Stud service

Just saw my friend’s blog, TruLuvRabbitry and he posted an article on stud service. This reminded me that today, many people have been requesting for female or male sugar gliders for stud service or borrow breeding. Le me remind you that for sugar gliders, stud service is something cruel and shouldn’t be done. Why? I will list down the reasons….

Image from www.sugarglider.com

Stud service is normally provided for animals that mate on site when the female is on heat. This is a very common practice among dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, cows, goats…. basically animals that can do their mating business fast with a guarantee result.

With sugar gliders, it is different. For the female sugar glider, you won’t know when she comes on heat because she doesn’t bleed or go through a menstruation cycle like dogs. They do not call for their mates like cats, they do not give off a foul odour like hamsters. Breeding them takes time. From my experience, gliders do not mate at once even when the female is ready or the male is extremely horny.

Gliders will mate if they have bonded together. Look at dogs and cats, they do not need to bond with their mate, they will just hump and get the job done with. For gliders, they need to like each other. Once they are bonded, then will they only start to mate. But how long would that be? It could take from anywhere between 1 month to 1 year….. are you willing to separate from your pet for such a long time all because you wanna gain a joey from the so called “stud service” or “mating service”? And once you separate the gliders, the male or female may start to go into depression, the worst case would be dying from depression because of separation.

Again, people also have forgotten a very crucial point, gliders can fall into depression. Say once the female and male has mated, then that means it was a successful mating….. then what now? The owner of the male takes the male back? Then the female takes care of the joeys? Sugar gliders can fall into a depression, basically the females would be upset from losing it’s partner and it can self mutilate it’s tail or leg or kill or reject the joeys once they are born. Are you willing to risk this?

Some may say I’m wrong because maybe they have tried this mating service before and it worked for them. Well, bravo to you then. I certainly would never want to stress out my gliders. When bringing up joeys, the male and female has to be together. The male helps to babysit and keep the joeys warm as well as keep the female company. They need each other. By separating and introducing new male or females everytime you want to breed your single glider, it would just be too stressful and certainly unhealthy. Sugar gliders do not mate for life, but they do need a companion for life so….. cherish their lives, don’t think about your wants and desires. If you want another joey, just save up on some money and buy one, or get another adult if you want to breed your current glider.

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Homebreeders

I have seen many ads in online classifieds with underage sugar gliders everywhere. The sellers would advertise with the words “Homebred joeys” or “homebreeders”. But are they really homebreeders?

I’m a homebreeder and from what I can see these sellers have 100s of joeys for sale whole year around. A homebreeder normally breed their gliders as a hobby. I have 30 gliders, but then only 10 pairs are breeding and they do not breed frequently because they breed when the time is right. So how on earth do these people have more than 20 joeys each month to sell? This is just a thought for you guys to ponder on.

Many have cheated. On the internet, anyone can sell anything. People these days are very gulible. They would believe what a seller says. “Oh, don’t worry, my joeys are just 2 months old. No problem wan, can eat alreadi”…… Common thing to hear these days.

Do take note of these so called homebreeders. How to know if the person is a homebreeder?

Ask questions. What does he feed his gliders? How long is the gestation period? How long do joeys live in the pouch and how long do they stay out of the pouch? When was the joey weaned? When was it’s OOP date? How many pairs does he have that breeds? What cages does he use? Question on glider sickness, calcium intake, what foods should be given and what should not be given. Normally a true hobbyist would be able to answer all of the questions. I sometimes get confuse with my joeys OOP dates especially when I have so many joeys that OOP during the same month, but I keep a logbook so I would know when and also who has booked them.

Homebreeders are also very concern about their buyers. I would ask alot of questions about the buyer, exchange long emails and answer questions thrown at me. A normal seller would push all these aside of answer in very short answers or give very weird answers.

Anyway, judge them yourself. If possible, view pictures of the joeys. If the joey is an underage joey, then it is definitely from just a commercial seller.

Oh yah, homebreeders also do not put several joeys in 1 cage. I do not take all my joeys and put them in 1 cage or container because it would mean getting the joeys mixed up and stressed up as well.

So becareful when choosing a breeder……

Pairs

This topic came about when I noticed many homebreeders, mainly those that only have 1 pair or 2 pairs of glider, putting up classifieds on the Web to sell their joeys.

What is so wrong about it?

Firstly, they advertise saying they homebreed, then the reason they are selling is coz there will be too many gliders in their home. Come on lah, if you fear that you have too many, then stop breeding and neuter your pet! That’s a lame excuse….

