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Thread: Hard Release

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    UK
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    Default Hard Release

    Hi,

    I have a few questions about releasing our little boy,

    Does he HAVE to be 16 weeks when released? as at 10 weeks old, he is no longer drinking milk and seems strong/ smart enough to survive on his own at this point and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to keep him for much longer

    Is a hard release such a bad thing? it's just that I don't have that many options to soft release as I have no garden and no cage big enough for him at the moment he's got a whole room to himself with a mattress pushed against a wall to climb and curtains to climb as well as a load of floor space it just doesn't seem that fair to then lock him in a guinea pig cage ( the only cage I have ) for nearly a month plus the only option I would have is taking him to my dads which has dogs which I think would just stress him out as they wouldn't leave him alone

    BUT I have a park with lots of woodlands around the corner which I think would be a lot more suited to him and I can put a nest box in a tree with his ' things' in

    Like I say I don't know what else to do and being from the UK my options are pretty limited

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    East coast of Florida
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    Default Re: Hard Release

    I think 10 weeks is too young. A few more weeks of providing for him would be ideal, especially since you are talking about doing a hard release. Has he had an opportunity to hear the sounds of outside? Other squirrels alarming?

    A hard release puts him at a disadvantage. You are removing everything that he knows and has lived with by putting him outside which is a big change to begin with. He will be in a position to have to learn where to find food and compete for that food. There’s no guarantee that the nest box you provide will be his. Other older squirrels may take it from him and he will have to find another place to sleep.

    Have you observed him attempting to make a nest by providing tissues or nest building materials for him? If given tissues they will usually take them and line their nest box.

    I hope others will voice their opinions on this. It would be nice to give him the best opportunity for success.

    As a side note, are you offering formula in a dish? Or yogurt? Some squirrels will take one or both this way.

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    Grinderhead (05-22-2020), Nancy in New York (05-22-2020)

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    UK
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    Default Re: Hard Release

    Yeah completely understand and I don't want to put him at a disadvantage I just don't know what else to do at least this way he's got some sort of fighting chance right?

    We are about to take him out in a carry cage and are going to do that for a week or so to get him used to the sights and sounds of outside and yeah he is building a 'nest' we give him tissues and he takes them into the blanket he sleeps in

    He gets his milk in a syringe but he has a food bowl with rat food in and a water bottle which he uses quite a bit

    I really don't know how else to do it unless there is someone from the UK who could soft release him for me? ( ill cover any costs obviously) but with being in the UK any rehab place is out of the question due to the laws

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Mountains
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    Default Re: Hard Release

    Oh dear you’re in a pickle. Is it possible for you to care for the baby until at least 14 weeks. They gotta have a good enough chance to survive. I hope someone can help you. I know this is hard on you. I wish you the best and your little one too

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Cumming, GA
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    Default Re: Hard Release

    In the wild baby squirrels start wandering from the nest as early as 8 weeks.
    The mom does not lock them in the nest.. so they get curious to where mom went and venture out.
    Sometimes they get too adventurous and get lost and follow humans around.

    We mostly recommend 16 weeks because they are close to full growth at this point, and starting to get too restless.
    Also at this size they are too big for most hawks to pick up, can outrun a cat, and so have a better chance of survival.
    After getting a good diet for 16 weeks they usually wind up being larger than other squirrels, and being the alpha squirrels in the area.

    Release is all about getting them as comfortable with the outside as possible, and large enough to survive.
    It is useful for them to have a nesting box to return to.. but they usually stop returning after 2 or 3 days.

    Training for outside should include teaching them to build a nest by providing materials, and learning how to drink from a dish.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    UK
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    Thanked: 6

    Default Re: Hard Release

    We just took him outside into the park and got him some leaves and sticks to get him used to the outdoor smell, but he hated being in the carry cage

    I think I can keep him for maybe another week tops but I think the person who runs the community for my flats has just seen me with him and its a no pet policy here let alone an illegal squirrel!

    I am in dire need of someone to soft release him as I have no options left and want him to thrive, is there anyone who can help me?

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