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#34327 - 01/20/05 10:56 AM BML question!!!
Anonymous
Unregistered


OK, well, I have a question about BML that I have been wondering for quite sometime but have not yet found the answer to.

1)How long has the BML diet been around?
2)Who formulated the BML diet? Who is Bourbon? Is Bourbon a group of breeders and experienced glider keepers that contributed to the creation of BML, or is he a person that created it...
3)I'm interested to know how they came about choosing ingredients and choosing amounts of ingredients... especially seeing as a lot still remains unknown territory in regards to a glider's true nutritional requirements.

The reason I'm asking is because I can't seem to find how long BML has been around. I wanted to know because if it's only been around for a few years, I am wondering how BML can be considered to be a truly proven diet. I figure that the BML diet must atleast have been around for two or three generations to truly prove that it leads to ultimately healthy long-lived gliders, that give birth to ultimately healthy gliders that, in turn, give birth to healthy long-lived gliders, etc... two or three generations is equivalent to approximately 30-45 years.

See, I'm concerned because several people are faithfully following this BML diet (including myself!) and I'm not even sure the BML diet has been around long enough to prove its real worth. Even feeding an animal a mediocre diet can potentially sustain 1 or 2 generations without any visible signs of ill-effects, but over the 3rd and 4rth and so on, the ill-effects begin to show and are magnified as more and more generations come about. A similar problem was observed in ferrets, for instance. It was once thought that ferrets were sustainable on catfood and that cats and ferrets had the same nutritional requirements, and so for several decades, ferret owners and breeders would feed their animals catfood as the BEST source of food for their ferrets. Over several generations (up to the 5th and 6th), it was found that certain health problems were developing, worsening and magnifying with each generation (e.g. shorter lifespan, liver problems, kidney failure, early onset of cancer, premature infertility, etc.). Ferrets have been domesticated for a very long time (dating back to the 4th Century BC!!!) and we now know their nutritional requirements and can safely feed them wholesome diets with a kibble type food; we can safely say that we've formulated a TRULY PROVEN ferret diet, because of its affirmation of effectiveness over multiple generations of ferrets and years upon years of nutritional trial and error.

However, I don't think gliders have even been widely domesticated for 30-45 years, let alone the BML diet being around for that long. I almost wonder how the team of nutritionists/vets/breeders/whoever came about choosing the materials and the amounts for BML. It's interesting that "grains", making up a significant portion of the mixture (baby rice cereal, wheat germ), are not a large portion of a wild glider's diet.

Anyway, I really would like to hear some feedback from breeders who've been sustaining their gliders on BML over three or more generations (i.e. 30+ years) so that I may be at ease. It's worth mentioning that weight and body mass are not good indicators of a nutritionally balanced diet because the pattern of increasing body weight with each generation could both be a bad sign (e.g. increased fat storage with each generation) and a good sign (i.e. great health).

Otherwise, I'm going to begin a really, REALLY, big research project of my own (perhaps a trip to Australia to do a field study and to touch base with the scientific/glider community there to look into their studies) on the BML diet because I, myself, and as well as should all those who feed their gliders the BML diet, want to know that we are truly placing them on truly well-balanced diets.

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#34328 - 01/20/05 11:17 AM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


MIkey you make some valid points. My biggest concern w/ all the diets is that there is a nightly staple and then fruit and proten and veggies vary. The vitamins are supplemented.

As a former nutrition major I know that vitamins from food are best and I also know varitey is best for optimal health.

I am interested to know the answers to your questions, but I would also like to know if anyone has answers to these questions about any other diets as well.

If you end up researching diets I'd like to help you..I think its so interesting and I really want people to be open minded on the issue,its the only way we can continue to improve glider nutrition.

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#34329 - 01/20/05 11:36 AM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


If im wrong someone correct me please, but from what i hear Bourbon is a woman, and that is her first name. She may breed but she isn't a group of breeders. The diet was invented by her and a research team. She visits GC offten and probley will come along to answer your questions soon. I know there is alot of info on BML out there, but i also wonder how she picked the ingredients. Hopfuly she will be around soon!


Edited by canstarhun (01/20/05 11:59 AM)

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#34330 - 01/20/05 11:52 AM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I believe she picked the ingredients by modifying a leadbeaters mix that zoos have used I don't know what zoos I also think bml has been around for 6 or more years. Like you said gliders havent been domesticated for very long, so we are all learning. My first leadbeaters mix was this one http://www.skinhorse.net/gliders/diet.html

but I switched to bml after my gliders stopped eating that mix

bourbon can usually be found on her site www.sugargliderinfo.com but she does come here often and is very knowledgable about gliders. You can email her also and she is very helpful.

