Blogs

Write new blog
Mrs B

Our Tiny Nutkins!

by Mrs B published on

A few years ago we became foster parents to a very unusual baby...

 

One afternoon, while sitting in the kitchen, the children and I heard the most almighty scream outside.  Running to the window we surveyed the garden for activity. The cat was under the hedge playing with a small creature of some description. Judging by terrible shrieks echoing around the house I thought that it must be a baby rabbit (as I have heard them make a similar sound when caught by a fox). We all went dashing outside and shooed the cat away.  There laying on the grass was the tiniest little squirrel, still making a lot of noise but seemingly unharmed by the cats advances.

 

I asked my son to run in and get an old tea towel, so I could pick it up, as I was unsure whether having human scent on it would somehow impede its mother's natural instinct on taking it back, as with birds. It was clear that this was a very, very young little squirrel, and needed to be back in its nest.  I rang the RSPCA for advice.  They were a little uninterested to say the least and suggested that I put it close to where I thought the nest would be and soon enough its mother would appear and take it back.

 

After laying it on a safe place in a tree we all waited patiently for the mother to return, periodically checking that it was ok. We waited.... Waited....and waited but there was no sign of its family and after 3 hours decided to seek some more advice.

 

I looked up squirrel rescue on the net, and found a place in Hampshire that was very helpful. The gentleman said that by the sound of it, the squirrel must be around 6 weeks old and therefore not yet weaned.  He also said that unfortunately the mother would not return and if we wanted to save it, the only hope would be if I became its surrogate mother! He went on to explain the recipe for its milk, and it would need feeding every 3 hours. We would also have to rub gently its bottom so that it would be able to poo!! (this, as you can imagine was very alarming to the boys)

 

I decided that I would take on this unexpected role and after the children made a nice little bed in an old hamster cage we had, proceeded to the local supermarket to get the ingredients; goats milk, natural yogurt and baby liquid vitamins. I also picked up a ‘dropper' from the pharmacy in order to feed it.  

 

We where dedicated as a family to getting our squirrel, now aptly named ‘Nutkins' to adulthood and so embarked on a regular feeding schedule. I remember having my alarm clock wake me up at 2am and then at 5, going downstairs and warming the milk and feeding little Nutkins in the dark of night.  I also remember going out for a day trip to Dover Castle, amongst others, having the cage with dear little Nutkins in the boot, so that I could run back and feed him! That baby squirrel was fastly becoming the best travelled in the world.

 

After a few months we put him in a large cage in the garden changed his diet to seeds and taught him how to open nuts (this apparently doesn't come naturally and is learnt from the mother... us)!

 

Finely, after several months we left the cage open, and he would go in and out, until one day he finely went altogether.

 

We were sad to see him go, but were so happy to have been able to save him. For a while he would regularly come back and visit us, and we would feed him his sunflower seeds (of which he was most fond) and he would play with us, climbing on our heads and running up our arms jumping through the trees, as if he were showing off his new skills... I am aware that many people veiw squirrels as vermin and woulnt have done the same, but as far as I am concerned, it was a little life that was well worth saving.  Although we haven't seen him for a while now, I like to believe he is now a father himself and is enjoying life in the wild which at times when I feel a little low gives me a warm feeling inside.

 

 

Bx

 

8 replies
Replied on

Yes cooking one that you have raised would be a little harsh I think... when it comes to duck though, Im afraid I would have to disagree with you tommonio. I love duck, cooked well. I use Gainsborough duck breasts. In fact it was this that I took up to Mr Ramsay for the Fword thing I did. I like them cooked in my own version of a five spice marrinade. If you know how to fry a steak, then you do the same with duck... rare, medium or well done! Medium rare is my recomendation for that recipe. If you are interested I posted the recipe sometime ago on this site named 'spiced duck breasts' on my recipe's!

me1
me1
Replied on

I was of course refering to gray Squirrel, it taste rarther gamey and very nice. However I still don't think I could bring myself to eat one I'd raised from a babay.

Replied on

Yes I did try wood pigeon once and I found it very boney! It's strange isn't it because many many years ago now, an old friend of my family cooked a duck dish and it was the best meat dish I'd had up to that point. However ask if I like duck now and I'd say no because I've had it many times since but the taste has always been poor. Duck then I assume is abit risky but can taste very good like woodpigeon I assume. By the way, I can't and therefore don't cook so I'm no expert in anyway shape or form. I burn pretty much everything!!!! I was just looking for ideas about recipes and stuff.

