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#142040 - 09/03/06 11:13 PM Rejected Joey: How Should I Have Known for Sure?

I lost a 4 day old joey on Friday, and I'm still feeling guilty about it.

A few facts:
- I've had joeys born and successfully raised over the past year and a half
- I've read the literature (and the posts on GC) about rejected joeys
- I read the article on "handraising a joey" and got myself ready for "just in case"

Here's what happened:
. joey OOP on Monday; (parents were part of a breeding trio from TWO owners ago, and the last owners I got them from only had them for less than amonth when I took them in this January)
. joey found at bottom of cage on Thursday night, just before midnight. No bite marks or anything. I thought maybe it fell through a slight warping in the bottom grate and the mom couldn't get at it.
. joey was cold, and I picked it up and offered her back to mom, who was out and about doing her business. Mom came over to take a sniff and then just took off and went about her business
. I tried to put the joey in the pouch where dad was; joey tried to get out. I put joey in the bottom of the pouch. It looked like dad was trying to keep it warm
. I left it for a couple of minutes; mom went back towards the pouch, but never went inside the pouch. Soon dad also left the pouch.
. Baby still cold and crying. I warmed up a small fleece pouch, prepared a wombaroo mixture, and fed the hungry baby. She took a lot of the milk. When she wouldn't take anymore, I did the tummy rub to make her go potty.
. I kept baby on me when I went to bed at 1:30, and set up my clock for 3:30 feeding. Baby wasn't hungry, but she was nicely warm so I put her back inside the pouch with mom and dad
. checked in at 4:00, and baby seemed cuddled with parents. So I left her with them
. checked in at 8:00, and baby was still cuddled. I figured things would be fine.

My thoughts: I didn't check in on baby until I was ready for bed, as I didn't want to unduly disturb the family. Nothing seemed to be wrong during feeding time earlier that evening. Same philosophy for not going into the pouch to pull out baby to see if she was okay.

After an anxious day at work, when I got back home Friday night, I went directly to check up on baby. Baby had passed away, she seemed to have been squooshed. No marks of abuse or physical attack, otherwise.

So here's the guilt: when I found the joey at the bottom of the cage by the slight warping of the grate, should I have IMMEDIATELY assumed that the joey had been rejected? After putting joey back in with the parents at 3:30 a.m., should I have gone in to physically check that baby was okay, at both 4 a.m. and 8 a.m.? My feeling was I should NOT disturb them and I should let them be, as I didn't want to stress out mom and baby.

I have a herd of chinchillas and several hedgehogs, and I'm big enough to know that there will be lost young (and adults) from time to time. I've been successful raising kits, but then again they are easier to handle.

I think I did a great job of feeding the squirming joey after I had found her. She was doing well from sleeping on my chest against my beating heart. I feel horribly, in retrospect, that I didn't keep the joey with me and take it to work to feed and to take over rearing it.

For my future assistance, please: if it ever happens again that a baby is out of the pouch, once I find it cold and alone, should I forget about trying to get it back with parents? Making that an automatic assumption goes against everything I think I should do.

I'm just awfully confused. And very sad.

#142041 - 09/04/06 12:31 AM Re: Rejected Joey: How Should I Have Known for Sure? [Re: ]

Aww.. Elmer.. I'm sorry to hear that. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crying.gif" alt="" />

I had the same issue (except my baby had bite marks but was still in pouch with mom and dad) this past couple of days. If it were me.. as I did with this little one, I would've pulled her when she took a large amount of Wombaroo.. that would say to me she's STARVING and mom isn't feeding her at all. If she had only taken a very small amount and wasn't cold when you founder I would've also attempted to place her back with the parents.. sometimes they do fall out on accident.

I don't think I would automatically assume it's rejected if you find it out.. but I would definatley physically check on the baby after that.. Things like that tend to make me paranoid, so I will bug the parents a little more just to be sure. You don't have to touch them if you don't want.. but manipulate the pouch so you can see the baby still in there and try to see it's tummy to see if it's full.