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#34331 - 01/20/05 12:06 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: RSXTC]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Why do a lot of gliders just stop eating BML. I wanted to try it for syd since she had that prob w/ her hair, but I read a lot of people say thier gliders stop. Why? And i guess all of a sudden they just quit eating?

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#34332 - 01/20/05 12:16 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


mine have been on bml for 3 years now and they haven't stopped, they did stop on the other leadbeaters mix though. They are like us and some times worse... their taste change. I used to love spagettios (sp??) but after my first pregnancy I can't stand the stuff. I used to hate broccoli but now I love it. They just change, I don't know if there is anything more to it...could possibly be but I don't think so <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/nixweiss.gif" alt="" />

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#34333 - 01/20/05 12:16 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: RSXTC]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Yes, Bourbon is a woman... not a group. "Bourbon" is not her real name.

</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
two or three generations is equivalent to approximately 30-45 years.

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

Surely you don't expect to find ANY captive glider diets which have been around for 30-45 years. If that is your only criterion for what makes a diet "proven", then I have a hard time believing you'll find any which satisfy you in that regard.

However, I respectfully disagree with what you consider to be a "generation". One generation does not start when the previous one dies. The next generation begins when they come into the world. As such, I don't think 2-3 generations would be 30-45 years... but instead 4-6 years MAX, but realistically more like 2-3 years.

In my mind, proof lies less in time and more in results. I see results in my own gliders. I see it in every haggard rescue I take in who looks like a completely different animal after a few weeks of BML. I hear about it from my vet who is SO very impressed with my gliders and their diet that she recommends it to all of her clients with gliders now. I see it in my discussions with my pet nutritionist, who agrees that it is a quality diet. I see it in the many, many, many stories I hear from Charlie, Angie, Mel, Mere, etc when they speak of their dozens (heck, hundreds!) of rescues who benefit from it.

As for your questions as to how it came about, I'll leave those to Bourbon. I'm sure she'll be by soon to answer them, and I'm sure I'll leave something out if I answer them. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />

Abby -- you are right. Nutrients from food are more beneficial than those from supplements. In an ideal situation, we wouldn't have to supplement. But the reality is that few people have the education and knowledge to successfully analyze and maintain a balanced diet that we do. This is why it's so critical to have these already studied, analyzed, and "proven" diets available to the masses.

As to the question about why gliders stop eating BML... its a mystery to me. In addition to my crew, I've also had many, many rescues come through my house over the years. I've never met ONE glider who wouldn't eat BML. NOt a single one. In fact, its the very first thing my kiddos eat every night. Maybe I'm just an exceptionally talented BML chef. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/roflmao.gif" alt="" /> Bourbon feels it has to do with how its prepared and/or how the meal is presented, etc. I, myself, don't know for sure.

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#34334 - 01/20/05 12:42 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I've always wondered how intact all the vitamins are after the BML mixture's been frozen. I know that some must be lost due to freezing, but how much?
I think Mikey raised some very interesting/important questions about the BML and any diet that we are chooing to feed our Gliders.
I'll keep watching this thread for answers and more information. Jen

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#34335 - 01/20/05 12:45 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I may be wrong, but I think all of the commonly used glider diets have components which are, or may be, frozen.

As long as food items are not stored frozen for extended periods of time (months and months) you really shouldn't lose anything to freezing. Especially powered supplements, which do very well when stored at cold temps.

Which nutrients are you concerned about being harmed by freezing?


Edited by Natalie (01/20/05 01:00 PM)

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#34336 - 01/20/05 01:05 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hmmm maybe we could get little tea cups and saucers and serve it w/ horderves (sp?)....ha ha just a joke...though mine are just about that spoiled. I might have to become a master chef for BML because now im trying anything for syd. I'd still like to hear experiences of people whos gliders stopped eating it.

