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Thread: releasing rehabbed babies?

  1. #1
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    Default releasing rehabbed babies?

    hello again!

    i have great news — all six of muchi’s babies are doing great and have been moved to an outdoor pen to wild up! they even added two other orphaned squirrels to their group. i was told that they are full of energy and were in good shape when we brought them in. muchi did everything she could for them to be safe

    the rehabbers said i can bring them home to do a full release — they’ve been soft released into the wildlife centre’s space but i have a few questions about release.

    first — do you think it’s even a good idea to release muchi’s babies at home? it’s selfish of us but we’d love to bring muchi’s babies home. but if they have a slimmer chance surviving i’d rather let them be released at the wildlife center though it breaks my heart

    if we do release at my house, is there anything i can do to help them make the transition easier? they’ve been wilding up in an enclosure at the center but should i also have an enclosure set up in my backyard? we have outdoor cats and racoons at night so how would i protect it?

    if we do need an enclosure, how do you build one? are there prefabricated enclosures? it would be for eight squirrels that are about 3-5 months old.

    i’m really worried about their first day and night in the wild. any release advice would be really appreciated. we couldn’t have saved these babies without your help!!!

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    i was talking to some rehabbers on instagram and they were saying we should get an enclosure like a catio and keep the eight kiddos in it for a week. we would be responsible for feeding them. i’m just concerned because they’ve already been wilding up at the center. would it hurt them to keep them enclosed after moving them here?

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    Quote Originally Posted by astrll View Post
    hello again!

    i have great news — all six of muchi’s babies are doing great and have been moved to an outdoor pen to wild up! they even added two other orphaned squirrels to their group. i was told that they are full of energy and were in good shape when we brought them in. muchi did everything she could for them to be safe

    the rehabbers said i can bring them home to do a full release — they’ve been soft released into the wildlife centre’s space but i have a few questions about release.

    first — do you think it’s even a good idea to release muchi’s babies at home? it’s selfish of us but we’d love to bring muchi’s babies home. but if they have a slimmer chance surviving i’d rather let them be released at the wildlife center though it breaks my heart

    if we do release at my house, is there anything i can do to help them make the transition easier? they’ve been wilding up in an enclosure at the center but should i also have an enclosure set up in my backyard? we have outdoor cats and racoons at night so how would i protect it?

    if we do need an enclosure, how do you build one? are there prefabricated enclosures? it would be for eight squirrels that are about 3-5 months old.

    i’m really worried about their first day and night in the wild. any release advice would be really appreciated. we couldn’t have saved these babies without your help!!!
    Hi Astril:
    I apologize for missing your post and for you not yet receiving a response! That is wonderful news and great to hear that Muchi's Babies are doing well! I am a little unclear as to what beyond that is actually going and would like to ask that you clarify thing s a bit before making ant other comments or recommendations. You state that Muchi's kids have been "soft released into the wildlife centre’s space." A Soft-Release IS a release but it occurs over a period of at least a couple of weeks and at times much longer and this is where the baby Squirrels are placed in a specially designed Release Cage (RC) with a small (just large enough for a young Squirrel) high door that can be opened once the Squirrels are adapted to being outdoors and have "wilded up" which really means that by being out in the wild but in the relatively protected environment of the RC, the Squirrels natural instincts are permitted to become functional. Once that occurs and all else is deem optimal, the Squirrels are allowed to venture forth from the RC through the special release door. They invariably return to the RC and enter through this door for several days to weeks. Are these Squirrels actually released and is this release into the "wild" or are they still captive Squirrels but in a new and/or more extensive enclosure?
    If so, it would require trapping them, I suppose, to bring them back to your home for what would really be a second release and IMO would be best accomplish through another similar Soft Release period rather than bringing them home and simply saying "letting them go!"

