Just when you think you’ve got things under control…
I discovered my big guy is being sucked on again, and I caught one of the culprits in the act—the larger female. So in addition to the Tabasco technique, I looked up some other remedies in the manual. One of them is to remove the squirrel doing the sucking about an hour before a feeding and putting her in a separate shoebox with a big piece of apple to use as a pacifier instead. No problem.
I didn’t want to leave her alone in the box, though, so I put the other female in with her, thinking she wasn’t as likely a target. She’s one of the smaller squirrels whose eyes haven’t opened yet. So imagine my surprise when I went in later to feed them and discovered the little girl OUTSIDE the shoebox! She was sitting on the heating pad, smelling the cage.
So my one little girl can’t seem to make up her mind. A couple of days ago she had diarrhea. Today, she was constipated!
But thanks to the wonders of Pedialyte, combined with a little tummy stroking to help move things along, she seems to have overcome this bit of digestive distress as well.
My biggest guy is at the point now where he’s ready to start taking in some solid food. So I put a few greens into the cage, along with a couple of small apple chunks, and a single raspberry and blackberry. He actually picked up one of the pieces of apple and pulled it back into the shoebox with him and did a little tasting. I would have had a nice video of it… if I had remembered to open the lens cap… D’oh! Oh, well, I’m sure I’ll have more opportunities.
Well, so far today everything’s going pretty smoothly (but there’s still one more feeding to go, so I’ll just knock on wood for the time being… 🙂
After the great pics Connie and Carla let me post yesterday, I wasn’t sure what I could do today that was anywhere near as cool. So I decided to haul out my video camera (which I’m none too proficient with) and made a short clip of my big guy climbing the cage walls. I hope you enjoy it.
It’s hard to believe how much he’s already developed since I got him, less than two weeks ago! I plan to shoot more videos as the rest of the gang become more active as well.
Well, we have a big treat today! As I mentioned earlier, my squirrels were already about 3-4 weeks old when I got them. Because this is my first time as a home-care volunteer, I wasn’t ready to take on the extra challenges involved with caring for the really tiny ones. So I wasn’t able to show you any pictures of the “pinkies.”
But two of the more experienced volunteers who do look after the wee ones have given me permission to post their pictures so you can all see what these guys look like at that age.
This first picture comes from Connie Devine, who’s been working with the squirrels for almost ten years, so she’s a real expert with them. This is a photo of the 9 (yes, 9!) young’uns she had in her care all at the same time.
It figures. I was all excited about being able to post that everything went smoothly today, when Bam! One of my girls had diarrhea at the last feeding. It was a creamy consistency, which could mean she’s dehydrated. So I immediately stopped the formula and got her some Pedialyte. Hopefully that will help calm her insides overnight. Of course, I probably won’t be able to sleep well worrying about her.
And my jinx theory gets proven yet again…
We’re movin’ on up…
To the East Side…
To a de-luxe apartment
In the sky-y-y
Okay, so it’s not in the sky. And I guess “deluxe” is in the eye of the beholder. But the gang moved into some snazzy new digs today:
Now that they have a home with wire mesh all around them, they’ll really be able to go mental… 🙂 The shoebox gives them a little privacy and they still have the t-shirts to burrow into. It will probably be a little while before any of them are able to climb into the hammock.
I’ve also put a few “natural” items in with them—grass, leaves, a stick, etc. This will help them get comfortable with the environment they’ll eventually go back to. And I’ve added a few small greens so the guys (or girls) who are ready to give solid food a try will have something easily digestible to get started on.
The smallest two still haven’t opened their eyes, but given their current weights, I won’t be surprised if it happens by the end of the week. Then I’ll have five climbing maniacs on my hands!
Oh, and nobody had any signs of diarrhea today. Yay!
Well, this is my one week-iversary with my little guys and gals. I’ve definitely become a lot more comfortable with the routine. And I’ve gotten much better at controlling their intake when I’m feeding them, which means they’re aspirating a lot less. That’s not only better for their health, but it actually speeds up the process quite a bit as well. Because each time they do inhale formula the wrong way, I have to stop, clean out their noses and mouths with a Q-tip, and blow into their nostrils to activate the little hairs inside to cause them to sneeze.
That’s not to say that there aren’t still challenges. So much of this is based on using your judgment and, of course, as a newbie squirrel mom, I’m still in learning mode. For example, since they hadn’t gained much weight as of yesterday morning, despite having been feeding a lot, I moved them up to a more concentrated formula. That seemed to work well and they all had gained a fair bit this morning.
And based on these new weights, they were actually ready to move up to a different formula (at a lower concentration while they get used to it), and a different schedule. Instead of 6 feedings 3 hours apart, they should now be at 5 feedings 4 hours apart, according to the guidelines. So that’s what I did. And I do have to say that the increased time between feedings has made a lot of difference for me in terms of feeling a little less frantic.
This is going to be a short post because a) I’m pooped, and b) nothing especially notable happened today.
They hadn’t gained much weight since yesterday, so I’ve increased the concentration of their formula from 3-1 (3 parts water to 1 part powder) to 2-1. That means they’ll be getting more protein/fat/nutrients, etc. with each cc they drink.
I thought one of my girls might be getting a mild case of diarrhea (lots of stools, but still solid), but by the next feeding everything was fine. And my big guy whom I caught with the Tabasco around his mouth, indicating he had been sucking on one of his companions? He’s now become a suckee himself! But, thankfully, it seems to have slowed down/stopped during the course of the day. I’ll continue to keep an eye out, though, to make sure it doesn’t start up again.
Oh, and did I mention that I now know where the expression “squirrely” comes from? 🙂
Today was pretty uneventful (squirrel-wise; don’t get me started on my computer woes!). Thank goodness, because the last couple of days have had me a bit tense.
The female who had the blood in her mouth last night is fine. She had a little more this morning, but then I noticed a small cut on the inside of her lower lip. So I think that the sucking probably caused it to bleed. It only happened on the first feeding and not again during the rest of the day, so I think we’re fine there. However, I did catch her in the act of sucking on her little brother! She’d already eaten plenty, so I just dipped the nipple on the syringe into the formula to give her a taste and let her suck on that as long as she wanted. Hopefully that will remove the urge to use the poor lilttle guy as her pacifier. Tomorrow I’ll check on the situation again and, if it looks like it’s any worse, I’ll try some of the other possible remedies.
Now that we’ve got the feeding routine pretty much down, I don’t think it’s necessary for me to try to report in after each one (not that I was always successful at that anyway!). Instead, I’ll just start reporting things that (I hope) are more noteworthy. 🙂
But first, here are a couple of pics of me feeding my charges. The first one is the largest and oldest male, who has both his eyes fully open:
They’re not always such neat little eaters—table manners are not so big in the squirrel world, I’m guessing: