Why limit their diet so much?

Posted By: Anonymous

Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 03:41 AM

Just a question about something I hear from people so often that simply doesn't make sense to me. Everyone seems to promote a particular diet, ex. leadbeaters, and tells you to give them only what's in that diet and nothing else.

Well, some issues with the leadbeaters is there are several versions of it out there, and every person that has a version tells you that you MUST use that version, and half of the ingredients for some of them they don't even sell any longer in the US! One of those being "high protein baby cereal", another I believe is some kind of baby yogurt.

So, I use a highly suggested modified leadbeaters which he seems to have taken a liking to. That combined with the vitamin additives in it seems to be well more than a healthy diet for him along with his mealworms and fruits n veggies.

However, when I mention to people that I also supply him with a 50/50 water nectar mix on top of regular water, and give him occasional other things to try and eat, people say that the diet meal is all he needs, and to not give him anything else. Well, that's the part that just doesn't make sense to me. Here's why...

How would you like it if some higher beings took care of you and fed you, and they had a "diet" that they thought would provide you with optimum nutrition. Now, say you had to eat that same food, every single day of your life! You can't deny that you would eventually get sick of it. It's like making us eat power bars (leadbeaters) and chicken (mealies) every single meal, along with some fruits and veggies. Eventually, it would drive anyone nuts!

Additionally, though the diet plans are proven to be highly nutritional, all humans, animals, etc. have different nutritional requirements depending on metabolism, vitamin deficiencies (primarily due to inneficient absorption of those nutrients), and other numerous factors. On that premise, there is no one diet that would be optimal for all sugar gliders.

I just want my little man to be as happy as possible, and by giving him a variety, I feel it broadens his nutritional spectrum, keeps him from getting sick of the same meals, and most importantly, gives him something to look forward to (that is, not having the same food over and over).

If anyone has good justification as to why the diet should not be broadened, please let me know. I'm just looking at things through the eyes of a personal trainer, and it's not making sense to me why we would want to limit their intake so much? Thanks.
Posted By: Xglider

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 03:52 AM

The easy answer to not broadening a diet is that many of us do not truly understand the nutritional value of foods…. And the translation to what that means for our gliders…

Table scraps can be feed to a pet … be it glider, dog, cat, or other… but it does not mean that the foods will be meeting the dietary needs of the animal… the same way a human doctor will tell you to error on the side of caution….
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 04:02 AM

Can't answer you specific question as to why not expand on that particular diet, other than it's not recommended. Can suggest that if its variety you want to give your suggie, there's the option of going with the suncoast diet which does offer a larger variety of meals (different foods on each day of week) and still meets all nutritional needs.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 04:26 AM

Basically when altering components of any proven diet, it throws the balance of the diet off, I'm sure someone will be along soon that can go way into detail, but for the most part these are proven over years of resarch and altering any of them consequently can cause more harm than good.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 04:30 AM

You can add variety to any diet. Just change up the types of fruits and veggies. Feed it with scrambled eggs one day, chicken another day, and mealies another day. I think this is plenty of variety. You can give them the nectar mix you were talking about. You might not need to give it to them everyday, just alternate. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Badgersmommy

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 05:16 AM

Example: Diabetic diet-eat what's on the "menu" ...feel good Stray with Chocolate cake...get sick. I'm a diabetic and have a very hard time as my diabetes is cannot be, so it is life threatening. Since our gliders can't cook their own dinner...Badger does WE as their slaves have to make sure they get properly fed.

Now take Badger, he would peas, corn and anything WE are eating if it was up to him. However, he would get sick eventually and could get disease and or worse. It's my job to make sure his diet is limited so he doesn't get TOO picky. Heck, people can't figure out what to eat anymore with all the different types of food we have now..and restaurants. Once you get an animal to eating all kinds of things, you'll never know why he's NOT eating or what he wants eventually. They get finicky, lose weight, get sick..etc.

On the other hand, I do give my glider kids a variety within the same food groups they are supposed to have and alternate. They are on the ZooKeeper's, get fruits, veggies, yogurt, baby treats, egg, chicken, turkey, mealies..etc. I also give them yogurt drops sparingly and they all love Cheerios on a ribbon for a special treat. I am always looking for "new" things just in case they decide they don't like a certain thing anymore.

