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#3289 - 04/24/02 10:43 PM Female too small to care for joeys

When we got Ursula we were told she and her male companion had only been together a few days. 11 weeks later she had two joeys come oop. They did not seem premature so my only guess is that they had been together longer. Ursula was tiny when we got her. When the vet examined her we thought she was only about 4 weeks pregnant she then weighed 81gms. She was actually 6-8 weeks pregnant so much of that was babies. No matter how much we fed her (or tried to feed her) she didn't seem to fill out except where the joeys were. We had her on a diet of bml (which she wouldn't always eat, crickets, mealworms, fruits and veggies, she would only eat yogurt occasionallly. The first few days after the joeys came oop she was loving and protective, but last Saturday night I came home from work and could hear a hissing sound coming from the bottom of the cage. It was one of the joeys which when I picked her up discovered to be a female, the other joey was on top of the bed, this one was discovered to be a male. I placed them both back in the pouch and encouraged Ursula to return to her babies, which she did. I didn't know if they had been clinging to her and let go while out or if they had attempted to climb out of the bed while Ursula was up getting something to eat. The night and early part of the next morning passed uneventfully but when I returned home from the grocery store Sunday morning apx 10 am it was to find the female hanging from the underside of the lowest wire shelf. Again placed baby back with mom. I then went back to town to find some esibilac puppy formula as my order of marsupial milk replacer was not due to arrive until later in the week. The joeys wouldn't take any, so I placed them back with their mom who seemed glad to see them. At a little after 1 pm again found the female in the bottom of the cage, placed her again back with mom. When I got home that evening from work it was to find that both joeys had died. I set up a vet visit for the following tuesday. The vets findings were that she was just too small to have been bred she at this point weighs 71 grams, and looks like a furry bag of bones. Everything she ate went to the joeys which is why she was able to carry them to term, but as they grew so did their demands on her system until she was no longer able to keep up. She just could not produce enough milk for them. As sad as it is to loose the babies and I have cried many tears for them it would have been much worse had she lost them in pouch and possibly developed an infection or to have had her try to continue to nurse them and lost her as well. I shall always greive the lives they did not get a chance to live, and wonder if there was something I could have done differently. My main concern now is to get Ursula built up and healthy. At least since her mate has been neutered since coming to live with us (prior to babies oop) we do not have to worry about her getting pregnant again and possibly risking her life. If you are considering breeding please have a vet check you female first.

#3290 - 04/25/02 12:10 AM Re: Female too small to care for joeys [Re: ]

Ark Mom, this sounds like the situation I faced with my 75 gram female recently. The babies made it, but she was giving them all she had, and by the time I realized it was serious, she had lost about 1/6 of her body weight. I nearly lost her. How she was able to continue feeding the joeys, I'll never know. But my first clue was a growing amount of time she spent away from them -- moving to another pouch without them, sleeping by herself.

What worked in my situation was a)added calcium in the form of neocalglucomate (you need to get that from a vet), and b) hand-supplementing the babies to give her a break from having to feed them all the time. I fed the babies watered down BML, and they loved it and thrived on it. She was still able to nurse them, but they didn't eat as much. She loved being a mother, so I'm glad I didn't try to separate her from them, though I thought I would have to.

I'm so sorry for your joeys, but glad she's returning to health.

<small>[ 04-25-2002, 07:37 AM: Message edited by: Lucy ]</small>

#3291 - 04/25/02 06:22 AM Re: Female too small to care for joeys [Re: Anonymous]

Thank you Lucy. I wish I had known what to do before I lost the babies. It seems once she figured out she didn't have enough milk she lost interest in them. She would still cuddle with them but didn't seem to notice when they crawled out of the sleeping pouch. Unfortunately the message didn't get through to my tiny human mind until it was too late. If my post helps even one person to save their baby gliders it will have been worth the pain and saddness.

<small>[ 04-25-2002, 07:25 AM: Message edited by: Ark Mom ]</small>

#3292 - 04/25/02 12:26 PM Re: Female too small to care for joeys [Re: ]
Judie Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 10/25/01
Posts: 9173
Loc: Edwardsville, Kansas 66113
I am so sorry. Your female glider deserves a Purple Heart. She was dispite all a very good mother.

<img border="0" alt="angel" title="" src="graemlins/frostyangel.gif" />
Web site:

#3293 - 04/25/02 03:47 PM Re: Female too small to care for joeys [Re: ]

The mom sounds like she did all she could. Some just aren't meant to have babies. I'm glad she's ok though.

#3294 - 04/25/02 06:53 PM Re: Female too small to care for joeys [Re: ]

Ark Mom thank you for sharing this very sad and hard loss with us <img border="0" title="" alt="[Frown]" src="images/icons/frown.gif" /> I have a joey on the way and this story hits every so close to home now.

#3295 - 04/25/02 10:50 PM Re: Female too small to care for joeys [Re: ]

LuvinRocky please have things ready and available for the joey "if you should need them". If I had had things available "milk replacer etc." I might have been able to save mine. I'm not sure how I would have handled the frequent feedings. I don't think my boss would have let me bring them to work as it is a health care facility and animals aren't really supposed to be there. Good luck with your joey and let us know how things turn out.


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