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Australia's Healesville Sanctuary Diet

Posted By: Anonymous

Australia's Healesville Sanctuary Diet - 05/16/10 07:28 PM

Hello everyone.
I have heard some positive things about this diet and would love to hear more about it from other owners. Thanks for any input!
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Australia's Healesville Sanctuary Diet - 05/17/10 01:45 PM

I have heard mixed reviews every time it is posted. Some people say it is great, others say that the diet has changed and is no longer fed that way in Australia. Honestly I don't know the truth of it either way, as I have never fed it and I haven't been to an Aussie zoo.
Posted By: CandyOtte

Re: Australia's Healesville Sanctuary Diet - 05/17/10 06:18 PM

The Healsville diet calls for several items that are sold only in Australia. High Protein Baby Cereal, Ecopet brand pet health food and Sustagen are all Australian products.

Without specific items to substitute for these we cannot exactly replicate the Healsville sanctuary diet.

The directions for preparation of this diet are very specific and for DAILY PREPARATION because it includes fly pupae and mealworms in the daily combination of foods (with additional insects weekly). The recipe would be manageable for a large number of gliders (as kept in a zoo) but not a practical one for preparation daily for owners of only a few gliders.

Here is the recipe as posted recently on Glider Gossip by Jett, a member who lives in Australia.

Daily per glider
6 g fruit chopped
5 g corn chopped
2 g sprouted seed
1 g fly pupae
2 mealworms
1 tsp Nectar mix
(see below)
Dog Chow - Eukanuba Pet food kibble (a few pieces)

Supplement
Pollen granules once per week
(I think this only 4-5 granules)
3 Sultanas 3-4 times per week (Golden Raisins)
1 g pet health food once per week (Ecopet brand one small cube)
insects 3-4 times per week


Nectar Mix
900 ml Warm Water
900 ml Honey
6 shelled hard boiled eggs
150 g High Protein Baby Cereal
6 tsp Sustagen
DIRECTIONS: Blend together until smoo
th

Can be stored for up to two weeks.



My comments and notes:
900 ml would be 3 cups and a little under 2/3 cup. A metric cup is 250ml. 2/3 cup is 167ml.

High Protein Baby Cereal is not sold in the US. We would substitute Wambaroo High Protein Supplement powder. I do not have a box at the moment to check the recommended amount to use in place of the cereal.

Sustagen is a Mead Johnson product produced for the Australian market. It is similar to, but not exactly the same formulation, as Boost sold here) You might be able to buy 1 can but I think is is generally sold in a 6 pack - a lot to buy for 6 tsp that you need for a recipe that makes at least 8 cups of the nectar that you will serve 1 tsp daily per glider. The vitamins in the Wombaroo High Protein Supplement probably make the Sustagen unnecessary anyway.

Recipe for nectar makes at least 600 glider portions. (1800 ml honey and water divided by 3 ml/tsp = 600 tsp)
Recipe could be reduced to 150 mg water, 150 ml honey, 1 egg, 25 g high protein baby cereal and 1 tsp Sustagen. This would make at least 100 glider servings or enough to feed 8 gliders for 2 weeks.

Given that most folks in the glider community are looking for 1) easy to prepare and store 2)easy to find ingredients and 3) most owners in this community are preparing food for 2 to 20 gliders - the preparation of the Healsville Sancutary Diet is a nutritious choice but not one most of us would find easy to make on a daily basis.

The purchase and storage of fly pupae alone would keep me from using this diet.
Posted By: Akane

Re: Australia's Healesville Sanctuary Diet - 05/17/10 10:55 PM

The brand of dog food by itself would turn me off. I don't think that much grain and questionable quality of ingredients should be fed to sugar gliders or most any animal. Chickens and rodents are the only critters I know that do well on grains. The rest benefit from a grain free diet. Then like I said the quality of ingredients. I might use something like Taste of the wild, evo, or BG(before grain) but not mid to low grade over priced foods like eukanuba.

I'd also want to know what fruits and what sprouts. There's a huge difference in various ones. You could really throw the Ca:P ratio off using common things in the US instead of what they use in Australia. Corn is also a questionable vegetable. I know it's used in a lot of sugar glider diets but those diets are formulated to be balanced by it. Without a diet that balances the corn well it really is an incomplete food and has a very low Ca:P ratio. It's also poorly digested and one of the main cause of allergies in many of our pets. Again while I know it's used in several approved diets I avoid feeding it to any of my animals.
Posted By: Marz

Re: Australia's Healesville Sanctuary Diet - 05/18/10 08:27 PM

Originally Posted By: OtteMom




Here is the recipe as posted recently on Glider Gossip by Jett, a member who lives in Australia.


Healesville Sanctuary do not publish their diet sheets on the internet so anything printed is usually either very dated or inaccurate. This one is an old diet circa prior to 2005.There is another one somewhere circulating is newer with less eggs, less honey, different supplement. Their disclaimer on their diet sheets say the documents are under constant review and are modified continuously. This is because of the continuing nutrition/heath care research on all their wildlife.



Originally Posted By: OtteMom


High Protein Baby Cereal is not sold in the US.


High Protein Baby cereal is a proprietary brand name of the Heinz company. This has been a misnomer for many years, and whilst the protein is high, it is not significantly higher than some other baby cereals on the market. This is why when Heinz discontinued the High Protein Baby cereal in Australia (due to dwindling sales as new age mothers prefer the rice/organic cereals these days), Australian glider owners/zoos etc didn't go into a panic. They swapped over or continued to use a different brand of similar cereal.

