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Thread: New With Neptune

  1. #1
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    Default New With Neptune

    Hi everyone,
    My name is Bradley and I've loved squirrels all my life and have recently acquired a eastern gray that was injured badly at around 6 weeks old and abandoned by mama. Her name is Neptune, I thought she was a boy early on and named HER the king of the sea, but the name stuck. She is now an extremely healthy and recovered 16 week old cutie pie. I'm happy to have found the Squirrel Board for help and to meet fellow squirrel lovers. Please check out my album and the adorable photos I've taken of her recently.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    Bradley

    to TheSquirrelBoard

    I’m glad you found us. Thanks for saving Neptune. We have a lot of girls around here with boy names. Ralph, Moose, etc.
    No one ever confused the ‘real’ boys.
    No one names their boy Gracie.

    I’m looking forward to seeing pics of Neptune.

    Edit.. I saw those cute pics in your album.

    Let me ask you about her diet. We always ask because it is so critical to their health.

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    Hi there and thank you for welcoming me. Neptune gets a very good diet. I slice and dice fresh veggies, fruit and nuts everyday and it's sprinkled with calcium carbonate with Vitamin D3. She also gets a treat of scrambled egg loaded with calcium every so often. She also spends a lot of time on the lanai which has sunlight most of the day. The diet she's currently on is Kale, broccoli, carrot, sweet potato, fresh corn, tomatoes, green and yellow squash, asparagus, snap peas, green beans, apple, a tiny bit of cheese, pine nuts, walnuts, sunflower seed, and pecans. She also nibbles on the oak branches I bring in. And once a week I offer a spoonful of baby food for additional vitamins. I use that trick for my rescue mouse and my Russian hamster. I spend a lot of time prepping for her. Being a retired police officer gives me the time to try and do my best for her.

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  7. #4
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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    Quote Originally Posted by Shipwrekt29 View Post
    Hi there and thank you for welcoming me. Neptune gets a very good diet. I slice and dice fresh veggies, fruit and nuts everyday and it's sprinkled with calcium carbonate with Vitamin D3. She also gets a treat of scrambled egg loaded with calcium every so often. She also spends a lot of time on the lanai which has sunlight most of the day. The diet she's currently on is Kale, broccoli, carrot, sweet potato, fresh corn, tomatoes, green and yellow squash, asparagus, snap peas, green beans, apple, a tiny bit of cheese, pine nuts, walnuts, sunflower seed, and pecans. She also nibbles on the oak branches I bring in. And once a week I offer a spoonful of baby food for additional vitamins. I use that trick for my rescue mouse and my Russian hamster. I spend a lot of time prepping for her. Being a retired police officer gives me the time to try and do my best for her.
    It sounds like you have a good grasp of their need for calcium. It’s the biggest problem we see here. People don’t know about their calcium requirements so they feed nuts as a staple. Nuts and seeds are high phosphorus foods. The body will metabolically try to balance out the excess phosphorus by pulling calcium from the bones. It’s the leading cause of Metabolic Bone Disease. They can have nuts but we limit them to treats for pet squirrels. You have a good selection of veggies. We have other squirrels that like scrambled eggs.

    One thing I would recommend is a good rodent block. There is a supplement block made by Henry’s Healthy Pets. It can be ordered online. I buy the Picky Eater block. Because it’s a supplement, 1-2 blocks a day is sufficient for a FL adult grey. It is packed with vitamins and minerals so it helps fill in any gaps in nutrition that we might miss because we can’t reproduce their native diet. They have pecans in the block so it makes them palatable to squirrels. Other than that suggestion it sounds like you’re doing a great job on the diet.

    Don’t let Neptune have many pine nuts. They are super unhealthy. Foods with the ideal calcium to phosphorous ratio are 2:1 (Ca: P). Pine nuts are 1:36 so they are extremely high in phosphorus.

    I’ll get a link for the healthy diet and the Calcium to phosphorus ratios of foods as a guide.

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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    Thanks for taking such good care of Neptune!

    She is just adorable!

    What kind of injuries did she have?

    Are you planning on releasing her?

    Just curious... and welcome to TSB.

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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    Quote Originally Posted by Shipwrekt29 View Post
    Hi there and thank you for welcoming me. Neptune gets a very good diet. I slice and dice fresh veggies, fruit and nuts everyday and it's sprinkled with calcium carbonate with Vitamin D3.