    Again, Astril, please clarify what has gone on and what the actual status and situation is currently in these baby's in regard to this "release" that was accomplished at the facility.
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    Quote Originally Posted by SamtheSquirrel2018 View Post
    Hi Astril:
    I apologize for missing your post and for you not yet receiving a response! That is wonderful news and great to hear that Muchi's Babies are doing well! I am a little unclear as to what beyond that is actually going and would like to ask that you clarify thing s a bit before making ant other comments or recommendations. … Are these Squirrels actually released and is this release into the "wild" or are they still captive Squirrels but in a new and/or more extensive enclosure? … Again, Astril, please clarify what has gone on and what the actual status and situation is currently in these baby's in regard to this "release" that was accomplished at the facility.
    thank you so much for replying!! i’m sorry, i’ll try to explain better —

    april 9: we were able to rescue all six of muchi’s babies. according to the guide on the henry’s website, i’d say they were about 5-6 weeks old. we immediately handed them over to the wildlife center as they’d been without muchi for about three days. the wildlife center reported that they were hungry and a little dehydrated but very healthy and full of energy. they let us know they were looking at june for release.

    april 28: the wildlife center told us that muchi’s babies are almost ready to be moved to an outdoor enclosure and that they added two other orphans to the litter.

    may 12: one of the volunteers lets us know that all eight have been wilding up and doing great in the outdoor enclosure. they’re about 10-11 weeks old here.

    may 26: the wildlife center says that they want to wait for warmer weather before release. as soon as it’s warmer the litter would be ready for release. they asked us if we would like to pick them up for release back at home or if they should release somewhere else. we told them we would love to have muchi’s kids back home.

    june 2: at this point the litter has moved through a series of enclosures and are ready for release as soon as the weather gets better (it’s been cold and wet here).

    june 5: the litter’s caretaker advised that she doesn’t think they need an enclosure since they have been outdoors most of the time at this point. they are all good to go back to the wild. they’re about 13-14 weeks old now.

    i hope that clears things up! i can’t be sure what the wildlife centre’s set up is and what types of enclosures there are but i do know it’s a HUGE space. they rehab larger animals like bears and cougars there.

    my fear is that a hard release in our backyard would be dangerous for them. they’ve been around a huge amount of green space and relatively safe from predators and traffic. this is where i start worrying — is it selfish to bring them home when they have all the trees they could ever want at the center?

    if we do bring them home, is a hard release safe? we have an outdoor enclosure on our balcony that’s pretty safe and away from aggressive squirrels and other animals. we were thinking of releasing them into there to get acclimated to the new environment and sounds (we live near a railroad track). i was think for 3-7 days before we leave the door open and they can come and go as they want.

    i’m mostly worried about food and exercise for them for that week if we do release them into the enclosure. it’s about 6 ft wide, 4.5 ft long, and 6ft high. there are eight of them — is that enough room? for food, we have HHB’s but i’m not sure what to give beyond that.

    what do you think? should we release at home? and if we do should it be a hard release or soft release?

    thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    Hi astrll
    I'm just thinking since they have been at the center getting to know that area all it's sites sounds as they should that's what prepares them for release, if you were to bring them home I'd think they would need at least 2 or more weeks to get them use to a whole new location.
    It would be lovely to have them near you, not that they always stay close but if the center has trees and a good place they may be better released there.
    Just my 2 cents 😁
    Good luck no matter what you decide ❤️🙏
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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charley Chuckles View Post
    It would be lovely to have them near you, not that they always stay close but if the center has trees and a good place they may be better released there.
    Just my 2 cents 😁
    Good luck no matter what you decide ❤️🙏
    thank you!! i know i’m being selfish but if there’s any way to make it work i’d do anything! the wildlife center said that at most they’d need a week to adapt to the new environment. HHHHH i’m really torn i think i do want to try bringing them home. the release spot the wildlife center uses has a ton of predators and i’d be so anxious not knowing how they are. i know i can’t make them stay near me but… i don’t know. it doesn’t feel right to have muchi’s kids so far from her.

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    Is your yard a good place for squirrels? The most obvious evidence would be lots of squirrels there!