When I have pork chops or other white meat ...I have let Badger have a teensy piece..he goes nuts..."eats" it then spits out the meat..LOL I guess he gets the juice out. I also give my kids Gliderade once a week. I also buy the nectars from Mexico and share with them.

What I'm getting at is, IMO, it's best to stick with a "diet" that provides the proper nutrition and the Ca:P ratio...and sometimes giving them a special tiny treat won't hurt. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Badgersmommy

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 05:19 AM

I have to comment on the "Higher beings feeding us" We have a higher being that does..we do have variety. However, it's man that manufactured the "junk" food we are addicted to..and thus makes us sick. LOL (sorry, had to say it) and NO, you CANNOT have my fries!!
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 06:14 AM

Ok, so I'm probably going to get fussed at for this BUT...

I don't understand the ratio thing in the first place especially when you wake up the next day and your gliders have left a lot untouched.

Flo & Eddy went to the vet a couple of Saturdays ago to get their manicure. The vet has seen all of our exotics (rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils...) and he asked me, "What are you feeding them?"

My answer was in the form of a question, "Baby food chicken, turkey or beef, baby food applesauce, pears or other fruits, they get the same salad stuff my piggies get, I sprinkle calcium on the meats, mealworms, crickets from time to time, monkey biscuits from time to time and glideraide once or twice a week."

His question, "Are they gut loaded mealworms?" I said yes. He said my diet for them was perfect and also mentioned all the gliders that come in with seizures because people think they only eat vegetables and fruits.

So I'm not giving them a particular set diet (1) they won't eat it (2) I believe I'm balancing their diet well with what I'm using, now verified by my vet.

They get a variety. One week will be chicken baby food with applesauce laced in it, the next could be turkey with yogurt laced in it.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 06:29 AM

Well, I appreciate all the feedback so far on this matter. As far as what I seem to get, as long as they get a well balanced diet (IF someone knows how to make one themselves), they'll be fine. Saying as through my personal training studies I have extensively studied diet and nutrition, knowing what's in what foods is easy, and making a well-rounded diet seems like what is important for these guys.

Though the primary meals I give him (and them when I find him a little girlfried) will be the leadbeaters, I'll be sure to keep mixing things up for variety. Some of you did seem to think that by a variety I was including junk food, which I wasn't. I also know to keep his diet lowfat. So far, he seems to be in great health, so I don't see much of a concern unless there seems to be some hard backing as to them not having a consistent diet.

About the comment: "However, it's man that manufactured the 'junk' food we are addicted to..and thus makes us sick", you're forgetting WHO supplied us with the ability to manufacture our junk food, and additionally who made the resources available to make junk food. Know I'm jumping totally off topic, but just makes me laugh when people act like nature was perfect and man destroyed it. Not everything found in nature is healthy for us either, so even things that aren't manufactured can be toxic or unhealthy. You go around eating all of natures berries off trees and bushes? Sure the answer is no there, cause otherwise you'd most likely not be around to talk about it. The important thing is knowing better, which burger king fanatics and the like fail to do. It's not addiction, it's gluttony.
Posted By: Badgersmommy

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 06:44 AM

ummm...that was meant to be funny..haha? I think too many deep things as it is. I realize everything you are saying..but I was just joking around. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Badger literally snatched a french fry out of my hand long time ago and RAN across the kitchen table with it. I went to get it back, and he was like NO WAY! I'TS MINE MINE MINE!! I panicked, got it back (most of it) but it bout broke my heart the way he looked at me. He REALLY loved that fry! LOL That's the reason I mentioned the fries in the first place. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/roflmao.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/roflmao.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/roflmao.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Badgersmommy

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 06:47 AM

oh and..I'm NOT addicted to fries...but Chocolate? THAT'S another story! and ...I don't like Burger King...never have..LOL
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 07:30 AM

I knew you were joking around with the comment, and please don't take what I wrote offensively at all. Just had to point out that it's hard to point the finger about who's really to blame for bad foods.

As sad as it is though, people give their pets the worst things sometimes. The thing that annoys me most is when people get their pets high or drunk for their own amusement.

Anyway, as far as junk food, not sure how much of this is applicable to sugar gliders with their inability to metabolize fat (or whatever their fat retention issue is), but for people, it's actually good to eat a little junk food once or twice a week to boost up the metabolism. Too many foods low in fat will actually slow your metabolism down, leaving you with less energy.

