yelled for me to come around back where my dog was holding Andy down with her paw on the patio. My dog is a gentle soul and much to my surprise she did not hurt him nor did she want to. Of course I picked Andy up being no more than maybe 3-1/2 to 4 inches long, put him in a box in hopes his mother would come back for him but never did. So I brought him into the house to keep him warm, bottle fed him for a few weeks until he decided he wanted nothing more to do with it and now he's up to solid foods. He's now up to 6" and full of energy and wants to play with me, and I do cause I have read it's good for stimulation. Pics will follow

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  13. #7
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    Default Re: Release or Overwinter?

    " Andy" says Hi!
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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  15. #8
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    Default Re: Release or Overwinter?

    " Andy" says Hi! 😊

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  17. #9
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    Default Re: Release or Overwinter?

    Hi Andy, you sure are a handsome young man. Tell your new human parents you want to stay in their nest box with them until spring.

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  19. #10
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    Default Re: Release or Overwinter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vox View Post
    Heya.

    I overwintered my very first squees (Daisy, Luke and Bo) last winter and while it just about drove me INSANE, it was worth it. Yes, they wanted to be outside, but with them being orphans in October of last year, releasing them would not have set them up for the success they enjoy now. All three were successfully released in the spring, and Bo and Daisy still come to visit after establishing themselves in the local wild population.

    As mentioned, Andy won't have a stash or a drey and the fact that he hasn't been building relationships with the wilds means he'll be on his own (the squirrels in my parents' yard will all sleep together in boxes that my dad mounted in a tree when it's really cold out).

    Be prepared with lots of enrichment toys, careful balancing of Andy's nutrition and if you need any help or encouragement for the insanity that a tiny little critter will bring, I discovered that the people here are second to none when it comes to assistance from afar.

    ~T.
    First I would like to thank you all for your responses, and I want to do the right thing for Andy and his success. I will gladly over-winter him to keep him safe. I know he doesn't understand, he just seems so unhappy inside like he wants out and I feel like he's going to hate me for denying him. My next question to this forum is: due to his age of 5mos. Will it create a problem in spring for release if he's not interacting with the other squirrels? winter seems to last longer in Illinois. I know it's at least another 4-5 mos away and by then Andy will be at least 9-10 mos by then? Second question: I try to provide him a balanced diet of veggies fruit and nuts everyday but he's a picky eater..he would rather have just the nuts, but I've been keeping that to just a few a day, and then he finds places to hide them in his room, so when I give him the veggies and fruits he takes a couple nibbles or nothing at all and then I end up throwing them out and preparing him fresh everyday. But again I feel I'm throwing out more than he eats. I want to keep him healthy. Thoughts??

    Oh Backstory on how he came to me: well Labor Day I was sitting out front on my porch when my dog suddenly gave chase. I didn't know the reason until my husband yelled for me to come around back where my dog was holding Andy down with her paw on the patio. My dog is a gentle soul and much to my surprise she did not hurt him nor did she want to. Of course I picked Andy up being no more than maybe 3-1/2 to 4 inches long, put him in a box in hopes his mother would come back for him but never did. So I brought him into the house to keep him warm, bottle fed him for a few weeks until he decided he wanted nothing more to do with it and now he's up to solid foods. He's now up to 6" and full of energy and wants to play with me, and I do cause I have read it's good for stimulation. Pics will follow

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  21. #11
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    Default Re: Release or Overwinter?

    Andy will be fine to be released at 8 or 9 month old.
    My first girl releases were about 8 month old when we moved them into the RC and 9 at release.
    The following year I had a special case, and she was 14 month old when we moved her outside, yhe plan was to release her the previous summer, but she wasn't ready.
    Since Andy is such a picky eater you should not let him have any nuts. Nuts are supposed to be a treat, I never give more than 2 in a day. You also want to be careful that he won't start stashing them, because he may will start getting aggressive in an attempt to protect them.
    I may overlooked it while reading, but I don't remember reading that he eats rodent block, and that is a must in their diet.
    Most squirrels love the blocks from Henry's, my guys love the hazelnut block right now.

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  23. #12
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    Default Re: Release or Overwinter?

    How is little Andy doing?

  24. #13
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    Default Re: Release or Overwinter?

    Quote Originally Posted by RockyPops View Post
    With rough winters coming and unsure of his age I vote to overwinter him. I'm no expert and others will chime in.

    How did you get him? Backstory?

    Have any pics or video's?

    Thank you for taking care of Andy!
    I agree with Rockypops. He has not learned any survival skills yet. releasing him before spring, I don't feel would have a very good outcome. In the spring he will have more of his natural food and all he needs to build his first nest.

  25. #14
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    Default Re: Release or Overwinter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andylove1 View Post
    " Andy" says Hi!
    What a sweetheart !!!!

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