Many of the animals have been moved outside, like the raccoons, some opossums, and skunks, but many others are still in the nursery. These animals still require a few feedings a day, but we are giving them food in dishes and bowls so that we do not have to hand feed them. It's always good to see baby animals start to wean off of hand feeding. This makes the job less stressful for us, and it is a very important milestone for the animals.
Skittles, the baby groundhog that I am raising, is currently eating nicely out of a bowl. She is a very neat eater and will most likely be moved to an outside cage early next week. I am still feeding her formula, but I have added some fruit to her formula so that she can get the nutrients that she needs. I also give her a small bowl with lettuce, peanuts, watermelon, apple, zucchini, and banana. All of these fruits and vegetables are going to be essential to her diet when she is out in the wild. I also give her some kale and basil, which she loves to eat.
Now that the raccoons are outside, I am in charge of cleaning and feeding them. There are two cages that have raccoons in them, and they are very spacious with lots of objects to climb on. This is very good for the raccoons because they need to be able to climb trees to escape predators. They also have big pools of water to cool down in when the weather gets hot. Each cage gets cleaned twice a day, and gets fed a big bowl of food. I give them watermelon, banana, grapes, peaches, and a handful of dog chow. This kind of diet is what is natural for raccoons, as they are omnivorous.
Even with all of these animals growing up, we are still getting lots of baby animals that we need to take care of. The most recent editions are tiny baby "pinky" squirrels that are only a few days old. These babies require special care, and don't usually survive outside the nest, but we are doing our best to keep them full, hydrated, and healthy. We are also still getting in lots of baby opossums. We try to feed them from dishes, though, and they usually take to the dishes quite nicely. Hopefully, we'll be releasing some of the older animals soon to make room for the maturing younger animals.