3. How to Feed a Baby Squirrel

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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 either Esbilac Puppy Milk powder, or Fox Valley 32/40, then switch to Fox Valley 20/50 by 4 weeks old.
  • 10 days old to 2 weeks old: HGMF or Esbilac until you receive your Fox Valley 32/40, then switch to Fox Valley 20/50
  • 3 weeks and older: HGMF or Esbilac until you receive your Fox Valley 20/50

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 two weeks at a time as it is not fully fortified with vitamins/minerals. If you can't find goat milk, double the yogurt (6 tablespoons).

Be alert for bloating, diarrhea or constipation, and take immediate action. See page 5, "Common Problems."

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!

FeedingSchedule

 

Mixing, Feeding and Storing Formula
  1. When using a powdered formula, mix with very warm water. Allow the formula to sit for a while (or overnight) in the fridge so it dissolves.
  2. Before each feeding, stir the formula and draw up enough syringes of cold formula for the feeding.
  3. 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.
  4. Take one syringe out, tilt it to mix the formula within the syringe, and test it on your wrist before feeding (should be VERY warm).
  5. If the formula in your syringe gets too cool while feeding, re-dunk it and pull out another syringe.
  6. Discard made-up formula after 24 hours.
7% Feeding Rule:

Weigh the baby on a scale in GRAMS; multiply that number by 7% (.07) and that will be the number of cc's (or ml's) to feed per feeding.  You may need to start with smaller feedings at first, and work up to 7% after a few feedings, especially for emaciated babies. 

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.

EXAMPLE:
Squirrel weighs 50 grams
50 x 7% = 3.5 (Using a calculator, it's 50 x .07 = 3.5)
So you feed 3.5 cc's per feeding

Potty Time

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!

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