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Thread: Babies sucking on ears

  1. #1
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    Default Babies sucking on ears

    Hello all! It's been a few years since I raised baby reds and I just hopped back in and have a problem I've never faced. I have 4 baby red squirrels, all slightly different in age and size (ranging between 45 and 74g). At least two of the bigger babies are sucking on the ears of the smallest one to the point where he lost his hair all around the ear. Today I separated them from him, which I didn't want to do because I know its always better for them to have other squirrels around, but the poor thing looked awful and tired when I weighed them this morning and his ear was covered in spit and sticking to his head. I cleaned him up and he's okay now...I thought it was just one of the older ones doing it at first, but I just seen the largest one try to do it to another in the same cage. This squirrel was more vocal and the bickered for a minute and it stopped. What should I do? Is there anything I can do to stop it without separating them? The place I'm fostering with marked their ears with nail polish to be able to tell who is who and I notice they don't suck on the painted ears.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Babies sucking on ears

    Quote Originally Posted by Goopella View Post
    Hello all! It's been a few years since I raised baby reds and I just hopped back in and have a problem I've never faced. I have 4 baby red squirrels, all slightly different in age and size (ranging between 45 and 74g). At least two of the bigger babies are sucking on the ears of the smallest one to the point where he lost his hair all around the ear. Today I separated them from him, which I didn't want to do because I know its always better for them to have other squirrels around, but the poor thing looked awful and tired when I weighed them this morning and his ear was covered in spit and sticking to his head. I cleaned him up and he's okay now...I thought it was just one of the older ones doing it at first, but I just seen the largest one try to do it to another in the same cage. This squirrel was more vocal and the bickered for a minute and it stopped. What should I do? Is there anything I can do to stop it without separating them? The place I'm fostering with marked their ears with nail polish to be able to tell who is who and I notice they don't suck on the painted ears.
    So in my limited experience with this, meaning I have only read about it and can give advice on the information I have obtained.
    1. Separate the one doing the sucking. Leave the rest together. It may not be what you want to do but it is dangerous for the one being suckled. They may start sucking in different parts of the body which can do major damage.

    2. I have read that the reason that they suckle each other is because they arenít being fed enough and they are hungry. They are suppose to be fed 5-7% of their body weight.

    So my questions are what are you feeding them? How old are they? Can you post pictures of each baby if you donít know and maybe we can help with that. If their eyes are open then are you giving them rodent blocks (Henryís)? Are they eating anything else other than formula or blocks?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Babies sucking on ears

    Quote Originally Posted by Tuff View Post
    So in my limited experience with this, meaning I have only read about it and can give advice on the information I have obtained.
    1. Separate the one doing the sucking. Leave the rest together. It may not be what you want to do but it is dangerous for the one being suckled. They may start sucking in different parts of the body which can do major damage.

    2. I have read that the reason that they suckle each other is because they arenít being fed enough and they are hungry. They are suppose to be fed 5-7% of their body weight.

    So my questions are what are you feeding them? How old are they? Can you post pictures of each baby if you donít know and maybe we can help with that. If their eyes are open then are you giving them rodent blocks (Henryís)? Are they eating anything else other than formula or blocks?
    I am feeding them Fox Valley 20/50 formula, 5% of their weight. I was feeding esbilac before so this is new to me. (It's been a few years since I did this on my own just supervised by a licensed rehabber, and now I am going through a nature center that is a rehab center and their guidelines are a little different than what I did before - and like I said it's been a while so I don't remember a lot of specifics). Before I was feeding by age and now I am feeding by weight. Their eyes are open and I'm guessing two are between 4-5 weeks, one is probably towards the end of 5 weeks, and the last is bigger a seems more like 6-7 weeks. I haven't given them rodent block because the nature center didn't mention it or give me any and I had honestly forgotten since last time, not sure why they didn't tell me but I will get some. They aren't eating anything besides formula.

