Getting Your Sugar Glider to Eat
How to Make Sure Your Sugar Glider Baby Eats their food
As we covered in the QuickStart Audio CD, it’s very important that your new baby(ies) begin to eat their Glide-R-Chow, Glide-R-Gravy and Glide-A-Mins within the first few days of getting “adjusted” to their new home. The fact is, there are several dry (or pelleted) foods on the market that “claim” to be formulated for Sugar Bears/Gliders, but we’ve tried these foods and have been studying them for years – and in every case they actually turn out to be “cat food” or some other food made for other animals that has just been re-labeled with absolutely NO regard for the special nutritional needs of Sugar Bears.
That being said, Sugar Gliders DO have very specific nutritional needs – especially with regards to proteins and specific kinds of calcium – so several years ago we had Glide-R-Chow™ specifically created in such a way that it not only meets all these requirements, but it also:
1) prevents your sugar bears from having any noticeable ODOR, and
2) they usually LOVE the “fruity” taste of it.
By the way, we are always making improvements to this formulation. For example, awhile back, we added “DentaGuard” to our GliderChow™ – which is a special nutrient that keeps the sugar bear’s teeth healthy and strong. Since a sugar bear’s teeth don’t continually ‘grow’ (like a rodent’s), it’s important to keep the only teeth they DO have in tip-top shape. Also, we recently changed the size and shape of the pellets so that they would be eaten more efficiently (thereby saving you money). :-)
Anyway, as we mentioned in the Audio CD, in the wild Sugar Bears normally get their protein from eating insects and bugs and other small creatures. That’s why if you go out on the internet, you will find all kinds of dried ” bugs & insects” and other kinds of protein-based food that is supposedly good for sugar bears. While many of these foods are fine every once in a while, what you will find is that if you feed them any other kind of protein for very long, they WILL develop a strong odor (similar to that of a ferret, but just not quite as strong) – and once an animal develops this odor, it can be very difficult to get rid of it. Since we’ve raised literally tens of thousands of these little animals, we’ve experimented with all different types of protein-based foods for years, and the only one we’ve ever come across that keeps sugar gliders virtually odor-free is Glide-R-Chow™.
Having said that, from an “ease of use” standpoint, once your sugar bear starts eating their Glide-R-Chow™, they usually LOVE the taste of it. However, it is not uncommon for new baby sugar bears – especially when they are under the stress of being in a new environment – to not want to eat it at first. This can be a serious problem if not addressed quickly – but luckily, it’s one that is usually very easy to solve…
The best way to make SURE they are always getting enough is just to pour a little ” Glide-R-Gravy™” on top of it every night. When you picked up your Sugar Bears, they should have given you a free one-month supply of this – and it looks like a 6in x 9in bag of white powder. Now, just so you know, Glide-R-Gravy™ is a special, enriched “superfood” designed by top Vets and nutritionists specifically for these little guys – and they find it completely IRRESISTIBLE. Truth is, you could probably pour this stuff on a brick – and they’d tear it up – but it’s really an AMAZINGLY nutritious way to make SURE your little buddies are always getting every bit of nutrition they need.
Actually, the best part about this stuff is that it only takes about 2 minutes to make up a whole month’s supply. The directions are right on the label, but all you do is: 1) throw it in a blender, 2) add water, and 3) freeze it in an ice cube tray. Then, once a night, just pop out one cube…. put it in the bowl on top of the pellets… and get outta the way!… You’ll be STUNNED at how fast your little darlings tear into this stuff – and the best part is it actually SAVES you money over just feeding the pellets by themself. That’s because you’re not gonna waste any food – because every night you can pretty much guarantee that their bowl’s gonna be totally licked CLEAN before the sun comes up.