My baby I'm feeding now was also very hungry when I found her, but she was clean and warm.. however she did have a couple of bite marks on her face. I pulled her to supplement and kept her on me over night. I stayed home the next day and worked from home to keep an eye on them and I saw her nursing. That night though when I went to feed mom and dad I noticed a new bite mark and she was hungry again, which is why she is now with me 24/7.

It's always hard to decide.. it's always best to leave them with the parents if possible, but once they're cold they're hard to save either way. I would suggest just keeping an extra close eye on that mama in the future. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

#142042 - 09/04/06 12:57 AM Re: Rejected Joey: How Should I Have Known for Sure? [Re: ]

Hey Tanya,

Yeah, I was aware of your post when this occurred, so I was careful to check for bite marks and anything odd.

</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
It's always hard to decide.. it's always best to leave them with the parents if possible

<hr /></blockquote><font class="post">

I really thought it was accidental... although yes, the baby was sooo cold. I hate to remove a baby from its parents, but after this incident, I just don't know. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/worried2.gif" alt="" />

#142043 - 09/04/06 08:59 AM Re: Rejected Joey: How Should I Have Known for Sure? [Re: ]

I don't have a lot of experience in this area -- but just my thoughts.

Without any bite marks or signs of agression, I would have left the baby with the parents but continued to suppliment feed until either mom's milk caught up or the little one was old enought to eat on his own. A lot of the time when the babies are found outside the pouch or are attempting to crawl out of the pouch, they are hungry and in search of food.

Mom may not have had enough milk to keep the little one fed, but if her and the dad were still caring for the little one (keeping him warm, potteyed, etc.) then that what I personally would have done (feed the baby and then give back to the parents to care for).

Either way, it's not your fault the little one didn't make it. Sometimes no matter how hard you try or no matter whether you make alll the "right" choices, we just can't replace what mom and dad would have been able to do. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/hug2.gif" alt="" />

#142044 - 09/04/06 10:52 AM Re: Rejected Joey: How Should I Have Known for Su [Re: ]

I am so sorry this has happened. It is always very hard no matter how prepaired you are for it.

</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
A lot of the time when the babies are found outside the pouch or are attempting to crawl out of the pouch, they are hungry and in search of food.

<hr /></blockquote><font class="post">

If a baby is found on the gound I will always assume it is being rejected. If you don't warm the joey up before giving it back to the parents, the parents won't know who it is and will usually run away from it <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" /> Also for next time it is hard to decide to completely pull or just supplement feed, I will always try to supplement feed first (usually works, but not for every one), that way its still getting milk from momma (which is the best) and is still being taken care of by mom and dad, just being fed by me every 4-6 hours (depending on the situation). Anyway here is a great site to read up on about Hand Raising a joey . This talks about supplement vrs. pulling and might give you some more ideas.

Again I am very sorry this happened... <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/hug2.gif" alt="" /> Please don't beat yourself up about it. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/hug2.gif" alt="" />

#142045 - 09/04/06 02:31 PM Re: Rejected Joey: How Should I Have Known for Su [Re: RSXTC]

Elmer, I am so sorry for the loss of your joey.

As it may be hard to take, but in some cases, the experienced parents know best. The parents have the ability to tell if there is something wrong with their joey(s) and they may choose to reject the joey(s).

We have a proven breeding pair which has produced several litters of joeys. Then, they rejected their lone male joey and we supplemented him around the clock for several weeks. Nine months later the same glider died. We chose to bury him instead of having a necropsy done (we did not want to know what caused his death).

It is an extremely difficult situation. When a joey is rejected, a decision needs to be made, whether to pull the joey and handfeed around the clock or to let nature take its course.

Again, I am so sorry about your little one.


#142046 - 09/04/06 03:30 PM Re: Rejected Joey: How Should I Have Known for Sure? [Re: ]
Judie Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 10/25/01
Posts: 9173
Loc: Edwardsville, Kansas 66113
When one looses a joey... the pain is always there along with the thought as to.... could I have done something different to have prevented such a painful ending.

Baby more than likely was not receiving enough nourishment from the mother and dehydrated out. Joeys usually can be returned to the parents even if supplemented. Babies with Bite Marks... need to be pulled.

