What do you feed baby squirrels?

When it comes to feeding baby squirrels, it’s vital to adhere to specific dietary guidelines to ensure their healthy development. Baby squirrels require a special formula if they are orphaned or unable to nurse from their mother.

This formula should closely mimic the nutritional content of squirrel milk, and brands like Fox Valley are highly recommended for this purpose. Initially, baby squirrels need feeding every two to three hours, including during the night, depending on their age and health status. As they grow, the interval between feedings can be gradually increased, and the introduction of solid foods can begin.

This transition typically starts with easily digestible foods such as soft fruits and vegetables, and eventually, small nuts and seeds can be included. It’s crucial to finely chop or mash these solids to prevent choking and to monitor their reaction to each new food. Water should also be made available once they start on solids to ensure proper hydration. It’s important to avoid feeding baby squirrels any human food, especially those high in sugar or salt, as well as chocolate or caffeine, as these can be harmful. For anyone raising a baby squirrel, consulting with a wildlife expert or veterinarian is essential to provide the best care and nutrition.

Any squirrel under 8 weeks of age will probably be totally reliant on milk. Generally, squirrels up to 12 weeks old will still appreciate some milk. Start on the weaning foods at about 7-8 weeks – if the squirrel is not ready, it will not eat them. If it is a particularly hungry squirrel, try baby rusk dipped in milk.

Here’s a list of suitable foods for baby squirrels:

  1. Formula: Commercially available squirrel milk replacer or puppy/kitten formula.
  2. Pedialyte: Electrolyte solution for hydration and nutrients.
  3. Baby Cereal: Mixed with formula for added nutrition and texture.
  4. Fruits: Soft fruits like applesauce, mashed banana, or berries.
  5. Vegetables: Cooked and mashed vegetables like sweet potato or squash.
  6. Nuts: Ground or crushed nuts like walnuts or pecans for added protein.
  7. Eggs: Hard-boiled eggs mashed or scrambled for protein.
  8. Yogurt: Plain, unsweetened yogurt for probiotics and calcium.
  9. Mealworms: Live or dried mealworms for protein and fat.
  10. Insects: Small insects like crickets or grasshoppers for a natural diet supplement.

Squirrel Feeding Techniques?

It’s important to ensure that the food is finely chopped or blended for young squirrels, as they may have difficulty chewing larger pieces. Additionally, avoid feeding them cow’s milk, as it can cause digestive issues. Always consult a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian for specific dietary advice and guidance.

feed baby squirrels

Feeding squirrels can be a fun and rewarding activity, providing both an opportunity to watch these energetic creatures up close and a chance to help them out, especially in harsh weather conditions. Here are some tips on how to feed squirrels responsibly and effectively:

  1. Choose the Right Food: Squirrels are primarily herbivores and enjoy a variety of foods. Some good options to feed squirrels include:
    • Nuts: Unsweetened, unsalted almonds, walnuts, and pecans are great choices. Avoid peanuts as they are legumes, not nuts, and can be less healthy for squirrels.
    • Seeds: Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds can be given in moderation.
    • Fruits and Vegetables: Apples, pears, broccoli, and carrots are healthy choices. Cut them into small, manageable pieces.
    • Specialized Squirrel Food: There are squirrel food mixes available that are designed to be nutritionally complete.
  2. Avoid Unhealthy Foods: Do not feed squirrels junk food or processed foods. Foods high in sugar, salt, or additives (like chips, sweets, or bread) are not suitable for squirrels and can cause health problems.
  3. Feeding Stations: Setting up a squirrel feeder can help keep the squirrels away from bird feeders and provide a specific spot where you can watch them eat. Place the feeder away from your house to discourage squirrels from coming too close and potentially causing damage.
  4. Keep It Clean: Like any feeding area, squirrel feeders should be kept clean to prevent the spread of disease. Regularly clean the feeding station with a solution of bleach and water to kill any bacteria.
  5. Provide Water: Just like all animals, squirrels need access to clean water. Consider placing a water bowl near the feeding station, especially in dry conditions.
  6. Moderation is Key: While it can be tempting to feed squirrels large amounts of food, it’s important to feed them in moderation so that they don’t become dependent on human-provided food. This also helps ensure they continue to forage and maintain their natural behaviors.
  7. Watch and Enjoy: One of the great joys of feeding squirrels is observing their antics and behaviors. Keep a respectful distance so as not to stress the animals, and use binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens for a closer look.

