How to Make Squirrel Block

The nutritional needs of mammals living in the wild can only be approximated; however, in the case of squirrels, the dietary needs of a similar rodent species, the rat, has been extensively studied.  Most experts agree that the best diet for captive squirrels comprises of 80% rodent block and 20% healthy fruits and vegetables.

 

Both a quality rodent block, and the recipe for homemade squirrel block, has been balanced for calcium to achieve the appropriate calcium to phosphorus ratio; as well as, for other essential nutrients.  The fundamental difference between the two is in taste and in the percentages of macronutrients such as fat, protein, and carbohydrates.

Proteins are the building blocks for muscles, organs, and body tissues.  Not enough protein and too much are both bad for an animals health.  Fats are necessary for long term energy storage and to support many of its metabolic processes. Carbohydrates are the fuel that the body uses for energy. While the squirrel’s body can use proteins and fats for that energy, carbohydrates are rapidly accessible and easier to process for energy than either fat or protein.

Squirrel block is higher in calories and fat and lower in carbohydrates than rodent block, but lower in fat and protein, and higher in carbohydrates then straight nuts.  Squirrels cannot thrive on a diet of nuts, seeds and corn and are at much higher risk for serious illness, such as metabolic bone disease, when these make up the bulk of the diet.   

Squirrels prefer nuts over squirrel block and generally speaking, will eat squirrel block much more readily than rodent block.  If your squirrel will eat standard rodent block, it is healthier for them (and much easier and cheaper for you!) to provide rodent block for the majority of their daily caloric needs. 

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If a captive squirrel won’t eat rodent block, then squirrel block with supplementation of fresh fruits and vegetables may be an alternative, providing superior nutrition over straight nuts, or a mixture of peanuts, corn and sunflower seeds.  Wild squirrels that have access to alternative food sources will be able to balance their diet by ingesting wild foods.  

 

f you are feeding a single squirrel, you may find it more convenient and cost effective to purchase a pre-made squirrel block from Henry’s Healthy Pets.

Squirrel Block Recipe

Preheat oven to 205o Fahrenheit (96 o Celsius)  

Prep time 25 Minutes, Bake time 90 Minutes

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups nuts (300g)*  

  • 1  3/4 Cups 100% Whey Protein Powder (plain/vanilla)(150g) **

  • 3 Large Eggs (50g each, total 150g)

  • 2/3 Cup Whole Wheat Flour or ground rodent block (100g)

  • 2 tsp Vanilla

  • 2 tsp Aluminum-Free Baking Soda

  • 1-2  Tbs water

  • Vitamins***

  • Total food weight approximately 700 grams or .70 kilograms

  • (Important for calculation vitamin & mineral supplementation)

 

Notes:

* Nuts without shells. Pecans, Walnuts and Hazelnuts (filberts) are generally preferred; however,  Peanuts and Almonds may also be used for variety. Mixing Pecans and Walnuts with one of the other nuts ensures balanced Vitamin E.

** Pure Whey protein can comes as a concentrate, an isolate, or a combination of the two. Any formulation will work. Isolate is a more pure form than concentrate and has lower levels of lactose and fat; however, pure isolate can be more difficult to find, more expensive and result in a very high protein product.   We use a combination of 80% concentrate/20% isolate that reduces the block’s protein level to a level closer to rodent block.  We find the squirrels prefer the vanilla flavor.  

*** Calcium (3 grams (or 3000 mg) calcium without added Vitamin D, Magnesium 1 gram (or 1000 mg) ,50  IU Vitamin D3 (if no natural or full spectrum lighting provided a minimum of 20 minutes per day)  Do not over supplement vitamin D.  Serve with foods rich in Vitamins A, C, E & the B vitamins.

Required Recipe Tools

  • Grinder or food processor to finely grind nuts

  • Electric Mixer (standing mixer works great with the break hook)

  • Gram scale (preferred) or measuring cups

  • Milligram scale and 1 cc syringe (for measuring vitamins) or measuring spoons

  • Rolling Pin

  • Plastic sheet or pastry cloth (preferred) or oiled surface

  • Parchment paper (preferred) or lightly greased cooking sheet

  • Pizza cutter (preferred) or sharp knife

Preparation

1.  Measure out 2/3 cup or 150 grams of the whey protein and set aside.

2.  In a dish, break open the three eggs, add vanilla and any liquid vitamins you may be adding.

3.  In a second dish, add the baking powder and any dry vitamins and minerals.

4.  Grind the nuts as finely as possible (without turning into nut butter).  Mix well with the whole wheat flour (or grind together) and set aside.

Mixing

5.  Place the egg mixture in the mixer and mix on medium-high speed until eggs,

vanilla and liquid vitamins are thoroughly combined.

6.  Add the baking powder mixture (with vitamins)

7. Mix medium-high speed, scraping the sides as needed, until smooth.   

Note: the baking powder will begin to bubble when added to the wet ingredients

and tend to clot until fully combined.

8.  Add the Whey protein and mix on medium speed until mixed well and fairly smooth.

Mixture will be sticky.

9.  Slowly add the nuts and whole wheat flour, mix on low speed, scraping the sides.   

The mixture will be dry. If too dry, add a small amount of water.  If you are using a

Hand mixer, you may need to mix by hand by folding and kneading the dough.

Rolling

10. Roll it out to 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick and shape into rectangle with you hands.  The dough is very thick.  You did it right of its hard to roll and shape!

11. Place the dough on parchment paper or lightly greased baking sheet.  Tip: Roll it out on a plastic sheet so it easily transfers to the baking sheet.

Baking

12.  Bake in oven at 205o Fahrenheit (96 o Celsius) for 90 minutes.

The low baking temperature helps keep the vitamin and mineral chemical structure intact making a healthier block.

13.  When done, remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

14.  Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife cut lengthwise 1/2 to 3/4 in apart.

15.  After making all lengthwise cuts, turn and cut crosswise until small cubes are formed.

16.  After cutting, let cool for two hours.  

Place on a paper towel to help absorb additional nut oils, if desired.

Storage

17. Once completely cool, place block in bag or closed container in the refrigerator (lasts for two to three weeks) or the freezer for longer storage.

Please discuss the diet with a knowledgeable resource or your veterinarian.

 

Squirrel Refuge makes every effort to publish accurate information. It is your responsibility to verify the accuracy of all information, claims, and advice before taking any action that may cause harm to your pet or wildlife in your care. If you believe any information is inaccurate, please contact us.

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