    I have released ten squirrels into my own back yard - six singletons plus two pairs. I am obviously a big fan of letting my squirrel kids live here, and most of them do hang around for years. It is something special when you have that bond with a free squirrel over many years.

    If you were to bring them to your yard for release, I would strongly suggest that you build them a proper release cage and keep them inside it for at least a few weeks. Note that this is not just for them to get used you this new environment. It is also for the local squirrels to get used to them and to accept them as belonging. New releases (especially males) often get in a few scraps early on, but at least it is better if they are seen as part of the local dominance hierarchy.

    Make sure they have fresh water, some shade, plenty of bedding to be warm, sleeping spaces that will remain dry even in the rain, etc.

    Since you have raccoons, you need to build a cage that will prevent the young squirrels from being preyed upon by raccoons. There should be threads here on the topic, but from what I recall the cage needs to be of quite sturdy wire with small enough mesh (maybe 1/2" x 1/2" or less) so that the raccoon paws cannot get through. I believe it is also recommended to have two layers of wire with sufficient space in between so there is no way for the raccoons or any other predator to reach the squirrels.

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    Hi Astril:
    From reading your answers to some of my questions, I do have some concerns! If these little Squirrels are outside at 10-11 weeks ("may 12: one of the volunteers lets us know that all eight have been wilding up and doing great in the outdoor enclosure. they’re about 10-11 weeks old here"), what are they eating and what did they get for nutritional support before they were placed outside? Virtually every baby has not weaned itself by only 10-11 weeks (and any "extra" nutritional support the babies obtain before Soft Release is for the better!)! Are they getting formula outside?

    It really appears to me that the "Wildlife Center" has NOT raised the babies through a usual weaning process and I wonder about the other aspects of their nutritional support and the bottom line is that I have seriously concerns about these Squirrels' nutritional status! Might they be at risk for MBD? Also, it seems that the Wildlife Facility is equating the placing of 10-11 week baby Squirrels outside as being the same as a Soft Release and that is absolutely untrue! A Soft Release is a well thought-out plan for placing a baby Squirrel out in the wild but protected to a great degree and provided nutritional support while they "wild-up!" Prior to this they should have weaned themselves (usually close to 16 weeks!) while having had the benefits of optimal nutritional support before they transition to the Release Cage to begin their journey into the real wild! I certainly may be wrong and hope that I am; but it seems to me from what you have written, that these babies have not been given an optimal period of being raised in captivity before the Soft Release begins and I question their nutritional status as they were effectively released into some large enclosure and apparently fending for themselves at an age when very few, if any of us, would even be considering an ideal age for a correctly done Soft Release! My suggestion, and I admit that it is easier for me to say this than for you or anyone to do this; would be to have little ones be given "another chance" to drinks formula and eat quality blocks and build up as good a nutritional status as reasonably possible in protective captivity before a "real" Soft Release Program is initiated at around 16 weeks!
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    thank you all for your insight! i am learning a lot and i’m really surprised — especially at what you said sam! i will ask the rehabbers immediately if they are still on formula and what they have been eating. i’ll let you know as soon as i have an answer!!!

    i have HHB’s, calcium carbonate, and some veggies that Henry’s recommends but other than that i’m not sure how to manage their food. is there a schedule to follow or do i just leave it in there for a day and change it out at night? i also have never given formula to babies but i’ve read a lot about it here.

    i have tons of little hamster hammocks — would that work? i also have polyfill but i know opinion on polyfill is kind of divided so i’m open to suggestions!

    thank you thank you thank you!!!! as soon as the rehabbers text me back i will update here. i really hope it’s not the worst case scenario!

