Hand Feeding/Supplement Feeding Joeys

Joey Rejection Feeding & Care


There are a number of reasons for which a joey may end up needing to be hand fed. Some of those reasons could be that mom is unable to produce milk, mom has rejected the baby, baby isn’t strong enough to latch onto mom’s nipple, or mom has passed away. If you have a joey who requires hand feeding, it is important that you take action immediately. Below are some indicators to help identify a rejected joey:

  • Joey is crawling to the top of the pouch
  • Bite marks around the face/head
  • Joey is cold, as well as crying (this noise will sound like a spray bottle)
  • Joey is on the bottom of the cage

Cold & Dehydrated Joeys

Babies who are rejected are usually cold and dehydrated. To check for dehydration, gently pinch up the skin on their back to create a “tent”. If the skin remains pinched up when you release it, the joey is dehydrated and you will need to feed it unflavored pedialyte for the first 24 hours. If the skin remains tented for more than a few seconds, take the joey to the vet ASAP for Sub Q fluids (hydration injections).
Joeys who are too cold will not have enough energy to reattach itself onto mom, so you may notice the joey appearing to have trouble latching or refusing to drink. It is important that you get your joey warm before trying to place him/her back with their family or trying to feed them.

  • To quickly warm the Joey: cup the baby in-between your hands, and wrap your hands with a heated towel (either by microwave methods or a dryer). Never place a hot towel against the baby!

After the joey has warmed up and is regaining energy, you may attempt to rejoin him or her back with mom to try and feed.
You can leave the joey with the parents if… 

-There are no bite marks on the face

-Parents are allowing the baby to hang onto their back

-Parents are grooming the baby

-Parents are not ignoring the baby when it cries

If you cannot leave the joey with his/her family:
You will have to take over the role of keeping baby warm and providing regular feedings. Babies cannot regulate their own body heat and will need to be kept warm at all times. The best way to constantly keep your joey warm is to use the Joey Heart Bonding pouch (included in The Pet Glider Joey Rejection Kit) -OR- a regular sized bonding pouch. When keeping a joey warm inside a bonding pouch, you will need to wear the pouch on the inside of your shirt. Your natural body heat will keep the joey warm.

What about if I need to sleep or shower?
You can use a heater with extreme caution. Place the joey inside the Joey Heart Bonding Pouch with the Joey Envelopes (included in the Joey Rejection Kit) for extra warmth, and place your heater 2 feet away from the pouch. If the back of your hand is too hot from where the pouch is, scoot the heater farther away. You want the back of your hand to be warm but not hot! 

Try to keep the joey on you at all times possible. From years of experience, this is the best way to keep your joey at a safe temperature. The Pet Glider does not use an incubator, as a heating pad or heating lamp will cause a joey to dehydrate. 

 

To make the milk:
  • 5g Biolac M100 (marsupial milk replacer) -OR- Esbilac Puppy Milk Replacer Powder. (Kitten formula is too high in lactose)
  • 10g Unflavored Pedialyte (or bottled water/filtered water)
  • 0.3 ml - .06 ml of simethicone (baby gas drop relief)
1:2 ratio of powder:liquids (1 part powder for 2 parts liquid)

Mix this all together in a container and keep your prepared formula in the fridge. Only use small amounts at a time and remember to warm the milk before feeding the joey. Do not refrigerate again after the milk has been heated. Make a new batch of milk every 4 days.

If your joey is dehydrated, it’s important to feed unflavored pedialyte for a period of 24 hours. The priority is to get your baby re-hydrated before we try feeding milk.

Slowly wean over to the milk formula following this guide:
     Day 1: 25% milk formula, 75% Pedialyte
     Day 2: 50% milk formula, 50% Pedialyte
     Day 3: 75% milk formula, 25% Pedialyte
Day 4: 100% milk formula
Babies will need to be fed small amounts rather consistently. Never feed to the point where the belly is round, this could lead to bloating.
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As the joey gets older, you will want to slowly mix the milk with the TPG Diet (has vitamins & nutrients that are essential for proper development) Below is a feeding guideline based on the age of the joey.
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Feeding Amount & Frequency


Age

Feeding Amount

Feeding Frequency

0 - 2 weeks oop

0.3ml - 0.5ml

Every 1-2 hours

2 -4 weeks oop

0.5ml - 1ml

Every 2-3 hours

4 - 6 weeks oop

1ml - 2ml

Every 3-4 hours

6 - 8 weeks oop

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**Joey should be able to eat on their own. Mix 5ml of milk with about 1 tablespoon of TPG diet gravy (mostly the liquid part, less solids). Slowly wean onto TPG diet as the joey gets older.

Bloating
Bloating is serious and will cause your joey digestive distress. Bloating can be prevented by adding simethicone (baby gas relief drops) to their formula, as well as by weaning old milk to new milk.
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How to Feed
Wrap your joey in a small fleece blanket leaving just the head and arms exposed. Using a 1 mL syringe, squeeze a small amount on the Joey's lips. Try not to get milk in the nose. The joey will attempt to lick the formula. If your joey doesn't lick, you can massage the tip of their nose or the top of their head to encourage them to open their mouth for the formula to fall in. Continue this process until he/she is full. You may have to feed in multiple intervals until the joey "learns" how to drink milk. You can tell if the joey is full by looking at the belly, there should be a milky white area on the left side of the belly to indicate milk.
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After Feeding
After feeding your joey, use a wet q-tip to stimulate the cloaca and allow the baby to defecate/urinate. It is normal for your baby to hiss or cry during this process. Urine will usually be clear and feces are usually a brownish-orange or yellow color. You may also do this before feeding.
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The Pet Glider recommends you weigh your joey before feeding everyday. Your joey should be gaining weight! If there is any indication that your joey loses weight then you will need to take him/her to a vet ASAP.