Replied on

Yes Tommonio, I would avoid eating squirell myself although they are very sweet looking I fear that they would be a little bony and sour in flavour!!I have however tried wood pigeon at a resturant in London and thought it was very nice indeed...ever tried it??

Replied on

Im not sure if I would choose to eat squirrel. (Prior to Reading this I hadn't give it any thought!)The only meat I choose to avoid when possible is rabbit, partly because on the rare occasion I have eaten it, I wasnt taken aback by the taste, and also I'm not eager on the screaming noises they make when you shoot them! Now chicken, beef, lamb etc, I don't care how furry and friendly they are, I couldn't do without the taste.Yes I'm one of those very, very annoying meat lovers who prefer to not know!! Would you now choose to avoid squirrel mrs b?

Replied on

Well done you! I had a similar experience with the RSPCA, not sure what they do with all the donations except make more adverts to appeal for more donations. You should be very proud of yourself.

me1
me1
Replied on

This is the sort of thing childern remeber from their child hood, and its not something you can buy from the toy shop.

I can understand what you mean, many would have peoberly left the baby squirrel under the tree. I have tryed Squirrel and liked it and would given the opertunity have it again, but I know what I'm like and if I'd have found it under the tree I'd have been up at 2 and 5 to feed it.

Reading your story reminded me a few years ago coming home from the shops with my youngest in his buggy we saw a female black bird fly into a van and bounce to the side of the road. we watched it for a while but it wasn't coming round much, there was no where safe to scoop it up and leave it so I pushed the buggy home one handed with the bird in the other. With an old tea towel we made it a litte nest in a fruit bowle and left it with some seeds and water alone in the utility, having a little look every hour or so but by the evening it was dead.

But from then on when we are out they are always on the look out for an animal to help, I've lost count of the amount of worms we've had to rescue from puddles.

Replied on

What a lovley story!

