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Thread: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    Part of the reason I have mentioned the annex is that as a male Buddy is going to face a number of challenges when he is introduced to the local environment. If there are any female relative in the area they will likely drive him away to prevent inbreeding. Any dominant local males will do the same. It is the dominant, elder males that get first dibs on the females in heat.

    So, if Buddy gets free at this time and cannot be coaxed to come back home, he will face very tough odds. He will have to find a new place to live and there will likely be very few leaves on the trees, thus he will be unable to make a drey. Also, he won't have put aside a winter/spring stock pile of food.

    You may well already know these things, but as I have said before I would rather not assume.

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    Buddy (10-19-2020)

  3. #42
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    Thank you! Yes, that makes sense! We'll definitely be careful while transferring him etc.

    I found him like 4 blocks or so away from our house. So not sure if his mom/relatives would be around... There are many squirrels here though.

    We got his nest box. It's big! After a little hesitation, he figured it out and I think he likes it. Hopefully, he'll make this nest his own and when we release him (next spring), my husband will put the nest box up in the tree.

    I think that's what we're supposed to do, right?


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  4. #43
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddy View Post

    We got his nest box. It's big! After a little hesitation, he figured it out and I think he likes it. Hopefully, he'll make this nest his own and when we release him (next spring), my husband will put the nest box up in the tree.

    I think that's what we're supposed to do, right?
    Yes, preferably a deciduous tree and the box should face south to get winter sun but then when the leaves come out the house should be in the shade. The tree needs to be interconnected with other trees.

    Time will (in the Spring) tell when Buddy will be able to stay in your yard.

    If it were me, I would tack a piece of plywood to the roof that overhangs the left and right side and front sides by three inches (clear of the porches) then buy a couple of shingles from a home improvement store and tack them to the plywood. (Some sell individual shingles.) With the shingles hanging over the edge of the plywood by 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch.

    First, I would paint the edges and underside of the plywood, to make it more resistant to rot. This should greatly improve the lifespan of the house. (I have plenty of shingles lying around my squirrel has never tried to chew on one and she has looked for food high and low, but that is another story/problem.)

    This way, most of the rain will fall clear of the house, making the wood much less likely to mildew and rot.

    I would try to put some amount of pitch on the plywood to facilitate drainage. (Putting a block of wood under the plywood at the backside should facilitate this.) You might have to drill another set of attachment holes in the back board slightly higher than the existing two.

    Just remember if Buddy smells a female in heat, all bets are off, you will come in a distant second consideration. Though I wouldn't think that a female would come into heat at this time.

    Also I would fill the grooves on the existing house's roof. They just allow water to penetrate deeper into the wood. They are there for looks, not function.

    Once the house is placed in the tree I would attach a few block to the tree, on either side of the house, pinning the house between them to make house more rigid in its attachment. Don't want it luffing in the wind, because it looks like there are only two screw holes for attaching the house to the tree. That is under-engineered, in my opinion.

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    Buddy (10-19-2020)

  6. #44
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    Correction: tell whether Buddy will (not when)

  7. #45
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    Thank you once again for detailed information/suggestions!

    I know we still have time to figure all out, but it seems there is so much to learn, so I'm trying to digest the info and start thinking about things and planning...

    All these comments/suggestions are a great help!! Thank you!!

    Another quick question.... The box opens from the front (for cleaning etc). What do I put inside the nest box? I put a few fleece.. but wasn't sure how much or if anything else?

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  8. #46
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddy View Post
    Another quick question.... The box opens from the front (for cleaning etc). What do I put inside the nest box? I put a few fleece.. but wasn't sure how much or if anything else?
    I do many different things. I am personally rehabilitating an old house so I see a squirrel house how a good builder would see a well-made house for people.

    I would stuff it full of fleece. You probably want to cut the fleece into smaller pieces so that Buddy can manipulate them according to his preferences. You want there to be enough so that he can be in the middle of this pile of fleece, with the fleece insulating him on all sides. Buddy will just burrow in. The winter wind will pull heat away from the wood.

    You might experiment visually with the sizes of the pieces of fleece that you cut. My thought is that the pieces should be a bit bigger than the cross section of the floor.

    When squirrels build a drey, they work with branches covered with leaves woven together in the crotch of some limbs. Then, when the pile is big enough, they push their way in, pushing leaves aside and doing some pruning. They usually bring in some additional loose nesting material.

    If it were me, I would put some sealing foam strips, like the sell for drafty windows, where the clean out door closes against the rest of the house to create a tight seal that doesn't whistle when the wind blows, because I am guessing there might be a little air gap. I just try to be thorough. It's my nature.

    I plan also to put a small stuffed animal inside, as well as the antler. (My house is a little bigger.)

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    Buddy (10-19-2020)

  10. #47
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    I must confess that I am making a fortress/castle for Helen. I am currently working on the roof, almost done.

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  12. #48
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rock Monkey View Post
    I must confess that I am making a fortress/castle for Helen. I am currently working on the roof, almost done.
    Oh man! Like I said before, Helen is a lucky girl!

    We all would love to see the pictures of the fortress/castle...
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

    Please visit "My Buddy" thread to know more about Buddy: https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...65309-My-Buddy

  13. #49
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    Question: Wouldn't they eat stuffed animals or sealing foam strips? Wouldn't that be bad, if they did?
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

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  14. #50
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    I don’t think I’d use the sealing strips. I do think it would be chewed. My guys customize their cage, inside and out, by chewing. This is also why we don’t recommend using pressure treated wood for anything.