    My problem now is I'm seen 3 out of 4 sucking on eachother and I only have two cages I have one boy and found the largest one sucking on his penis and I feel awful! For now I put the boy in with the youngest one and the youngest is hiding in lower blankets in the cage so the other isn't othering her as much, and i have the other two together and tried to do the same and put one lower in the blankets. I don't have any extra heating pads and have the two cages sat halfway on one pad...I can get more cages tomorrow, so I'm just worried about them overnight. Ugh I feel awful like I am doing something wrong...I raised so many reds in the past with no problems like this. I just got these guys on the 9th. Now I'm worried if I have to separate them they won't do as well after release because I know it's important that they learn and grow with eachother.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Babies sucking on ears

    The smallest baby:
    Name:  184921011_485300709346322_8316593039209672543_n.jpg
Views: 27
Size:  64.5 KB

    The boy:
    Name:  186491348_2611411099163202_1565909889141480029_n.jpg
Views: 26
Size:  60.7 KB

    Another girl/2nd largest:
    Name:  185867633_464555701504230_412616565908082441_n.jpg
Views: 28
Size:  59.3 KB

    Largest:
    Name:  183560879_467273851029716_3333842785594173583_n.jpg
Views: 27
Size:  58.7 KB

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Babies sucking on ears

    Quote Originally Posted by Goopella View Post
    The smallest baby:
    Name:  184921011_485300709346322_8316593039209672543_n.jpg
Views: 27
Size:  64.5 KB

    The boy:
    Name:  186491348_2611411099163202_1565909889141480029_n.jpg
Views: 26
Size:  60.7 KB

    Another girl/2nd largest:
    Name:  185867633_464555701504230_412616565908082441_n.jpg
Views: 28
Size:  59.3 KB

    Largest:
    Name:  183560879_467273851029716_3333842785594173583_n.jpg
Views: 27
Size:  58.7 KB
    So if everyone is sucking on everyone, I would say 5% isnít making anyone happy. Remember donít over feed but then sucking on each other and themselves is dangerous. Try bitter apple on the suckled parts. Like put it around the penis not directly on it, or make him a sock that covers up his little winkie. If it was me I would separate everyone for a few days or maybe a week even. You can divide the cages in half if needed. Bump everyone up to 6% as long as they take it ok. Rush order some blocks from Henryís, start out with about half of one a day at first then build them up to 1. There is some good info on Henryís web site for nutrition and stuff. Rehabbing I have found is as different as night and day. FV is a good formula, there are several rehabbers that do a mixture of Esbilac and FV with heavy whipping cream they swear by it. You would have to search the site for it. Maybe the more experienced rehabbers here will chime in soon.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Babies sucking on ears

    Reds have an extremely fast metabolism compared to other squirrels and burn through their food quickly. Here's an idea that I only started using these past 4 seasons (two years): instead of feeding by weight or by age, how about feeding by poops? Yep, let them eat what THEY want, as they would with their mamma. She wouldn't cut them off at some percent of their body weight. JUST WATCH THE POOPS. After the original few rounds of black poop after intake, which is mamma's milk, their poops will get lighter in color -- with FV usually tan to dark gold, which is fine. IF you see lighter and lighter poop, or if they get mushy and not formed, you are overfeeding so back off. If not, let the baby eat what he wants and stop by himself. I have been doing this now for 4 seasons and it has resulted in no suckling whatsoever -- even though I had 5 boys and two girls together at one point .

    I know we use the 5-7% rule, but this is a guideline, not the 11th Commandment. 5% is a MINIMUM for good health. May I quietly tell you that most of my babies over the past two years have calmy sucked down 8-10% with no digestive issues? But you must watch carefully and you must hold back if those poops get lighter or mushy.

    I have not posted this before on TSB because I wanted to be sure that I had tested it with more than one group of baby squirrels.
    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.

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  7. 3 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to island rehabber:

    Chirps (05-18-2021), Nancy in New York (05-17-2021), Tuff (05-17-2021)

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