    Please stop with the supplemental Vitamin D3.
    Too much can be toxic to a squirrel.
    When she is eating a good quality block and diet, (like she is)
    no supplementation is necessary.
    I saw her album as well, and she's adorable!


    "Cholecalciferol is one of the most potent mouse and rat poisons on the market. When ingested in toxic amounts, cholecalciferol, or activated vitamin D3, can cause life-threatening elevations in blood calcium and left untreated can result in kidney failure."

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  15. #8
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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    Thank you for the suggestion. I'll order the blocks you suggested. I've done a lot of wildlife rescue down here and have had to learn a lot of how to care for the injured and how to assess their health. I'm always learning from our local wildlife rehab. For Neptune, she was found in a school yard lethargic. She had fallen from a tall oak tree and landed on cement. The kindergartners witnessed the fall. When she came around she couldn't use her rear left leg. I was given to her by my neighbor who's girlfriend's mother works at the school and he know we do rescue. I couldn't feel anything broken and it wasn't dislocated when she got to me. She was able to put weight on it trying to get away from me later that day. It took about a month for her to heal and has since showed no signs of weakness. Whenever I get a new animal to me I dive in to learning as much as I can, particularly common hidden issues that can come up later, like MBD. I was already aware of that working with baby opossums and Flit, my baby mouse rescue. I found him in the middle of a Home Depot parking lot several years ago. I still have him and he is my little boy. He comes when I call him and he loves being kissed.

    Anyway, I'm not sure about release. That is the very reason I signed up. There are a few issues that I wanted advice on. The first, Neptune has the opportunity to spend hours on the lanai. For anyone not familiar with the Florida lanai, it's a large screened outdoor porch. I introduced the outside to her in increments so she could get used to it again. Here's the problem, sometimes after 5 minutes to an hour, or anytime in between, I go out to find her absolutely terrified. She is so terrified she is frozen and shaking. I talk to her to try and snap her out of it, but that doesn't work very well. Sometimes touching her helps, but she usually comes out it after I get her inside. I have to hold on to her tight because she will freak out. Once I past the threshold she sits on my shoulder like usual and looks around. I take her to her indoor enclosure where she sometimes takes a nibble of food, but more often just dives in to find a place to hide and I don't see her for hours. It's bizarre. One minute I look out and she's running on the screen, doing playful hops, eating, and then she's terrified. When I go out there's no large birds, cats, noise, or anything else I can see. We have a bird feeder and it's full of doves, a couple of blue jays and cardinals, a big family of bobwhites and sometimes grackles. So, if she gets this scared at home how will she survive letting her go? Keep in mind this has been happening after a few successful play times on the lanai after she was able to put weight on her leg and get around. I'll attach the day 1 photo of her. I'll try that later, for some reason I'm getting a question mark.

    I'll address the other issues a little later so we can focus on one at a time if that's ok. I guess it did post the pic.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Shipwrekt29; 12-06-2019 at 01:59 PM. Reason: Adding info

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  17. #9
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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy in New York View Post

    Please stop with the supplemental Vitamin D3.
    Too much can be toxic to a squirrel.
    When she is eating a good quality block and diet, (like she is)
    no supplementation is necessary.
    I saw her album as well, and she's adorable!


    "Cholecalciferol is one of the most potent mouse and rat poisons on the market. When ingested in toxic amounts, cholecalciferol, or activated vitamin D3, can cause life-threatening elevations in blood calcium and left untreated can result in kidney failure."
    Hi Nancy. Thank you for the information. I was working on the info with the Esbilac issue and the lack of calcium uptake and there was talk on couple of other sites where they said make sure there is the d3 because that made the calcium absorb better and without it calcium was useless. Neptune was on Esbilac at the time the warning came out. There is a lot of sites using the extra calcium info. Nowhere did any of them talk of possible toxicity, so I'm glad you told me. You hear so many horror stories of squirrels and opossums not getting enough calcium and end up with MBD and it just causes so many problems. I'll pay more attention. There are a lot of those stories on this site about that too, and those horrible stories prey on you. She gets a lot of exercise too and all I can think of is if she has soft bones since I've heard that MBD shows itself at around 6 months. I've transformed my bedroom into a giant playground. I have lanai screen roll that I stretched high up from one side of the room to the other as a skyway to run and hang from. I have an 8 foot ladder that is a spiderweb of rope and netting to climb and jump on. She has a very large enclosure I built for her filled with oak branches. There are other areas that she can go to jump, hang, and run on. Then she has the same thing outdoors. I bring this up because I want her healthy and not sure if lots of activity uses up calcium.

