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Some things I've learned about acorns.

5169 Views 14 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Rhasputin
Recently, I got about 100lbs of acorns from Freecycle.
After asking around a bit, I decided they were mouse safe!

BUT, with the quantity I have, I wanted to make sure they are very very safe for mice.
So here's what I've learned!

Acorns, contain tannic acid, which can cause liver failure in humans. I assume the worst, and predict that too much of it would also be bad for mice. Fortunately, this nasty stuff is water soluble, and can be boiled out of the acorns!

First of all, acorns from White Oak Trees seem to have the least amount of Tannic acid from what I've found, and read. So I would suggest these for your mice and other rodents!
Another type of safe acorn, are acorns from Red Oak Trees, though these contain higher amounts of tannic acid.

When I sort through the acorns straight out of the box, I squeeze each one between my fingers lightly, and check for bug holes. If there are any holes, or if I can crush the shell between my fingers, then the acorn gets thrown out.
After the initial sort, I pop the acorns in the oven for about an hour at 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
This steams the nuts a little, and makes the shells easier to crack!
Once they are steamed, I take a pair of kitchen scissors, and cut each nut (from top to bottom, it's fairly easy) and inspect the inside. There are always some bad nuts that make it through the initial sort, so any that are bad, full of bugs (which will be dead from the baking), or just plain bad looking inside, are thrown out.

After you sort through and have a good looking batch of nuts, prepare some boiling water!
When your pot of water is boiling, dump the acorns into the pot, and remove from the heat. Let them sit for half an hour before straining.

Taste one of your acorns! If there is much of a bitter taste left in them, you'll want to go for a second boil. Taste is the easiest way for you to detect the tannic acid.

Better safe than sorry!

I even go for a third boil each time, myself.

After this, your acorns are 100% ready to go!
For storage, I dry mine in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for how ever long it takes, spread out on baking sheets. For long term storage, keep your nuts in the freezer, to prevent mold from growing on them.

My Mice, rats, ASFs, and spiny mice all 100% approve of this message!
They all love the nut meat, and find enjoyment from gnawing the shells to bits as well.
Hope this has been informative! :D

(Edited to make it clear what type of acorns are safe! And added in that my animals enjoy them.)
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but do the mice actually like them.I notice that wildlife in general are not especially keen apart from when times are hard and the same applies to conkers,even the squirrels only have a small nibble.I presume that because a rodent eating either will actually destroy the baby tree within that they are bitter as a deterrent.Bigger animals such as pigs like them but I guess the nut passes through unharmed and comes out packaged in fertiliser.I've not tried either but they lay for the most part untouched in the park.
My mice, rats, ASFs, and spiny mice absolutely devoured their acorns!
I'm only feeding them a pile once every week or two, but they really seem to love them.
And even fight over them! :p

'Conkers', or horse chestnuts, I have heard are no good for mice. I'm not sure why, but I've seen them on more than one 'do not feed' list.
Gotta agree with sarah, Rasputin are we talking about the same acorn as we are a continent apart ?
Oh true. Excuse me!
I am talking about acorns from the White oak tree! :)

I think I mentioned that in the post. Maybe I will make it more obvious.
Acorns here, are a favorite of squirrels and other wild rodents!
Ah. you did, I will have a look in my tree book and see if i can learn a bit. I suppose this is where scientific names come into play, as they are universal, unlike common names. Researching...........
I think the scientific name is 'Quercus alba'

Here's a pic of what the acorns look like:

And the leaves:
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I gotta ask... Is it really worth all the effort? :lol:

Sarah xxx
Well with a small amount as a treat, it's really not a large effort. :p

With all the acorns I have, it's a huge effort. :lol:
I'd say 1-2 pounds is worth the effort for the average mouser though. Good treats, and play-things!
its not worth the effort in feeding, because they are seasonal and even when in season, picking them up would not be viable, however I am interested because, for instance, when i come back from a trip into the wilderness, (isle of wight version,) I am usually bearing treats for everyone. Hazelnut trees get my full attention as do chickweed patches. Always walked past acorns, and definately conkers .
Yeah. As far as a food source acorns are virtually useless in daily feeding.

But as a treat, or occasional filler, they're great. :)
Wow! Awesome researching/ideas Rhasputin!
Are they hamster safe that you know of?
There fine as long as you wash them properly in salt water you never know if anyone has been spraying pesticides below the tree this can happen reguarly by local Authority or contractors such as if the trees are in parks , amenity areas just be carefull I know all about this because I did this in my job
Yes. I got mine from someone on freecycle, and they came form her yard. I made sure to ask about pesticides and if the neighborhood got regular sprayings or anything. :)
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