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Thread: Soft release

  1. #1
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    Default Soft release

    I've read many of the posts here and I have my release cage ready. I took my old dog's kennel - 10' x 10' - put the 1/4" mesh wire all around it. Put a roof on it with my boys' help so in the middle it has to have a 15' height. I know, I went overboard, but it was not being used for anything. I just have to build the nest boxes, and make sure that the roof is secure. Make sure that the exit is ready, put extra branches in there.

    My question is WHEN?? What does the weather have to be like? Temperature wise I think is the most important. I have one guy - Donkey - who has escaped his cage twice now inside. He is a little terror and definitely needs to be free. I thought I had fixed where he had escaped last night, but obviously not. My son is on his way to save my mom since she couldn't do anything to capture him. I wouldn't want her too because he REALLY gives nasty bites. I have to wear a Kevlar glove to feed him. Donkey needs to go. :-) Right now he is 7.5 months. We live in DE

    If I put everyone on squirrel duty we could probably have everything ready in 2-3 weeks. It should be warmer then. I'm concerned with more at night. Do you think that the enclosure is too big? Should I break it up into two smaller ones?

    Thanks -

    Mommasika

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Default Re: Soft release

    I donít think an enclosure can ever be too big. Being able to perfect their jumping skills is what they need, so bigger is better. Secure some large branches to the cage by using washers on the outside of the cage and a washer next to the large, thick branch. Drill into the branch and secure it to the wire with a screw. I start by angling a large branch on the floor of the cage and lean it against the side of the cage at an angle, then secure it. From there you can build off of it by connecting other branches to it and screwing them together. Adding some small branches of oak or maple or other acceptable wood is nice. I just stick them in and around the secured wood pieces so they can be changed out with fresh ones as they get chewed.

    I donít know what the minimum temperature is needed for being placed in a RC....I live in Florida. Iím sure others will chime in. Can you tell us what the average temperatures are for 2-3 weeks from now if thatís when you anticipate the cage being ready?

    Once in there you can give him several weeks to acclimate. Since heís a singleton itís always advisable to give extra time. Make sure he has a nest box and also place in the RC whatever he currently sleeps in in the house...if itís a cube or something else. This will help him feel comfortable once out there since heíll have a familiar place to hide. Chances are he will eventually move into the nest box but having an alternate familiar place to sleep is nice. This way you could put the nest box up in a tree for him and still have something in the RC for him to return to, if he chooses, once the portal is opened.

    Good luck!

  3. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Mel1959 from:

    Mommasika (03-11-2021)

  4. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Soft release

    I just checked quickly and I could find up to March 20th, and on that date it's predicted to be 28 degrees at night - too cold!! I don't want to put him out at that point. I think like plants, there shouldn't be any chance of frost, in my opinion. I did sew him a cube, but he has chewed the little tab hangers off of it, so it is now sitting on the ground. I don't want to take it out to attach more. I think that will make him panic and he is like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. LOL I've read about cutting up that material and putting it in the nestbox so he smells it and knows it's his.

    I also have one other singleton that needs to go. He is a year old right now. He could have gone last fall but I didn't have the release cage build quick enough before I felt he would have had enough time for building up a cache of food.

    Is there any chance that the cage is big enough for Donkey and Klinger to be put in the RC together? Apparently in one of Donkey's escapes he visited Klinger and ran up and down his 6' tall cage. My mom said she didn't hear any noises (but then again, she can't hear that well). They do see and smell each other. They "talk" to each other. So, I don't know if that would be the right thing to do. I don't want them to fight. Nestboxes would be put on opposite sides of the cage.

    Thank you also for the ideas with the washers and the screws. I ziptied them. LOL. I guess when I go out and see what has happened over the winter, I'll do the washer idea.

    Any other ideas will be great! I hope to hear from others.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Soft release

    I hope others will chime in about putting both of them in the release cage together. I think it has been done where two litters are combined, Iím just not sure because of their age. I do know that if others say itís ok, they have to be placed in there at the same time to avoid any territory issues.

    There are a couple of admin folks on here (Island Rehabber, Spanky and Javarat) that rehab tons of squirrels every year. You might reach out to them by private message and get their opinion.

    Yes, that temp is definitely too cold to put them outside.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
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    Default Re: Soft release

    Hi all. I have a 4 month old in an outside cage. He has been in there about 3 weeks except for 1 day, thanks to hurricane Nicole. Will having him indoors 1 day screw any release ideas up?

    I have never done a release Do I just leave the main door I access the cage open and watch from outside? Or just open it and let him do his thing? Do I be a helicopter dad or just let nature do what it does. I don't have a separate box outside the cage for him but there are nest boxes in the trees in my yard.

    I realize I have to hope he returns to the cage at night which I can close up overnight. How long should that part take? A week or two? Thanks.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Soft release

    Quote Originally Posted by Peaches004 View Post
    Hi all. I have a 4 month old in an outside cage. He has been in there about 3 weeks except for 1 day, thanks to hurricane Nicole. Will having him indoors 1 day screw any release ideas up?

    I have never done a release Do I just leave the main door I access the cage open and watch from outside? Or just open it and let him do his thing? Do I be a helicopter dad or just let nature do what it does. I don't have a separate box outside the cage for him but there are nest boxes in the trees in my yard.

    I realize I have to hope he returns to the cage at night which I can close up overnight. How long should that part take? A week or two? Thanks.
    The cage should have a small portal, about 3" round / square. Big enough for a squirrel to pass through, but nothing bigger like cats, raccoons, etc. That portal should be opened for release and not a large door. If you are releasing at your home, I find it easier to lure them out through the portal at first. Once they are out and about you can watch them if you'd like. I work from home so I will check on them several times during the day. Usually the first days are spent exploring and playing. They spend way too much time on the ground the first day or two before taking to the trees... that can be nerve-racking! I will usually open the large door for them to have an easier time finding their way back into the cage. I'll spend the last 30 -45 minutes of daylight "helicoptering" helping the ones that show up back into the cage. Once they are all back in I will close up the cage doors (portal remains open from now on). Even if they do not all return, the large door(s) should be closed and secure from raccoons and such. It only takes a day or two... sometimes 3 of exiting through the portal for them to learn where it is from the outside and get back in that way... but the first couple of nights are confusing for many of them. They are usually all out and about through the portal before I get breakfast to them the second morning.

    If seven consecutive nights pass and none have returned to the release I close up the portal prepare for the next group. If one returns any night, the count resets to zero. My release cages have an "anteroom" (I refer to them as phone booths) with a nest box in there and a separate door to the main cage. So the main cage has a portal to the phone booth and then there is a second portal in the phone booth going outside. This double portal set-up may be why my squirrels take a few days to figure out getting back into the cage... but... the phone booth serves as a "safe space". So even if they are closed out of the main cage, they can return to the safety of the phone booth should it be necessary. I have had more than one injured, sick... and even pregnant (and set up house in the nest box) releases turn up in the phone booth needing help. I understand this is not necessary for everyone, especially someone only doing a single or only occasional release, but I like to share a more complete picture for those that may be.. or may be considering... multiple releases each season.

  8. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Spanky from:

    Peaches004 (11-11-2022)

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