    So, since she is approximately 4 months old do they need any extra calcium given at intervals? I ask this because like a kid she gets picky about which food she wants to eat for the day(s) and it worries me that her calcium requirement is not being met. Any suggestions are appreciated. And I've ordered the blocks. Thank you for the wonderful compliments about her, she says thank you too...she's bashful.

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  19. #10
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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    I added a bunch more close up photos of Neptune, so please take a look at my young adorable tornado.

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  21. #11
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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    Bradley, the Esbilac issue this year was a nightmare. Babies on formula should never get MBD but this year babies on Esbilac did. To treat the Metabolic Bone Disease it was necessary to treat with supplemental calcium. The MBD protocol requires megadosing calcium. While megadosing calcium can be done temporarily, you can’t megadose Vitamin D. It is used in some rodenticides. They do need some Vitamin D for calcium absorption but too much is toxic. The problem is how much is too much? We just don’t know so we definitely don’t give much Vitamin D. You can supplement with pure calcium carbonate but if the diet is on track it really isn’t necessary. I know what you mean about them being picky. A healthy food they eat today will be tossed aside tomorrow. That’s one reason the Henry’s block is so important. It fills in the nutritional gaps of minerals and vitamins. I’m glad you ordered the block.

    Here are the 3 keys to nutrition... (1) Rodent block (Henry’s or commercial rodent) (2) healthy veggies and limited fruit (3) limit high phosphorus foods like nuts and seeds.
    If this is followed, supplemental calcium isn’t necessary. Of course, a little pinch of calcium occasionally is fine. We give them things like antlers, cuddlebones, seashells or even an occasional Tums to chew.

    They can get MBD at any time when the diet is off. That was painfully clear this year as the bones of 4 week old babies began to crumble. How long was Neptune on Esbilac? Did you switch to a different formula? I just wanted to make sure that she received enough extra calcium to rebuild her bones from the defective formula.

    Exercise is good for her and normal for a squirrel but only if the bones are sound. I suspect she is fine but wanted to get a little more history on the formula and to find out what corrective action was taken. The defective Esbilac impacted many rehabbers. It was a wide spread problem.

    I saw her pics in the album.

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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    I just had to post a few of those cute pics in the thread.

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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    Quote Originally Posted by Shipwrekt29 View Post
    Thank you for the suggestion. I'll order the blocks you suggested. I've done a lot of wildlife rescue down here and have had to learn a lot of how to care for the injured and how to assess their health. I'm always learning from our local wildlife rehab. For Neptune, she was found in a school yard lethargic. She had fallen from a tall oak tree and landed on cement. The kindergartners witnessed the fall. When she came around she couldn't use her rear left leg. I was given to her by my neighbor who's girlfriend's mother works at the school and he know we do rescue. I couldn't feel anything broken and it wasn't dislocated when she got to me. She was able to put weight on it trying to get away from me later that day. It took about a month for her to heal and has since showed no signs of weakness. Whenever I get a new animal to me I dive in to learning as much as I can, particularly common hidden issues that can come up later, like MBD. I was already aware of that working with baby opossums and Flit, my baby mouse rescue. I found him in the middle of a Home Depot parking lot several years ago. I still have him and he is my little boy. He comes when I call him and he loves being kissed.

    Anyway, I'm not sure about release. That is the very reason I signed up. There are a few issues that I wanted advice on. The first, Neptune has the opportunity to spend hours on the lanai. For anyone not familiar with the Florida lanai, it's a large screened outdoor porch. I introduced the outside to her in increments so she could get used to it again. Here's the problem, sometimes after 5 minutes to an hour, or anytime in between, I go out to find her absolutely terrified. She is so terrified she is frozen and shaking. I talk to her to try and snap her out of it, but that doesn't work very well. Sometimes touching her helps, but she usually comes out it after I get her inside. I have to hold on to her tight because she will freak out. Once I past the threshold she sits on my shoulder like usual and looks around. I take her to her indoor enclosure where she sometimes takes a nibble of food, but more often just dives in to find a place to hide and I don't see her for hours. It's bizarre. One minute I look out and she's running on the screen, doing playful hops, eating, and then she's terrified. When I go out there's no large birds, cats, noise, or anything else I can see. We have a bird feeder and it's full of doves, a couple of blue jays and cardinals, a big family of bobwhites and sometimes grackles. So, if she gets this scared at home how will she survive letting her go? Keep in mind this has been happening after a few successful play times on the lanai after she was able to put weight on her leg and get around. I'll attach the day 1 photo of her. I'll try that later, for some reason I'm getting a question mark.