The one that makes me wanna call them up is that they happily say,

” My glider gave birth. Have a male and female joey. Ready for sale. 1 pair RM480″

WOW! RM480 is cheap…. but BIG BIG BIG mistake here…. brother and sister pair? Insane???!!!! Animals do not know brother and sister, if they are related. They would breed for sure and with such a tight and close gene pool, defects may arise in the joeys. This is not healthy at all.

Please be responsible breeders. Understand that animals are not humans. Understand that bad things can happen if the brother and sister joeys fall into the wrong hands. Inbreeding is bad. Even us humans avoid doing it, so animals should to. Don’t be irresponsible.

OMG, my glider is pregnant!!!!

I just got a SMS from someone, asking about what to prepare and what to do if a glider is pregnant. Since it would be quite long to SMS back and may be a bit hard to explain through phone, I thought, might as well I do an entry here.

So, your glider is pregnant? Firstly, the pregnancy or gestation is only 16 days, which means you won’t be able to see a glider is pregnant. The joey is only the size of an apple seed, the female glider’s tummy won’t grow big when pregnant. It’s like when we humans are 2 months pregnant, our tummy looks normal.

When a joey is born, it would travel up to the mother’s pouch. The mother would lick a wet trail to guide the joey in. Once the joey is inside the pouch, it would look for a nipple to nurse on. This is what we call In Pouch. Many make the mistake, saying their glider is pregnant when they see bumps on the tummy but the reality is that the joey is already born, and is nursing in the pouch.

So what to do? I honestly sometimes am a bit disappointed when people get a male and female pair, and have no idea that gliders will readily breed when the time is right. Animals, again, do not have human emotions…. they do not understand what is husband and wife, all they know is male, female, have joeys to repopulate for the sake of survival. No emotions here. But I respect those that make it a big deal and try to be as responsible as possible. I hate seeing people say “Oops…. accident”

Ok, firstly, breeding is not easy. You have to be mentally prepared. A first time mother can reject her joeys, so have a packet of milk replacement on hand. Thankfully, now Tulip Pets have imported in the ever popular replacement milk, Esbilac, which I would say the best replacement milk for joeys coz it has a 30% protein level and is formulated to be very low in lactose. Go to Pet Lovers Center to get a small trial packet, it is only RM14. This is good to have at home as you have to standby for emergency. Lable a little plastic container as your “Joey Emergency Kit”. What to put inside?

Have a packet of Esbilac puppy milk replacement, do not get kitten. Then a few plastic syringes, get from pharmacy, should be RM1 or less of each. Get some cotton buds, cotton balls, tissue and a soft cloth. Also, for the emergency incubator…. a joey cannot regulate body heat, so you have to keep it warm. What I do is get those rubber hot water bottle that you can buy from pharmacy, fill up with hot water. Then in a plastic tank or container, put the hot water bottle under it, then layer on top an old tshirt. This will keep the joey warm. But you must make sure the water stays warm by changing the hot water every few hours. When feeding a joey, make sure you use the syringe and make warm milk. Then put droplets of milk at the joey’s mouth, it would lick it slowly. Then use a cotton ball dipped in warm water to wipe the mouth, wipe the tummy in circular motion to aid digestion and wipe the genital area to make it pee and poo. Must feed every 2 hours.

For the female glider that is having joeys in pouch, what care should you give? Do not panic…. there isn’t much for you to do anyway. Just let nature take its course. For me, I will just give a little bit more protein, but I believe in animal protein so give some superworms, mealworms and gutloaded crickets. I do not give crickets anymore, I stick to Dubia roaches. If you can get them, do use them as you only need to feed 2 a day to your female glider. For superworms, about 4 is enough, for mealworms, you can give 5 to 6 per day. Not too much coz mealworms is high in fat and phosphorus. Then give a little cooked egg and cooked chicken.

Some may ask, how about HPW? Well, sorry but I really do not use it because I strongly believe natural protein source is better for growing and nursing gliders. It’s just a personal preference. If you use it then it is fine.

Do not let your female out of the cage and try not to handle her for the first few weeks after you have noticed the bumps on the belly. When the joeys are that tiny, any stress and shock from too much handling and falling and jumping can cause the joey to let go of the nipple and die from starvation. This happened to me before, so I learnt my lesson well.

