Formula for Squirrels
Squirrel Refuge recommends using Fox Valley Day One formula for squirrels. For squirrels up to four weeks of age, the best formula is Fox Valley Day One 32/40 (appropriate for baby squirrels under four weeks, eastern cottontail, or baby opossum under 45 grams). For squirrels over four weeks (or with eyes opened), Fox Valley Day One 20/50 is recommended.
Both products can be readily ordered directly from Fox Valley Animal Nutrition Inc. (800) 679-4666 http://foxvalleynutrition.com or from any of the squirrel rehabilitation supply online retailers listed. Alternatively, some rehabilitators feed their squirrels Zoologic Milk Matrix 33/40 By PetAg.
Combine 2 parts very hot water with one part Fox Valley formula and mix well. After mixing, let formula rest for at least 20 minutes to cool and allow air bubbles to settle. Refrigerate mixed formula for up to 48 hours.
Milk replacers for babies transitioning to formula or those with stool or digestive problems should be supplemented with a small amount of acidophilus (1/8 tsp) per ¼ cup mixed formula or plain yogurt.
If this is the first time you are offering formula to the baby, the baby must be fully hydrated and slowly transitioned onto full strength formula. Reference transition instructions below.
Temporary Formula Substitutes
Depending on the degree of dehydration, the squirrel should initially be provided an infant rehydration formula such as Pedialyte® for at least the first twelve hours (more for severely dehydrated or emaciated babies!.)
Once fully hydrated, you may start to transition the baby over to an appropriate milk replacer. When transitioning from a hydration fluid to any formula, follow the same transition method as described in the Transitioning Formulas section below.
Since squirrel formula is generally not available in your local pet store and it will take a few days for the formula to arrive, the Squirrel Board (www.thesquirrelboard.com) recommends a temporary formula that may be fed in the interim.
Please note: this is not a nutritionally complete milk replacement formulation that can sustain an infant long term but is intended to be used as a temporary measure until the Fox Valley Formula arrives.
Three parts fresh goat’s milk (made for human consumption and available at most health food stores that sell groceries) to one part plain or vanilla yogurt (full fat with no artificial sweeteners). Once the baby is eliminating (defecating normally) gradually start adding 1 part heavy whipping cream.
for interim use only
¾ cup Fresh Goat’s Milk
¼ cup plain or Vanilla Yogurt or a pinch of acidophilus powder
1/8 to 1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Important! Whipping cream is harder to digest but is necessary to increase the fat content in the formula. Start by adding in a very small amount and slowly increasing with each feeding.
Once the Fox Valley formula arrives, gently transition from the temporary formula to the full strength Fox Valley formula over six feedings. This schedule helps the baby to slowly transition to the new formula without overly stressing its delicate digestive system.
First two feedings: Combine two parts Goat’s Milk Mixture to one Part Fox Valley Formula (2:1)
Second two feedings: Combine one part Goat’s Milk Mixture to one part Fox Valley Formula (1:1)
Last two feedings: Combine one part Goat’s Milk Mixture to two parts Fox Valley Formula (1:2)
Subsequent feedings: Feed full strength Fox Valley Formula
Using Emergency Formulas
for People, Puppies, and Kittens
Because of manufacturing issues, Esbilac puppy milk replacer is no longer being recommended for squirrels or other wildlife.
Nonetheless, if nothing else is available, squirrels have survived on a commercial puppy milk replacement formula just fine.
Puppy milk replacer is generally better than one made for kittens since their protein needs are much higher. Never use a milk replacer for human infants or cow’s milk. See image to right.
The advantage of using a puppy formula is that it can be readily purchased at most pet stores; however, please note that there are disadvantages:
Many squirrels (especially very young ones) cannot tolerate a puppy formula and will succumb to diarrhea. This may be alleviated by adding a small amount of acidophilus powder or yogurt to the formula.
These formulation do not contain enough fat for proper weight gain. Adding supplemental heavy cream can help.
Puppy formulas are much more expensive than purchasing the Fox Valley formula online which is usually available for under $12 per pound, which is typically enough to feed an orphan through weaning.