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GliderVet # 44: Katrina Auction Continues, Dear Arnold, Sugar Glider Diets Revisited Part II - Weaning Joeys

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GliderVet Newsletter
Your resource for safety first, expert
advice on our sugar glider friends!
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This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter

Isn’t is scary to think that this year is almost over?  Welcome to the October 2005 issue of the GliderVet Newsletter.  

With Halloween just around the corner, Arnold is all psyched as his favorite holiday nears.  Some of the neighborhood kids think he looks like a bat!  Imagine that?!  In the defense of bats, have you ever really looked at a bat’s face?  Some of them are pretty cute and are lucky to look a bit like sugar gliders.  So as we prepare to have another knee-slappin' and patagium-flappin' good time, let’s take a look at the lineup for this month’s newsletter.

First and foremost, our most important business at the moment is to update you on the fundraising auctions to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Katrina.  And while on the subject of Katrina, I am tickled to share with you the newest member of “Arnold’s Army”, none other than my Mom, Gerre Bordelon (formally a lifelong resident of Orleans Parish, now residing in St. Petersburg FL with us!).  “Mom”, as we like to call her around here, is one of our newest volunteers, making some of those fun little gifts Arnold likes to send with your very first order from his store.  Mom is particularly adept at making "ring-things".  If you're unfamiliar with a ring thing, maybe it's time to make your first purchase!

And while this issue is going to again be packed with updated news, Arnold is getting antsy, so we will be reaching into his mailbag for a brand new episode of "Dear Arnold".

And last but not least, we will continue on the topic of Glider Diets Revisited for a more in-depth look at feeding sugar gliders healthily, effectively and easily.  Click here to read Part I of this series.

Please remember that this newsletter is intended to express the wishes of the whole sugar glider community.  Every article published in this newsletter is a result of someone just like you taking the time to write us with thoughts, ideas, stories and questions.  Send your comments to us here.

If you ever want to find earlier issues of GliderVet News, you can access our archives here.  Fun pics of sugar gliders sent in by our customers are found here.  If you are looking for sugar glider tested and approved products, check out our ever expanding store here.

Are you new to sugar gliders or just in the early stages of trying to decide if one is right for you?  Questions you can ask yourself to help  make this very important and long term decision are here.  A very confusing area for those considering glider ownership (and for some current owners too!) is diet.  See what our vet has to say here.  And if you decide that a sugar glider (or two!) would become future members of your household, then you might want to check out Arnold's great deals on starter kits, with or without cages.

Katrina Fundraiser: Auction of Rare Colored Gliders Continues
By Lisa

Last month, we challenged the sugar glider community to join with us to help raise money to send to Hearts with Hands, an organization giving direct aid and assistance to families affected by Hurricane Katrina.  The auctions started off great and we are pleased with the participation and interest shown by the community in this unique event.  The plan is to continue with this effort and as we go forward, we wish to clarify a few of the event “rules” and to share with you the particulars on this month’s auction.

The results of last month’s auctions included successful placements of Bojangles, donated by Priscilla Price of the Pet Glider and Beignet, donated by SunCoast Sugar Gliders.  As you recall, we also had a very generous donation of Stella from Susan of Flying Fur Ranch.  As there were some unexpected complexities with the auction for Stella, we will be re-opening up the auction this month.

Before we start, however, we would like to emphasize that the high bidder must still qualify as a suitable pet human before the animal will be allowed to grace that person's home.  While we want to raise as much money as possible for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, we will not lower our qualification standards.  Likewise, we would like to remind everyone that this is a fundraiser to help those less fortunate. Your bid is a contract.  In summary, you should only place a bid if you can provide the proper care, love and shelter for the animal AND fulfill the financial obligation you commit to.

Auction: Sugar Glider Stella from Flying Fur Ranch:

Stella is a white face het to creamino beauty queen

Market Value $2700
Auction bidding will start at $1800
Bidding Start: 10/20/2005
Bidding End: 10/23/2005
To bid, send e-mail to:
Sorry, no longer available.

