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Thread: Deer skull for calcium ?

  1. #1
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    Default Deer skull for calcium ?

    My next door neighbors are wildlife biologists, and have a few old weathered deer skulls in their garden as decoration.

    As the skulls were right outside their front window, they noticed that the local squirrels were spending a fair bit of time chewing on the skulls.

    When they mentioned this to me, I asked if I could have one for my NR Guro.

    Here she is, happily munching away on the skull.

    Guro is 22 months old, with extremely limited use of her right forelimb:

    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...Release-or-Not

    Anyone else try deer skulls as a calcium source?

    With Guro as well as various previous squirrels (youngsters being overwintered for release) I have never had much luck with beef or chicken bones, deer antler, shells, etc. So I am very encouraged to see (and hear) Guro gnawing at the skull.

    I suspect that the thinness of the facial bones helps, as it is easy for squirrels to chew.
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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    I have not. Like you i've not had much success offering antlers.

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    olorin19 (05-24-2024)

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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    I collected a lot of bones from a roadkill deer skeleton as I'm always on the lookout for educational material. I had the bones under cover on a piece of old patio furniture. My squirrels would steal them to gnaw on. I'd find a random scapula or legbone as I was walking around to feed my animals. Sometimes up in a tree. I got annoyed when they stole the jawbone though. The skull was too heavy or I'm sure they'd have made off with that too. But just the other day TigerMom was under the tarp covering everything, gnawing on something, probably the skull. I haven't looked at it in ages and suspect by now my squirrels may have it almost down to a size they can carry.


    I have a couple of those hollow pieces of beef bone that people buy to put peanut butter or whatever in for their dogs. I wired them to the trees. The squirrels have been working on them for several years now but haven't put much of a dent in them. The deer bones seemed much more appealing. I don't know if they're more exotic, had more minerals, or the ability to be carried away made them more desirable. Maybe a combination of things. Also being raw, they are a bit softer than the cooked/processed beef bones. People who feed their dogs raw food feed bones and all, because the dog can handle raw bones. Cooking makes them more brittle/splintery/dangerous.

    Bon appetit, Guro!
    "I hope everyone got or gets their Baby Love today"~Shewhosweptforest

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    olorin19 (05-24-2024)

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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    With an NR like Guro, I do my best to get her as complete a diet as possible.

    I cut her fresh branches every day from various shrubs and trees - both in my yard and when out on walks. Yep, I bring clippers with me.

    Of all the choices, the most persistently popular branches come from the Japanese willow in my yard, which is quite tolerant of my constant snipping all year round. The catkins in late winter / early spring are particularly popular, but any time of the year Guro enjoys stripping the bark off fresh green branches.

    I do the same with squirrels being overwintered for spring release, and they also love various green branches.

    We also gather maple helicopters and buds from all sorts of trees and shrubs, and these are also much appreciated.

    I keep an eye on what the wilds in my yard eat, and follow suit. I noticed one of my releases was quite fond of the flowers (just as they were opening) from knockout roses. Go figure, but these I have in abundance in my yard, and Guro also likes them occasionally.

    Additionally, Guro is quite fond of violets, dandelions, and plantains. I dig them out whole, leaving dirt on the roots, and she nibbles on all parts - flower, leaves, stems, roots, and dirt. My guess is the dirt is helpful in maintaining her microbiome, as gut bacteria are transient (i.e. they pass through and require continual replenishment).
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    Chirps (05-24-2024)

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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    Guro has broken off some of the skull and taken it up to her loft to chew.

    Guro has full use of her left forelimb but only uses her right paw to brace against when eating. She has a decent amount of shoulder mobility, but little or none in the elbow, wrist, or paw. She has figured out ways to open pecans despite limited ability to grasp, and obviously managed to detach this chunk of bone somehow.