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    Quote Originally Posted by astrll View Post
    thank you all for your insight! i am learning a lot and i’m really surprised — especially at what you said sam! i will ask the rehabbers immediately if they are still on formula and what they have been eating. i’ll let you know as soon as i have an answer!!!

    i have HHB’s, calcium carbonate, and some veggies that Henry’s recommends but other than that i’m not sure how to manage their food. is there a schedule to follow or do i just leave it in there for a day and change it out at night? i also have never given formula to babies but i’ve read a lot about it here.

    i have tons of little hamster hammocks — would that work? i also have polyfill but i know opinion on polyfill is kind of divided so i’m open to suggestions!

    thank you thank you thank you!!!! as soon as the rehabbers text me back i will update here. i really hope it’s not the worst case scenario!
    Thank you Astril and we will be awaiting the "word" from the "Rehabbers!"
    As far as feeding HHBs goes, this can be quite easy with one or two Squirrels but if there are six little ones all together, it may be a little more dicey! The "schedule" would really be to offer a HHB directly to each Squirrel first thing in the morning when they are most hungry and have them eat it "on-the-spot" while you see them do it! That may not happen so it would be essential to ensure that one or more Squirrels are not deprived of their Blocks. Maybe three to four hours later, they can be offered another Block. Only if a Squirrel is the sole occupant of the cage should a HHB considered to be simply left there to eat as if there are more than one Squirrel there, who knows who got ate and how much and who didn't! HHBs are a concentrated means to provide FULL nutrition via on two and a maximum of three Blocks. Your Squirrels would do well with two HHBs each daily! Offering formula (Fox Valley 20/50) 2-3 times daily until the Squirrels truly wean themselves will add precious supplemental nutritional support! Once both HHBs are consumed, you can then offer Healthy Foods form the lower levels of Henry's Healthy Foods Pyramid; https://henryspets.com/health but avoid the treats and nuts completely or use very rarely until in the Release Cage when some nuts would be good as the Squirrels will need to be crunching them and eating them at least to some extent in the wild! The "prime directive" of feeding baby Squirrels prior to entering the RC is to provide for an optimally healthy "Release Candidate" who has had the benefit of ideal nutritional support!

    Also, please do not let any HHBs remain overnight and check for stashes every evening! HHBs have no preservatives and will spoil quickly. Even if HHBs are not utilized and another quality Block is used, this should be done anyway! The Squirrels should only be eating their fresh food, not going back to a stash to eat. They will have plenty of time to do this in the wild!

    Forgive me please, Astril, but I do not understand your hamster hammock/polyfill question. Please clarify! Thanks!
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    hello again! here is what the rehabbers have said—

    “They have been off the formula for some weeks now and are eating mainly nuts (mainly almonds, walnuts and peanuts), some fruits and veggies but can also eat seeds (most bird seed mixed usually work pretty good for them).”

    maybe i have their ages wrong? here’s what the babies looked like when we rescued them on april 11-13. based on the guide on henry’s website we placed them at 5-6 weeks old.

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    Quote Originally Posted by astrll View Post
    hello again! here is what the rehabbers have said—

    “They have been off the formula for some weeks now and are eating mainly nuts (mainly almonds, walnuts and peanuts), some fruits and veggies but can also eat seeds (most bird seed mixed usually work pretty good for them).”

    maybe i have their ages wrong? here’s what the babies looked like when we rescued them on april 11-13. based on the guide on henry’s website we placed them at 5-6 weeks old.
    Hi Astril:
    As I mentioned before, I am very concerned about the diet that these 6 little Squirrels have had since they came to the "rehabber!" While this Wildlife facility is undoubtedly very experienced in rehabbing; I have nagging doubts that they are experienced Squirrel Rehabbers! For one thing, it appears that they really do equate a Squirrel being outside in a large enclosure to being in a Release cage! This can be true when the Soft Release is coordinated by a Squirrel knowledgeable Rehabber and in reality, there is something positive to say about a "large" enclosure as opposed to a "small" enclosure but a lot more goes on with a properly planned and timed Soft Release!

    One of my biggest concerns with how these little Squirrels have been raised is for their diet which currently sounds horrible and I suspect that their diet was probably not close to optimal the entire time they have been there! Did the "rehabbers" tell you what formula the babies had been given and whether or not they were given quality Blocks?

