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Thread: Calcium supplementation in squirrel diet

  1. #1
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    Default Calcium supplementation in squirrel diet

    Hi there, My 3 yo male NR squirrel has shown declining calcium levels. It was 7.3 2 months ago and now it is 6.8. I am adding calcium to his diet and decreasing nuts- which kills me because they provide so much enrichment for him. But I know i have to do it. I was feeding him Henry's rodent blocks and a variety of green leafy veggies, cauliflower and other veggies. But towards the end of the day he just wanted nuts. I know I can no longer give in to him. But he being a real stickler and I am determined to get more calcium into his little body. I have calcium cabonate (powder) , calcium citrate (powder) and calcium gluconate (liquid). I have had to resort to grinding up Tums with water and giving it to him by syringe at times. I also used calcium carbonate powder and sprinkled it on his food and also have mixed it with almond butter and made little balls, but he won't always eat those. So I wanted to start adding calcium gluconate to his water bottle. Does anybody have a general rule of thumb on how much to add per volume of water? He goes outside on my screened lanai everyday but i also think I may need to supplement with a full spectrum light bulb for his enclosure inside. Any other tips, tricks, hacks would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!!!!!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Calcium supplementation in squirrel diet

    What you need for him is a higher ratio diet of Ca:P for his diet. Try adding calcium citrate to 1 Tsp. of avocado midday. Avocado is high in magnesium. magnesium L threonate "Double Wood" brand, lends significant support to calcium bone density.

    Probiotics with prebiotics in rat research to increase calcium bone density. Pet Flora by vitality Science recommended.

    By reducing the block portion you have fed in the afternoon and increasing the calcium by the amount lowered with the reduction, to raise the Ca:P ratio.

    Add a few drops of Chia oil into the avocado mashed well to blend the Calcium citrate into it.

    You can also add the chia oil onto block. Doing this has increased the appeal of rodent block for a number of squirrels, that prior refused to eat the block at all. Don't take substitutes, and never use carrier oils. This is both organic and cold pressed oil which has a nutty taste. https://www.amazon.com/Foods-Alive-A...007788AZA?th=1

    Recommend, "Pure Bulk" Calcium citrate (made in the USA); it is fine milled, not gritty, neutral taste not bitter or soapy.
    It also has a lower volume than, "NOW: brand.

    Blanching reduces alkalinity and also bitterness of brassica vegetables; which improves their taste. It also reduces the water content which increases the calcium content by equal measure.

    Blanch frozen chopped Kale cauliflower and broccoli florets fr 90 sec. using a tea strainer like his one.

    https://www.vahdamteas.com/products/...13280917618731

    If you would like a more specific measure for calcium, you can PM me and I will be glad to do what I can to help.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Calcium supplementation in squirrel diet

    Is your guy still eating the Henry’s blocks? He can have 2-3 per day. The alternative to Henry’s if he will no longer consume them is to make your own block which is what we call boo balls. There’s plenty of recipes in the Squirrel Nutrition section. Basically they consist of ground up Harlan Teklad block mixed with veggie/fruit baby food and a little avocado or coconut oil to hold it together. I also add powdered Fox Valley 20/50 formula to mine. You can also add some extra powdered calcium to the concoction.

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    Red face Re: Calcium supplementation in squirrel diet

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    Is your guy still eating the Henry’s blocks? He can have 2-3 per day. The alternative to Henry’s if he will no longer consume them is to make your own block which is what we call boo balls. There’s plenty of recipes in the Squirrel Nutrition section. Basically they consist of ground up Harlan Teklad block mixed with veggie/fruit baby food and a little avocado or coconut oil to hold it together. I also add powdered Fox Valley 20/50 formula to mine. You can also add some extra powdered calcium to the concoction.
    Thank you! I is still eating the blocks but not completely. I have started just giving the blocks first thing in the morning and he is eating them better. But I may try to make my own so I can add extra calcium to them. I appreciate you taking the time to help me!!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Calcium supplementation in squirrel diet

    Hi Salex:
    What is you little Squirrel's name? It sounds like you are in the process of reassessing your Squirrel's diet for the better! I have some suggestions and also some comments about Calcium which is so important for your Squirrel.