    Her cage is huge - 9' L x 6' W x 7.5' H. I work from home a few feet away, so she has lots of company and also play time out of the cage every day.
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    Chirps (05-29-2024)

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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    She's beautiful 🤩
    Love that tree , very pretty property 👍
    Charley Chuckles gone from my arms FOREVER in my heart 8/14/04-3/7/13
    Simon, our time was too short together, but you gave us so much love, be with CC now 3/7/14


    The "CHARLEY CHUCKLES MEMORIAL RAIL TOUR" leaves the station choo chooo
    *Deland,FL. *Washington DC *Boston (Back Bay) *Boston (North Station) *Wells,Maine *Albany,NY *New York (Penn Station) *Back to Deland FL. "July 1- July 22" 2013

    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RIAL-RAIL-TOUR Check it out here
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    olorin19 (05-29-2024)

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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    This is such an informative and interesting thread! Everyone with NR squirrels should take heed -- natural wild foods and chewing things are the way to maintaining good health with NRs. So often we see kidney issues, obesity problems and even odontomae in captive squirrels; these wild foods have got to be a way of avoiding the pitfalls of NR's diets. Great info, olorin19 and Chirps.

    PS: I have never had luck offering deer antlers to my rehab squirrels, either. They almost shied away as if they were afraid of them! (And for us city dwellers who can't go for a walk and just "find" such things, ordering them online is pretty pricey!)
    Island Rehabber
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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charley Chuckles View Post
    She's beautiful 🤩
    Love that tree , very pretty property 👍
    Our backyard is not huge, but it is home or feeding ground to dozens of squirrels as well as many bunnies, chipmunks, and birds.

    We make sure there is good habitat - shrubs and hedges, plus little rock piles for the chipmunks. We have several bird feeders plus throw sunflower seeds on the ground. We plants lots of clover in the lawn for bunnies, and always have available water (including a heated bird bath on the ground all winter). It does not take much effort really to make it a nice place for critters. Our yard is also fenced, so critters feel relatively safe from dogs in adjoining yards.

    I go out first thing in the morning to top off the bird feeder and fling a quart of sunflower seeds onto an area of lawn - spread it out so lots of squirrels and chipmunks can eat at once.

    It turns out that bunnies also like sunflower seeds. There is one bunny that is generally eating clover when I go out. When I step out, it moves over to where the sunflower seeds gets spread and waits. When I am spreading the sunflower seed, this bunny will stay there about 6' away and is not at all perturbed by sunflower seed raining down.

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    Chirps (05-29-2024)

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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    Quote Originally Posted by olorin19 View Post
    Our backyard is not huge, but it is home or feeding ground to dozens of squirrels as well as many bunnies, chipmunks, and birds.

    We make sure there is good habitat - shrubs and hedges, plus little rock piles for the chipmunks. We have several bird feeders plus throw sunflower seeds on the ground. We plants lots of clover in the lawn for bunnies, and always have available water (including a heated bird bath on the ground all winter). It does not take much effort really to make it a nice place for critters. Our yard is also fenced, so critters feel relatively safe from dogs in adjoining yards.

    I go out first thing in the morning to top off the bird feeder and fling a quart of sunflower seeds onto an area of lawn - spread it out so lots of squirrels and chipmunks can eat at once.

    It turns out that bunnies also like sunflower seeds. There is one bunny that is generally eating clover when I go out. When I step out, it moves over to where the sunflower seeds gets spread and waits. When I am spreading the sunflower seed, this bunny will stay there about 6' away and is not at all perturbed by sunflower seed raining down.
    Sounds like a paradise 😀
    My friend in Maine can hand fed her chipmunks, they sit in her lap😁 we don't have any chippies in Florida but they sure are cute 🥰
    Charley Chuckles gone from my arms FOREVER in my heart 8/14/04-3/7/13
    Simon, our time was too short together, but you gave us so much love, be with CC now 3/7/14


    The "CHARLEY CHUCKLES MEMORIAL RAIL TOUR" leaves the station choo chooo
    *Deland,FL. *Washington DC *Boston (Back Bay) *Boston (North Station) *Wells,Maine *Albany,NY *New York (Penn Station) *Back to Deland FL. "July 1- July 22" 2013

    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RIAL-RAIL-TOUR Check it out here
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    I'm not poof reading any of this

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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charley Chuckles View Post
    Sounds like a paradise 😀
    My friend in Maine can hand fed her chipmunks, they sit in her lap😁 we don't have any chippies in Florida but they sure are cute 🥰
    We have had the odd chipmunk that will eat from our hand, but never any that climbed on us. With the tamer ones, it is generally a quick process of putting sunflower seeds closer and closer to where we are sitting. Then eventually, the sunflower seeds are in your palm resting on the ground, and the chipmunk will actually rest its front paws on your hand while it fills up its cheeks.

