Feeding squirrels in winter

Garden Life
Currently, many animals are hibernating during this winter period, but others will need enough food and shelter to get them through the cold season. In winter, squirrels are active for only a few hours a day. In this time, they need to find all the food they need. Squirrels are often unable to find their hiding places again — for example, if they hide food in parks or gardens that people regularly work on and change. That's why it can be a good idea to give them a helping hand by feeding them.

Feeding Times

Should you feed squirrels and if so, what should you give them? The type of food squirrels eat varies depending on the season. Squirrels mainly eat flower buds, nuts and seeds but also chestnuts and various fungi. Before winter arrives, squirrels will store food in many places around their habitat and will return to these caches during the winter months. Generally, giving squirrels additional food will not harm them. As squirrels are already beginning their gestation period in January, the females in particular need a lot of food in the middle of winter. The first of their young are born in February and will start looking for food themselves in March and April.

Mixture of Foods

The best thing to feed squirrels can consist of a mixture of hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chopped carrot, unsweetened rusk, watermelon, chopped apple, grapes, kiwifruit and lots of fresh water.
If possible, set up feeding points at different places in your garden so that the squirrels can avoid each other, as in general you will find that you get multiple visitors. Setting up a special squirrel feeder will make sure that no birds or other animals can get at the food.
Listed below are some suitable foods you can add to your mixture:

- Walnuts
- Hazelnuts
- Beechnuts
- Hornbeam seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Dried maize kernels
- Chestnuts
- Raisins
- Apple
- Pear
- Carrot
- Cucumber
- Courgette
- Broccoli