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Thread: Releasing in AL & eating habits ...

  1. #1
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    Default Releasing in AL & eating habits ...

    Needing some input on a soft release / eating habits...

    I plan to start a soft release approx the 3rd week of November .. he seems ready ...

    Squirt is now ~11 weeks old (weighing in at ~365 g), but continues to eat out of a syringe generally 3x a day (Is this normal?)
    I continue to give him formula in a small bowl (instead of a syringe), but no interest.
    He's had a water bottle in his cage, but no interest ...other than chewing/destroying the holder .
    He's eating blocks, any and all veggies & treats that's given to him.

    He's not dehydrated and his output seems to be right on target .. firm pellets / etc. (Thanks for the help on that!)

    Should I expect him to start weaning off the formula soon?
    Should I be cutting it back?

    Daily I move his cage outside for a few hours, so that he can enjoy the weather / etc.

    He's got a nesting box in his cage that he spends the nights in and seems to have built himself a nice little nest inside ...

    What am I missing? What else do I need to prepare for his release?

    Any information is appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Releasing in AL & eating habits ...

    If it were me I’d continue to give him formula as long as he’ll take it. Many will take it even after being moved to the release cage, although it’s usually from a bowl by then.

    Your plan is to put him in the release cage at 14 weeks and then give him a couple of weeks to adjust? That would put the release date in late November. Will there still be leaves on trees? And will he have time to make or find a home before cold weather sets in? Are you providing a box for him up in a tree? Will you continue to feed him through the winter if he sticks around?

    I ask all these questions because I don’t know what the weather is like in Alabama. In Florida we can practically release year round, depending on where in the state you live.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Releasing in AL & eating habits ...

    Any suggestions on getting him to take it from a bowl
    Feeding him is certainly becoming a challenge ... he's a squirrel .. I knew it would get to this point.

    I'm in North Alabama. Leaves on trees ... hummmm .. good question.
    I know the 3 peacan trees in my yard will more than likely not have leaves.
    Yes, the plan is to move his nesting box from his cage to a tree.

    As far as continuing to feed him ... sure.
    No plans to open the release cage and no longer care of him

    Just want the little guy to be a happy camper!

    Tks

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Releasing in AL & eating habits ...

    All you can do is offer the formula in a shallow bowl and see if he’ll drink it. Many squirrels also love yogurt…although it can be quite messy.

    Since young squirrels are not very savvy having leaves on the trees helps them to stay safe. Food is also scarce and other squirrels will have a cache of nuts buried that your little guy won’t have.

    Singletons always do better when released at an older age. Your little guy won’t have anyone to snuggle with when it gets cold or help look out for him.

    You might consider over-wintering him.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Releasing in AL & eating habits ...

    I am in extreme N.E. Georgia (Lake Hartwell). I release here up until Dec 1. That means squirrels are in the cage by the first or second week of November for the portal to be opened before December (after 3 weeks in the release cage). Of course, earlier release is better for those of the proper age (for me that means at lest 13 weeks (14 preferred) before going out to the release cage.

    I will also overwinter in my release cages and believe that squirrels that are overwintered in the release cage are happier than those stuck indoors. It is unfortunate, but it is the singletons that are usually the last to be released, just a fact of having so many to rotate through release, so I find myself overwintering singletons often in the release cages. And if I have older kids (say 10 months to 18)... like ones that someone kept as a pet or simply kept delaying their release until one day the "wild" comes out and the squirrel is demanding their freedom, those older ones I believe benefit from a few months in the release cage.

    I can open the portal in early February here (there are dozens of Yankees looking at long over-winters that might be pretty envious reading this!).

    The wild squirrels are provided food and fresh water year round here, lots of nest boxes too. Squirrels should not be fed on the ground; feeders should be mounted on trees and feed them there. I have a double deck and there are some feeders on the posts of the lower deck, but not upper deck where they are exposed. Feeding them on the ground exposes them and makes them more vulnerable to predators. Don't feed them in a place that encourages them to leave the safety of well treed areas for open places (so for suburbanites, feed in the perimeter of your yard, not feeders or a single (small) tree in the middle of the lawn (which is kind of like setting the dinner table for birds of prey IMO)). I am fortunate that I don't have to worry about luring squirrels across busy roads by putting food out for them... the biggest threat from vehicles is UPS / FedEx trucks coming down the driveway! As far as leaf cover... we have quite a few pines and some live oaks (that retain their leaves until the Spring when new leaves push the old dead ones off). I've been here a while and know my area... hunting pressure from predators (hawks) is most intense in the Spring when they are needing to feed their young and the least pressure is during the winter months (it sure seems to me that some of the hawks migrate away during the winter since there sure seems to be fewer., despite what the experts say).

    At this moment, the tulip poplars have dropped most their leaves but pretty much all the other trees' leaves are still green... the oaks have not even begun to change color.

    I hope this helps!




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    ddhall (10-28-2021), Mel1959 (10-21-2021)

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Releasing in AL & eating habits ...

    Alrighty, well I decided to over-winter Squirt .. he's doing great ...Drinking from a bowl and all.

    BUT ....

    He seems not to like the fact that I made this decision.
    He's in a release cage outside 24/7 unless is gets cold (well cold for North Alabama ... like in the 20's) ..then I move him in a warmer area for the night.
    When he's not sleeping he is constantly running around his cage .. like around and around and around .. you get the point
    He'll sit and watch other squirrels running around the yard and what not .. seems to be just taking it all in.
    Every chance he gets .. he tries to get out ...

    He still can't crack a pecan by himself, as well as still drinking milk like 1 Tbsp. twice a day (morning / night)... so I feel like this was / still is the right decision.


    My question for you is this normal / to be expected?

    What else can I do to help him be a happy singleton?

    Appreciate any advise in advance!

    - Shawn

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