There are many reasons as to why the mother rejects her joeys. One of the biggest problems is the milk supply being short. Babies are excessively hungry and are wanting to continously nurse and the mother becomes frustrated and starts nipping at them. Yeast infections can also can cause nursing to be very painfull...and thus again...out of desperation...mom will result to nipping the wee ones. For simple nicks or abrasions...Neosporin can be applied,small amount to wound. Hold baby for about 10 min to let the ointment asorb...as once returned...the parents will lick it off. Apply ever four hours. For wounds that are deep...vet care is needed ASAP for prevention of a possible systemic bacterial infection.
Supplies to keep on hand:
1) Reg. BML with no egg shells blended Ultra Smooth.
2) *Puppy Milk Replacer(powdered form or premixed formula)
3) 1 French Cather size #5 cut till 2" in length
4) 6-8 1 ml insuling syringes
6) Small aquarium PVC wire cover/Critter Keeper with lid
7) Small heating pad
8) Small bag of Aspen litter
9) Box of Kleenex
*Do Not use Kitten Replacer. Fat content is very high and causes diarreah in the babies and thus they die. Use only Puppy Replacer or Wombaroo Supplement. ============================================================
How do I know if there is milk in the tummies..........
Simple...hold the wee one up to a bright light. In the center of the abdomen and usally slightly to the left...one will see a white patch under the transulant skin. This is the tummy filled with milk. If no white patch...tummy is empty. Babies who have gone a lengthy period without being fed...will appear to be shriveled and this is from dehydration. A vet usually will be needed to sub q the little one and will aid in giving baby a jump start. If not severly dehydrated...feed .20 ml of water with a supplemental feeding within a half hour.
is to hand feed the little ones every four hours...thus giving mom a break from them.
Sometimes...supplementing is all that is needed for a couple of weeks till moms milk supply catches up with the babies. Babies will not be starving...and thus the nipping should cease. Outside of supplementing every four hours...mom and dad are able to care for the little ones on their own which is much easier on the care giver.
baby must be kept warm at all times in order to digest his food. Baby that is cold is unable to eat. Best way to keep baby warm is in a pouch inside of one's shirt or wrapped in Kleenex and stuffed in a bra. Baby will start to move around in two hours which is a reminder to feed. A reg. aquarium can be set up and lined with aspen. Put a heating pad on one end and set on low. After a half hour or so...check to see how warm the aspen is about two inches down....if cold then adjust the heating pad. Personally, I use a small reptile heating pad that is attached on the underside and on one end of the aquarium. Place the baby in a pouch and then use about 3-4 inches of fleece squares (6" x 6") under it so that the baby is away from direct heat and can find his own comfort level. This is to prevent the baby from being too hot. With a heavy wire top...one can keep a baby glider in this setup for six weeks and it is very safe. Once weaned...baby can be moved to a cage area for more room and climbing abilities.
What to feed?
I have found that the reg. BML mix if blended ultra smooth(no egg shells) mixed with a little bit of puppy milk replacer works well for feeding the just oop. joey. One tablespoon of BML mixed with one teaspoon of premixed puppy milk(vet carries milk replacer for puppies as well as most pet stores such as PetCo. and PetSmart and often Wal-Mart). (mix the pupply milk replacer 1 part powdered milk to two parts water)The milk replacer helps with the taste and also helps to thin the BML mix so the consistency is not so thick. Warm in the microwave for about 10 seconds then stir and finger test to be sure mix is not too hot for baby.
How to feed a baby.......
Use a French Cather, size #5 and six 1ml. insuline syringes. These can be purchased from most vets and emer vet clinics if after hours. Can also be purchased for your local EMS station and they call it an IV line without a needle. Snip the cath leaving about two inches or so in length. With baby secured with a Kleenex and his face tipped sort of downwards...this helps to prevent the BML from going up the nose...gently push on the syringe till a small amount of the mix trickles out into the joeys mouth. For some babies..they are a little stubborn at first and a little pressure must be applied inbetween the side of the mouth till the little one opens. Make sure the cath slips over the tongue so you do not aspirate the little one. Feed slowly...as a new joey will eat between .40mg to .60mg of mix. Go slow and let joey rest if having to force feed. The next 24 hours or so will go slow as to feeding as it may take up to 30-45 min for one feeding. After several feedings.....joey usually gets the idea and a baby can be fed in about 15 to 20 min. period. Do not over feed. If nothing else..it is better to underfeed as joey will want to eat sooner and no harm has been done. Overfeed...and you run the risk of rupturing the stomach which is instant death for the little one. If tummy becomes bloated...or appears to be round...then skip a feeding.
Baby will have to feed every four - six hours if supplementing and every 2 hours if pulled round the clock for a min of three weeks. Baby must be stimulated to potty at least twice a day. A Q-tip moistened with warm water helps. Stroke lightly the cloacal aperture in a circular motion till baby pottys. If stool is small and dry...follow feeding with .20 ml. of water after every other feeding. At three weeks opp. one should be able to feed every four hours. By five weeks oop. baby then is encouraged to go to a food dish as the night time feedings are discontinued and only done during the daytime. At six weeks oop. little one is able to eat and potty on his own.
When deciding which way to feed..Supplement or Pull....weigh the options between the two. Babies always do better if they remain with the parents. They need the nutrients and antibodies that the mother produces in her own milk plus the interaction within the family itself. Babies that are hand pulled require double the time for feeding and also tend to be very small in size. They do catch up in size with babies of their own age but not usually till they are between three and four months oop.
In my opinion, babies should remain within the family unit and supplemented if need be. But remember...to supplement or to pull...it is a big commitment. And if one cannot fullfill it...then it is best not to interfere with what Mother Nature had intended in the first place.
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Aquarium Setup For A Rejected Joey
Put the heating pad on the outside of one end of a 5 gallon glass aquarium.
This is the top view into the aquarium, as you can see, the heating pad is on one end, connected to the outside.
This shows the pouch, stuffed with fleece, and elevated from the heating pad with paper towels and fleece blankets. This allows the joey to get to his own comfort level. Be sure to check frequently on the joey, he should be warm, not hot or cold.
This aquarium has a sliding screen top so that nothing can get into it.
This is a close up of the elevated pouch, stuffed with fleece. You can remove some fleece if the joey is too warm.
A baby gym is added to the aquarium when the joey is 4 weeks old. This will allow him to develop climbing skills until he is able to retain his own body heat and be housed in a regular cage setup.
As the joey begins to become weaned, which is encouraged around 5 weeks OOP, a small dish is added for the baby formula. A small plastic water bottle (not pictured) is added right above the dish. They are added on the side of the aquarium where the screen top closes, the water bottle is hooked over the glass rim.
This is the finished setup.
This is Roscoe Jr. who was an orphan from day 1 OOP. He is pictured at about 5 weeks OOP, playing in his joey formula. I handfed him until he was weaned, and he was then returned to his owner.