After 60 to 70 days of being in pouch, it would be time for them to come out of pouch. And during this time, the joey would already have fur, but they are still blind because their eyes are not open yet. It takes about 2 weeks for them to open their eyes later. Again, just feed as much as your female can eat in terms of fruits and cooked chicken. Twice a week you can give half a teaspoon of low fat yogurt. There is no need to feed milk to the mom or even try to feed the joeys yourself. Like I said, gliders will know what to do. For me, I increase my GliderSLURP to 2 tablespoons and up on more fruits as well. The joeys will still drink milk from their mom till they are 6 weeks old. Do not worry on what to feed them, again, their parents would teach the joeys how and what to eat. So just feed normally, but make sure you put in more portions around this time coz the joeys would have started on solid food.

Oh yah, never ever separate the adult male and female. They need to take care of the joeys together.

For me, I never worry about my gliders and joeys. I only worry when a joey gets rejected. Once I notice that my joeys and gliders are stable and good, I just leave it to them to take care of everything. All I do is provide food and clean. Once the joeys are Out Of Pouch, I already start handling the joeys for 5 to 10 minutes to get them used to handling.

So do not panic. Just be on stand by for rejected joeys…. but if everything is normal and safe, then just relax, treat your gliders normally and everything should be fine.

The Business

Recently I have seen many people introducing themselves as homebreeders or sugar glider professional sellers. Then they offer cheap prices. They aren’t exactly homebreeders mind you, I do know as a fact that some buy bulk joeys, around 20 joeys at a time from a mass breeder, then nurse them till they look like 2 months OOP since they get them as underage joeys. Then sell off as 100% homebred. I have seen some homebreeders, putting all the joeys in 1 cage. Then they normally do not have the parent gliders around, all the joeys are chucked in 1 or 2 cages, eating communally and sleeping communally. I never separate my joeys from their parents and chuck them in 1 cage with all other joeys. The most, I just separate a joey or a pair in 1 cage, and handle it myself to get it used to being away from mom and dad.

People, I understand they are doing the business to support their lives…. they need money, well, everyone needs money to live in this world. But if people always think of selling livestock as a means of getting income, then to me it is unethical. I don’t blame people for it, coz this kinda business is very tempting, I did it once but then only once because my heart cannot take it. To see newbies with no experience or knowledge, wanting the pet just coz it’s trendy and exotic and best of all cheap. Long gone are those days for me. I now breed gliders because I want the circle to end. If we keep buying from mass breeders or cheap gliders, there will always be a demand for it. People would then see it as an opportunity to start a business because cheap gliders, more profit if resell and they do not need to worry about breeding. Just buy stock and then sell. So if we support the proper breeders, this thing can die down or slow down…. less joeys die…. less gliders die from overbreeding…. it may be slow but it can help.

My advice, if you are thinking of selling gliders as a business, think twice…. think about the overbreeding of mass produced gliders, think about the silly impulse buyers when you offer them cheap gliders….. I know we can’t get away from mass breeders because all my gliders, are either 2nd or 3rd generation  from gliders that were bought from mass breeders or directly from mass breeders…. but I had to start somewhere as there were no proper breeders around last time. Since now there are a minority of them, support them. They need your full support. Remember, hobbyist never think about money, they care about who buys them. They would blast you with questions and drill you till you quiver but then there are reasons behind it, all for the sake of finding the best home for their gliders.

I enjoy my gliders, I never forcefeed or handfeed my joeys, I will reject people who I feel are not right to keep gliders…. I love gliders, I neuter those that should retire from breeding, I don’t force my gliders to breed or sell off those that cannot breed. I enjoy having them and that’s what you should too. To me, breeding gliders is a hobby, not a business. And my aim is to educate people about sugar glider care. If you have the same goal as me, then go for it….. don’t go and buy mass produced joeys and resell them…. to me, that’s pointless.

The Big Question… Should I breed?

Well, I guess this question always pops up. I know many have been wondering,  why I do not really talk much about it. One big reason is that breeding is not easy and to avoid impulse breeders, I decided to let people contact me directly and ask for advice rather than let my blog become a guide for breeding.

First, ask yourself…. Why breed? Are you looking to improve pet gliders in Malaysia? Are you breeding for money? Or just because you are keeping a pair so you feel you should breed?

My aim when I started breeding was because there were not many, or should I say, almost not a single proper sugar glider breeder. A few years ago, everyone was getting their joeys from suppliers, including me when I got my 1st joey, Kiah. I was stupid, acted on impulse but I made sure I did everything I can to bring up my joey. It was tough work because it was very rare even to have sugar gliders back then. I didn’t have any guidance from any keepers nor oversea breeders. I also find it sad that many US breeders don’t really reply their emails when someone sends them queries. When I notice that there was a need to have good breeders around and to educate people, I decided to put my heart and soul into this hobby. I think people thoght I was weird and a loner because all I could talk and think about were gliders. Now, one can find a few good breeders in Malaysia. You just have to open your eyes and listen.