Poor little badger and his fry. I totally visualized what you described and it just made me burst out laughing. Thanks for ending my night with a good laugh.
Posted By: Dancing

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 07:38 AM

The original Leadbeater's mix that you mentioned that calls for the "high protien baby cereal" is the diet fed to the gliders in the zoos in Austraila. High protien baby cereal is not available in the US because it is unhealthy for human babies. That is why Bourbon spent so much time and resources working with vets and such and developed the BML, Bourbon's Modified Leadbeaters. This diet takes in to consideration much more then just the calcium to phophrous ratio but also the other nutrients found within the diet and how they act/react to each other. With the BML diet, you can offer variety in the fruits and vegies you feed. You can offer different protiens such as eggs, chicken, assorted bugs, etc. Yogurt is a source of protien, calcium and also has the good bacteria that is found within the digestive system and helps gliders (and humans) maintain a healthy balance of that bacteria. The baby yogurt in the BML is still available. It is actually half yogurt and half juice and can be found with the baby food at most grocery stores. (Stuff tastes Nasty though in my opinion!)

One of the largest problems found in offering to many choices is the gliders will often become picky and not eat the things they should to maintain a healthy balanced diet. This is not to say that the occasional small peice of french fry is going to hurt your glider and treats are a good part of having a happy glider but you don't want your human children to have access to that pumpkin filled with holloween candy all year round when ever they want it. They will go for the candy before they go for the carrots (some kids are exceptions to this). Treats are meant to be just that, treats and should be given in moderation.

When looking at any diet, look beyond what is on the table each night and look at what is on the menu for the week. This is where the balance should come from.

To many people get to thinking that the same food every night has to be boring for their gliders and they start mixing things up a bit. The problem with doing that is most people do not have a clue as to which nutrients will prevent the absorption of calcium and which have to much potasium and which have to much iron etc... It does no good to feed an item high in calcium if you also feeding something that will prevent the gliders from absorbing that calcium.

The diets that are recognized, Suncoast, BML, etc...have been in use for years and generation after generation and have proven over the years to provide balanced nutrition for healthy gliders.

Now I'm guilty of not giving the "diet" each night. For example, tonight they are getting scrambled eggs instead of BML. One, because I am out of BML and two, they love their eggs so tonight is a treat night. It balances out over the week though.

Also, as smart as these little ones are, they don't understand calcium:phophrous ratio either. It is our job as their keepers to make sure the proper nutrition is provided to them and to keep them from eating to much "candy" and getting sick. We often put our human emotions on these little ones because they are very emotional animals. But they still need us to make sure they stay healthy and the best way we can do that is through the diet we feed.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 06:25 PM

I too have a hard time getting Boo to eat her food...For one, I think that when I got her I did not know about the diets, until I started reading and studying and she got used to the food that I had feed her.....I tried the tough love for three days and she wouldn't eat anything...

The question that I have and really don't understand is that I give "Boo" the same thing that is in BML, except that it is not mixed together, on different nights...."Why does it have to be all mixed up, if they eat it during the week"..

I cannot stand to see her upset or hungry, because me as a parent to her I need to focus on her needs.....She gets vitamins and calcium supplements....She also went to the vet yesterday and she said Boo was in great health...
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 06:55 PM

If Boo is getting it through out the week then he is not getting what he really needs. The BML is fed every night, so they are getting all that yummy healthy stuff every nigh all mixed in together. IT would be like saying to you... you can have water today, chicken tomorrow, a fruit the next, a veggie the day after that and then bread/grain the last day and then calling that a complete diet because you are eventually getting everything that is need in a weeks worth of time.
If he doesn't like BML there are other diets out there that are just as good. BML is not the "Perfect Diet" for gliders, it is just a really good one like the suncoast and some other diets.

There is a seller around here who tells people to feed their gliders hotdogs and Arbys and when the people ask us why they can't eat it when their gliders LOVE that stuff we simply tell them, you can feed your glider what ever you want, but if you want your glider to live a long healthy life with you then you will need to feed them a healthy proven diet. Plain and simple. You want what is best for the glider. Now if you have triaing in nurtion and understand everything a glider needs then go ahead and make a diet that works for your glider, but for those that don't know the first thing about diets please do not think thta just because they will eat it (like hot dogs, Arbys, fatty foods etc..) that it means it is healthy for them.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 07:23 PM

Agreed, Sil!