    The first time I fed a chipmunk a peanut, I made the rookie mistake of not extending the peanut past my fingers. The chipmunk grabbed my finger by mistake - but quite gently, and quickly releasing my finger with no harm done.

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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    HI, I'm new to this forum. I am an animal lover, and I am so grateful for the Outdoors... I thrive there. I'm responding to "Deer skull for calcium?"

    Over the years I have supplied many squirrel owners, rescuers, and feeders with deer and elk antler, that I cut into small pieces that are easy to hold and eat, and they love it. Deer shed their antler every year, and small and large animals eat the shed antlers for their nutritious benefits. But squirrels are missing this natural source when deer are pushed out... and fresh antler never being available.

    I learned about Antler being a natural source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and other essential minerals. It is so important for healthy bones, muscles, and nervous systems... as well as grooming healthy teeth and gums. Also, a prime reason why Antler Dog Chews are so popular.

    I buy and work with the top grade A#1 fresh shed antlers, and I cut antler daily for my craft. If you would like to try some antler pieces for your squirrels, let me know and I will send you some... I'll extend this offer to anyone else interested in trying some antler pieces too... and Yes, for free!

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    Chirps (06-02-2024)

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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4AllSquirrels View Post
    HI, I'm new to this forum. I am an animal lover, and I am so grateful for the Outdoors... I thrive there. I'm responding to "Deer skull for calcium?"

    Over the years I have supplied many squirrel owners, rescuers, and feeders with deer and elk antler, that I cut into small pieces that are easy to hold and eat, and they love it. Deer shed their antler every year, and small and large animals eat the shed antlers for their nutritious benefits. But squirrels are missing this natural source when deer are pushed out... and fresh antler never being available.

    I learned about Antler being a natural source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and other essential minerals. It is so important for healthy bones, muscles, and nervous systems... as well as grooming healthy teeth and gums. Also, a prime reason why Antler Dog Chews are so popular.

    I buy and work with the top grade A#1 fresh shed antlers, and I cut antler daily for my craft. If you would like to try some antler pieces for your squirrels, let me know and I will send you some... I'll extend this offer to anyone else interested in trying some antler pieces too... and Yes, for free!
    Thanks for the kind offer! I would take you up on it, but I have antlers available from my neighbors in addition to skulls and other bones.

  20. #13
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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    Thanks for your response. I've encountered many of those that have "tried deer antler," unsuccessfully, and now they rave at the results from the ones I select and cut for them. I used to buy lower-grade antlers when I first started crafting, and many had "animal chews" on the antlers (why they were cheaper), and I noticed a pattern on where they were most likely to be chewed.
    Fast forward to a self-described squirrel mama, who asked if I would cut some antlers for her squirrel. She seemed very knowledgeable, and her "group" would all buy some if I provided these. She also knew I had quality grade, fresh shed antler.
    Well, it was a big hit, and I've been cutting antlers for small animals ever since.
    I could do antler chews for dogs as well, very popular, but some of the dealers that supply me antlers do this full time and I don't want to appear as a competitor in their marketplace... I specialize in making/designing cabinet handles and knobs, and other useful products made from antlers, and this keeps me very busy.
    I've learned that not all antlers are the same and that like us, some steaks we will choose to eat are worth the price... it comes down to quality, preparation, and presentation. I cut the prime antler areas into pieces that are easy to hold and eat, and slit them so the tasty centers are exposed... it's a labor of love, and there's a reward knowing that I'm returning this vital element to the small animals that have no chance of finding them because the shed antler hunters pick them up to sell on the profitable antler market. Also, deer are pushed out of urban and city areas where squirrels live, never knowing antler, yet instinctively they are drawn to it.
    Word of mouth is slow, and many don't know these are available, so I felt if I approached those who could use and share these, I would be doing a better service.
    So seriously, if you, and others, are interested in trying some antler nibble sticks you have nothing to lose, message me with an address and I'll send you some... totally at my expense, no strings attached.
    May the little ones be blessed,
    Kevin

    a photo of these antler nibble sticks (what I call them)

    https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/kz58h...xecs5blu2&dl=0

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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    Quote Originally Posted by island rehabber View Post
    This is such an informative and interesting thread! Everyone with NR squirrels should take heed -- natural wild foods and chewing things are the way to maintaining good health with NRs. So often we see kidney issues, obesity problems and even odontomae in captive squirrels; these wild foods have got to be a way of avoiding the pitfalls of NR's diets. Great info, olorin19 and Chirps.

    PS: I have never had luck offering deer antlers to my rehab squirrels, either. They almost shied away as if they were afraid of them! (And for us city dwellers who can't go for a walk and just "find" such things, ordering them online is pretty pricey!)
    Besides fresh branches daily, Guro gets various plants from my lawn: chiefly dandelions, violets, and plantain. I dig these up, roots and all, and always leave some dirt as well. With the violets and plantain, Guro seems to focus more on the roots and dirt. With the dandelions, she also quite enjoys the leaves. Here she is today enjoying dandelion greens.

    As far as the dirt: When Guro is out of her cage roaming my office / squirrel room (okay, squirrel room / office), she will go right to any dried mud on my boots and happily munch away on that. If there are any small clumps of mud, she will sometimes grab them and take them into her cage.

    In other words, eating dirt is absolutely deliberate rather a mere consequence of there being dirt on the roots, etc.

    There are lots of maple trees about here, so we also give her maple helicopters when they are available in the spring.

    With the green branches, especially the willow, she will often completely strip all the bark off a branch to get at the green growing part. I have also seen her munching on the willow leaves.

    When the willow catkins are in season in the early spring, Guro will go along the branch eating each catkin.

    Wild food is not just for NR squirrels either. I offer the same stuff to squirrels being raised then released, and they eat it just as enthusiastically as Guro.
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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    Here is Guro chewing on the end of a willow branch.

    The Japanese willow pictured earlier in this thread constantly sends out new shoots from the base during the growing season. These can be 4' long or more but still green. They are a favorite of the bunnies in the yard, who will bite them off near the bottom in order to get to the growing end furthest from the trunk.

    I just put two of these about 3' long in Guro's cage. She immediately bit off the final 8" of one then carried it up to her perch (see photo). As I write this, she is back down working on the growing end of the other willow shoot.

    A few years ago, I watched a squirrel I had overwintered then released (Huckleberry) casually bending down the branches of a knockout rose so he could nibble on the buds.
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  23. #16
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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    Such a sweetie 🥰 yummy food 😁
    Charley Chuckles gone from my arms FOREVER in my heart 8/14/04-3/7/13
    Simon, our time was too short together, but you gave us so much love, be with CC now 3/7/14


    The "CHARLEY CHUCKLES MEMORIAL RAIL TOUR" leaves the station choo chooo
    *Deland,FL. *Washington DC *Boston (Back Bay) *Boston (North Station) *Wells,Maine *Albany,NY *New York (Penn Station) *Back to Deland FL. "July 1- July 22" 2013

    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RIAL-RAIL-TOUR Check it out here
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...OW-A-NEW-MOMMY!!!!!
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RAINBOW-BRIDGE
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...e-called-Simon
    charleychuckles1@gmail.com

    I'm not poof reading any of this

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    olorin19 (06-10-2024)

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    Default Re: Deer skull for calcium ?

    Another thing to do is to watch the local squirrels and simply notice what they nibble on.

    This time of year around here, squirrels will often chew off the ends of oak branches. I picked up a dozen or so this morning fresh off my lawn and gave them to Guro.
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    Chirps (06-16-2024)

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