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Thread: Nutrition Question for Release Cage.

  1. #1
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    Default Nutrition Question for Release Cage.

    Hi everyone,

    Hope everyone is doing well!

    Quick question for Buddy: now that he is spending most of his time during the day in his release cage, I cannot really see if he has eaten his blocks. I put them on a plate, along with his nest box and during the day I see him chomping on them, but I also notice that after a while, he drops them and the bottom of his release case is a jungle (now that I put more leaves and soil etc, which he really loves!!). So I find some dried Henry's blocks.

    I have 2 questions/concerns:

    1) Is the dried block still okay for him to eat?
    2) How do I make sure that he eats enough block?

    How do you make sure that a squirrel in a release cage eats enough or at this stage we have to trust that they eat enough?

    He is still around 450-460 grams.

    When I take him in the house in the evening, I put only blocks in his cage at home so he eats a little bit then too.

    Just wondering how you guys manage nutrition in the release cage.

    Thanks!
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Nutrition Question for Release Cage.

    What they eat in the release cage is always a dilemma. It has been my experience that once they go to the release cage the leafy green veggies are the first that they stop eating. I still provide some in a bowl with other veggies, though. Red and green cabbage hold up better outside so you can always try that.

    All you can do is provide a wide variety of foods, but limit, nuts, seeds, corn on the cob, etc. Basically the foods high in phosphorous. The fact that he comes in at night and you only provide block may encourage him to eat more of it. I provide only boo balls for the afternoon feeding and once they’re eaten I give one nut to each of the girls I have in the RC.

    I don’t think there’s any harm in Buddy eating the block once it’s dried, but you don’t want it to be moldy. I’d clean out any stashes he has periodically to eliminate the possibility of the block sitting for long, getting wet and then molding.

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    Buddy (11-10-2020)

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Nutrition Question for Release Cage.

    Great! Thank you! Yes, I do a daily scan to get rid of anything he hasn't eaten, but I noticed that sometimes he eats his block (I usually cut them in half) and then after a few bites, he buries somewhere in the ground and I was wondering if that's okay. I'll definitely keep reviewing the floor and keep an eye on. We haven't had any rain recently, so the ground of his cage is pretty dry.

    Thank you again!
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

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    Mel1959 (11-10-2020)

  6. #4
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    Default Re: Nutrition Question for Release Cage.

    At this time of year behavior is undergoing a substantial seasonal change.

    The overarching goal is to survive through the winter until things green up in the spring and new food sources become available.

    So firstly, toward that end, the squirrel pigs out, seeking out the highest calorie foods in order to fatten up. Secondly, the drive to cache food become extraordinarily strong, because if you are squirrel and you keep pigging out there may come a time during winter when there is little to no food left. So, I think the appetite backs off some, as does activity levels, in the second phase and they show restraint, stashing nuts where previously they would have eaten the newly acquired nut on the spot.

    These hardwired instincts override, to a significant degree, that you are proving him a ready source of food. They are wired not to assume that. They become compulsive about stashing stuff, including perishable food, where previously they did not attempt to hide such food. If they aren't building an ever-growing stash they become anxious, I think.

    If you want to see an agitated squirrel, remove a nut that they know that they stashed in a particular location. They will turn things upside down looking for it.

    So, the above is part of what is playing out with Buddy. Consequently, he may not gain much more weight because of this self restraint. I would also think you would see an increased effort to add insulation to any secondary or tertiary nests. Expect him to abscond with any random paper products he comes across, including chewing up things he isn't supposed to chew up.

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Nutrition Question for Release Cage.

    Thank you! Yes, he is not gaining... He is super active; in his release cage and at home... And like you said, he might prefer to hide food because the winter is coming. His nest box is quite toasty... because it has the heater underneath, so maybe he is not that worried about it yet.
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

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  9. #6
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    Default Re: Nutrition Question for Release Cage.

    And I think the wilds are passing up Buddy's leftover veggies because they have higher calorie options and only a limited number of meals before it gets really cold.

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  11. #7
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    Default Re: Nutrition Question for Release Cage.

    Quick question... Are chickpeas good for squirrels? I know green beans or sugar snap peas are fine. I didn't see chickpeas in the Henry's healthy chart. Buddy seems to love them, but I wanted to make sure it's okay to give.
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

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  12. #8
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    Default Re: Nutrition Question for Release Cage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddy View Post
    Quick question... Are chickpeas good for squirrels? I know green beans or sugar snap peas are fine. I didn't see chickpeas in the Henry's healthy chart. Buddy seems to love them, but I wanted to make sure it's okay to give.
    Helen likes them cooked, even better if from some soup, peels them, but, they are a legume and legumes are on most do not feed lists. I am guessing there is some issue with the mineral content. Likewise, grains are also on the do not feed lists. Grains, I can say from personal experience, seems to cause constipation, which isn't useful.

    I have always been curious as to what the issue is with legumes. There is probably somebody on the forum that knows.

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  14. #9
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    Default Re: Nutrition Question for Release Cage.

    Yep, I gave some from the can (organic and with no salt) and yes, he peels them but he really seems to love them. Sometimes prefers them over avocado. Would like to know if they are not good for them, I'll definitely stop giving.
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

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  15. #10
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    Default Re: Nutrition Question for Release Cage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddy View Post
    Yep, I gave some from the can (organic and with no salt) and yes, he peels them but he really seems to love them. Sometimes prefers them over avocado. Would like to know if they are not good for them, I'll definitely stop giving.
    Yes, Helen has shown no interest in cooked dried beans of assorted variety, but definitely likes garbonzo beans (chick peas). I have tried to never given more than 3 at a meal and haven't seen any noticeable problems, but they have not been a regular part of her diet. I would love to know what the underlying issues are with legumes. I have even seen Helen try to fish them out from underwater.

    Maybe that is the question to ask the forum: "Why are legumes bad for squirrels?"

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  17. #11
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    Default Re: Nutrition Question for Release Cage.

    TSB: Are legumes bad for squirrels and why? Anyone?
    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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