Female sugar gliders become sexually mature at 6-10 months out of pouch(OOP). Male sugar gliders become sexually mature at 4-8 months OOP. A male sugar glider that is older than the female should not be introduced to the female until she is at least 6 months OOP to ensure that he does not rape her.
When a female glider becomes sexually mature, she will go into heat every 26 days for approximately 24 hours. If she is housed with a sexually mature male, then they will breed at the time. 16 days after mating the joeys should drop into the mothers pouch. Sugar gliders usually produce 1 to 2 joeys at a time, 3 is rare and 4 is really rare. The joey/s will be tiny, about the size of a grain of rice. The joey/s will travel from the cloaca to the mothers pouch. The mother will lick a path for the joey/s to follow. Once the joey/s has made it safely into the mothers pouch it will attach itself to a teat will it will remain for approximately 65 more days.
Over the next 65 days you will watch the mothers tummy grow. She will open the pouch and groom the joey/s. Increasing the mothers protein will help ensure that she is able to produce enough milk for the joey/s.
About a week to two weeks before the joey/s are due to come out of pouch you will begin to see body parts sticking out. Eventually the mother will no longer be able to hold the joey/s in pouch(IP) and the entire joey will be visible. T his is not the joeys OOP date however. A joey is not considered OOP until it has detached itself from the teat.
Joeys are born with their eyes closed. Most joeys will open their eyes at about 10-14 days OOP.
Once the joey/s is detached you can begin to handle it. Start off at just a few minutes at a time gradually increasing the time everyday. The first few days the mother may tuck the joey/s back into her pouch while she gets out to eat and play. About a week OOP she will no longer be able to stuff the joey/s back into her pouch and will leave them in the sleeping pouch while she is out eating and playing. Most of time the daddy will baby-sit the joey/s while the mother is out, other times they will leave it alone and tend to it when it cries.
When the joey/s reaches about 5 weeks OOP, it will begin to venture outside of the pouch, into the cage. At this time the joey/s should begin to sample solid foods. By the time the joey/s is 8 weeks OOP it should be fully eating on its own every night.
There are many reasons 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 continuously nurse and the mother becomes frustrated and starts nipping at them. Yeast infections can also can cause nursing to be very painful...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 absorb...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. DO NOT apply if it is simply missing fur, make sure there is a wound there.
Supplies to keep on hand:
1) Milk Replacer
2) 1 French Cather size #5 cut till 2" in length
3) 10 1cc syringes
5) Small aquarium PVC wire cover/Critter Keeper with lid
6) Small heating pad
*Do Not use Kitten Replacer. Fat content is very high and causes diarrhea in the babies and thus they die. Use only Puppy Replacer or Wombaroo Supplement. ==========================
How do you know if there is milk in the belly?
Hold the joey up to a bright light. In the center of the tummy, slightly to the left you should see a patch of white, that is milk. If there is no white spot, then the tummy is probably empty. Babies who have gone long periods of time without being fed will become dehydrated, looking wrinkled. If the dehydration is severe then you may need to take the joey to the vet for a sub-q. If not severely dehydrated you will need to hand feed the joey a supplemental feeding within a half hour.
Supplemental Feeding is to hand feed the joey every fours hours to give mom a break and catch up on her milk supply. Sometimes supplemental feeding is all that is needed for a couple of weeks.
Pulling is when a baby will need to be fully pulled from it's parents and completely hand fed. The baby must be kept warm at all times in order to digest it's food. A baby that is cold will not be able to eat. The best way to keep a baby warm is to put it in a pouch and stuff it in your shirt/bra. Once the baby is warm and comfortable it will start to squirm around about every 2 hours when it's hungry.
A regular 10 gallon aquarium or critter keeper can be set up to accommodate the joey. Place the heating pad on the bottom at one end of the incubator and turn on low. Line the bottom of the incubator with fleece. Spray a layer of fleece with water every few hours to keep the humidity level up in the incubator so the joey does not get dry skin. With a secure lid on the incubator you can keep the joey secure for about 6 weeks. Once weaned, the joey can be moved to a cage.
What to Feed?
In the past I have used puppy milk replacer. Here recently I purchased some of the Wombaroo Supplement to keep on hand. Mix 1 part milk replacer to 3 parts water.
How to Feed?
Use a french catheter #5 on the end of a 1cc syringe. You can purchase at most vets offices. Snip the catheter leaving about 2 inches or so in length. Fill a small mug with water and warm it in the microwave. Fill the syringe with the desired amount of formula and place it in the warm water. Test the formula on your wrist to make sure it is not too hot or too cold, you should not be able to feel it.
With the joey warm and wrapped in a fleece blankie and its face tipped forward, gently drip the formula on the joeys lips. The joey should lap it up. Some babies can be stubborn at first and you may need to apply a little pressure in-between the sides of the mouth until the joey opens its mouth and drip some formula on its tongue. Make sure that the joey is not tilted backwards and that the catheter is over the tongue so you do not aspirate the joey. Go slow and let the joey rest if need be. When the joey is full, he will stop eating. The first 24 hours of feeding will go slow, it may take up to 30-45 minutes for one feeding. After the joey gets used to being hand fed the feedings will only take about 15-20 min each. Do not overfeed. if the joey is overfed you risk rupturing its stomach which is instant death. If the tummy becomes bloated then skip a feeding.
How often to feed?
-Newly OOP - 2 Weeks OOP- .3-.5cc's every 1-2 hours
-2 Weeks OOP - 4 Weeks OOP- .5-1cc every 2-21/2 hours
-4 Weeks OOP - 6 Weeks OOP- 1-2cc every 3-4 hours
-6 Weeks OOP- Joey should be eating on it's own.
Baby must be stimulated to potty at least twice a day. A Q-tip moistened with warm water helps. Stroke lightly at the cloacal aperture in a circular motion until baby potties. If stool is small and dry...follow feeding with .2cc. of water after every other feeding.
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.