By following these tips, you can enjoy feeding squirrels in a way that is healthy for them and enjoyable for you. It’s a wonderful way to connect with nature and learn more about the wildlife in your area.

Homemade Baby Squirrel Food

Homemade baby squirrel food can be a nutritious and cost-effective option for caring for orphaned or injured baby squirrels. While specialized formulas are recommended for their precise nutritional balance, you can create a homemade alternative in a pinch. One simple recipe involves blending together ingredients such as plain yogurt, whole milk, egg yolk, and a small amount of honey or maple syrup for sweetness. This mixture provides essential nutrients like protein, fat, and carbohydrates to support the squirrel’s growth and development.

Another option is to mix powdered puppy or kitten milk replacer with water to create a formula suitable for baby squirrels. When preparing homemade squirrel food, it’s crucial to avoid using cow’s milk, as it can cause digestive issues in young squirrels. Additionally, ensure that the food is served at room temperature and that any leftovers are discarded to prevent spoilage. While homemade baby squirrel food can serve as a temporary solution, it’s essential to consult with a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian for guidance on proper nutrition and care.

Baby Squirrel Growth Foods

The best foods for baby squirrel growth are those that provide the essential nutrients needed for their development. Here are some top options:

Specialized Formula

Commercially available squirrel milk replacers, such as Fox Valley or Esbilac, are specifically formulated to mimic the nutritional composition of squirrel milk. These formulas provide the necessary proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals needed for healthy growth.

Soft Fruits and Vegetables

As baby squirrels transition to solid foods, soft fruits and vegetables are excellent options. These include applesauce, mashed bananas, steamed sweet potatoes, and finely chopped leafy greens. These foods provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber essential for growth and digestive health.

Nuts and Seeds

Once baby squirrels are old enough to handle solid foods, small pieces of soft nuts and seeds can be introduced into their diet. Good options include unsalted almonds, walnuts, pecans, and pumpkin seeds. These foods are high in protein and healthy fats, supporting muscle and brain development.

squirrels feed nuts

Insects and Protein Sources

In the wild, squirrels eat insects as part of their diet. You can offer small amounts of mealworms, crickets, or canned insects to provide additional protein and nutrients. Hard-boiled eggs mashed with the shell can also be offered as a protein-rich treat.


Hydration is crucial for baby squirrel growth and overall health. Offer fresh, clean water in a shallow dish once they start eating solid foods. Ensure the water is changed regularly to prevent contamination.

By providing a varied diet that includes these nutritious foods, you can support the healthy growth and development of baby squirrels in your care.

Feeding Baby Squirrels

Feeding baby squirrels is a delicate process that requires careful attention to their developmental stages and nutritional needs. Here’s a guide to help you ensure that your baby squirrels are properly fed:

Immediate Care

For newborn squirrels, the most critical factor is warmth and hydration. Before any type of feeding is introduced, it’s essential to warm them to a normal body temperature. Hydration can be gently provided using a pediatric rehydration solution or plain water, administered with a small syringe or dropper.

Milk Feeding

Baby squirrels require a special formula as their digestive systems are not suited for cow’s milk or regular pet formulas. A high-quality puppy formula or a squirrel-specific milk replacer is ideal. These should be fed using a small bottle or syringe with a nipple designed for small wildlife. Feeding must be done at intervals depending on the age of the squirrel, typically every 2 to 4 hours, including night feedings for the youngest.