Let the fun begin!

Another Exciting Episode of … DEAR ARNOLD

Note: Some of Arnold's fan mail may be edited cause Arnold wants some of them to be shorter so he can have more space all to himself!  Yuk Yuk Yuk!  And now … for more "thinking outside of the pouch" advice … here's Arnold!

Dear Arnold,
I was watching my local news one night and I think I saw your Mommy Tree, Lisa, on TV.  But then I wasn’t sure because I didn’t see you.  Was that really Lisa?  And if it was, how could she go on TV and not bring you along?

Dear Daphne,
Yup!  That was me mommy tree.  They may call you Daphne, but I now call Lisa Daffy!  What was she thinking?  She gets invited to be on a show called "The Pet Report with Mitch Wilder and Buddy" and she leaves me at home?  Sniff Sniff ... I’m deeply wounded.  We’ve since made amends, but at first I was quite put out by the whole thing.  To read more about Mitch Wilder, you can click here.

When she came home that night, I tried to kick her karate style with me back foot, and oops, forgot I’m missing that foot.  So I jumped through the air, slicing and dicing nothing more than air!  Then me proceeded to have a conniption.  Me never knew eggsactly what a conniption was before, but I had one and it was a doozy!  Now there is a cure for conniptions and hurt feelings and the cure is simple.  I’ll give you a hint.  It starts with "meal" and ends with "worm"!  So finally we kissed and made up after I bit her nose a few times and then me 'splained some facts to her:

1- Me chief and she Indian.  Stuff like this should be cleared by me as the Sugar Glider Officer (SGO) in advance

2 - Don't wake me up in the mornin' to ask me nuthin', unless you come bearin' gifts

Tree - I mean, 3 - This show was seen by a mere one million peeples.  If Daffy...err I mean Lisa...would have brought me along, it would have been seen by a lot more peeples!

So its her bad and she’s sowwy and I hope other peeples got to see the show too, 'cuz some of our babies were there gliding and making a mess of Mitch’s studio and havin' a really good time.

Take care Daphne
Arnold “I wanna be on TV” Schwarzenglider

And before me signs off, just wanted to say high to my buds Suko and Dex, also known as Sucrose and Dextrose.  How sweet it is!

That's all Blokes!  Tune in again next month for another exciting episode of Dear Arnold!  Don’t forget, you can share your short comments or fun questions with me by clicking here.

Sugar Glider Diets Revisited Part II - Weaning Joeys

by Lisa

Back in July we started a special edition article on Revisiting Sugar Glider Diets.  To read this article, click here. It is our intention in this series to help demystify this all-important aspect of sugar glider husbandry.  As we wade through the fact and fiction, we will share tips with you on how to keep the plan of nutrition simple, yet effective.  This month, I want to answer yet another frequently asked question regarding appropriate menu selections for weaning joeys.

Let’s start off by a brief discussion of the appropriate time to wean joeys.  It is commonly accepted that joeys may be weaned at 8 weeks out of pouch and we encourage all small breeders to stick with this accord.  In other words, let the joey, or joeys, stay with the parents for a full 8 weeks.  In our extensive experience, sugar glider parents are typically very good parents and the more you can let mother nature do her thing, the healthier your joeys will ultimately be (assuming you are feeding the parents a good healthy diet such as the one recommended by Dr C!)

Too many people want to pull the joeys earlier and hand feed them. This is simply not a good idea and is also unnecessary in order to have joeys develop good glider / human relations.  There is no formula in existence that can come close to the perfection of nature.  Even if there was a formula that could emulate nature perfectly in nutrition content, we still do not have a successful proven method to pass on those all important immunities that are passed from mothers nursing their offspring.  You see, it is handling - not feeding - that gets sugar gliders to trust their human companions.  But in order to hand feed, you must first handle the animal, right?  

