3. How to Feed a Baby Squirrel
Once the baby squirrel is warm and has had some hydration fluid, you are ready to start feeding. What do baby squirrels eat? Formula, also called “milk replacer.”
Formula Recommendations for Different Ages
- Pinkies less than 10 days old: Homemade Goat Milk Formula for 10 days, then switch to Fox Valley 32/40, then switch to Fox Valley 20/50 by 4 weeks old.
- 10 days old to 2 weeks old: either Esbilac Puppy powder or HGMF until you receive your Fox Valley 32/40, then switch to Fox Valley 20/50
- 4 weeks and older: Esbilac or HGMF until you receive your Fox Valley 20/50
If you use Esbilac, we recommend adding one teaspoon of heavy whipping cream to each 1/2 cup of mixed formula, as it is too low in fat. HGMF works the BEST for tiny pinkies in our experience.Homemade Goat Milk Formula Plus (HGMF+):
- 3 tablespoons goat milk
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- ½ egg yolk
You can buy goat milk at most grocery stores. If you can't find fresh goat milk, you can use canned or powdered. Note: Canned or powdered milk must be mixed with water FIRST according to label directions. Do not use HGMF+ for more than a few weeks at a time as it is not fully fortified with vitamins/minerals.
Be alert for bloating, diarrhea or constipation, and take immediate action. See page 5, "Common Problems" or call us at 321-626-1897 if you need help.
Make sure formula is very, very warm. Baby squirrels will not drink enough formula if it is only slightly warm....they will starve to death!
Mixing, Feeding and Storing Formula
- When using a powdered formula, ideally, each night you would mix up the amount of formula you will need for the next day. The first day, you can just let the formula sit for a couple of hours, then feed. With powdered formula, use very warm water, stir well. Place in the refrigerator.
- In the morning, stir the formula and draw up enough syringes of cold formula for your first feeding of the day.
- Microwave a coffee mug of water until it is hot (but not boiling). Then dunk the filled syringes in the hot water. They will take around 30 to 60 seconds to heat up.
- Take one syringe out, tilt it to mix the formula within the syringe, and test it on your wrist before feeding.
- If the formula in your syringe gets too cool while feeding, re-dunk it and pull out another syringe.
Start at 5%, THEN WORK UP TO 7%.
Weigh the baby on a scale in GRAMS; multiply that number by 5% (.05) or 7% (.07) and that will be the number of cc's (or ml's) to feed per feeding. Go up to 7% after a few feedings, unless the baby is emaciated. For emaciated babies, you may have to start at less than 5% and work up to 7% more slowly.
Do not overfeed or increase feeding amounts too quickly! Baby squirrels will overeat if you let them and get diarrhea or bloating, which can be fatal. Weigh the baby every day at the same time to determine if they are gaining or losing weight and adjust the formula amount as needed.
Squirrel weighs 50 grams
50 x 5% = 2.5 (Using a calculator, it's 50 x .05 = 2.5)
So you feed 2.5 cc's per feeding
A baby squirrel less than 5 weeks old will need to be stimulated to poop and pee. Use a warm, wet cotton ball, Q-tip, the corner of a Kleenex, or your finger, and flick lightly across the genital area. Some babies may need stimulation before and after feeding. A few may eat better if you potty them in the middle of a feeding.
NOTE: Baby squirrels need lots of attention and affection, especially if he has no siblings. This will not hinder the release process in any way. Squirrels bond strongly with their human caretakers, but they do not "imprint" on humans like other wildlife. When it's time for release, their wild instincts will kick in just fine.
Don’t use cheap syringes that stick; use quality o-ring syringes and go slow to avoid aspiration!