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#34337 - 01/20/05 01:27 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thank_you for your post. You have brought up many great ?' 's. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumb.gif" alt="" /> Hopefully there will be some great answers to follow. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/heartpump.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/heartpump.gif" alt="" /> to <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/read.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thanx.gif" alt="" />

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#34338 - 01/20/05 02:46 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Natalie- I wasn't worried about any nutrients in particular. Just wondering if anyone knew about whether freezing affects the nutritional content. I figured that the powdered supplements would do OK I just wondered about the rest of the ingredients.
Part of the reason I use the BML diet is that it is so easy to prepare. Once a month I make a mixture and then every night I scoop some out, add veggies, fruit and a couple of mealies and Voila! Can't get much easier. Overall, I've been really happy with the BML diet and have recomended it to anyone asking about diets.
However, I'll be interested in hearing the answers (if any) to Mikey's questions.
Jen

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#34339 - 01/20/05 04:26 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Well, several things... about the generation issue...

</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
Natalie: However, I respectfully disagree with what you consider to be a "generation". One generation does not start when the previous one dies. The next generation begins when they come into the world. As such, I don't think 2-3 generations would be 30-45 years... but instead 4-6 years MAX, but realistically more like 2-3 years.

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


I considered 30-45 years to be a full observation time period for a generation, assuming 15 years is a complete and healthy lifespan of a glider. It's easy to see short-term results of a diet in question, however it's the long term success of a dietary program that truly counts. I suppose it depends if you consider a healthy glider to be one that appears healthy despite the number of years that it survives or whether a healthy glider is one that lives it's entire maximum lifespan (i.e. 15 years)... personally, not only for gliders, but for other animals as well, I prefer guaging "dietary success" using the latter.

I'm also aware of the fact that lifespan and good health is also affected by genetics, however. This makes the dietary issue much more complicated because it would be much more difficult to distinguish between glider health successes due to genetics and those due to diet, or to determine the degree to which each of those factors play their roles in contributing to an overall healthy glider.

Also, it's worth mentioning that a wild glider's diet varies with the seasons. During the winter months, they feed on gums from the eucalyptus and acacia trees, as well as sap and sugar excretions from the trees, and they also feed on sap-sucking insects. During the spring and summer months, however, they are primarily insectivorous, feeding on a wide range of insects and arachnids. This is the way these animals have evolved to feed and extract nutrients form the environment for hundreds of thousands of years. Now, my question thus is: Is there even a diet that pays tribute to this natural dietary shift from half-year herbivorous to half-year insectivorous feeding portion? BML certainly doesn't. The reason why I feel this may be important is because animals that possess seasonally shifting diets have specific biorythms that correspond to these nutrient changes. Things like diet (as well as elements like temperature, photoperiod, humidity changes, etc.) directly affect numerous animal biorhythms, like those of reproductive cycles, hibernation cycles, metabolic processes, etc. I'm sure much of this still needs to be fully explored and understood by scientists. This is why I feel over an extended period of time (say about several decades or even a century) we may be noticing an physiological alteration (i.e. theoretically by affecting naturally occuring biorhythms) in the domestic sugar glider species, and it's our responsibility to make sure that it's an alteration for the better. I feel it's one of the reasons we should always be forgiving with gliders who reject BML; they just weren't evolved to eat the stuff and we've subjected them to a completely foreign diet. I just hope that Bourbon really was sure about her dietary program because so many of us follow it (again including me). I am in no way questioning her expertise or condemning BML... I'm just a concerned parent with questions, I suppose.

I wonder if anyone has begun a sort of data base where people can enter the lifespan of their gliders and the diets they were sustained on. It would be crucial to also include other pieces of information like how many offspring they were able to give rise to throughout the course of their lives and how many years each of the offspring survived, and the diets they each were sustained on. Things like body weight, and the number of years that the gliders were fertile, and producing offspring would also be crucial information for our purposes. A note of any health problems would also help.

Abby_and_some, being a Nutrition Major I'm sure you understand where I'm coming from with this. I appreciate your as well as anyone else's input on the matter, as well.

</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
Natalie: Surely you don't expect to find ANY captive glider diets which have been around for 30-45 years. If that is your only criterion for what makes a diet "proven", then I have a hard time believing you'll find any which satisfy you in that regard.

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

Actaully, although we haven't been keeping gliders as pets for that long, zoos have been rearing captive gliders of quite a long time. I'm interested to see the diets that they have found successful and any related documents on the health of the gliders. If there's any group of people or community that would be able to provide a HUGELY useful body of knowledge regarding a glider's dietary requirments, it would be the zoos that have been rearing gliders for years (I'm sure at least 30-40 or likely even more years)! I'm also aware that many have been using the original Leadbeater's mix but I wonder how many years they've been using it and how healthy their animals have been.


Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#34340 - 01/20/05 04:46 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Charlie H Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 11/13/03
Posts: 1659
Loc: Wallis Texas
Mikey, a good place to start your research would be right here on GC. If you dig into the archives you can find all the answers to your questions about BML.

Your life expecentancy for captive gliders of 15 years is a little off. Very few gliders attain that age. More like 9 or 10 years on the average. Assuming it is ten years and gliders start breeding at 1 year then the third generation would have passed by the 12th year.

All domestic and captive animals are on a diet that sustains them year round. The BML is designed to be fed 12 months a year. Not seasonal like a wild gliders diet would be. It would be impossible to duplicate a seasonal wild gliders diet. In the wild gliders are opportunists. They feed on whatever is available. And even if you could figure what the ideal "wild glider diet" was it would be impossible to duplicate it in the US.

Maybe if you are considering going to Australia to study wild glider diets you should consider Indonesia instead. Since most of the gliders in the past few years come from Indonesia it would seem to make more sense to go there to do a study.
Charlie H
_________________________
Rescue & Rehabilation
http://www.angelfire.com/tx/glidertree/
[]glidertree@toast.net[/]

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#34341 - 01/20/05 04:52 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hey thanks Charlie! I'll look into that...

Also if that's the case (i.e. max lifespan being 10 years) the principle still applies... 20-30 years... and that accounts for only 2-3 generations (full life observation period), again considering a healthy glider to be one that lives it's entire maximum lifespan in good health, as opposed to a glider that appears healthy for several years but doesn't live up to 10 or more years... I think for a diet to be proven it should show signs of success over 5 or more generations. It takes that many genrations (with other animals at least) to be able to note any significant biological patterns of lifespan reduction or increased health complications, etc.

In my short time here I've been reading about gliders passing away for unknown reasons and i'm just concerned of the possibility of it being due to the "proven" diets that we've trusted and have fed to our gliders over several generations. Perhaps the deaths may be signs of a weakness in the diets. Who knows? But I surely would like to know and have a peace of mind that it's non-dietary related.

Also, a note on duplicating a wild glider's diet. This is one of the reasons why I feel there must be a greater responsibility with people who choose to own exotic pets, like gliders. We have a responsibility to ensure that these relatively wild animals get the nutrition that they biologically need, as opposed to favouring convenience for our purposes and formulating some standardized (user-friendly) dietary program. Gliders are complex animals with complex needs and are far from reaching the domestication point that we've acheived in dogs and cats and even ferrets. I almost feel the exotic animals may require rather exotic diets. I hate to say this, but as much as I love gliders, I think perhaps it may be wrong to be owning animals that have dietary elements which we cannot provide for them. I would never own a Giant Anteater (also opportunists and feeding on various invertebrates other than ants) and expect it to survive to its full-life expectancy on a diet of small crickets and mealworms. I'm not saying that owning gliders is wrong. I just feel that once again we should really be extra careful when it comes to making decisions on things like diet for our beloved animals. OK, I'm hoping nobody get's angry at me... I'm on your side guys!!!! I almost feel this post may perhaps be the cause of the loss of a few friends on this board but I'm only trying to understand something that's been on my mind for awhile, but I never had the guts to challenge the dietary program known as BML until now. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#34342 - 01/20/05 05:08 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I am certain in saying that Bourbon will have no problem answering any questions regarding BML. She is so very helpful and incourages any and every one to do their own research regarding what she tells you. She will even tell you where to find the information. At least this was my experience with her. She was very helpful not only with the diet issues (which she told me to choose whatever diet that I wanted, and didn't try to cram the BML diet down my throat) but she also helped with any ?'s that I have had concerning gliders. She is a very intelligent lady with alot to offer to these precious animals and anyone who is willing to learn. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/read.gif" alt="" />
Oh well, that was just my .02 worth.

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#34343 - 01/20/05 05:43 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I'd love to know the answers to your questions, Mikey. I just want to point one thing out, though. If I have a glider that has a baby at 1 y.o., and that baby has another baby at 1 y.o., then the total length of time to follow all 3 generations (assuming even a 15 year life span which is pushing it) then that would be 17 years.

When counting human generations, I've always seen it rounded off to 20 years = 1 generation, since that's about how old we begin "breeding".

So, can you explain in more detail how you are getting 30 years as 3 generations?

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#34344 - 01/20/05 05:44 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks, perhaps when I have time to come back on the computer tonight I will definitely try to contact her.