    As for stuffed animals.....I have had them chewed which is why we never recommend any stuffed animals with plastic eyes, nose, mouth, etc. Or any with tiny beads inside for the stuffing. If they decide to chew the stuffie it will ruin the toy, but it won’t hurt them. You can monitor the toy and remove it if it’s really chewed up.

    I had a group of squirrels that loved to play on a hanging stuffie in the release cage. The stuffed toy was attached to a fleece covered piece of elastic. They would jump on it and bounce as it sprung up and down. Sometimes they’d jump on the back of the one playing with the toy and hold on for dear life.

    Your box is nice. An angled wood that overhangs on three sides would be good for protecting the house from rain. I would not paint the edges or underside. I would be worried about him ingesting paint, even if it’s not toxic. I don’t think it will really extend the life of the box that much, especially once it’s chewed off. My guys even customize the size of the hole, both inside and outside. If Buddy sticks around you will just have to resign yourself to replacing the box every once in awhile.

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  16. #51
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    Thank you Mel! And, that's a great idea! Buddy loves jumping on us! I have bigger stuffed animals that I can hang in his cage and he can jump on them.

    He is already jumping from one place to another, zooming around... So another area to jump over would be fun for him!
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

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    Mel1959 (10-19-2020)

  18. #52
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddy View Post
    Question: Wouldn't they eat stuffed animals or sealing foam strips? Wouldn't that be bad, if they did?
    I am talking about putting the sealing strip between the two pieces of wood, meaning that it is neither visible or accessible from the inside or the outside. So that it get compressed when the clean out door is closed.

    Like Mel said, you wouldn't want the stuffed animal to have any bits of plastic. You would definitely want to give them something that you have seen them interact safely with for an extended period of time. The toy, stuffed animal, that I intend to give to Helen is something she has had for months and has never dismembered it in the least, just rolls around with it occasionally.

    Yes, of all of my criterion for my project, I realize that "Squirrel-Proof" is the least likely to be achieved. However I do think that by giving the house now you can tell Buddy "No", "Nope" when he starts to nibble at it. I have had good success at training Helen in this regard with respect to a wide assortment of objects. It requires an ample store of goodwill and quiet, calm, persistence. They have good memories. It is an integral part of their natural skill set.

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  20. #53
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    Got it! Thank you for clarifying!

    Yes, they seem to understand "No!" for sure! I'll keep warning him, hopefully he will remember what's not good for him especially when he is out and free.
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

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  21. #54
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    So, after a heavy rain, these big branches from our backyard tree fell. They have these green things... I think they are moss, but maybe mold??

    Are these fine to put in Buddy's release cage?

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  22. #55
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    It is fine... that is lichen. Flyers will actually eat the lichen off the branches as well as put it in their nest boxes as bedding... I have never seen a gray do this, they pretty much just chew it off the branch. Maybe they eat it... IDK for sure.

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  24. #56
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    Awesome! Thank you! I thought it would be fine, but just wanted to make sure...

    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
    It is fine... that is lichen. Flyers will actually eat the lichen off the branches as well as put it in their nest boxes as bedding... I have never seen a gray do this, they pretty much just chew it off the branch. Maybe they eat it... IDK for sure.
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

    Please visit "My Buddy" thread to know more about Buddy: https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...65309-My-Buddy

  25. #57
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    My husband added a roof to Buddy's release cage. We also installed the little heating pad underneath the nest box. It was pretty cold the other day but the bottom and inside the box was toasty.

    Here's the info on the heating pad, if anyone is interested: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HML9QJ5

    Here are some reviews from rehabers: https://www.amazon.com/Pet-Products-...yword=squirrel

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  26. #58
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    It looks good! Donít forget to add something on the sides and maybe the upper part of a portion of the front to block rain and blowing wind.

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    Buddy (10-30-2020)

  28. #59
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    Thank you Mel! Yes, those are the next.
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

    Please visit "My Buddy" thread to know more about Buddy: https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...65309-My-Buddy

  29. #60
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    Default Re: Need Help with Release Cage Planning...

    I cannot find the post now but I think it was Spanky saying something like that it might not be a good idea to let a release squirrel to overwinter at home, running loose, spending a lot of time with humans...

    So Buddy, ~16/17 weeks now, he has been spending most of his time in the outdoor release cage. The weather has not been that bad, so he is enjoying a lot of sunshine, watching birds and other squirrels etc. He comes inside after sunset. We play with him a little bit more, maybe another hour or so, and then he goes into his indoor cage to sleep.

    When he wakes up, we also play a bit with him and let him run around the house. Then he goes back out to the release cage.

    I was planning to keep the same schedule. I know it will get much colder and snowy. He has a heater pad underneath his nest box. But I was thinking if it's cold and windy, I would keep him inside more often.

    After seeing the comments about squirrels getting too much used to humans... do you guys have any comments about how much time Buddy should be spending indoor and whether we should limit our interactions with him now? I was thinking we would start that limitation towards the end of winter / early spring.

    And of course, then do the 2 weeks of no interaction/wildening process.

    What do you guys think? Thanks!
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

    Please visit "My Buddy" thread to know more about Buddy: https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...65309-My-Buddy

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