Weaning Process

At about 6 to 8 weeks old, baby squirrels can start the weaning process. Begin introducing solid foods while still supplementing with formula. Ideal starter solids include soft fruits like banana or apple puree and finely crushed nuts or commercially available rodent blocks, which provide balanced nutrition.

Increasing Solids

As the squirrel matures, gradually reduce the formula and increase their intake of solids. Introduce a variety of foods to mimic their natural diet, including a mix of nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables, and fruits. It’s crucial to ensure that all nuts and hard foods are appropriately sized to prevent choking.

Independent Eating

By 10 to 12 weeks old, the squirrel should be capable of independent eating. At this stage, they should have a diet similar to what they would find in the wild, helping them develop the necessary skills for eventual release. Ensure fresh water is always available in a shallow dish.

Observing and Adjusting

Throughout all stages, monitor the squirrel’s health and growth. Look for signs of digestive issues or allergies and adjust their diet as necessary. If you notice any health problems, consult with a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian experienced with squirrels.

Feeding baby squirrels requires time, patience, and a commitment to their well-being. Proper nutrition is critical for their survival and development, setting the stage for a successful transition back into the wild or a healthy life under human care.

Nutritional Needs of Baby Squirrels

Understanding the nutritional needs of baby squirrels is essential for their healthy growth and development. These little creatures have specific dietary requirements that differ significantly from adult squirrels and other animals. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know to provide the right nutrition:

Milk Formula

Initially, baby squirrels need a formula that closely mimics the milk of their mother. Puppy milk replacer is often recommended because it has a suitable protein and fat content, but specific squirrel milk replacers are ideal if available. Avoid cow’s milk and human infant formula, as these can cause severe digestive issues and malnutrition.


Protein is critical for growth. The formula should be rich in protein but must be balanced with other nutrients. As squirrels begin to wean, small amounts of finely ground nuts or high-protein cereals can be introduced to supplement their protein intake.


Fats are crucial for energy and the development of body tissues. The milk replacer should include a healthy fat ratio to support overall growth. When transitioning to solid foods, incorporate sources of healthy fats such as nuts and seeds.


While not the primary focus in the early stages, carbohydrates become more important as squirrels grow. They provide energy and help in the development of the digestive system. Fruits and vegetables can be introduced gradually as part of their diet to supply necessary carbohydrates and fibers.

Vitamins and Minerals

Baby squirrels need a range of vitamins and minerals for proper development. Calcium and phosphorus are vital for bone growth, while iron supports blood health. A deficiency in any essential vitamin or mineral can lead to health problems. Squirrel-specific formulas are usually fortified with these nutrients to help prevent deficiencies.


Water is essential, especially when baby squirrels begin eating solid foods. Before this stage, hydration is provided through the milk replacer. Always ensure that water is available once they start consuming solids, offering it in a shallow dish to prevent drowning risks.

Feeding Frequency and Amounts

Feeding schedules depend on the age and health of the squirrel. Newborns require feeding every few hours around the clock, while older babies can be fed less frequently. It’s crucial to feed the appropriate amount based on their development stage to avoid underfeeding or overfeeding, which can lead to health issues.

Proper nutrition is not just about feeding; it’s about feeding the right substances in the right amounts at the right times. Those raising baby squirrels should consult with a veterinarian or a wildlife rehabilitator to ensure that their dietary needs are being met accurately and to receive guidance on any adjustments needed as they grow.

Baby Squirrel Feeding Schedule

The baby squirrel’s feeding schedule is crucial for their growth and development, especially in their early weeks of life. Here’s a general feeding schedule to follow:

squirrels feed
  1. Newborn to 2 Weeks Old:
    • Feed every 2 hours around the clock, including overnight.
    • Offer a squirrel-specific milk replacer or puppy formula using a small syringe or dropper.
    • Ensure the milk is warm but not hot, and feed until the squirrel’s belly is gently rounded.
  2. 2 to 4 Weeks Old:
    • Feed every 3 hours during the day and every 4 hours at night.
    • Gradually increase the amount of formula offered per feeding as the squirrel grows.
    • Introduce stimulation for elimination after each feeding to help them urinate and defecate.
  3. 4 to 6 Weeks Old:
    • Feed every 4 hours during the day and every 5 hours at night.
    • Start introducing small amounts of softened solid foods, such as mashed fruits or vegetables, alongside formula feedings.
  4. 6 to 8 Weeks Old:
    • Transition to feeding every 5 hours during the day and every 6 hours at night.
    • Increase the proportion of solid foods in their diet while reducing the frequency of formula feedings.
  5. 8 to 10 Weeks Old:
    • Feed every 6 hours during the day and every 7 hours at night.
    • Solid foods should make up the majority of their diet by this stage, with formula feedings gradually phased out.
  6. 10 Weeks and Older:
    • Once the squirrel is fully weaned, they can be fed every 8 hours during the day, with no overnight feedings necessary.
    • Continue offering a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds to support their nutritional needs.

Always monitor the squirrel’s weight and behavior to ensure they are getting enough nutrition. Adjust the feeding schedule as needed based on their individual needs and development. Additionally, consult with a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian for guidance on feeding and caring for baby squirrels.


Feeding baby squirrels the right food at the right stages of their development is crucial for their survival and health. From birth to weaning, adhering to a strict feeding schedule with appropriate milk replacers and gradually introducing solid foods ensures these young squirrels receive the necessary nutrients to grow strong and healthy. As they transition from formula to solid foods, including a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds is essential. For anyone caring for these delicate creatures, understanding their dietary needs and providing meticulous care can make a significant difference in their development. Always seek advice from professionals such as wildlife rehabilitators or veterinarians when in doubt, to provide the best possible care for baby squirrels. Remember, the well-being of each squirrel can depend heavily on your knowledge and commitment to their dietary and overall care requirements.


1. What should I feed a baby squirrel?

Baby squirrels require a special formula that mimics the nutritional content of squirrel milk. Brands like Fox Valley are highly recommended. For the initial stages, baby squirrels should be fed every two to three hours, including during the night.

2. Can I make homemade baby squirrel food?

Yes, you can create a homemade mix in urgent situations. A simple recipe includes blending plain yogurt, whole milk, egg yolk, and a bit of honey or maple syrup. However, it’s crucial to avoid cow’s milk, as it can cause digestive issues in squirrels. Consult with a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian before resorting to homemade formulas.

3. When can baby squirrels start eating solid foods?

Baby squirrels can begin transitioning to solid foods around 6 to 8 weeks of age. Start with easily digestible foods like soft fruits and vegetables, finely chopped or mashed to prevent choking.

4. What solid foods are safe for baby squirrels?

As they grow, suitable solid foods include soft fruits such as applesauce and mashed bananas, vegetables like cooked and mashed sweet potatoes, and small amounts of crushed nuts and seeds for protein.

5. How often should I feed a baby squirrel?

Newborns need feeding every 2 hours, but as they grow, this can be gradually reduced. By around 8 weeks old, feeding every 5 to 6 hours during the day is typical, with the frequency decreasing as they continue to age.

6. Is it necessary to provide water to baby squirrels?

Yes, water should be provided once solid foods are introduced. Always ensure the water dish is shallow to prevent drowning risks.

7. Are there any foods I should avoid giving to a baby squirrel?

Avoid human food, particularly those high in sugar or salt, and never give chocolate or caffeine, as these can be harmful. Also, do not feed them cow’s milk.

8. What should I do if I’m not sure how to care for a baby squirrel?

Consulting with a wildlife expert or veterinarian is essential when caring for a baby squirrel. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation, ensuring the best care and nutrition for the baby squirrel.

About Sabrina Tulip

I'm Sabrina Tulip, and I have a deep passion for all things animal world. I'm committed to helping others who loves wild animals. Reach out to me at sabrina@animallists.com for gardening advice and tips. Let's make the world a little greener together!

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