I've also included some more views on my posts above that I felt were worth mentioning.

Thanks guys for all your input on the subject.

Mikey

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#34345 - 01/20/05 05:49 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I'm sorry, I just realized I should have went into more depth regarding the generation thing...

I say 30 years accumilatively (assuming the gliders continue having babies until they die, it's 10 years for the max lifespan of glider A + 10 years for the max lifespan of glider A's final offspring + 10 years for the max lifespan of glider A's final offspring's final offspring) of observation of the gliders.

For example, here's a model (and for purposes of example let's assume gliders continue breeding for the rest of their 10 yr lives and produce three sets a year):

You have 1 pair of gliders and let's call this the G generation. The G generation has their first set of babies and continue having babies for the rest of their lives (i.e. G1, G2, G3, G4... etc... G29, G30). Now, during those 10 years that the G generation have been having babies, we would have to take into account all gliders from G1 up to the G30 generation in order to properly observe a trend in increased health problems, offspring deaths, etc. Once the G30 generation matures to generate offspring (G30-1, G30-2, G30-3, G30-4, etc...G30-29, G30-30) which will be 10 years later, i.e. after the final year of G30's parents' lives, we would then have to take into account all the offspring of all those gliders from G1-1 to G30-30. We then can take into account all 900 sets of offspring (30 offspring X 30 offspring) in order to properly observe a trend in increased health problems, offspring deaths, etc. Thus, furthermore, taking into account all the offspring from G1-1-1 up to the G30-30-30 generation (that's 2700 sets of offspring), by the time G30-30 have their final set of offspring, that is another 10 years of full observation to notice trends relating to health problems, offspring deaths, etc.

Now, because I'm assuming that gliders don't breed up until their last year, I really shouldn't have put a number on it by saying 30-45 years or whatever. But my point was it certainly would take a long time to be able to determine that the all the glider offspring up until the G30-30-30 genration (that's 3 generations) are living their complete lives, healthy and problem-free.

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#34346 - 01/20/05 05:52 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Charlie H Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 11/13/03
Posts: 1659
Loc: Wallis Texas
GC recently sponsored a diet study. The results should be published in the near future. Although the study ran into some problems we will still probably get some valuable information from it.

Some will argue differently but in my opinoin no long term thorough study has ever been made on captive or wild sugar glider diets. Papers have been published based on observations and theories but no complete true studies on the percentages of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that a glider requires to stay healthy.

One thing to keep in mind is we are dealing with an exotic animal that is in captivity in a country that it is not native to. The diets that are fed to captive gliders in the US are designed to sustain the glider year round over it's lifetime. These diets do not attempt to copy or mimic the diet of a wild glider.

No one will tell you that they have the ultimate diet. But we are a lot further along than we were a few years ago. And a lot of it has been through trial and error based on observations and experiences of multiple glider owners. I am gliad to see people take interest in doing research on glider diets. We now have several people in the glider community with degrees in animal husbandry and maybe through their concentrated efforts we will come up with the ultimate glider diet. Of course with the people who have been around gliders for several years, any new diets are not going to be accepted without some proof. We still remember all of the diet related illnesses and deaths before the BML came along. And as rescuers, we still see the horrible results of gliders that have been on some of the poor diets that are now being fed. When you have gliders die in your hands that have been on a poor diet. Spend endless hours nursing a glider with HLP because the owner fed a diet the vet recommended, it will make you hesitant to experiment with your gliders diet.
Charlie H
_________________________
Rescue & Rehabilation
http://www.angelfire.com/tx/glidertree/
[]glidertree@toast.net[/]