    Their current diet is everything that frightens me from a nutritional standpoint!

    One of the very most important facets of raising a baby Squirrels (and really any animal or human, for that matter!) is providing the best form of nutritional support! This is a goal for every point in the prerelease phase; from pinkie to final release! In my opinion, the Health status of every raised baby Squirrel can be directly correlated with the quality of their nutritional support. What these babies are eating now and maybe at least in part, since they arrived at the facility is actually a recipe for malnutrition and Metabolic bone disease (MBD)!

    There is much consistency on TSB for in regard to raising a baby and how best to provide optimal nutrition and this consistence is the result of many individuals trying many different approaches before recognizing benefits derived from following certain protocols for warmth, housing, safety, hydration, nutrition, a Soft Release and many others! One of the greatest gifts we can give our release candidates beside our love is excellent health and this begins with and is maintained primarily by optimal nutritional support! I do NOT believe Muchi's babies have had this, but again, this is my opinion only! A soft Release is commonly done at 16 weeks but what most of us have found is that waiting long than 16 weeks (weeks more or even a couple of months if needed) is definitely NOT harmful and actually has potential advantages for the Release process!

    You mentioned bringing the possibility of bringing these babies home and doing a Hard Release! I would like to discourage you from doing a Hard Release at any time and while the "rehabbers" call what these babies have be doing a Soft Release, I really don't believe it is even close to a proper soft release and simply bringing them to your home and releasing them would in be close to a hard release of Squirrel babies I strongly suspect are on the verge of showing signs of MBD or other forms of malnutrition and would, IMHO, likely lead to disaster!

    What I am really trying to get at Astril, is to ask you if there is any chance that you might have a safe and acceptable bit of property on which to eventually release the babies AND is there any way that you could facilitate a period of at least one month and preferably 6 weeks in which these little Squirrels can get optimal nutritional support with quality Blocks (preferably HHBs), an opportunity for more formula using Fox Valley 20/50 if they will take it, maybe even some supplemental Calcium in addition to the 2 HHBs (also of note is that formula, additional quality Blocks such as Teklad 2028, Mazuri Rat & Mouse diet or Oxbow Regal Rat Food or even a third Henry's block also provides significant supplemental calcium)! Then these babies would need to be in a real Soft Release Program after spending some time in a Release Cage out in your property. That's a lot to ask! It may all be necessary and I would sure welcome others comments!

    Thank you again for your concern, care and love for these Babies!
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    Quote Originally Posted by astrll View Post
    here’s what the babies looked like when we rescued them on april 11-13. based on the guide on henry’s website we placed them at 5-6 weeks old.
    Were their eyes open when they were first rescued?

    It is hard to tell in that first photo from April 11-13.

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    Quote Originally Posted by olorin19 View Post
    Were their eyes open when they were first rescued?

    It is hard to tell in that first photo from April 11-13.
    By way of comparison, here are Kate & Sun on the day when their eyes first opened, 8 days after being rescued last summer. (They fell down a chimney into a fireplace behind a fireplace insert. Luckily, they made enough noise that someone heard them.)
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    yep eyes were open!

    we have this catio on the way — would it work? we’re going to add more chicken wire to the exterior to protect it. what else should go inside? i have a bunch of huge tree limbs that’ve fallen in my backyard from storms. is it safe to put in there or do it have to clean them?

    we also have these little hammocks

    i don’t know if we have too much or too little for eight babies haha

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    i also ordered the fox valley! it should be here in three days. we’re planning to get the babies on the 14th so if it’s not here i will use the alternatives listed on henry’s.

    is there any way to differentiate the babies? can i put a coloured string on their wrists?

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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    Quote Originally Posted by astrll View Post
    yep eyes were open!

    we have this catio on the way — would it work? we’re going to add more chicken wire to the exterior to protect it. what else should go inside? i have a bunch of huge tree limbs that’ve fallen in my backyard from storms. is it safe to put in there or do it have to clean them?

    we also have these little hammocks

    i don’t know if we have too much or too little for eight babies haha

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    Does the catio have a floor? Your babies need to be safe from predators from all directions, including below. You will want to seriously reinforce the exterior since you have raccoons, plus make sure nobody can dig into the cage from below.

