Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney

Posted By: Anonymous

Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney - 11/04/07 08:32 PM

Hi everyone! I have been lucky enough to have Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney as our glider vet since I moved to the Seattle area this summer. She is VERY well educated in the field of gliders and glider nutrition. She studied gliders, their diet, and their husbandry over in Australia, and she is a wealth of knowledge about exotics.

This being said, she advised me to change the diet of my gliders because she had the following concerns:

1) She feels that many of our diets here are too high in sugar from too many fruits and too low in protein. For much of the year in the wild, gliders subsist mainly on gums and insects, so she feels that a diet high in sugar can have negative impacts on gliders, such as obesity, diabetes, and weight gain

2) She found that many of the supplements we get in pet stores do not pass industry testing for lead contamination and may not contain as much Ca:P as they claim on the labeling; thus, she is recommending that I use human-grade, (USP grade, specifically) calcium in their diet mix. She said calcium gluconate is ideal, calcium citrate is OK, and calcium carbonate would be OK if I absolutely can't find anything else...I am still working on finding appropriate calcium, it is hard to find.

I attached the diet that she is recommending below. It reflects the fact that she wants my gliders getting less fruit and more protein (that is what the protein pellet component is for). She recommends mixing up the pellets with the Leadbetter's mix and also with greens that have a good Ca:P ratio.

As you can see, the pellets are supposed to be fed in a 50/50 ratio with the Leadbetter's mix, and she recommended a bit more than 2 tsp per glider per night of the Leadbetters/pellet/greens goulash. She also wanted me to increase the non-larval insects I was feeding, recommending crickets (from a safe source) and roaches (from a safe source) that are gut-loaded with calcium and the pellets rather than the mealies I usually feed, which she says are mostly fatty as they are a larval insect. Fruits are given as treats as part of this diet, but are not a regular part of the diet each night.

As of now, I am still searching for the calcium and high-protein baby food cereal (it is quite difficult to find), but I will probably be transitioning my gliders over within the next month. I would like to post this on the diets page as a link but I'm not sure how? ( Your thoughts/comments/concerns/questions are welcome.

**note: the file won't post, so I'll copy/paste it as a reply until I can turn it into a pdf at work and re-post it***
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney - 11/04/07 08:33 PM

Eastside Avian & Exotic Animal Medical Center
888-821-6165, 13603 100th Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98034

Diet and Care Recommendations for Sugar Gliders

In the wild, the diet consists of the sap of trees, nectar and drippings from native flowers and leaves, and insects. Fruit, foliage, and nuts are NOT part of their diet, although they may like these items if offered. Recommended diet below. It should consist of 50% gum/nectar/sap and 50% insectivore/carnivore.

1. Leadbeater's Mix: Gum/Nectar/Sap Component (50% of total diet, feed in evening)

1 glider portion:
150ml warm water 25gms high protein baby cereal
150ml honey
1tsp vitamin/mineral supplement (Vionate recommended) and ¼ tsp calcium gluconate USP
1 shelled, boiled egg

Mix warm water and honey. In separate container, blend egg until homogenized. Gradually add water and honey, then vitamin powder, then baby cereal, blending after each addition until smooth. Keep refrigerated. Recipe can be increased and multiple portions frozen in an ice cube tray and thawed when needed.

2. Insectivore/Carnivore Component (50% of total diet):
Commercial foods recommended: Insectivore Diet, Reliable Protein Products 760-321-7533 available here or Hedgehog Diet, Pretty Pets International 1-800-356-5020 OR Mazuri Sugar Glider

3. Treats (no more than 5-10% of daily intake, approximately 1 tsp per glider):
Fruit, various, chopped. Live food recommended: crickets, large and small mealworms, waxworms, or a variety of insects. Limit larval insects to 3-5 per glider (small mealworms) 2-3 X a week. Feed adult insects, king mealworms, and waxworms Insectivore Diet sprinkled with calcium gluconate USP for at least 24 hours prior to feeding the insect to the sugar glider.

Posted By: Srlb

Re: Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney - 11/05/07 04:01 AM

Why not take her in a copy of the High Protein Wombaroo along with the ingredients and the Stats on it and of course the diet plan itself and ask her what she thinks of it.

A good vet will want to research it and not just look at it and have a closed mind and say nope...not good enough.

Since she has studied over in Australia (and I know she has been around for a while) then she would also know or be interested in knowing they also use the HPW in Oz.

Just a thought.
Posted By: Xfilefan

Re: Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney - 02/08/08 02:16 AM

Here's the Dr Cathy Johnson Delaney diet I've been using for several months. It's page 8 in the PDF file (took me MONTHS to find the link again!)

The Wombaroo High Protein supplement states on it that it can be used in place of the high protein cereal, in half the amount as it's more concentrated. Even my pickiest eaters eat it, so I substitute the HPW, but no other changes except fruits mine will eat.

