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Feeding Wild Squirrels:Tips to Save You money
Cute SquirrelClick thumbnail to view full-size
There are around two hundred species of squirrels. They will eat a wide variety of different fruits and nuts among other things. The antics of squirrels can be quite amusing when you sit and watch them. They chase each other around, hang upside down on a tree, and can be very crafty when trying to get the bird food. Winter and Spring is hard on squirrels since during winter the ground is frozen so food that was buried is hard for them to retrieve, then in spring when everything is beginning to grow, their your food source is gone as it begins to grow. Keep a journal on your squirrels is a fun idea. Average life span is between three to five years.
Types of Food Squirrels Eat
Actually sometimes squirrels will eat anything that smells good to them. Once I put some leftover baked Macaroni & Cheese out for the nighttime animals earlier in the evening but I had two squirrels eating it even though I had feed them earlier in the afternoon.
- Pine Cones - (actually the pinenut that they eat)
- Nuts - (almonds, English & Black walnuts, peanuts unsalted, hazel nuts, pecans)
- Field Corn - Favorite (Don't care for sweet corn)
- Fruits - (oranges, apples, apricots, avocado's)
- Sunflower seeds - (favorite), Acorns, Mushrooms
May feed on these food types, more adapt to in winter months
- Dog Food
- Table Scrapes
- Roman Lettuce
Natural Habitats / Odd Foods
Squirrels build nest in tree branches. Some squirrels will make a nest in the hollow of an old tree. There are some that like to live in the city and actually follow people to try and get a little food from them. Here are some odd things squirrels will eat:
- Bird Eggs / Young Birds
- Pinenuts (from a pinecone)
- Bark / Leaves
Simple Recipe For Squirrels
- 1 (16 ounce) jar of peanutbutter (Use crunchy peanutbutter and you have the nuts already in it)
- 1 1/4 cups of butter
- 1 1/2 cups of nuts (peanuts, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts) mixture or any one
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/4 quick oats
- 2 1/2 cups corn meal (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups of sunflowers
- 1 cup of whole corn kernel
- Melt butter and peanutbutter over low heat together.
- Stir in remaining ingredients except nuts
- Mix well
- Roll into balls about 3/4 size of a golf ball
- Roll balls in the nuts
- Can put extra's in baggie and freeze them, just sit out to thaw before giving them to the squirrels.
I divide them up in baggies before freezing and day before I thaw them out, since I feed about 15 to 25 squirrels a day.
Another Simple Recipe
Use left over mashed potatoes.
- 1 (16 ounce) Jar of crunchy peanutbutter
- 3/4 to 1 cup of mashed potatoes
- Mix together
- Refrigerate, set some out to room temperate, spread on crackers or bread (cut bread into 4 square pieces)
- Place outside for squirrels.
This will make the peanutbutter go further when feeding the squirrels.
Gathering Free Food For Squirrels
Every year I gather free food for the squirrels that I feed. Sometimes friends will help, then I'll have a cookout to say thank you for all your help. Kids seem to enjoy this activity also. I do this anywhere from two days to a week, depending on much I want to collect. Use large totes to store the food in and it keeps well over winter months. Before entering the farmers field, remember to ask first, as this is done after harvest, usually I collect a large trash bag or a little more of field corn from one field depending on the size of the field. When I gather Acorns, I walk around wooded area where the trees grow. Squirrels won't eat acorns that have worms (look for a small hole for worms). Generally I get about 2 to 4 large trash bags full for the winter months. Acorns fall in late September or October depending on the climate zone. Also I gather Walnuts by walking around wooded areas. Walnuts fall from the trees early to mid fall. In some states you may be able to collect pecans in the fall. In the Spring, I plant around 30 sunflowers for the sunflower seeds. The backs will turn brown so just cut the head off of the sunflower, place on a tarp or large piece of plastic for 5 to 7 days to dry. You can use a brush to get the seeds off or just sit the whole head of sunflower seeds outside and the squirrels will do the work of getting the seeds. When drying the sunflowers, put them where the squirrels can't get them like the garage, when dry store in totes. Each sunflower has around two thousand seeds, and birds will eat them to.