Quick Help for Mill Bred Joeys

If you have recently purchased a joey from a pet store, pet expo, mall kiosk, flea market, home & garden show, or similar venue, then in all likelihood your joey was mill bred. Special care may be needed to help your joey survive. This page is meant to be a quick guide to assist you in that endeavor.

Determining Your Joey's Actual Age

In all likelihood, your joey is not actually 8 weeks out of pouch, as you were told by the person who sold your joey to you. Therefore, the first thing you need to determine is how old the joey actually is. The best way to do this is to compare the joey's weight to the chart below. Pick the age bracket that your joey's weight is in and use that age as your joey's baseline.
Joey's Weight
Joey's Age
10 - 15 grams
 1st Day Out of Pouch
15 - 25 grams
 1 Week Out of Pouch
 25 - 30 grams
 2 Weeks Out of Pouch
 30 - 35 grams
 3 Weeks Out of Pouch
 35 - 40 grams
 4 Weeks Out of Pouch
 40 - 45 grams
 5 Weeks Out of Pouch
 45 - 50 grams
 6 Weeks Out of Pouch
 50 - 55 grams
 7 Weeks Out of Pouch
 over 55 grams
 8 Weeks Out of Pouch
The basis for this chart is the Joey Development Study that was conducted from 2007 thru the present. This data was collected from breeders across the United States who weighed their joeys daily for 60 days, then submitted the data. Statistical analysis then averaged the results. Full results are available by going to the article on Joey Development Study Results.

Feeding Amount Reference Guide

Now that you have determined your joey's approximate age, you can use the following chart to determine how much formula you will need to feed your joey and how frequently you will need to do so.
Age of Joey
 Amount to Feed
 Frequency
Newly oop - 2 wks oop
 0.3 - 0.5 cc's
 Every 1 - 2 hours
2 wks oop - 4 wks oop
 0.5 - 1.0 cc's
 Every 2 - 3 hours
4 wks oop - 6 wks oop
 1.0 - 2.0 cc's
 Every 3 - 4 hours
6 wks oop - 8 wks oop
 2.0 - 4.0 cc's
 **
**At this age, your joey should be starting to eat on its own. Further information about weaning your joey is provided further down in this article.

What Do You Need to Feed the Joey?

If under 6 weeks out of pouch, then your joey is unlikely to be able to eat and digest solid foods yet. This means that you will need to feed Suz' Joey Formula using a feeding syringe and tip. This formula is made with a specially formulated milk replacer devised for marsupials: Wombaroo Sugar Glider Milk Replacer, along with Impact Colostrum Supplement. Marsupials need colostrum until they are fully weaned in order to be able to thrive.
To make Joey Formula you will need:
Wombaroo® Impact Colostrum Supplement
Distilled Water
*Do NOT use Kitten Formula, nor cow or goat milk products. They are too high in lactose and young joeys are lactose intolerant. Bloating and other issues can be caused by high-lactose products.
For feeding, you will need one of the following:
Feeding Tips plus a 1.0cc syringe, both of which you should be able to purchase from your veterinarian -or- you can order from me
2 oz. PetAg® baby bottle for kittens/puppies, which you should be able to purchase from a pet store
0.5cc syringe, which you should be able to purchase from your veterinarian

How to Feed Your Joey

To prevent aspiration into the lungs, it is important to follow these steps:

  • wrap the joey in a warm cloth, like a burrito (joey must be warm or it will not eat)
  • hold the joey so the head is towards the ceiling and the tail is towards the floor (parallel with the wall)
  • place a folded tissue beneath the joey's chin to absorb any formula that drips down while feeding
  • only apply formula to the tip of the joey's lips, never open the mouth to place formula inside the mouth
  • place one drop of formula on the joey's lips at a time, wait for the joey to lap* it up, then place another drop on the lips

*Mill bred joeys may not know how to lap to get their food, they are used to suckling from their mother. You may need to put a drop of formula on the joey's lips, then gently rub the tip of the joey's nose with your fingertip until the joey licks. You may need to repeat this process a few times until the joey gets the idea.

Weaning Your Joey

Once 6 weeks out of pouch, your joey will be ready to be introduced to other foods. Purchase a variety of fruit and vegetable baby foods. Mix equal parts Suz' Joey Formula with baby food. Offer two different flavors plus plain formula each night. Your joey will be able to pick and choose which foods it wants each night. Refrigerate any unused portions of baby food for use a few nights later. You will probably throw out more than half of each jar of baby food since it should not be kept for longer than a week in the refrigerator. For this reason, only buy the smallest jar possible. You should place the food into the cage each evening so that your joey can eat at will throughout the night. Take out the leftovers each morning. Your joey may not touch a certain fruit or vegetable one night but then will eat it with gusto another night. Therefore, don't assume your joey doesn't like it if you have only offered a particular flavor once or twice.

Your joey should no longer need to be fed during the daytime. Slowly start introducing solid foods to your joey a bit at a time. Start with soft fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, grapes, cantaloupe, tomatoes, avocado, etc. As your joey gets used to eating softer foods, you can gradually start introducing the harder fruits and vegetables, such as apples, peaches, sugar snap peas, etc. Don't limit yourself on variety. Offer a wide variety to your joey including all fruits and vegetables except onions & garlic.

Once 8 weeks out of pouch, you can stop feeding the Joey Formula entirely and switch to an adult glider diet. There are many different "proven" diets out there. Personally, I feed my gliders the Australian Wombaroo Diet with great success. It has several components including a protein nectar, fresh fruits & vegetables, a protein source and insects, such as meal worms.

Site most recently updated in October, 2016