Since I'm not sure the link will work from within the PDF file, here's the search page-it's the first one, the AEMV newsletter 5-05

Edit: I use it in conjunction with the Taronga Zoo specifications.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney - 02/08/08 02:27 AM

Srlb, when I take my gliders back in, I will try to remember to print off the HPW and see what she thinks.

I'm pretty sure you could also reach her via the email on their website...Google Eastside Avian Exotics, and there is a way for you to email them from the may take her a while to get back to you about it since she is so busy, but she is AMAZING about answering my questions, so I imagine she would get back to you.

I am curious as to what she would say about substituting HPW for high protein baby food cereal. Isn't the composition of those quite different? I will ask her that too the next time I see her. She wasn't that concerned about me using regular baby food cereal rather than high protein as there is already a lot of protein from the pelleted part of the diet.

Jen, how have your gliders been doing on the diet so far? Mine LOVE it and and they look really healthy mlove
Posted By: Xfilefan

Re: Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney - 02/08/08 02:30 AM

Their coats are awesome, trips to the vet are WAY down, and they eat ALL of it. Even Riker-who liked nothing. So I'd say pretty good. smile
Posted By: Xfilefan

Re: Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney - 02/08/08 03:20 AM

If anyone decides to try this (it is Dr Johnson's diet) here are the american measurements (and I use my walmart scale and go by weight)-the only thing I do is add some regular baby cereal to add consistency, and this is a quadruple batch (X 4):

2.5 Cups warm water
2.5 Cups honey
50 grams Wambaroo High Protein powder
50 grams Gerber rice cereal
4 eggs
4 tsp Herptivite (I may change to Vionate)
1/4 tsp Jurassical (other supplements will be different as to milligrams)

and I use Zookeeper's Secret (aka Insectivore Fare) for the "kibble"

You're welcome to run it by Dr. Johnson.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney - 02/08/08 03:36 AM

This is the diet my vet recommended and you cannot find the high protien baby cereal here in the US. My vet recommended using regular baby cereal since it cannot be bought here.
Posted By: Xfilefan

Re: Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney - 02/08/08 03:37 AM

Which is why the high protein wambaroo is an acceptable substitute.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney - 02/08/08 04:20 AM

I wondered about that when I was going through the diets. Owen does okay but I give him protein & a fruit or vegi (every other day). I have added extra eggs to try and help w/the protein.. My vet was happy w/his wieght and health at our last visit. I just switched vets but she said that of the diets she has looked at all have pluses and minuses. It's always interesting to see what different people do.
Posted By: Dancing

Re: Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney - 02/08/08 04:39 AM

You can also take her Reep's diet and have her take a look. My diet doesn't contain the honey that other diets do because of 1. the concerns I have about that much honey being fed to gliders 2. my gliders don't like honey.

Reep’s Diet

2 tablespoons Wambaroo High Protein Supplement
¼ cup Mixed Baby Cereal
2 (2.5 oz) jars Chicken Baby Food (chicken in gravy)
5 ounces Apple Juice (I just empty the baby food from the jars and use those to measure)

Mix all this in a bowl with a spoon until smooth. No need to use a blender. Easy to mix, easy to clean up. This makes (approximately)30 servings and can be frozen.

Feed nightly:

2 teaspoons mix* per glider.
1 tablespoon mixed veggies** per glider
1 tablespoon fruit*** per glider

Three times per week feed 1 teaspoon per glider of yogurt. Bugs Mealies are a treat, not a daily food item. Crickets could be fed a couple times per week but I will not feed them due to the risk of aflatoxins.

*Adjust the amount so they are just cleaning their plates. Cut back to 1 ½ teaspoon for gliders with weight issues. I feed a pair of gliders what a normal kitchen (tea)spoon will hold. Give a little more for pregnant/nursing mothers. My joeys are all weaned onto this diet.

**I feed frozen corn, peas, green beans, carrots mix. Every now and then I will offer other veggies as more of a treat such as cucumber, broccoli, and squash.

*** I usually feed only one fruit per night but rotate what fruits I feed during the week.

With the fruits and veggies, look at the ca:P ratios and try to make sure you are balancing out the 2:1 ratio over the course of the week.

For example, corn and peas are calcium negative but green beans and carrots are calcium positive.

Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney - 02/09/08 05:38 AM

Can you buy the High Protein Wambaroo protein at and didn't I just read a thread not to long ago about it's ingredients being changed to a soy base protein? Does anyone else know?
Posted By: blockamon

Re: Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney - 02/09/08 06:23 AM

The Wombaroo High Protein supplement used in the HPW mix has always contained soy protein. The other thread was concerning a milk replacer from Wombaroo. FIWI, the rumor that they had changed the milk replacer formula is false.

In any case, there is no reason to worry about the soy in the HPS. Wombaroo uses a couple other protein sources in it to supply a good amino acid profile. It has been used for a while with absolutely no problems.

There are several places to buy the High Protein Supplement online; here are a couple:

Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Sugar glider diet by Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney - 02/09/08 05:25 PM

thanks so much!
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