Originally Posted By: OtteMom
Sustagen is a Mead Johnson product produced for the Australian market. It is similar to, but not exactly the same formulation, as Boost sold here) You might be able to buy 1 can but I think is is generally sold in a 6 pack - a lot to buy for 6 tsp that you need for a recipe that makes at least 8 cups of the nectar that you will serve 1 tsp daily per glider.

Sustagen was originally trademarked under Mead and Johnson but it is now owned by Nestle and it is the powdered Hospital Formula that is used. Boost High Protein Powder is the Nestle owned equivilant of Sustagen in the US. They did not market it there as Sustagen due to trademark laws or so I am told by Nestle Nutriton here in Australia.I was told it is same powder but tweaked slightly for the US Market. Whilst some compositions are slightly changed, again not significantly so.

However, sustagen is part of the old Healesville Diet and not the latest version. They streamlined this aspect of the diet as the artificial nectar mix is fed to other animals at the sanctuary and they needed to make it acceptable across the board.


Originally Posted By: OtteMom

The purchase and storage of fly pupae alone would keep me from using this diet.

You can buy dried powdered fly pupae in US


Originally Posted By: Akane
The brand of dog food by itself would turn me off. I don't think that much grain and questionable quality of ingredients should be fed to sugar gliders or most any animal. Chickens and rodents are the only critters I know that do well on grains. The rest benefit from a grain free diet. Then like I said the quality of ingredients. I might use something like Taste of the wild, evo, or BG(before grain) but not mid to low grade over priced foods like eukanuba.


As noted above this is an old diet and I'm not even sure they ever used Eukanuba. I know they certainly do not now and what they use contains no corn or corn fillers. However, you also have to remember a couple of things.
1. Ingredients of dog food do vary depending on standards from country to country.

2. In the case of Healesville diet, the current suggested offering is one piece of chow per glider per day. Now this is not normal dog sized chow.. it's about the third of a size of an almond. Tiny! It is mostly for mainitaining dental and gum health. It's definitely not ad lib and left in the cage for snacks.

Now a bit of a background on Healesville Sanctuary. It was officially opened to the public in 1934 (celebrating 75 years next week!) and they have had gliders from the start. Wild gliders live in the grounds and surrounding bushland.

Over the years, it has become a research centre for australian wildlife and they built a wildlife hospital on the premises. It is not just a nice place for the public to go and visit. The research, care and nutrition of each species is under close scrutiny 24/7. Each animal is microchipped to enable proper identification and they are regularly weighed and checked. Their diets are always under review and tweaked if necessary. The vets at the sanctuary hospital do regular health checks on the gliders but they have not experienced any health issues. They say the only time they get to actually treat a glider other than regular health checks, are wild ones that are brought in injured.

Whilst I can agree it might be difficult for US owners to find insects and flora, I do not understand why the artificial nectar mix component of any diet has to be complicated and why it ever became that way. There are reasons why some things being offered in the US are not offered here. Anyone ever stop to wonder why Healesville never progressed past a basic eggs/honey/water/cereal type mix for the artifical nectar mix? Food for thought.

By the way I am not advocating people to use the Healesville diet either. This is just a post to provide information here.
Posted By: SariYappa

Re: Australia's Healesville Sanctuary Diet - 05/18/10 08:52 PM

Thanks for the info Marz.
I am wondering if you have a most recent copy (or do you know the ingredients of) this diet currently? If so, would you be willing to share it in simple terms, in a US version?

This may be asking a bit much, and I understand if it cannot be done.

Thanks for the consideration. hug2
Posted By: wclanton423

Re: Australia's Healesville Sanctuary Diet - 05/18/10 08:53 PM

Marz, I tried to PM you but you're over your limit. Out of curiosity, what do you feed your gliders since you are in Australia?
Posted By: Marz

Re: Australia's Healesville Sanctuary Diet - 05/18/10 09:01 PM

Originally Posted By: SariYappa
Thanks for the info Marz.
I am wondering if you have a most recent copy (or do you know the ingredients of) this diet currently? If so, would you be willing to share it in simple terms, in a US version?

This may be asking a bit much, and I understand if it cannot be done.

Thanks for the consideration. hug2


Actually I don't have a copy of the latest version. I was told by one the glider keepers that the honey was reduced slightly and more vegetation offered. As I already feed a reduced honey amount and way more vegetation that the Healesville diet says, I was quite pleased by this change.
Posted By: Marz

Re: Australia's Healesville Sanctuary Diet - 05/18/10 09:12 PM

Originally Posted By: wclanton423
Marz, I tried to PM you but you're over your limit. Out of curiosity, what do you feed your gliders since you are in Australia?


Not sure why I'm over the limit..it says 92/100 so maybe I'm too close.

I feed generally Healesville diet with a couple of tweaks at the suggestion of two former Healesville vets one of which is a published author on wildlife/exotic nutrition.

I also make my own pet loaf (pet loaf is suggested by Healesville) incorporating some native foods that gliders would find in the wild. With the nectar mix, it vies to be the most popular item on their menu each night.

My gliders also catch their own bugs and I offer them browse with blossoms/lerps/manna and insects within smile
Posted By: JillMarie

Re: Australia's Healesville Sanctuary Diet - 05/18/10 10:47 PM

thanks Marz for the info!
Posted By: the gliders angel

Re: Australia's Healesville Sanctuary Diet - 05/19/10 04:42 AM

i use alot of green veggies too incliding bok choy kale other greens and see a huge improvement in my gliders. what is the loaf consist of?
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Australia's Healesville Sanctuary Diet - 06/14/10 12:44 PM

I have been away for a while. This is all so interesting!
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Australia's Healesville Sanctuary Diet - 06/14/10 01:25 PM

Yeah Marz always has great information to share and when he chimes in people listen. Were are always happy when Marz shares info with us. smile
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