In extreme cases, if this still doesn’t work, repeat the same procedure above (taking their apple away) – but do it overnight instead of during the day. Sometimes, if your little “fuzzbutt” is extremely stubborn or finicky, they still won’t eat their Glide-R-Chow during the day when they sleep a lot and are less active. However, if they don’t have anything else to eat OVERNIGHT – when they’re much more active and alert – they’ll usually come around after one or two nights :-)
Since it’s SO important to make sure they are getting enough protein and other vital nutrients, you always want to keep a close eye on the situation if they are not eating their chow. If the peach syrup “trick” doesn’t work, then immediately switch to the following “plan B”… :-)
Mix up a batch of plain scrambled eggs. This is a great source of protein, and since they eat eggs in the wild, most babies LOVE them. Once you’ve got them eating the eggs plain, then crush up some of the chow into a fine powder, and mix a LITTLE bit of it into their eggs. Over the course of the next few days, mix more and more powder into the eggs gradually; until it’s mostly powder and less eggs. You can just keep a big batch of the scrambled eggs in the fridge and then mix in the powder and serve them at room temperature every day. Within a week or so, you should then be able to get them to eat their chow straight (or possibly with a little peach syrup drizzled over it at first).
Now, it shouldn’t be necessary to “bribe” them like this for more than a few days, because like we said earlier, once they actually TASTE their Glide-R-Chow™, they will LOVE it – and once they start eating it regularly – you can rest easy that they are getting ALL the protein and vital nutrients they need! If you’re really worried that they aren’t eating it, just count how many pellets you put in their bowl – and you should know pretty quickly how much of it they are eating.
All that being said, I really can’t overemphasize enough that the most common feeding mistake new parents make is allowing their sugar bears to eat TOO MUCH FRUIT or TOO MANY TREATS (including insects). As we’ve said before, sugar bears have a VERY strong sweet tooth, and when given the chance they will almost always eat something sweet – instead of what’s good for them. Again, they’re a lot like human kids in that regard.
The problem with this sort of behavior is that new parents often confuse what the animal “LIKES” with what’s “GOOD” for them… and slowly they start feeding the animal more and more fruit. The more fruit they get…the less pellets they eat… and pretty soon their whole system is out of whack. In fact, once their little bodies start getting “addicted” to sweet foods, it’s not unusual for them to get “stubborn” and even refuse to eat anything else.
Now, too many “sweets” can obviously cause a whole BUNCH Of serious health problems for ANY living creature, but probably the most common with sugar bears are seizures and death caused by not getting enough calcium. In this kind of situation, the sugar bear is normally fine one minute – and stretched out dead on the bottom of the cage the next.
The reason I say this is not to be graphic, but just to drive home the point that feeding your sugar bears too much fruit can REALLY hurt them. That’s why you should NEVER GIVE THEM MORE THAN 1/8TH OF A SLICE OF APPLE (or the equivalent amount of other fruits/veggies when they get older) – per animal – per night. As long as you stick to this simple routine, you’ll be just fine and can rest easy at night KNOWING that your sugar bears are getting all the nutrition they need – and more. :-)
***** IMPORTANT NOTE *****
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HOW TO FEED YOUR SUGAR BEAR(S) PROPERLY, WE STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU WATCH THE EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS ON NUTRITION AND TREATS AT THE ASSOCIATION OF SUGAR GLIDER VETERINARIANS™ WEBSITE: WWW.ASGV.ORG
One last thing, this same “peach juice trick” works equally well for getting your baby(ies) to start eating their sprinkled vitamins (Glide-A-Mins™). For example, sometimes, when you sprinkle it on their apples the first few times, you may notice that they don’t seem to eat as much of their apple as otherwise. That might be the result of putting the vitamins on a little too thick – but usually it’s just that they aren’t used to the taste of the vitamins yet. Just like with the Chow, it’s VERY IMPORTANT that they get a good dose of their vitamins a minimum of 3 or 4 times a week, so just sprinkle some peach juice on their apple/vitamins for a couple days – and that should “prime the pump” just fine :-)
That being said, the BEST way to give them their vitamins is to mix them in with blueberry or peach-flavored yogurt – or even applesauce. The first step in doing this is finding out which substance they like the best. Just like human children, you may find that some like one flavor – and others don’t. :-) To do this, just get a cup of applesauce, blueberry yogurt, and peach flavored yogurt at the store. NOTE: Do not give them any “diet¨ products of any kind. They contain chemicals and preservatives which could harm a small baby.