To leave a response to the post you will need to be a registered user. Sign-up here or Login here
@rivercottage
  • RT @JamiesFoodTube: More #classic @rivercottage to get you through the day. Hugh whips up a seafood salsa for the crowds of @Bestival http:…
  • RT @RCChefsSchool: If you love baking & #gbbo, come & learn the ropes at our Chefs' School at @rivercottage. Last apprenticeship places htt…
  • RT @WinCanteen: Drop in your CV at our recruitment day, today till 5pm @WinchesterCity Guildhall. Come and complete our team! link
  • RT @heatherkmak: as a self-professed @rivercottage groupie, really excited for this next cookbook! link @BloomsburyCooks
  • Thinking of entering #RisingStar? You have until Friday to enter! Check out the competitors so far here: link
  • RT @RCChefsSchool: Come and say hello! We're in @Princesshay #exeter bringing @rivercottage to the streets!
  • . @johnmushroom But we have no such modesty. The third is John's excellent Mushrooms Handbook @BloomsburyBooks link
  • @johnmushroom Living the dream! x
  • @johnmushroom You are on fire this morning with all these top twitter tips! #mushrooming
  • RT @johnmushroom: Bonus mushrooming tip: All mushrooms are magic, but some are more magic than others.
  • RT @RCHQEvents: Check out the fab #mushroom #foraging tips on @johnmushroom's account today. Need further help? Come on our course! http://…
  • RT @johnmushroom: Mushrooming tips 2: Obvious, but ignoring it has been the downfall of many: Only ever eat something if you are 100% sure …
  • @johnmushroom Have you taken any snaps of the early appearances? #mushroomfun
  • RT @johnmushroom: Mushrooms now appearing so a few tips: 1. Avoid speculatively picking a large quantity of unknown fungus. It may be rare.…
  • WATCH! Think you could impress Hugh and the gang? Enter our #RisingStar before Friday's cut-off link
  • Seen our latest Rising Star entries? It's not too late to get one in if you're up to the challenge! https://t.co/HCvuTL4PHV
  • @KloEllaDeVille Nice one, Chloe! #RisingStar
  • RT @KloEllaDeVille: Ok so I've entered the @rivercottage Rising star 2014 competition! Check it out here https://t.co/uETkIqEt0Z
  • And another entry for our #RisingStar, this time from Sophie. The competition is really hotting up! link
  • Think you could impress Hugh and the gang? Enter our #RisingStar comp now, you have until Friday! link
  • Will Chloe's scrummy wild plum semifreddo take her all the way to the #RisingStar final? link
  • RT @JamiesFoodTube: Bumper harvest this year? Time for some Classic @rivercottage to get the juices flowing. link http:/…
  • RT @RCHQEvents: Last places on our One Day Cookery Course this Thurs and Fri, call the team now for an amazing late deal 01297 630314 http:…
  • @trishaocf Wow, nicely done! This is definitely a question for our @johnmushroom...
  • Fruity, fabulous + free! Enjoy blackberries with this Bramble Jelly recipe: link @JamiesFoodTube link
  • RT @the_tank: Inspiring two days @rivercottage with @ChrispOnions. Reinvigorated my passion for ethical cooking. Well organised by @RCHQEve
  • RT @RCHQEvents: WIN: Last chance to enter our competition to win a lovely break, thanks to @CornwallVW - don't miss! link
  • Think you could do better than Jamie? You have until Friday to knock together a video for #RisingStar MORE: link
  • Jamie Glover is our latest Rising Star hopeful, check out his great video entry here: https://t.co/0K5gnsHL1V
  • RT @Seachangeagency: we have an exciting new designer job vacancy in our NEW studio in Bridport Dorset link link
  • One for the future! “@mumlovestojam: @rivercottage One of my sons @JammyBakers would love this opportunity, but he is only 10 at the mo!!”
  • So the competition is really hotting up! Are you, or is someone you know our new Rising Star? It changed Sam's life! link
  • There's plenty of time left this weekend to knock together a Rising Star entry of your own! Are you our new star? link
  • Good stuff Ben Cronin, our latest Rising Star hopeful. Watch his entry and let us know what you think! link
  • RT @RCHQEvents: @rivercottage #EarlyBird returns with 20% off select #courses & #dining experiences Nov-Feb.Book now: link
  • RT @rchqevents: Ever wondered how fishermen enjoy a bumper catch from the shoreline?Join us+ @Fishing_Tails: link #fishing
  • RT @RCHQEvents: #Foraging & #Fungus based Q's answered by @johnmushroom at our #SummerDining events on 20 & 21 August link
  • Think you could better our new entries? This weekend is the ideal time to find 10 minutes to show us what you can do! link
  • Meanwhile 21-year-old Gregory McCaig rustles up a fishy treat for Rising Star - what do you think? link
  • NEW RISING STAR ENTRY KLAXON! Watch hopeful Alex Dome find inspiration from an elderberry tree link
  • RT @YorkieAH: Probably the best title to an email I have ever received! Lol @rivercottage #yummy link
  • RT @GelfAlderson: Black pudding started for tomorrow @RCHQEvents @rivercottage link
  • RT @RCHQEvents:smoked mackerel tartar on rye&ale crispbreads..salivating?Come to Hugh's book launch on 4/9 to sample! link
  • RT @WCCFreshFish: Fantastic Hand Dived Scallops off to @GelfAlderson @rivercottage #fishyfriday #eatmorefish link
  • RT @RCHQEvents: Ever wondered how to make delicious Pizza and Pasta from scratch? Wonder no longer! Join our course: link
  • RT @RCHQEvents: Four places available on @rivercottage #shorelinefishing course on Mon. Hurry- last spots reduced > 01297 630314. http://t.…
  • RT @rcchefsschool: River Cottage@Apprenticeships offer an award-winning alternative to university, college & 6thForm: link
  • RT @rcchefsschool: There are no entry requirements to get on award-winning River Cottage apprenticeship scheme. Apply link
  • RT @cityandguildspr: Did you hear @samjlomas @RCChefsSchool talking apprenticeships on @bbc5live? His story> link #Alevels
  • Good luck #alevelresults letter openers! Here’s our award winning alternative to University link
Login or Sign-up

Login & Sign-up

Forgotten your password? Retrieve it here
Or connect via Facebook
Connect with Facebook
Join River Cottage
Close
Shopping basket: 0 items £0.00