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#34347 - 01/20/05 07:30 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I see, well, then the BML diet is an example of a diet that has been formulated through mere speculation, trial and error, and "guestimation", and has gained popularity due to reputation and not decades of scientifically (or even non-scientifically) documented proof. This is the reason why I was concerned and started this whole thread. I felt that maybe people were begining to believe that these diets were "PROVEN" diets, that lead to gliders living their full lives while continuing to sustain gliders over innumerable generations. I felt perhaps people had to know that these 'proven' diets have become popular because they seem to be working fine for now, and no one has documented problems with them, so far. I realize that the BML diet was modified from the orginal Leadbeater's Mix by adding ingredients to make it more palatable to gliders, and that the Leadbeater's mix was widely used for several years, but I'm just concerned about the long-term effects of using diets like Leadbeater's that place in various foreign food items that have nothing to do with a glider's diet in the wild like rice cereal/egg/wheat germ/Zoo Med's Rep Cal with Vitamin D3 "Phosphorus free"/Zoo Med's Herptivite Multivitamin "Vitamin A requirement from Beta Carotene". I realize they are there to replace specific elements of a wild glider's diet because they are nutritionally equivalent (e.g. wheat germ & rice ceral for dietary fibre, which wild gliders get from consuming acacia or eucalyptus or whatever else they eat for fibre, for instance), but I want to know what long-term effects placing gliders on such diets would have on the domestic glider, as a species propogated by humans. I realize that diets like BML are designed to sustain the gliders throughout their lives, and that they aren't designed to mimic their native diets, but I feel placing the animals on all these designer diets hoping the gliders will adapt to them biologically, may prove problematic over time, especially because gliders have specific dietary requirements that exist due to the glider's very evolution over millenia.

I really just wanted to determine and clarify the degree to which these diets like BML are truly "PROVEN". So the fact is they aren't proven over many years of success, but rather over the few years since they were formulated.

<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/offtopic.gif" alt="" /> Also, as a side note, Charlie I think what you do is great and I honestly applaud you for your compassion and concern for gliders, and I can understand why it would be difficult for you to deviate from something that has been working for you. I think perhaps it's my pro-nature bias, that leads me to question these rather estimated dietary formulations for these precious animals. When it comes down to it, I am questioning the diets also to avoid those exact tragic instances that you, Charlie have described.


Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#34348 - 01/20/05 08:38 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Mikey, maybe you should come up with a proven diet then!

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#34349 - 01/20/05 08:45 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


One comment in this thread is the interest in what the Australian Zoo's feed their gliders. You can find the Toronga Zoo Diet here.

I read an interesting thread recently about the Australian Zoos. According to this thread, due to the prevalence of the availability of gliders, they don't really know alot about sick gliders -- because it is so easy to replace them if they die. You can read it here. I guess what I'm trying to say is that even though a diet comes from the Australian zoos, it doesn't necessarily mean its a 'proven' diet either.

Unfortunately, given the newness of gliders to our culture, there is no way we can have total proof of their correct diet -- yes, ideally it would be wonderful to have documented proof that BML is the best, but you will never totally have that. You will instead, have many people telling their stories of how successful BML was with their gliders. Also, on a board like this, you won't have person after person reporting how healthy their gliders are on a specific diet. Instead, you will be hearing the stories of illness and death (along with the stories of experience). With any exotic, there is a learning curve. Unfortunately, I really believe that in some ways, we are all part of that learning curve.

~Lynn

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#34350 - 01/20/05 09:11 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Mikey,
Once you have put 30 or so years into scientific documented research on a PROVEN diet, I would love to see it.
Thanks

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#34351 - 01/20/05 09:15 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


LOL, Candice! Don't be silly, girl... I have neither the means, nor the gliders to be testing out a diet I formulated. However, during the course of this thread one GC member has mentioned to me a diet that he has worked on constituting several ingredients that are part of a native glider's diet like eucalyptus among other things. I'm still waiting for a copy of the recipe but I'm interested on what he's come up with. If I had enough gliders as well as the resources to be performing studies over years and years of research, then I'd probably do it. LOL. I'm sure my ideal diet would included a greater variety of insects/invertebrates especially those that contain/produce honeydew (i.e. colonies of aphids, honeydew ants, sapsucking bugs, etc.) as well as various native botanicals like eucalyptus pulp/sap, acacia gums, etc. Those botanicals would ofcourse have to be ordered somehow and perhaps processed into some sort of dry or more preferably a semi-dry food. The greater insect variety would have to be somehow preserved or also incorporated into a semi-dry insect staple. Any items that may be difficult or impossible to obtain/preserve could be substituted with other nutritionally equivalent food items. I'd also attempt a feeding regimen where during the summer and spring months the gliders would be fed more insect/protein items than usual, while during the winter and fall months the greater portion would be the other food stuffs. Perhaps there could be a "SUMMER BAG OF FOOD" and a "WINTER BAG OF FOOD" or something, each with the appropriate amounts of dietary ingredients (again incase the dietary shifts directly influence naturally occuring biorhythms in gliders). I know that perhaps processing the food items in a way that they are not nutritionally altered is a challenge, but I did say "ideal". LOL. I'm sure the cost of having to harvest the raw materials would also require some serious funding! Anyway, "ideally", that way, it's not Native food items themselves being replaced by foreign foods, but instead it's the form in which the food items naturally exist that are altered (i.e. from raw harvested food items to semi-dry kibble) which theoretically would place less stress on a glider physiologically/nutritionally.... to be fed along with fresh fruits and vegetables and pinkies/chicks, of course.