    I'll address the other issues a little later so we can focus on one at a time if that's ok. I guess it did post the pic.
    Awwww, so cute As soon as my account is good to go I will post pics of my guy Rocky.

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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    She's beautiful! Love the photo of her in mid-jump

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  29. #15
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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    Hi HRT4SQRLS, hi Rocky, hi Mialouise,
    To answer HRT4SQRLS questions, she was the Esbilac for about 4 weeks, however she was already nibbling on walnuts and few pistachios. To be fair they were more for chewing and she was not swallowing much of it. The first three weeks she was on it constantly, and she slept a lot, no doubt out of being scared and injured. The fourth week she reduced her formula on her own a little bit each day. The fifth week was more veggies and nuts and the formula became sporadic. By the start of the sixth week she was done.

    After about two weeks of healing I introduced a couple of oak branches in the large carrier she would hand out in during the day. I kept her movement as restricted as possible, and would not let her out for more than a couple of minutes, but wanted to help combat boredom. We couldn't tell for sure her age. Photos of age progression online showed her at 8 weeks, but her behavior and eating timeline put her at about 6 weeks old, I know it depends on the individual. Once she started to get the hang of eating, which was a lot of tasting and then dropping the food or chewing without swallowing, and then coming back to it later that day or the next day. Anyway, she let me know she didn't want any formula more each day. However, there were days when she would have none of it all day and then a pile of it at bedtime or vice versa. I figure she was after what her body required.

    I'm glad you guys warned me about the D3 issue, and just to ease your mind a bit, for the last couple of weeks she has not been enjoying the dusted veggies very much so I stopped doing it. I did add some to a scrambled egg for her to eat, even then it was just a few bites.

    In the photos you posted the one where she is laying on her tummy with her left arm hanging over the edge was taken in my bedroom. That is the screen I have hoisted up from one side of the room to the other. I do love that ball of fluff! I just got done have a tickle/wrestling match with her. We do that every morning. It just gets her so happy.

    Thank you HRT4SQRLS and Nancy In New Your for the diet information. Did you read where she gets terrified outside? I could use some advice on that. I also have a couple of other issues I need help with to decide if she would be ok for release. I'm not pushing, I just want to make sure we can talk about it.

    Have a great Saturday! I'll check in later. And Rocky, I would love to see your photos. HRT4SQRLS thank you for posting Neptune's cutie pics. Just as I was signing off she jumped up on my shoulder and buried a pecan at the back of my neck and shirt collar. She does that 10 times a day.

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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    Quote Originally Posted by Mialouise View Post
    She's beautiful! Love the photo of her in mid-jump
    Thank you! I've been trying to get photos of her everyday. I paint wildlife and it's great to have a ton of photos of a subject and squirrels are one of my favorite animals, and have only now started a painting as one as my subject. The action photos have been fun to try and get. She gets so excited when I go and hang out with her on the lanai so action shots are easy, getting them so they are usable is a different animal, and it's the sit still portrait type that are a pain to get.

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  33. #17
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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    I have just a minute but I have a tip to get those still portrait pics.

    Sunflower seed... When you give a nut they often take it, run off to eat it with their back to you or scurry away to hide it.
    They will take the seed and eat it right there. Itís too small to hide so they sit until itís gone.

    Now keep in mind that seeds (and nuts) are unhealthy so donít overdo the photo session. Seeds have the same bone calcium robbing effect as nuts so easy does it on the seeds.

    Squirrels in rehab often do get terrified outside. Outside sounds and smells are foreign to them. Thatís why we do a slow release. They stay in the safety of a release cage for several weeks. It depends on the squirrel how long that period is. Usually the scared feeling will pass and they will start getting more squirrelly as they get familiar with the sights and sounds of nature. It is a VERY rare squirrel that wonít adapt to life outside. It does happen but it is not common for them to reject release.

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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    Hi, I just got done hanging out with Neptune outside and getting more photos. And coincidentally I threw a few sunflower seeds on the ground and saw exactly what you describe before I read your post.