If you are breeding to improve the quality of pet gliders, then bravo to you. When breeding, you will face alot of ups and downs, basically you need lots of capital to start with. I don’t really keep account records of what I bought over the years, but I actually spent a rough figure of RM10k on my gliders, from purchasing them to getting their accessories. This is not including food and supplements.  Each glider was bought for around RM250 to RM350 each. I don’t go scouting for agents selling breeding wild adults that go for RM60 to RM100 each. Then when you breed, you have to make sure the gliders are of sound body and mind. I have a few gliders that are naturally crabby, but they never attack me and have great health. Some have awesome disposition that actually get passed on to their offspring, which is what I am looking for. When you breed for the purpose of improvement, then it really requires alot of time, money, scarifices and losses. I kinda breed for hobby and improvement.

There are people breeding their gliders for money. Come on, don’t treat them as objects. Yes, one can make easy money if they have 200 gliders and breed them non-stop and feed them crappy rubbish food. Don’t go into that level. It is too low. I never see animals as an object for money. To me it is wrong. Some may fire me back, saying I charge a joey between RM300 to RM350. Yes, I do set a high price but I do have reasons. When the price is high, I scare away the impulse buyers.

Don’t be one of those breeders that think since they have a pair, their gliders should breed. Understand this, the female glider can breed 2 to 4 times a year, and they continously breed till they are 6 to 8 years old. That’s a long time for the gliders to continue breeding non-stop. So with this, what is your aim? To produce cheap joeys? To gain a little side pocket money? I know some people who practice this kind of breeding, and they sell their joeys to any tom, dick and harry.

ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: Sugar Gliders are not like humans, where we enjoy sex and want to have children to build a family. Animals basically breed to repopulate, they do not care about mom or dad or brother or sister or aunt and uncles…. They breed from instinct and the need to repopulate, never to have a family and never for security purposes. So we must understand this, if we neuter our male gliders, we won’t harm them and in fact, just make them happier and less stressful with their lives.

If you want to breed, think twice and think about what are your aims. If you plan to be one of those who would want to see their gliders have joeys for 1 time, then make sure you are responsible. Neuter your male adult gliders and joeys to make sure no further breedings and no inbreedings occur. Practice responsible pet ownership. Breeding pets is never about profits. You will never make a profit from breeding pets that you love.

Brother and Sister

I’m kinda shocked these days that there are many newbie breeders selling brother and sister pairs…. WHY???? Don’t you guys get it that animals do not know the difference between siblings? Don’t you guys know that they can inbreed? Don’t you guys know that it is gonna produce unhealthy joeys? If anyone gets sibling gliders, and if they are of the opposite sex, the male has to be neutered. If you want to save money, then get single sex pairs so you do not need to fork out money for the surgery.

I just saw on Mudah.my and was so shock with a person, trying to sell a pair of brother and sister joeys for a very very cheap price. This person didn’t even say that if the pair is bought, the male has to be neutered. This is the person’s message:

A Pair of 6 months old Sugar Glider for only RM300. Very cute and tamed

Reason for selling, my sugar glider breeding again so selling their brother and sister 🙂

Grab it before sold! Being take care nicely in the good large environment.

Fed with healthy food!

Only sell to responsible and caring buyer!

It is already 6 months old, soon, the brother and sister pair will be matured enough to breed. What happens next?

I strongly stress to people that when they buy a pair of male and female gliders, they have to plan, are they going to keep the joeys? If they sell, are they going to make sure it is sold someone who is going to take care of them for the rest of their lives? If joeys cannot be sold, what will happen?

To overcome overcrowding or overbreeding, the simplest way is to get your male neutered! That would solve the overcrowding and the spending on additional cages.

Is it cruel? Neutering the male glider is not cruel at all. They can still mate with their female but they just won’t produce any joeys. Will it be cruel to the female if she cannot have joeys? No…. they are not humans. Humans populate because we want children to carry our family name and to have a family as we grow old. Animals do not have the same feelings. They breed because nature made them to reproduce so they wouldn’t get extinct.

So my dear readers, if you already have a male and female pair, think about getting the male neutered once you have had enough of joeys in your family or before any joeys pop up. If you are planning to get a glider, do get a single sex pair. It can be 2 males or 2 females, it doesn’t matter because all a glider needs is companionship from its own species. A playmate, a lifepartner, a friend.