Has that been done?


<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/upset.gif" alt="" />...and at this point, I can't help but feel like I'm being ganged up on for my position on this and that I may have hit a nerve in some people, so I'm going to simply keep my thoughts to myself now... LOL I really didn't mean to offend anyone who's chosen the BML diet... As I said before, I also have chosen to place my glider on the BML diet. I'm not by any means and have not once claimed to be an expert on the matter or anything like that; I was just hoping to get the gears and wheels turning in our heads and begin a stimulating chat about a critical issue such as diet. It's something that I've been trying to figure out for awhile myself and wanted other people's input on the topic. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />


Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#34352 - 01/20/05 09:25 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Palatability may have been one reason for modifying the original Leadbetter's mix, but another reason was because high protein baby cereal (I think?) was unavailable in the States.

Also, I know you haven't said that you want to mimic their diet in the wild completely, but when you're considering making their diet more like their's in the wild, you also must consider their lifespan in the wild vs. their lifespan in captivity. Whether this is due to diet, lack of predators, genetics, etc, we can't really know, but their lifespan in captivity is much longer than in the wild. Just food for thought (no pun intended <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />).

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#34353 - 01/20/05 10:13 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Lucy Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 02/14/01
Posts: 7354
Loc: Lexington, KY
Mikey,

Just a few thoughts:

It is an assumption (fueled by no literature that I can find) that gliders live to be 15 years old. I have only heard of one glider that age, and that one report was suspect, IMO. In fact, I think it's much more likely that the average age of a glider dying in captivity is usually 7-10 years, unless opportunistic illness or accident causes an earlier death. The death database was designed to try to capture some of the factors that may lead to earlier glider deaths, and to find common links and correlations that we may not be considering, in diet, housing, enrichment, and other factors.

If you look through the GC archives, you'll see LOTS of discussion on this topic. As Bourbon often says, it's impossible to recreate all the factors of native diet and environment in North American captivity. BML was adapted from a widely distributed Australian zoo diet, and was modified for American ingredients (high protein cereal was unavailable here, for instance).

You'll find a few Australian diets here. There are variations, but it may give you an idea of what some researchers and zoos in Australia thought about feeding gliders, based on what they determined to be the needs of leadbeaters possums. These diets were based on field observations.

Another source you should probably check out is Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney, who has conducted several field studies of gliders in Australia, and has written and presented widely on the subject. Her recommended North American diets are also printed with permission here.

You've done some good reading. The article on diet and seasons is a favorite of mine, and I've thought a lot about it. My current thoughts are that the diet variations are mainly for reproduction (that's pretty well accepted) and are also opportunistic -- more protein is available in warmer weather. I have also wondered if there are other reasons, and have wondered from time to time if we should have seasonal variations in what we feed. But as you know, without controlled longitudinal studies (read: $$$$$$), it would be difficult to know with any confidence.

There are other resources you might want to check out. Along with Dr. Johnson-Delaney, Dr. Ellen Dierenfeld, a renowned wildlife nutritionist, has done extensive research into glider nutrition. She is the principal investigator of the diet study mentioned above, which should be published sometime this year.

I think you make valid points about generations and longevity. The truth is that we don't know how long gliders live, much less how diets compare over the course of several complete generations. What we do have is short term antecdotal evidence that several diets seem to keep gliders alive for several years. There's more of that antecdoctal data on BML than any other.

Before BML, the #1 health concern on these boards was about hind leg paralysis from inadequate nutrition. BML changed all that, and that's why Bourbon remains a hero in many eyes -- mine included, and I don't even feed BML (they won't eat it)! I feel confident recommending BML, however, as it's more "proven" than many other diets, if only antecdotally. It did have a good team of people working on it in the mid-1990s to ensure the basic nutritional elements that seem to be required by gliders were met.

The links area of this site also contains a phenomenal array of glider references, many of which are available for purchase. I know you're not asking for where to find information, but if you haven't seen it, it's worth checking out -- some very scholarly books are located there.

diets are so strange -- people become so passionate about their favorite diets, and we really know very little yet. I think we just know very little. Until we know more -- and that may be years away -- we can only go by the antecdotal information we can get, look at the death database for correlations, and continue to think and read and observe.