Well, to answer the question in a nutshell, gliders are considered specialized feeders (kind of like ant-eaters, koalas, pandas, etc) and they feed on a very specific set of flora and fauna in a relatively enclosed region (i.e. Australia and surrounding islands).

They are not like humans, bears, or rats in that they can tolerate a very broad range of food stuffs and be able to properly digest, process, and absorb the needed nutrients while easily eliminating any excess nutrients and materials. In other words, gliders aren't metabolically versatile when it comes to adverse concentrations of nutrients, since their digestive systems are so specialized at digesting specific food stuffs, namely exudates like acacia gum, manna, saps, and eucalypt botanicals, all of which requires special microbiota in their gut to digest (along with eating specific insects, etc).

For instance, gliders seem to have trouble eliminating iron and it ends up sitting in the liver which typically leads to liver dysfunctions in gliders when the diet is rather high in iron. Why this is the case, remains a mystery, which brings me to my next point...

The second reason why it's important to follow the proven diets is because frankly a lot remains a mystery with regards to glider nutrition. There's plenty of stuff we still don't know and have yet to understand fully even on a theoretical level. Why can't gliders eliminate high amounts of iron like humans can? Why must we continually super pump the gliders diets with extreme levels of calcium carbonate in order to prevent Hind Leg Paralysis (HLP)? Why can't they simply abosrb calcium readily with minimal cal supplimentation?

The diets that are designed are made specific and quite user friendly so that even the average North American city dweller cannot make a mistake, while ensuring their pet gliders a complete glider nutrition. The concentrations of materials/nutrients are fixated so you don't overdose or underdose the animals on anything, and it's desgined to NUTRITIONALLY substitute what gliders eat in the wild and what their digestive systems are designed to eat in the wild (all those exotic botanicals + Oceana insects). The point is, if you go with what works and what has worked with other people, then it's probably a better choice than a diet that you've just designed yourself.

Also, I feel following several of the proven diets is not limiting at all (I'd reccomend BML, Big_Ern's diet, Darcy's, or Suncoast, or even one that Pockets feeds involving native flora and fauna, or any of those recommended on the GC links). I find BML, for instance, allows for a broad range of fruits and veggies to choose from (though there are some key fruits and veggies you may wanna keep from feeding regularly). If variety is the issue, then by all means, give them a broad array of fruits and veggies (or whatever extra the diet suggests). In terms of a protein source, there's several to choose from and even within the realm of insects can you choose from several different types. Try Roaches! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> If you want to feed the glider variety then feed the variety to the bugs when you gutload them and all of it (bugs and nutrients) will end up in your glider in the end. RULE OF THUMB: A glider is what its food eats!

Hope this may have helped. The reason the designed diets are out there is because it has taken many generations of gliders (getting ill, recouperatins, doing well and yes dying) to test, modify, and fine tune the diets to what they are now. Not following them would make all that work and all those gliders' lives be in vain.

[:"green"]The point is: Gliders are biologically designed to feed from a limited set of food stuffs (and have simply evolved this way over millions and millions of years), so it would be understandable then that they are sensitive to foreign diets, and since for the most part we here aren't able to give them the native plants and insects that they eat in their native homeland, the rather fixated (though they aren't really entirely fixated) or limited (as used in the topic of this thread) diets are ones that have shown to healthily sustain the gliders through life normally.[/]

Sorry... that's quite the nutshell... I am a BIG nut! LOL. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/roflmao.gif" alt="" />

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 07:59 PM

I have tried the other diets...ZooKeepers, BML, and Glider Complete...What I was trying to say is it too late to switch her foods...when she is used to one......Is it harmful to keep switching different ones to trying to get the right one?

At night maybe I do give her too much variety.....Example: Baby chicken Food, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans and vegetable
and Her Fruit.....She Pretty much eats all but the the fruit.....She is not a fruit eater....Her vitamins are put in that.....The next night she might have Chicken, Eggs,...etc....

I know that the diets are proven, and for a reason....But what happens when you just cannot get them to eat them...I never give her junk food or table scraps...She also has mealworms and Crickets and Glideraide(she hates)....She eats yogurt...and I am constantly trying to make sure she does have her proper nutrients...

