Sugar Glider Diet

One of the many issues that the glider community is still trying to answer up to this day is the right diet of sugar gliders. Due to them being exotic, a lot of people found it difficult to imitate their diet in the wild. Though hard, vets, researchers and dedicated owners still managed to create diet recipes that will substitute the natural diet of these little critters. These diets, over the years, have proven their worth and maintained healthy gliders.

What are the benefits of putting your gliders into a good diet?

  • shiny and good fur
  • no fur staining and gliders will maintain their natural color
  • maintains the overall wellness of the pet
  • production of healthy joeys

One important fact about a Glider's diet:

  • a 2:1 Calcium to phosporous ratio must be maintained

Please note that Glider's have different reactions to every diet. Some may do well on this diet and some would not. Take time to identify what kind of diet is best for your pet and of course, consult your vet first.

Some of these diets may prove to be impractical to make since majority of the ingredients can only be found in the US or Australia, hence, I have included the Overseas BML diet which can really be helpful to our friends residing outside the US Continent. On the other hand, I am personally feeding my babies the Ensure or Darcy's diet which I really found practical as the ingredients are readily available here in the Philippines and my gliders are doing well with it. For more details on this diet, please read one of the tabs below or go to Case Studies page.

The Ensure Diet or as it is commonly called the Darcy's diet, was originally developed by Donna Fritz and her vets for her sick glider named Lord Darcy. Darcy was diagnosed to be suffering from Lymphoma cancer and was rapidly loosing weight, thus, the Ensure diet was developed. And it had done good to Darcy. He had gain weight and even outlived some of his healthy contemporaries. Though the Ensure diet is a very promising one, it is still not as popular as BML or HPW. On one side of the coin, the Ensure diet should not be fed to already healthy gliders and some cases have shown that it produces fluffy gliders. On the other side, however, the Ensure diet have been used by other owners and breeders and found that their gliders are really doing well on it. Even one zoo in Australia have used the diet in their own gliders for 20 years and are doing okay with it. (For further details on this diet, you can always visit this site Glidercentral).

Please note that Ensure is the American version of the diet whereas, it is already known as Sustagen in European countries.

How to prepare this diet?

You will need:

250 mL Ensure Can Any flavor as long as it is NOT chocolate (You can buy this at any Drugstore or at your own grocery)
250 mg Any human grade Calcium carbonate w/out added minerals (Also available at any Drugstore. I use Tums Brand any flavor except mint and crushed 1 and 1/4 tablet of it)

1 TBSP Assorted Veggies (I usually use Carrots, Cucumber, pechay, peas, and baguio spinach for this)

1 TBSP Assorted Fruits (I usually use papaya, melon cantaloupe, mango, and apple for this one)

1 TBSP Protein (I usually use superworms, yogurt (Nido or Nestle Brand), scrambled eggs, chicken)

Method of preparation:

As mentioned above, the 250 mg Calcium carbonate must be crushed into a very fine powder. The calcium carbonate will then be mixed with the Ensure Health Drink by shaking. After everything has been mixed well, pour into ice cube trays while ensuring that each cube measures to be 1 TBSP. Freeze the ice cube trays and once the Ensure has been frozen, transfer it into ziplock freezer bags to avoid freezer burn. Then each night, take 1 Ensure cube for 1 gider and 2 for 2 gliders and so forth and so on.

Nightly rations for ONE GLIDER should be:

1 tbsp or cube Ensure with calcium carbonate added

1 tbsp Assorted Fruits

1 TBSP Assorted Veggies

1 TBSP Protein (It's alright if you'll only feed them one kind of protein every night)

Important points to remember while following this diet:

  1. Only follow the recommended amount of calcium carbonate to be added to the Ensure Health Drink. I am using the TUMS Brand and though each tablet is 500 mg, it only contains 200 mg of Elemental calcium in it so I have to use 1 and 1/4 tablet of the vitamin.
  2. Calcium citrate could also be used as a substitute for the Calcium carbonate
  3. Always make sure that when purchasing Calcium carbonate or calcium citrate tablets, it should have no other added minerals as the Ensure is already loaded with lots of it.
  4. Choose only fruits that have a high calcium and low phosphorous and oxalate contents.
  5. Also follow number four when choosing your veggies

Other notes:

  1. The way how you prepare your veggies and fruits is definitely up to you. I personally prepare mine by mixing all the fruits in a blender, make it into a smoothie and pour it into ice cube trays. I found my babies to be eating well the fruits when it's all juiced up and they only have to slurp it all.
  2. My veggies are also blended and poured into ice cubes. The only difference in this one is I mixed the veggie smoothie with honey coz mine prefers it that way. The honey masks the bitter tang of the spinach in it.
  3. The protein I'm feeding to my babies are rotated every other night.
  4. I am using a 2 divisioned food dish for my babies. One division is for the protein while the other division is for the ensure, the veggies and fruits. Yes, you read it right, I am mixing the Ensure, the veggies and the fruits altogether. I have noticed that in this way, my babies always lick their bowls clean.
  5. Sometimes, my babies had just their days like they won't eat a thing. Or even if they will, they will just taste a little tiny bit of their meal. So in order to resolve this issue and to save the Ensure, I sometimes give them a half of everything at night and the other half will be given to them for breakfast.
  6. I am spending around PhP 500- 600.00 for my 2 gliders' diet every month. This already includes the fruits, the Ensure, the calcium carbonate , the veggies and the protein.
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