Squirrels feed on their mother’s milk after birth, but abandoned babies have to rely on other food sources to survive.
Can A Baby Squirrel Drink Cow Milk? You should not feed cow milk to baby squirrels because it is rich in protein or lactose and lacks essential vitamins and minerals. Moreover, it is low in fats, while babies need more fats to grow. It can cause digestion issues, diarrhea, and dehydration.
It is good to bring an orphaned baby squirrel home to take care of its diet and provide ideal conditions for growing into an adult.
You have to feed them nutritionally rich food but avoid cow’s milk as it is considered a harmful choice due to an imbalance of nutritional content.
Why baby squirrels should not drink cow milk?
Baby squirrels are small and need nutritious and complete food to grow into healthy adults, as nutritional deficiency can lead to compromised health.
They do not have teeth to chew solid food particles, so their mothers preferably feed them liquid food for easier consumption and quick digestion.
Moreover, they have sensitive stomachs that cannot deal with hard stuff or complex carbohydrates, so they consume lighter food that can easily pass through their guts.
Accordingly, their diet relies only on the mother’s milk, which is nutritionally rich in vitamins and minerals. However, you cannot feed them with cow’s milk because it is not good for them.
It is richer in proteins than the amount required for baby squirrels to grow, as 100ml of cow’s milk contains almost 3.3 to 3.5g of proteins.
Moreover, it has fewer fats as almost 3.5 to 3.7g of fats are present in 100ml, while babies need more fats during the early developmental stages of their lifecycle.
This quantity of proteins and fats constitutes around 3.5% and 3 to 4% of its total solid content. In addition, it contains a high amount of lactose, which is around 5% of its total solid content.
Excessive amounts of lactose in cow’s milk pose a risk of diarrhea, so it is better to avoid feeding it to young ones.
Furthermore, it lacks essential minerals and contains only 1.2 to 1.3% phosphorus and calcium required for bone growth and density.
It is not a good source of vitamins A, C, and D, and the content of vitamin D is almost 0.1 to 1 microgram in one liter. Vitamin A plays a role in tissue growth, improves vision, and builds immunity.
Accordingly, vitamins C and D are essential for quick healing from injuries and strong bones because vitamin D helps in calcium absorption.
So, it is observed that cow’s milk is nutritionally incomplete for the baby squirrels and affects their ideal growth and developmental process, so it is better to avoid it.
What happens when a baby squirrel drinks cow milk?
Cow’s milk is not good for a baby squirrel because it affects their digestive system. These young or newborn babies have sensitive stomachs that cannot deal with it.
They cannot digest and extract nutrients from it, and poor digestion of food leads to stomach problems, like diarrhea. Unbalanced nutrients cause digestion issues and affect their growth.
Its chemical composition and nutritional value differ from the squirrel milk and do not suit its stomach. Diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration, resulting in death sometimes.
Moreover, it feels like a shock to their bodies when they depend on food for survival, and their bodies cannot extract nutrients due to poor digestion.
So, you should avoid feeding cow’s milk to the young ones during the growth period because it can be deadly for these tiny animals.
What type of milk can a baby squirrel drink?
Choosing the right type of food is essential for the growth and survival of baby squirrels because they cannot thrive in stressful conditions.
You should understand their nutritional needs before offering any food because they need more fats, fewer proteins, and lactose-free food at this stage of their lifecycle.
Accordingly, Esbilac is considered a suitable choice for baby squirrels that can be prepared by mixing in lukewarm water in 1:2.
Goat milk is safe for baby squirrels and suitable for use after mixing with yogurt and cream. Puppy formula milk is also a preferred choice by vets and professionals by keeping their safety in mind.
You can get formula milk from stores or make it by mixing the nutritional foods to provide all essential nutrients.
Moreover, it is better to consult a rehabilitator or a professional vet when preparing your own formula to make nutritionally balanced food for newborn pups.
You should know about harmful types of milk to avoid feeding young squirrels because the wrong choice can kill these tiny rodents.
Avoid lactose-rich and low-fat milk, which can cause allergic reactions and severe dehydration. Similarly, cat milk is high in proteins, which is not safe for consumption.
Human and almond milk are also dangerous for babies because their digestive systems cannot tolerate any imbalance of nutrients.
How do you make baby squirrel milk?
You can make homemade milk for baby squirrels using goat milk, which is nutritious and safe for these newborns.
Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of goat milk into 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Mix them well using a spoon or a fork until the formation of a homogenous mixture.
After that, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt and mix them thoroughly. Blend all the ingredients for proper mixing after adding half of the egg yolk, which is a rich source of fats.
In addition, you can also use powdered milk to prepare food, but you have to mix it in water. Add powder into water in a ratio of 1:4 and mix properly to avoid lumps.
Strain the prepared liquid food before feeding, as it can help remove lumps that can create problems for babies. You can feed almost 0.70 to 1cc milk after every 2 hours for around 1 week.
It is better to dilute the powder in 4 parts of water for the first feeding, but make it a little bit concentrated for subsequent feeding.
How can you feed milk to baby squirrels?
Baby squirrels cannot suck milk from a bowl, so you have to feed them by directly pouring it into their mouth.
Excessive transfer of fluids can create breathing problems, so you have to release it drop by drop for easier swallowing and digestion.
It is better to use a syringe for feeding squirrels after removing their top.
Fill a 1cc syringe and press the plunger downwards to push the liquid food into their mouth. The selection of syringes plays a crucial role in controlling the feeding rate.
You can use a 1cc syringe for newborns and gradually increase the volume to 3cc, 5cc, and even up to 10cc. It allows babies to get used to this feeding method and swallow the liquid food easily.