Give the babies a little bit of each – without vitamins – to see which they like best. Once you’ve settled on something they like, then mix about a teaspoon of vitamins into a normal-sized cup of yogurt or applesauce (the size you normally buy in the store). Then, dip your finger in this mixture and let them lick it off. If you take this route, about a HALF teaspoon of this yogurt or applesauce mix EVERY day will do the trick – and you can store it in the fridge and it will stay fresh. Remember – by letting them lick it off your fingers, it helps speed up the bonding process. If your baby is “nipping”, and you feel you can’t give it to them off your fingers (which is again highly recommended) then just fill a bottle cap with this mixture every night and put it in their dining room along with the rest of their food. :-)
The MOST important thing is to make SURE they are getting enough vitamins on a regular basis – so if you are even a LITTLE in doubt about whether they’re eating it off their apples, there is absolutely NO harm in mixing up the vitamins into applesauce or yogurt; and giving it to them EVERY SINGLE DAY as directed above. A lot of people prefer to do it like this (instead of sprinkling it on their apple every night) not only just to make SURE they’re getting enough vitamins – but it’s also a great bonding tool. Therefore, if possible, we always suggest that you give them their vitamins off your fingers like this – and don’t worry – it’s hard to give them too much vitamins, because any excess they don’t need will just pass through their system. :-)
One last little note while we are on the topic of feeding and nutrition. Every once in awhile we hear from a panicked new mom or dad after taking their sugar bears to a local Vet just to get a checkup. Sometimes after reading through our very specific diet, a well-meaning Vet will confidently claim that our dietary plan is completely WRONG for Sugar Bears, and that instead they need a widely-varied diet; including things like crickets, meal worms, grasshoppers, eggs, meat, etc..etc.. In some cases, these Vets claim to see Sugar Bears regularly – or may even have some themselves.
Well, not to worry :-) The simple fact is that the precise dietary plan we give you in these Special Reports is exactly the same as the one recommended by the Association of Sugar Glider Veterinarians™ – and it represents the result of many years of successful testing and scientific research. For confirmation of this, watch the nutritional educational videos at www.ASGV.org – and go to the following link to read a recent article published in the largest peer-reviewed Veterinary Magazine in the world entitled: “What Every Veterinarian Needs to Know about Sugar Gliders”
The above link contains this important article, and three more valuable reports that you should always PRINT OUT and TAKE WITH YOU when seeing your local Vet. Among these is the special report entitled: “Transitioning your Sugar Bears to a Healthy & Nutritious Diet” which can also be found in the “Health & Safety Reports” section of the Family Circle. You should take a couple minutes and carefully read this report right now, as it: 1) contains some very useful information that will help you stay on track with the proper diet – and 2) will give you confidence that the diet you are feeding is optimal for these little guys!
By comparison, if for some reason your local Vet doesn’t see Sugar Bears/Gliders on a regular basis – or isn’t already a member of the ASGV™ – they are almost certainly relying on outdated information which is a decade or more old – and/or information found on the internet. For this reason, it’s always important (whenever possible) to take your sugar bears to an ASGV™ member veterinarian; since this way you know they are always up to date on all the latest dietary, medical and care information about these little darlings. :-)
Well, that’s about it for now :-) We hope these little “tips” are helping – and as always, if you have any other questions on this topic – or anything else – make SURE to log-in to the “Family Circle” Section of our website and check out ALL the other Special Reports and Instructional Video Clips! You’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how much helpful information is right there at your fingertips – 24 hours a day :-)