When a baby is found cold... usually parents will not accept the baby. Usually because they sense something is wrong with it... my guess it is the odor has changed because of being cold. These babies need to be warmed up first and then fed. Once fed... then returned to the parents.

If little one is going to be supplemented... one has to check the joey to judge as to how ofter it needs to be supplemented. And if one works... this then means the joey will need to be taken with the caregiver along with the formula so it is being fed if there is doubt that the mother is unable to feed the baby enough milk in a 9 or ten hour stretch. Baby can be returned to the parents later on in the day or evening so the mother can feed him herself.

When there is milk in the tummy from the mother... if joey is held up close to a very bright light... one can see a white patch through the translucent pink skin. Usually the stomach is located in the middle and slightly to the left on the joeys tummy.

Good Luck next time around. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/hug2.gif" alt="" />

Edited by Judie (09/04/06 03:32 PM)
Web site:

#142047 - 09/04/06 11:51 PM Re: Rejected Joey: How Should I Have Known for Sure? [Re: ]
Sheila Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 02/05/00
Posts: 5363
Loc: Ok
Elmer, I have guilt feelings every time I lose one, but I learn from it knowing it could happen again and I might be the wiser next time. I am sorry for your loss.

I will try and help you. First, this was this mama's first joey with you. I don't know if you knew past history, but it is always important to know history when breeding.
Babies are generally rejected between day three and 5. It is more commonly seen with a first time mom. Rejection can also happen with an older female if she is close to retiring. If a joey is ever found on the floor of the cage, it is most likely being rejected. After finding the joey on the floor, ff you lay the joey next to the parents and they ignore the joey, it is time to start supplementing. There are two types of feeding - supplementation and total feeding of the joey. In either case, the joey can be left with the parents but careful consideration should be given if you decide to return the joey to the parents and supplement. If a joey is weak or cold, it should not be put back with the parent until you have fed it two or three feedings and it is strong again. Please do not place a cold joey back in with parents hoping they will warm it up. It is your turn to take over for the parents, getting the joey a little stronger before returning the joey to the parent. With a 5 day old joey this feeding is every 1.5 hours. After you have fed the joey two feedings or three hours separation from the parent, place the joey in a blanket that is the same blanket that the parent is sleeping with. Wrap the joey up like a hotdog and place in the pouch with the parent. Watch to see how the parent reacts to the joey. If they lick the joey down and seem concerned, leave the joey in for 1.5 hours, checking after one hour. If you see the joey nursing after one hour, leave in for 30 more minutes and then remove joey. If the joey will not eat as much as it did the first two feedings with you, this will tell you that the joey did get some milk from the mother and you can supplement the joey. Supplementing can be done in two ways- either by feeding the joeys four times a day, or topping the joey off after each feeding. The decision to supplement by topping off or suppementing several times a day should be made on a case by case basis.
One of the things you said was you rubbed the tummy. The father will aid in helping the joey go to the bathroom. If you overfeed the first feeding, you could be endangering the joeys life. Normally when a joey is found cold on the floor, its little system is already starting to shut down. If you overload it with milk, it might not process the milk the way it should have been, resulting in constipation, poor digestion and not hungry for the next feeding. It is better to give the joey smaller serving at first building up to about 1/2cc so that you can make sure the digestion process is working properly.
A three to five day old joey should be fed every 1.5 hours until they are at least 10 days old. Even if it looks like the mom is still feeding, they possibly could be pacifing her, not receiving as much milk as it appears.
If you are in a position where you have to work, it is best to pull the joey. What happens is when the joey gets weak, it is not able to get to the milk. Some milk is there, but for some reason, the joey acts like they don't know where it is. You can lay the joey on top of the mom and they still don't know to lick. I believe that many times the milk becomes sour because of engourging. It doesn't smell the same as it did before so the joey doesn't go for it.
Mothers should all be given a second chance with breeding. I don't know what the percentage of first time moms reject, but it would be an interesting survey.
ToandFro Gliders

USDA Licensed breeder for 12 years and counting!



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