    1) If you are providing a quality, balanced block such as Henry's Healthy Blocks or Mazuri Rodent Block, your Squirrel is getting adequate Vitamin D and does not need to have sun exposure or Light Therapy.

    2) I would strongly recommend that you do not use your Squirrels water supply as a medium for supplementation of other substances. Your Squirrel's water should be just that! Nothing but plain water without any additional electrolytes (calcium is an electrolyte) or other substances! Water is in itself, an essential part of your Squirrel's diet! Please keep it pure!

    3) I would respectfully ask that you don't "juggle" your Calcium supplementation based upon serum calcium and to stop checking the serum calcium levels all-together for several reasons; not the least of which is that it is traumatic and poses risks for Squirrels when they are restrained, "gassed down" or whatever to facilitate the blood draw. There is also the element of pain and risk of inflicting injury when obtaining the blood specimen. Yes, sometimes it is well worth getting blood for some definitive reasons but NOT for calcium maintenance or even for diagnosing or monitoring the status of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) which is the very worst manifestation of inadequate calcium intake. Interestingly and surprisingly; the serum Calcium with only rare extraordinary exceptions, provides little if any valuable information on the true Calcium Balance and the Total Calcium present in an animal. I would strongly recommend not checking the serum calcium any further.

    4) What I would recommend for maintenance of adequate Calcium is to have a target Elemental Calcium intake every day (some variation day to day is fine). By the way, Elemental Calcium is in a real sense the true amount of Calcium present in a calcium salt (Calcium salts are preparations such the as Calcium carbonate and Calcium citrate you mentioned in one of your posts). Of the common Calcium salts, Calcium carbonate contains the most elemental Calcium at 40%. Calcium citrate contain 21% Elemental Calcium. Many of us who make our own blocks as well as those who produce blocks for sale such as Henry's use the recommendations contained in The Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Their recommendation regarding Calcium is for incorporating 5 Grams of Elemental Calcium in every Kilogram of food. An "average" Squirrel can usually consume approximately 50 grams of blocks daily (give or take) and using the NRLA Recommendation for Calcium, this comes to 250 milligrams of Elemental Calcium daily! For Henry's Healthy Blocks which are a concentrated, all-inclusive Nutritional source, their recommendation is to limit consumption to 2 (possibly 3 if the Squirrel is somewhat wasteful) blocks for an "average Squirrel (about 10 grams food) and Henry's provides 275 milligrams of Elemental Calcium in this 10 grams of blocks (a complete daily maintenance for your Squirrel).

    5) Another very important and often critical concern is the amount of phosphorus in the Squirrel's diet as the more phosphorus in the diet, the less Calcium will be able to utilized by the Squirrel's body. There have been Squirrels who developed MBD with an adequate Calcium intake but were given excessive phosphorus containing food. If you use primarily good quality blocks (at least 80 of the Squirrels diet and follow Henry's pyramid ( https://henryspets.com/healthy-diet-for-pet-squirrels/) for some few additional food supplementation and very rare treats; your Squirrels Calcium requirements will be met without ever needing to wonder about the serum calcium or worry about development of MBD!

    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

  6. Serious fuzzy thank you's to SamtheSquirrel2018 from:

    Snicker Bar (09-09-2022)

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    Default Re: Calcium supplementation in squirrel diet

    Quote Originally Posted by SamtheSquirrel2018 View Post
    If you use primarily good quality blocks (at least 80 of the Squirrels diet and follow Henry's pyramid ( https://henryspets.com/healthy-diet-for-pet-squirrels/) for some few additional food supplementation and very rare treats; your Squirrels Calcium requirements will be met without ever needing to wonder about the serum calcium or worry about development of MBD!
    Hi:
    Just a clarification from my recent post; In paragraph 5 the 80 should have been 80% and explained further, not just 80....If you use primarily good quality blocks to comprise at least 80% of the Squirrels diet and follow Henry's pyramid ( https://henryspets.com/healthy-diet-for-pet-squirrels/) for some few additional diet supplementation along with very rare treats; your Squirrel's Calcium requirements will be met without ever needing to wonder about the serum calcium or worry about development of MBD!

  8. Serious fuzzy thank you's to SamtheSquirrel2018 from:

    Snicker Bar (09-09-2022)

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