Weights for young at the same stage of development will vary not only between individuals but across regions as well.  Therefore it is best to decide how much formula to feed based on individual weights using this chart as a general guide only.


AGE (weeks)











Red squirrels

Birth to

1 week


pink, no fur


eyes tightly closed


dark stripe on nose




Feed 0.4 – 0.5cc per feeding 8 times a day every 2.5 hours including overnight feeding 


Example of a feeding schedule for 8X a day:   7am, 9:30am, noon, 2:30pm, 5pm, 7:30pm, 10pm, plus once overnight


Formula should be kept at bit warmer than body temperature during the entire feeding since it cools down quickly once drawn into the syringe.


Formula placed in a 1-cup measuring container fits nicely into a 2-cup measuring container partially filled with hot water and by placing a small cloth over formula will keep warm during the feeding session.




Keep baby squirrels in a warm secure room in a small enclosed box with breathing holes.  Create a cozy nest with several layers of soft non-ravelling cloth.  Change the bedding twice a day, and wash it without using fabric softener because the scents are hard on the babies’ respiratory system.  Likewise, wood chips release aromatic oils, and are thus not good to use for bedding.


Provide external heat by setting the box half-on, half-off a heating pad set to low, or put a hot water bottle well-wrapped in a cloth in the box.  Make sure it does not leak and that it is not too hot for the babies to snuggle against.  Refill it at every other feeding, or when it is no longer warm enough.



Keep small babies warm during feeding sessions by cupping them in a small cloth, while resting your hand on top of a hot water bottle.  Feed them in a quiet warm room with no distractions.


Stimulate them at each feeding – gently stroke genital area with a wet finger, Q-tip, tissue or soft wet cloth until they finish peeing and/or defecating.


Also thoroughly wash their face, neck and chin after each feeding.



Red squirrels

2 weeks


pink, scant fuzz of fur, no fur on belly


eyes closed



Feed 1 – 1.5cc per feeding 6 times a day every 3 hours 


Example of a feeding schedule for 6X a day:  7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, 10pm









Red squirrels

3 weeks


thin fur all over


eyes closed


lower front teeth (incisors) erupt at about 3 weeks



Feed 1.75 – 2cc per feeding 6 times a day every 3 hours 


Example of a feeding schedule for 6X a day:  7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, 10pm








Red squirrels

4 weeks


fur all over


eyes open at about 4 weeks of age



Feed 2 – 2.5cc or more per feeding 5 times a day every 3.5 hours


Example of a feeding schedule for 5X a day:  7am, 10:30am, 2pm, 5:30pm, 9pm


After eyes open, put a few pieces of rodent block (such as “Mazuri” or “Kaytee”) in their nest with them.


If rodent block is introduced as a first teething food before other solids, they will learn to eat it, and accept it as a staple of their diet.





After eyes open, red baby squirrels are escape wizards so make sure the room is secure in case one gets away from you.


If you have more than two babies, its good to have two housing set-ups until they are weaned.  At feedings pick up each baby, feed it and transfer it to the other housing – this will help you avoid escapes and also allow you to keep track of who is fed.





Note:  As babies become more aware after their eyes open, it is important to continue to feed them in a quiet room with no distractions


Try wearing light little cotton gloves you can find in drug stores (made to keep cream on hands overnight) to pick red babies up with and hold them for feedings, covering their eyes over with your index finger.  Allow the gloves to retain their scent between feedings.  Scent is extremely important to baby squirrels, and their own scent is reassuring to them.


Covering their eyes will often reduce their stress and allow them to nurse better.  Feedings should be a smooth, gentle, unrushed experience for the baby and rescuer both.



Red squirrels

5 weeks


fur all over, thinner fur on underside


upper front teeth (incisors) erupt at 4-6 weeks of age


cannot yet curl tail





Feed 3 – 4cc or more per feeding  4 times a day every 4 hours


Example of a feeding schedule for 4X a day:  7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm


Continue to provide rodent block and add two new elements to their housing at this point:


1) a drinking water bottle


2) a small mammal mineral stone




Keep squirrels in a quiet warm room still, but provide them with more space to play and exercise – for example a large dog-size pet carrier (26”x15”x17”high) with a towel in the bottom and enough room for their hanging water bottle and food at the front and more soft bedding at the back they can hide in and sleep under. The wire door of the dog carrier will likely have mesh that is too big, and the babies could escape through it, so cut a piece of window screening and securely attach that over the door.


Start to remove their supplemental heat source gradually – unless it’s a single baby or they are not well.  Change bedding and clean carrier daily.



Rodent block is crucial to the squirrels' good health.  They need to eat this staple once they are weaned to maintain 100% nutrition in a cage – so try not to introduce other solids until they have acquired a taste for it.


After the squirrels are chewing the rodent block, other teething materials should be provided – such as hardwood branches and twigs, cedar boughs with seeds, and pine boughs with pinecones, replaced daily. 




Red squirrels

6 weeks



eyes fully open


upper front teeth (incisors) erupt at 5-6 weeks of age


cheek teeth erupt at about 6 weeks


can sit up

can curl tail



Feed as much as they want (within reason!)  4 times a day every 4 hours


Example of a feeding schedule for 4X a day:  7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm


Add large striped unsalted sunflower seeds not the small oiled black sunflower sees, and a few pine nuts to the dish of rodent block and a separate dish of chopped fruit such as apple, grape, banana, avocado, melon, berries etc.







Red squirrels

7 - 8 weeks


furry all over including underside of tail


tail bushier


can sit up and hold food in front paws


sleeping less, more active



Begin weaning at 7 weeks by reducing formula feedings to 3 times a day and then at 8 weeks reduce to 2 times a day, offering all they want at each feeding. 


Example of a feeding schedule for 3X a day:  8am, 1pm, 6pm


Example of a feeding schedule for 2X a day:  8am, 6pm


Solid foods should now consist of about 50% rodent block and 50% other foods such as: sunflower seeds, nuts, (pine nuts are a favourite) a dish of fruit (they love fresh fruit and berries), and vegetables such as yam, broccoli, carrot, beans, spinach, snow peas, cucumber, etc.







Red squirrels

8 - 12 weeks


long fur


bushy tail


increasingly active


can climb well


By 11 – 12 weeks of age the youngsters are ¾ of adult size and ready for release.




Weaning is usually complete by 9-10 weeks of age.  They will want less and less formula as they eat more solid foods and most will “self wean” – but if some continue to want a little formula give it to them since it is good for them. Offer a free choice of rodent block and other foods as above.



At about 8 weeks of age, move squirrels to a large pre-release cage (at least 4ft. x 2ft. x 4ft high, made of ½” welded wire mesh), in a secure shed or garage, and provide a wooden nest box (10” x 10”). Put a large piece of plywood on the inside floor of the cage to place their dishes on so that food does not fall through the wire.  This is a very messy stage so the cage should be cleaned daily.  Place a plastic tarpaulin under the cage with an old sheet on top which will catch the debris – change the sheet once or twice a week.



Furnish the cage with fresh hardwood branches with leaves, cedar boughs with seeds, pine boughs with pinecones, and as many other natural elements as you can gather, such as acorns, maple seed keys, pine cones, flower seed heads, bark, mosses etc. Put a big hardwood stump or large log of hardwood in the bottom of the cage.




Red squirrels

12+ weeks


Some squirrels will disappear for several days or even a week or two after they are first released, as they explore their new world.  Be sure to continue to stock a feeding station every day even if you do not see them since they need your support. 


Provide their food within sight but some distance from the nest box since you do not want to attract other animals to their box. 



A good staple to provide your squirrels post-release is large, striped, unsalted sunflower seeds.  You can also give them some hard shell nuts like almonds, pecans, hazelnuts or walnuts as treats, since they can bury them and have a back-up supply of food.  One way to make sure they have fresh water (until they scout out their own source) is to nail a yoghurt container onto the truck of the tree holding their nest box, low enough for you to refill it daily. 



For spring youngsters, released in the summer, provide food and water for at least 4 weeks post-release.  For those released in the fall, please continue to feed all winter since they will not have had the time to collect and store food for the winter.