Friday, January 28, 2011

Behind the Diets: The Story of the HPW Sugar Glider Diet



I'm one of those people who likes to know the 'story' behind everything':
  • the 'Why'
  • the 'How'
  • the 'Who
So I thought it was pretty cool when the creator of the HPW diet (what I'm currently feeding my li'l sugar glider: Fritz) contacted me.  I mean, with so little concrete information on how to care for sugar gliders, having access to someone who actually did the research to 'create' a diet for her sugar bears was very exciting. (Yes, I'm constantly pounding her with questions and bouncing ideas off her!)



Here is the original HPW recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 3 scrambled eggs (some people like to grind the shells into a fine powder and add these to the mix for added calcium and other nutrients)
  • 1/4 cup High Protein Wombaroo Powder (increase to 1/2 cup for breeding sugar gliders - this can be bought online through multiple sources) 
  • 1 tablespoon Bee Pollen (American or Australian - you can find this at most vitamin or health stores) 

Instructions

Mix the wet ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir until honey is dissolved.  Add in the High Protein Wombat Powder and mix well.

I use a mortar and pestle to break down the bee pollen granules into a fine powder.  After I do that, I do the same with the egg shells (minus the eggs which are being cooked at this time).

Then, I put the cooked eggs, egg shells, and bee pollen into my blender and give it a whirl while slowly adding the wet ingredients.  Make sure everything is blended well - this could take a few minutes.

I like to freeze the mixture using ice cube trays.  1 1/2 a teaspoon is a serving (per glider per night).  The HPW mix will freeze very soft.

Note: without the egg shells, the calcium to phosphorus ratio (CA:PH) is about 1.1:1.  Sugar gliders need a diet with an approximate ratio of 1.5-2:1.

Modified HPW Recipe:

According to Peggy, the search to find the right diet is ongoing.  That is why she gets regular blood panels for her sugar gliders to make sure they are getting the nutrients they need.  With that information, her and her vet (Dr. Tristan) work together to adjust the diet as needed.



That is the process that lead her to 'publish' the most recent version described below in her words.  I will be using this mixture for my next batch of HPW mix.

The HPW mix is made as follows:

2 cup of water
1 cup of honey
1 cup of Odwalla green juice (Naked brand can also be used)
1/4 cup HPW powder (1/2 cup if you're sugar gliders are breeding)
3 scrambled eggs (cooked)
1 tablespoon of bee pollen (Australian - I use American)

Place all ingredients in blender and blend for 2 minutes. Place in freezer safe container (I use ice cube trays with this version since it freezes a little more solid due to less honey included) and scoop out serving each night.

Feeding instructions: (per glider)

1+1/2 TEAspoons of HPW liquid
2 Tablespoons of veggie and fruit mix

The Story of the HPW diet:

This is my brief interview with Peggy verbatim.



1) How did you decide to create HPW?  What 'inspired' you?
It is more of a question as to 'who' inspired me to create the HPW. 

I was trying to find the right diet for my gliders. I had tried the BML, Suncoast, Happy Glider, and we were on the Darcy Diet when I finally started talking with Debbie. Her screen name on GC is Pockets. After talking to her in great lengths and her sharing all her success stories with me I decided to start using her diet as my gliders just did NOT like any of the others I was offering, other than the Darcy Diet.

My Vet didn't like the idea of the Darcy Diet because it is using Ensure, and although that would be good for a glider not of good health, he wasn't happy with using it on a healthy glider. Pockets feeds PML. So I ordered the Wombaroo high protein supplement and thought I would give it a try.

I asked her what else she fed and I ordered everything she suggested. A couple of the items were straight from Australia and they were a seed mix. I personally did not feel comfortable feeding that. Debbie also grows a lot of her own Australian Flora (or at least at the time she did, not sure if she still does)and offers that. I have a brown thumb, not a green one. But, I really liked the idea of using this powder since it was created and used in Australia over the years for Flying Foxes, Sugar Gliders, Possums and other Nectar eating animals.



So I did what Debbie had suggested over and over and she still does on the boards, and I consulted with my Vet on this diet. It was decided since they would get extra proteins from some of the things in the wild, to add an extra egg (Debbie only uses two), and to add some Bee pollen in it to add the extra nutrients, protein and natural calciums. Not to mention it needed no additional supplements.

2) What is your experience with sugar gliders?
I have owned Sugar Gliders since 2003. I have been breeding them since 2004. I have stood and watched numerous surgical procedures and necropsies preformed on them. I have been getting my Sugar Gliders blood tested (different ones at different times) since 2004 to keep track the their levels are at good to optimal levels, including their CA:P ratios. I have taken in Rescues when needed and found forever homes for them when they were ready. I have assisted other breeders by keeping their ill gliders with me so they can get treatment from Dr.Tristan (the breeders lived either out of town or out of state) and I try to keep up to date on all the new things learned from inside the scientific aspect of things as well as our daily learnings we all share with each other.



3) How did you go about the creation of HPW? Answered above.

4) Is there anything that you'd like to say about the whole journey of creating HPW?
It has been a wonderful ride for me. I have seen many gliders thrive while eating the HPW diet. I love that they have no smell while on this diet and as a breeder, I constantly have large, healthy joeys born here in my home and have never lost a Joey due to mom having a lack of milk supply for her young.

With all that being said, I am constantly trying to find ways to improve the diet as I feel there is always room for improvement in any field. We as humans do not have the right diet for us so I am sure that we are far from the perfect diet for them. But it sure is rewarding to be able to continue the research and make simple changes when and where you can.


Peggy's book on sugar glider care. Available at Amazon.com
What do you think? 

Do you own sugar gliders?  If so how do you go about making sure they recieve the nutrients they need? 

Are you looking to own sugar gliders?  If so, what questions do you have?

Also, if you happen to know (or are yourself) the creator of another popular/recomended sugar glider diet, I would love to continue this series with similar posts and would love to interview other creators.  Any help with this regards is greatly appreciated.

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