We also have to look at whether, after 15-20 years in North America, gliders now reproducing have the same nutritional requirements as their Pacific cousins. Have they become so acclimated to captivity that their needs have changed? Just anothe question for the mix.

One final thought: With your interest in native diets and environs, you should contact a board member by the name of Pockets, who has contacts and strong interest in this subject. She's only on occasionally, but she has a lot of interesting sources. Also, consider attending the SGGA, where you can meet Bourbon and can sometimes here some of the most interesting research going on in North American gliderdom.
_________________________


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#34354 - 01/20/05 10:49 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Ellen Offline
Owner:Emeritus-Mother Hen

Registered: 08/05/99
Posts: 7603
Loc: Virginia Beach, VA.
Lucy, what a great post. Thank you. I think you summed it all up.

I have been feeding BML since late 1999. Some ingredients have changed as Lucy mentioned. That took place about 2002.

When Bourbon was working on the diet plan she had a team of people doing research. Including vet's, Wildlife Nutritionalist and had consulted with the folks from OZ.

Generations as humans must be looked at in a different way than animals. With gliders we do consider a vialbe glider that reproduces yet another within the same family. I have 4 generations of BML gliders.

SouthernBell was right about the high protien baby food. We can't buy it in the US so adjustments were made.

I think this is a great thread and I hope it continues without problems. diet has always been a very touchy subject on this board and others. Maybe the reason is there is so much we don't know about these little ones. But we are learning.

The most recent study and the only one done in the U.S. was done by Dr. Ellen Dierenfield, Lucy mentioned her. She is in the process of having that study published.

Alot of folks feed many different diets that are not even heard of and some feed what they eat at dinner. LOL so I think we all have to follow our "gut" about what we feed.
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#34355 - 01/20/05 11:34 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Mikey I like your post. Every time we have a post on diets it seems like there is some sort of tension even mild so so dont feel like you are being "ganged up" on as you said.

Lucy and Ellen thank you all that much for that info. After you re read it after some time you remember how much you forgot...lol.

I did have some thoughts on one thing esp for those that stopped eating bml and such. If all these diets are "proven" (assuming they are and I know I get the feeling soem here dont like Priscillas diet...but....)
What if one were to rotate diets?

For example, Sunday feed BML w/ veggies, Tuesday Priscillas base w/ fruits, Wed Darcys ensure mix w/ extra protein, Thursdays BML w/ fruit, and Fridays Priscillas w/ the veggies again.

Now I dont do this but It was a thought. If all the "bases" of the diets are "proven" and have all of the needed vitamins in them, why would it hurt to rotate the bases as well? It might keep more of a variety and offer some help for those whose gliders dont eat BML.

Any thoughts?

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#34356 - 01/20/05 11:48 PM Re: BML question!!! [Re: ]
Dancing Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 22746
Loc: 80 acres of paradise in KS
I want to add I think this thread is great!
No Mikey, I don't think you have bashed the BML diet, merely used it as an example of diets probably because you use it yourself. If you used Darcy's, you probably would be questioning that by name instead. I have enjoyed thinking about the different questions and possiblities you have brought up.

diets are by no means scientifically proven but for now we can only go by what research has been done, the experiences of others and what has over the years shown to improve the health of captive gliders (ie..calcium deficiencies and HLP). There was a time when no one expected a glider with HLP to survive. Now through experience we have learned how to help these gliders survive this illness and even how to prevent it in most cases. That is a huge step forward.

Sadly the type of study you would like to see happen would require a very large number of gliders in a controled study setting over a long time frame. The down side to this is I believe that gliders mental health plays a large part in their physical health. That is to say that a glider that is fed well but receives no mental stimulation and interaction is not likey to live as long as on who does get that interaction. With the number of gliders it would take to properly preform such study, who is going to have enough time to spend providing the mental stimulation? Does that make sense?
My son has iguanas and we have had numerous discussions about diets about my gliders and his iguanas, specifically about the seasonal changes. Lets face it, some food items are just hard if not impossible to find at certain times of the year so their fresh food diet has to be varied. The best we can do is try to maintain the ca:p ratios and hope the animals will eat what we have available.

Until someone comes along with the time and resourses to conduct such a study, we have to all do the best we can based on available information and to learn from our successes as well as our failures.

Great thread.
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