4. Weaning a Baby Squirrel
At approximately 6 weeks old, you can introduce solid foods. The first solid food should be squirrel blocks. We recommend Henry's Healthy Hi-Protein Blocks, which are all-natural and have the extra protein baby squirrels need for the first few months of life. The baby may not show much interest in the block at first. Typically they will just play with them or gnaw on them. Keep putting in a fresh block each day until he begins nibbling. You may want to cut the block into smaller pieces. Now is the time to add a water bottle to the cage. Note: if your baby squirrel has already been eating solid foods, especially nuts or fruit, you should choose one of our other blocks, such as Wild Bites or Picky Blocks, as they are tastier.
Once the baby is able to chew well, you can introduce vegetables from the Healthy Diet for Pet Squirrels. Be careful to remove any seeds, pits, skin, or strings, as these can cause choking in a baby squirrel. Introduce new foods one at a time in case it causes diarrhea because the squirrel's digestive system isn't mature enough. You can try the food again in a week or two. You can also introduce small sticks or branches for him to gnaw.
During the transition to solid foods do not give nuts, fruit, or treats of any kind. Concentrate on formula, blocks, healthy veggies, and wild foods. It's important they learn to love these healthy foods. Once the squirrel is eating her healthy foods well, you can add limited nuts/fruits/treats according to the Healthy Diet for Pet Squirrels. Follow this diet until the juvenile squirrel is released.
At around 10-12 weeks old, most babies are ready to graduate to a full-size cage. Make sure the bar spacing is no larger than 1/2 inch wide. You'll need to hang a nest box or nesting cube in the cage so the growing squirrel will have a warm, safe place to sleep. He needs to learn to sleep up off the ground.
All during this process, continue to offer formula until the squirrel weans himself at around 14-16 weeks of age. Never wean a baby squirrel off formula; let them wean themselves.
- Blocks should be the baby squirrel's first solid food.
- Be careful to remove any seeds, pits, skin, or strings, as these can cause choking in a baby squirrel.
- Never try to wean a baby squirrel off formula; let them wean themselves.
Common Mistakes with Weaning-Age Baby Squirrels
- Giving nuts, seeds, and fruits as the first solid food. Introduce blocks first, then veggies.
- Weaning off formula too soon. Keep the baby on formula until at least 14-16 weeks old.
- Allowing household pets near the baby. Your dog or cat will kill a baby squirrel in a second.
- Taking the baby outside to "play." In the wild, babies are kept in the nest until 12-14 weeks old, so keep the baby safe inside until he's ready to begin the slow-release process.
- Releasing too soon. Baby squirrels do best if not released until at least 4-6 months old.
- Releasing too late in the fall. In cooler climates, babies that cannot be released by September must be kept over the winter.