Sugar glider parents will begin the weaning process on their own. Let’s face it, sugar gliders have thrived for thousands of years in the wild without our intervention, so they are very well prepared to handle the job flawlessly.  Parent gliders will start weaning joeys at slightly varying ages and we’ve even witnessed some moderate variations in how it is done.  Basically, some mothers will put the babies on “ignore” at some point and disallow nursing, which naturally encourages a hungry youngster to venture to the food dish on its own and make its first attempts at eating offered meals.

On the flip side, one of the cutest stories I have ever heard is about a Daddy glider who would corral his joeys to the food dish and then use his paws to push their little heads toward the food dish and towards the water bottle until they finally “got it”.  Sugar gliders have a group mentality and much of their behavior is learned.  Keeping joeys with the parents for an appropriate length of time allows the joeys to learn their survival lessons naturally.

As this process occurs, it begs the question on what the human caretakers should do and what foods should be offered when joeys are starting to naturally wean.  Well, the answer is very simple.  Just do what you’ve done all along - we do not offer anything special to joeys as they are weaning.  For the most part, we feed our joeys on the same rotation as our adults.  Joeys don’t need softer foods (keeping in mind our adult diet already includes a soft pellet staple food) and joeys don’t need “baby food” (keeping in mind that we will rotate chicken baby food through the menu rotation on occasion for both adults and joeys).

The only difference between our joey menu and our adult menu traditionally has been that on mealworm night, we may offer the joeys something they are more used to like chicken baby food.  I’ll delve into this issue deeper next month when I provide you with a week-long, detailed version of the SunCoast diet plan.  

The reason we do this is not because baby gliders can’t eat mealworms, but because most baby gliders don’t know "how" to eat mealworms or crickets yet.  It seems to be a learned and / or acquired activity, even though it is natural for sugar gliders to eat bugs in the wild.  For example, a couple of months ago, our in-house mealworm farm grew to over abundant proportions, so for fun, I started feeding just-weaned joeys mealworms to see what happened and a good percentage of them were able to master the feat.  

This just gave us more evidence of a sugar glider’s group mentality!  Check this out:

In the joey cages where all mealworms were eaten in a single night, I thought I’d try a little informal experiment.  I took one of the joeys from a "mealworm overachiever" cage and put it in a cage where all the joeys were underachieving on mealworm consumption.  As I suspected, the underachievers started to get with the program and began to eat the wiggly, tasty morsels.

From there, I began to wonder why the parents weren’t teaching their joeys about mealworms during the natural weaning process.  My theory on this may be summed up in one word: greed!  OK, that may sound a bit harsh, but for those of you who feed live bugs, you know what gluttonous little buggers our glider friends can be.  From my observations, the parent gliders will get up any time day or night on live mealworm days to indulge in this delicacy.  "Oooops! Forgot to wake the kids again!"  I guess the parent gliders figure that when their offspring are big and strong enough to deserve mealworms, mealworms they, too, shall have!

In summary, the glider diet does not have to be a complicated, rocket science adventure.  Good variety in the diet, with foods of appropriate consistency, works well for both adults and weaning sugar gliders.  In the upcoming months, we have more information to share with you on this topic and a couple of new doctors to introduce you to as well.  We are particularly pleased to be working with Dr Ellen Dierenfield right now.  Dr Ellen has a PhD in Animal Nutrition and will be adding her expert viewpoint to further enhance the information provided by our own Dr C!

So, be sure to tune in next month, when we will demonstrate a sample of the SunCoast menu over a one-week time frame.  

In health and happiness, we send our best wishes to sugar gliders everywhere and the people who love them!

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GliderVet Newsletter
Your resource for safety first, expert
advice on our sugar glider friends!
>=<---- >=<---- >=<---- >=<----

That's it for this month's GliderVet Newsletter.  I hope you liked what we had to offer!  If you have any stories, questions, pictures, suggestions for topics - anything glider - you would like to share or see covered in the GliderVet newsletter, please send them here

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Viva La Glider!  Arnold

SunCoast Sugar Gliders

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