    Whatever wood the squirrels have access to inside the catio will be chewed by them. I have no idea if the paint or stain inside is safe or not, as this is designed for cats, who are not likely to chew. Squirrels chew whatever they can reach.

    The hammocks need to be tucked up under the roof where there is no chance they will get wet. It may be necessary to attach something below the roof on one side to create a zone that is guaranteed to stay dry. Cut up some fleece and add to each hammock so they feel warm and safe.

    Also make sure they have some shade available throughout the day if there is going to be hot weather. While you have mentioned cold weather, if the catio is against a south facing wall it may well get quite warm during the day.

    I provide fresh branches to squirrels I am raising daily, and other than giving them a good shake and avoiding branches with bird poop, I have not had any concerns.

    I would strongly recommend against putting strings on their wrists. They are likely to hung up on something and injure themselves. Please do not do this!

    Please inspect the inside of the cage thoroughly and make sure there is nowhere they are going to get a finger or claw stuck. This is important! Unlike cats, their claws do not retract, and if they get stuck they can break a finger or otherwise injure themselves in their struggles.

    Unless the catio is inside some larger enclosure, you need to figure out in advance a viable system that will allow you to get food and water into the catio without squirrels getting out.

  28. Serious fuzzy thank you's to olorin19 from:

    SamtheSquirrel2018 (06-10-2024)

  29. #18
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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    Quote Originally Posted by astrll View Post
    i also ordered the fox valley! it should be here in three days. we’re planning to get the babies on the 14th so if it’s not here i will use the alternatives listed on henry’s.

    is there any way to differentiate the babies? can i put a coloured string on their wrists?
    Hi Astril:
    I have been involved with work responsibilities and have had minimal time on TSB. I'm glad that you have elected to take care of these little Squirrels yourself and give them the very important benefit of having optimal nutrition prior to a "new" properly conducted Soft Release! I agree completely with Olorin in regard to placing anything around the Squirrel or the Squirrels extremities or toes! This is very high risk. One of the means for identification is to very carefully clip a small area of fur on the "up" side of the Squirrel or on the tail and use a different location for each Squirrel and make a note of which Squirrel has the "trim" where. Again, this must be done very carefully and only requires removal of a square quarter of inch of the ends of the fur (NOT down to the skin!). You must have complete control over the Squirrel preferably with a a "burrito" wrap and ensure that the skin is not close to where you trim and that you remove just enough of the fur in a tiny area so that this will be noticeable to you (1/4 inch or so in diameter and not even that in depth and definitely NOT down to the skin, just cut the fur in this small area a little shorter than the surrounding fur so that you will be able to see the difference).

    Please us updated on Muchi's babies and thanks again for your love and concern for the Little Ones!
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

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

    olorin19 (06-11-2024)

  31. #19
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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    we are getting the babies tomorrow at 8am!

    i’m really nervous and feel really underprepared. i really don’t want to shock them. here the enclosure, just the hamster hammocks, blankets, and cubbies aren’t in there yet because i’m giving them a quick wash. oh also the tree limbs aren’t in there yet either. it seems really empty but i wasn’t sure what else to put in there! there is a tarp as well i just have the roof open in the photo.

    we bought a bunch of veggies from group 1 on henry’s guide that we will have prepped but we’re giving the HHB’s first. the fox valley hasn’t come yet — how can i tell if they still need formula?

    i just don’t really know what to expect when we release them in there. will they be stir crazy? will they want more hidey holes? ghhhh i’m nervous!! i really want to do right by muchi and her kids. there are eight of them though!!!

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  32. #20
    Join Date
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    Default Re: releasing rehabbed babies?