    So, back to the being scared issue, even if she was outside for the first 6 to 8 weeks and then brought in for a month before taking her back outside is enough to make my little cutie that scared? That sucks! She gets frozen solid and shakes. I bring her in when she's like that because I would imagine that kind of stress would be bad for her tiny system, plus I don't want to scar her from going out again. There were a couple days this week she adamantly refused to go outside. I took her out, put her on the screen, and before I get my hand back she's back on my shoulder and diving in behind my neck and burrows in to my flannel. If I do get her on the screen or ground and make it to the door, she chases me, climbs my leg, goes under my shirt and stays there. She is magnitudes faster than me, there's no escaping her. She does have a nest out out there that I installed up high. She's napping in it right now.

    The second issue I have is before I got this several ounces of cute, chewing, destructive fuzzy, we did, and still do, feral cat rescue. We have a house full of cats. And while I have done my best to keep them separated I haven't been fully successful. No injuries, no contact from cats, but contact from her to a cat. Two of our youngest cats are mesmerized by her and are like a magnet wherever I take her. They stay away if I'm present, but the second I'm gone it turns in to cat theater. When Neptune is on the lanai she runs around and the cats love it. Here's the the thing, I have a remote camera set up to help keep an eye on whatever animal we have on the lanai. I could see our youngest cat Tika doing somersaults on the glass. I snuck up and saw that Neptune was playing with her through the glass. She's done this with at least two other cats that watch her. It's adorable, but has set up a whole series of new questions and problems.

    I also have a rescue that was like my shadow before Neptune came in to the house, so she's always trying to get into the room. Sometimes she slips past. A few days ago she ran in, I turned her around and was ushering her back out, Neptune ran, jumped on me, ran off my shoulder, and grabbed her tail several times and went after her ears another. It's a good thing the cat, Gem, is very timid or it could have gone bad. She just want the hell out of the room after she felt Neptune jump on her back the last time it happened. It sucks! She could be on the far side of the room and no matter how fast I react Neptune is there in an instant. I think she thinks it all a game. A neighborhood cat made it past our fence yesterday and was striking at the lanai screen, she kept running at him, happy and hopping and going to the screen. I know that cat and he's a killer. He wasn't playing nice and he got soaked, yelled at, and run off. I set up the camera to see that area and set up a motion detector.

    So, if she see's these animals as a non-threat now, will that continue once she's outside? The first time she runs at a cat outside she'll be dead and that's my worry. Any ideas?

    Thank you

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  37. #19
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    Default Re: New With Neptune

    Quote Originally Posted by Shipwrekt29 View Post
    So, if she see's these animals as a non-threat now, will that continue once she's outside? The first time she runs at a cat outside she'll be dead and that's my worry. Any ideas?

    Thank you
    Yes, and yes, sorry to say.
    You've gotten the best advice from some of our best here on TSB so I won't re-invent the wheel, but your girl is not ready for prime time at this time. With no natural fear of predators she is a sitting duck out there. Not good at all.

    She is adorable, though. You know that Florida squirrels are a third smaller than northeastern squirrels, right? She looks like a 9-wk old New York squirrel. So sleek and pretty! You've done a very good job with her but she is too tame right now -- or confused as to what is friend or foe -- to be released. I would say play it by ear; she is young and may change her tune in 4-6 weeks.
    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. '

  38. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to island rehabber:

    RockyPops (12-07-2019), Shipwrekt29 (12-07-2019)

  39. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Southwest Florida
    Posts
    10
    Thanked: 25

    Default Re: New With Neptune

    Hi Island Rehabber,

    Thank you for your opinion and compliments. I have really tried to educate myself to give her the best healthy life I could provide. I want her to be healthy, happy, to feel loved and secure.

    I pretty much new that she was too tame at the moment. Is there any way to reverse this? Something I can do to instill the natural fear she should have? I really did try to keep them separated, she's just friendly. When we first got her we heard that she should only be around one person. I'm the one with the experience with feedings, meds, shots, etc, plus I just LOVE squirrels and chipmunks so I was mama. Even though my wife has basically moved out of the room, when she comes in to go to the closet, Neptune is drawn to her, basically chases her to get on her shoulder or to be handled.

    Any advice would be very much appreciated. And I didn't know Florida squirrels were smaller than northeastern squirrels. I wonder why. It's green down here year round and lots of food to eat and warm most of the time. Is is the warmth? Is it that they don't need the extra weight? Anyway, thank you very much for your help.

  40. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Shipwrekt29:

    frankc (12-08-2019), RockyPops (12-07-2019)

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