I am not trying to bash diets or say that I do not believe in them.....I have altered her BML serveral times, trying to get her to eat...

But when you can't get them to eat it.....What do you do....You try and keep trying to give her the nutrients and vitamins from the sources that you can
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 08:07 PM

Have you tried Darcy's or Big_ern's diet perhaps? I'm sure you'll find one that the gliders will just love! Hang in there! Keep on trying.

Sometimes, it takes awhile for the glider to warm up to new diets, so if you stay with a diet for about a week, you'll be able to judge fairly if they don't like it or not.

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 11/30/05 08:21 PM

sudden switches of a diet can cause diahrea until their system gets used to the new foods, but I don't think there is any long term side effects from switching diets.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 12/01/05 07:42 AM

Wow, Mikey Bustos, you sure know your gliders, eh? Thanks for the info. So, on the bml, I can vary up the protein I give him with it, substituting his mealworms for eggs, chicken, etc, and varying his fruits and veggies, eh? I thought that on the bml, they were supposed to only be getting mealworms or crickets as an extra protein source? If the protein can be pretty much any source that's ok for them, then that will allow a decent amount of healthy diversity, and I can definitely make that work. Still waiting on the little man to start liking his fruits and veggies, but he's still just a baby (4 months).

As for a more specific answer to that question about "Boo", the problem with spreading out the bml foods over the course of a week is that our bodies get certain nutrients from certain foods. A healthy meal consists of protein, carbs, and a reasonable amount of fat. If one night he only gets protein, and another he only gets carbs, that's just not healthy. Each one is used for a specific purpose in our bodies, and can't be used for other purposes. Another issue with restricting what is given each night is that obviously they get certain nutrients from certain foods, each foods containing different nutrients. Now, many vitamins and minerals are filtered out of our systems in about 48 hours, and some in as little as 12. Now, though I clearly don't know nearly as much as "Mikey" on the subject, common sense at this point should indicate that sugar gliders bodies will function similarly. Hence, he'll only have a small portion of the nutrients he needs at any given time, and will be lacking in others.

Though I do know a lot about nutrition, seems I do have a lot to learn about sugar glider nutrition. At this point, as long as with the bml diet you can vary the protein sources (mealies, eggs, chicken, etc.), along with the fruits and veggies, I think that will work for both me and him.

I will have to try to find that gerber yogurt/juice mix this weekend, cause I think that's the only thing I'm missing at this point, and my portions might be off a bit from the bml too, but I don't think it's that dramatic as to be a problem till I make the next batch.

Oh, one more question. Instead of getting the "rep-cal" and "herptivite", I actually got two vitamin complexes from a company called "exotic nutrition" that was specifically made for sugar gliders. One was a calcium supplement (Glider-Cal), the other a vitamin complex (Glider Booster). It said to use 1/2 tsp of each for 1 pound of food (which I added to the leadbeaters I made that was about 1 lb). Does anyone know how this stuff rates compared to the more popular rep-cal and herptivite? The person in the store had told me this is better for them since it's specifically made for them, but wanted to check and make sure this company knows it's stuff. The only thing that made me wary is that the Glider Booster has phosphorous in it, which I thought they were supposed to avoid for the most part? Well, if anyone knows about these supplements and how good they are, please let me know. Thanks.
Posted By: Dancing

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 12/01/05 07:50 AM

Yes, the Glider-Cal and GliderBooster are well known and work fine for some diets. The problem with using those with the BML is the BML was formulated to use the Rep-cal and Herptivite and the combination amounts of the different ingredients that they have. Usint Glider-Cal and Glider Booster may not have the same amounts of the same ingredients, thereby throwing off the over all ratio of the diet.

If you can not find the yogurt juice, you can use 1/2 plain yogurt and 1/2 apple juice instead.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Why limit their diet so much? - 12/01/05 08:30 AM

</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
...sure know your gliders, eh?
... I will have to try to find that gerber yogurt/juice mix this weekend, cause I think that's the only thing I'm missing at this point...

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

You said "eh" so I'm assuming you're probably Canadian. LOL.

In which case, I'm not sure if they have the yogurt juice here in Canada. I can't seem to find it anywhere! So take Dancing's suggestion and use yogurt and juice instead. It's what I do.

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