    Quote Originally Posted by astrll View Post
    we are getting the babies tomorrow at 8am!

    i’m really nervous and feel really underprepared. i really don’t want to shock them. here the enclosure, just the hamster hammocks, blankets, and cubbies aren’t in there yet because i’m giving them a quick wash. oh also the tree limbs aren’t in there yet either. it seems really empty but i wasn’t sure what else to put in there! there is a tarp as well i just have the roof open in the photo.

    we bought a bunch of veggies from group 1 on henry’s guide that we will have prepped but we’re giving the HHB’s first. the fox valley hasn’t come yet — how can i tell if they still need formula?

    i just don’t really know what to expect when we release them in there. will they be stir crazy? will they want more hidey holes? ghhhh i’m nervous!! i really want to do right by muchi and her kids. there are eight of them though!!!
    Hi Astril:
    Wow, for some reason I though there were 6 babies, not 8; but they will be a very good Release Group as they have already bonded at least to some degree and having bonds with other Squirrels is quite beneficial when an actual Soft Release takes place. Release is almost always far more of a concern with a singleton. Any changes and especially changes in location, cage and size of the cage, not to mention change in the people these babies will be associating with will undoubtedly require an adjustment period and I would suggest trying to minimize other changes in the next few days to facilitate their becoming comfortable with their new digs! I wish you could have the tree limbs there at the start but you are doing the very best you can under the circumstances. Eventually and before the Soft-Release begins, it would be best to hang up some nesting boxes. One of my concerns about the Catio is that the main door is single and not a double door (and you are by far not the only one with this situation as most Release cages have only a main large door. This large door is NOT for the Squirrels, just you! You obviously do NOT want your Squirrel to escape the enclosure when you open the main door so you must be very careful and minimize opening this. Even if you have a double door and you can close the outer door behind you before you open the inner door; once the release process begins, you should have only a faily limited time of interacting with your wilding up Squirrels! BUT, that is NOT now! The Squirrels will also need a small (just young Squirrel diameter [3 inches is good] closable door high up in the cage for when they eventually will be permitted to venture forth from the RC.

    Just a few suggestions if I may; when these little Squirrel go into the Catio, I would definitely NOT look at this as the beginning of the Soft Release that will eventually happen, I would look at this as only providing a deferent environment in which the Squirrels can have the opportunity to optimize their nutritional status and grow stronger still be babies in protected captivity!

    As far as recognizing "how can i tell if they still need formula;" I would suggest that you offer all of the Squirrels formula! It is a wonderful means to provide ideal nutrition, added hydration and the comfort of sucking! Keep the formula warm (100 degrees F to 105 degrees F). Use 1cc syringes when you start out and learn how to control the plunger, especially before you would ever consider using a 3cc syringe! I suspect all of the babies will drink formula but of course I may be wrong about that. Even if none of them took the formula initially, I would still offer it several times daily for maybe 3-5 days as once the babies become accustomed to their new hotel and mellow out from the changes; they may once again decide on taking the formula. IF the Squirrels are similar size, I would suggest simply calculating an amount of formula based upon that "general" weight and let the Squirrels decide on how much of that "dose" they will each drink. If they want some additional formula, I would let them have it a bit more but they should have two full HHBs every day (and maybe another 1/2 to one)!

    Yes, the HHBs should be the NUMBER ONE nutritional source other than formula! Please try to ensure that each Squirrel get two full HHB (even a maximum of 3) before any of the other foods are offered, even the "health vegetable" on the next level up! Hopefully they will be so hungry that they completely eat the HHB as soon as you give it and that is definitely the ideal! It will be necessary to check for stashes every day and just be very careful when you open the door so there will be no escapes! This would effectively be a Hard-Release and must be avoided!

    Until you get nest boxes, they will prefer some things that will provide similar advantages and those are basically the fostering of feelings of being safe, secure, and being able to relax and sleep without exposure, observation or being disturbed!

    You will do fine, Astril and Muchi's Babies will do well also! Thanks again for providing such magnificent care and love for these little Squirrels!!!

    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

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

    olorin19 (06-14-2024)

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