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Feeding Schedule & Amount

The first 12 to 24 hours the baby should be fed only an electrolyte hydration formula, such as Pedialyte for infants.  Do not start feeding a baby until it is first warm, well hydrated, and has started to eliminate normally. Reference the links along the right side of this page for more information on these topics.

If the baby has never had formula or is changing to a new brand, you must slowly introduce it over several feedings. Formula is never exactly like, or as good as, mother's natural milk. The baby's gastro- intestinal tract (gut) needs time to adjust to man-made formulas through slow introduction from the hydration fluid to full strength formula.   Reference the section entitled, “Transitioning to Formula” at the bottom of the Feeding Technique page (Link on right).

Feeding Technique

Important information on how to administer nutrition in a controlled manner to ensure common life threatening feeding problems, such as choking, aspiration pneumonia, bloat and diarrhea and are avoided.

Feeding Technique

The ideal amount to feed the baby at each feeding is up to 5% of its body weight at an interval that closely matches the frequency the mother would feed her young in the wild. Below is a rough guide to the amount and schedule for feeding a baby based on its approximate age and size.  

It is highly recommended that you purchase a gram scale to reduce overfeeding. Baby squirrels are notorious hogs and will happily overeat. Overeating may result in life threatening diarrhea and easy predation by cats, hawks and other menaces that prefer chubby slow moving prey.  Reference the link entitled, “Feeding complications” for more information.

If you don’t have a method of weighing the baby and are unsure of its age, you can roughly estimate it by comparing your squirrel to the ones pictured on the “How to determine the age of a baby squirrel” article (link to the right) available on the Chris’s Squirrels & More website.

How much do I feed the baby?

How to Determine the Age of a Baby Squirrel

Chart 1 - Feeding Frequency & Amount Based on Age or Weight Range

Feeding  Amount Based Weight Range

Important Tips for Success

Going to the Bathroom

Baby’s with their eyes closed must be stimulated to urinate (pee) and defecate (poop). This page provides step by step instructions for accomplishing the task after every feeding.

Build an Incubator
Makeshift Incubator

Squirrels without fur, not fully furred, ill or injured require a constant source of supplemental heat. A makeshift incubator can be readily constructed from common household supplies.

Warming the Baby

If the baby is cool to the touch it must be warmed. This section discusses methods for warming the baby.  See also: Build an Incubator.

Warming the Baby Feeding-Related Complications

Most digestion and intestinal problems can be traced to improper feeding methods. This section cover diagnosing and correcting feeding problems and provides guidance when veterinary care may be warranted..

Treating Dehydration

Most orphaned and injured wildlife has some degree of dehydration. After treating life threatening illness and warmth, hydration is the next step in stabilizing the squirrel.

Treating Dehydration

The maximum amount should be no more than 5% in cc’s for the squirrel’s body weight in grams.  

For example, if the squirrel weighs 100 grams (approximately 3.5 ounces), then 5% is 5 grams (.17 ounces) which translates to 5 cc (cubic centimeters)  or ml (milliliter) or (1 tsp) of formula.

Need help converting ounces to grams?  

Online Conversion Calculator

for Weight

Chart 2 - Feeding  Amount Based Weight Quick Reference

Need help converting teaspoons, tablespoons, or cups to cubic centimeters (cc’s)?

  Online Conversion

Calculator for Volume

For Example:  

A squirrel weighing 100 grams should be fed  every 4 to 5 hours (reference Chart 1 for squirrels weighing 120-160 grams) . The amount fed should be no more than of 5 cc (1/2 tsp*) of formula (reference Chart  2  for amounts based on 100 grams of weight.     

A note about frequency: It is ok to feed plus or minus 1/2 hour to accommodate scheduling for squirrels under 6 weeks. Older squirrels can be fed plus or minus 1 hour.

*Reference the Online Conversion Calculators  if converting grams (weight) or cc’s (volume) to other measuring systems.

Daily Care Chart

It’s important that the baby doesn't get too much or too little formula to eat and that you know when it last eliminated (and if the product was normal - No blood in urine, loose or foul smelling stool!   

Lack of normal appetite and abnormal bodily functions are important queues indicating a problem requiring immediate attention.

Keeping track can be especially hard when you have more than one care giver or multiple squirrels.   

Our advice is, Write it down!

Keeping Track of Who’s Who

If you are caring for multiple squirrels  you might notice that it can be hard to tell  who is who.  

Consider using a temporary identification method such as  a non-toxic nail polish or permanent Sharpie marker on an   

ear or the tummy. You may need to reapply every few days.

If the squirrels are furred and you only have a small number , another option is to clip a small notch of fur from the tail at different locations.   

Tail fur only replaces itself once a year, so don’t go crazy with this by trimming a large quantity of fur.  Squirrels use their tails to communicate, for warmth, and balance.