Mrs. Bev Langley
ph. (08) 8270 1169
fax. (08) 8270 6546
e-mail: mintonfarm@adam.com.au
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Copyright 2007

Minton Farm
Animal Rescue Centre

Rescued animal or bird guidelines

Rescue

Possum Release


Nest Boxes


Emergency Rescue Formula


Feeding Programme
How?
What?
When?
Problems

Birds and Meat Eaters
Rescued Birds
Baby Birds
Nectiverous Birds
Meat Eaters

Vets


Rescue


How can you help our wildlife?

Put nest boxes up in your garden to give the possums and birds a habitat. Keep your cats in at night; the well fed domestic cat is one of the greatest killers of our wildlife. Develop a compost heap to provide food for wildlife. Check the pouches of road kills. You can remove the poach young, put them inside your jumper to warm them, then telephone me on the above numbers for assistance or leave a message and I will call you as soon as I can.

Otherwise, call:
The Native Animal Network on 8388 6944, or
. RSPCA (08) 8382 0888  or (08) 8231 2120 for after hours emergencies.
. Cleland Wildlife Park for Koala emergencies - (08) 8273 4176

You can visit the Bird Care & Conservation Society web: www.birdcare.asn.au


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Possum Release

Our environment today is not always a safe place to release possums and kangaroos. Habitat destruction causes stress from lack of food and competition for nest sites. Hunters, vehicles, dogs, cats, foxes, and fences all cause problems for our possums, kangaroos and birds.

Only the fittest animals survive in the wild. Birds and animals that are not 100% fit must not be released - it is kinder to euthanase them if they can't accept captivity.

Possums are very territorial and will kill intruders. For this reason they must only be released into their own territories, so that food and water supplies, shelter and mates are not disturbed, leading to fighting and stress related diseases.

By providing a nest box for shelter in your own backyard, and erecting a feeding platform for food, you are taking an important step towards a positive solution to the conservation of Australia's native animals.

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Nest Boxes

A variety of nest boxes are available to provide suitable outdoor housing. These need to be placed 3 to 4 meters up a tree so that cats can't easily climb to them. Remember that brushtail possums are wild native animals. Do not expect them to become tame.

Do not disturb them once they are using the box or they may abandon their young. They usually breed in Autumn and Spring. The single young spends 4 to 5 months in the pouch (ring tails usually have twins). It then spends another 1 to 2 months suckling and riding on it's mother's back.

Do check your nesting box for unwanted tenants such as sparrows and starlings. These introduced birds may take over the nest site.

Once the nest bob is installed, any access holes in your roof or wall spaces need to be sealed. Preferably this should be with material like timber, or pulled out, like wire netting.

Possums usually leave the roof space about 9 pm for feeding, so leave sealing the access points until approximately 11 pm. That way you avoid trapping the possum inside and condemning it to a slow painful death of starvation. You will probably hear the possum trying to reenter the space at about 4 am for several nights thereafter.


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Emergency Rescue Formula

The first priority is to warm the animal or bird to about 32 degrees with a hot water bottle, electric heat pad or a desk lamp. Do not feed them for at least one hour, and leave them in dark, quiet, warm place to recover from shock.

Rescued kangaroos and possums can safely be fed tinned Carnation Evaporated Milk, watered down with a tin and a quarter of water, given with an eye dropper or a syringe.  Possums prefer the milk sweetened with a little honey.  Other emergency milks are condensed milk (with 2 tins of water added), soy milk, goat's milk or powdered full milk.

Most birds can safely be fed Heinz high protein baby cereal mixed with warm water, with a pinch of glucodin for energy. Nectiverous birds, such as lorikeets, need a nectar mix of one cup of sugar or honey, one cup of farex, one raw egg and 6 drops of pentavite made up to one litre with cold water. One cup of Wombaroo nectar mix can be added. These birds need a constant supply to survive. Tinned dog food is best for magpies, with grated cheese and chick crumbs added. Wombaroo Insectivore mix can be added.

GOOD LUCK! Bev.

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Feeding Programme

Do not feed a cold possum - wrap it in a sock, beanie, towel or jumper and warm it gradually with a heat pad, hot water bottle, electric blanket or your body heat to approximately 30 degrees. A cold possum cannot swallow and the milk may go into its lungs.

How - measure out approx. 10 mls of milk (to allow for spillage) into a medicine glass and float that in a cup of hot water to warm it up. Wrap the possum in a cotton cloth so that it feels secure and to keep the pouch clean to avoid bacteria breeding in the spilt milk. Always wipe off the milk from the fur as it can cause t to fall out. Use a syringe, or an eye dropper.

What - The best formula to feed possums is Divetelact powder available from fodder stores and Vets. It is easy to mix and store, and you can't overfeed and kill your possum as easily as when using Wombaroo, where you need to adhere strictly to the amounts given per weight on their chart or there is trouble. Soy, Goat or powdered milk are also suitable. In an emergency Evaporated milk with 1 1/4 tins water added, Soy, Goat or powdered milk are suitable short term.

When - Approx. 8am, 12pm, 5pm, 10pm. Volume at the end of the day matters most, not what time it is fed. Over a matter of weeks, gradually cut out the lunch feed, then the evening fed and offer the milk in a small lid. Eventually the possum will only require a dish of milk morning and night, then only at night in a D cup bird feeder.

Problems - Refusing milk. The milk may be too hot, too cold, wrong flavor or the possum may not be hungry. Try increasing the time before feeds. Over feeding can cause diarrhea. Cut back on the amount fed and give one drop of Kaomagma per fed until controlled. Also overheating, wrong milk, poor hygiene, stress, thrush, change of diet (natural to artificial), and poor gut flora. Acidophilus or natural yogurt in the milk can help. Never give antibiotics by mouth, always by injection. Bloat occurs when there is a build up of gas, and the tummy looks distended and tight.  If this happens, veterinary attention should be sought immediately or the animal stands a good chance of dying.  They may then need pain killers, anti-inflamatories and possibly anti-biotics.

Give a possum a crown mint or Quick ease every night, massage tummy and place a small wheat bag onto the area to relax the muscles.

Temperature - Keep the possum 30 to 32 degrees warm constantly with a heat pad, wheat bag, hot water bottle or light tin. Use a 15 watt, 250 volt globe.

Toileting - After feeding your possum you will need to stimulate it to urinate and defecate by gently tickling their bottom with the corner of a damp tissue, as if the mother was licking them. There is only one opening called cloaca, for all the body functions. Some possums feed better if toileted before or in the middle of a feed.

Handling - Only handle them at feed time for the first week to minimize their stress and to let them settle to your routine. Try to avoid waking them in-between for show and tell to friends, too much will kill them. Always hold them in a pouch so they feel secure.

Housing - Hand raised possums cannot be simply let go to live happily ever after. Possums are territorial and they will kill any intruders. They have not been taught survival skills, but have been desensitized to the danger of dogs, cats, humans etc. It is a cruel cop-out to release hand raised possum. Baby possums can be kept in a small carry cage to sleep in during the day as long as you are able to let it out in your house to play each evening. Eventually the possum will require an outside aviary, as the weather warms up from winter or cools off a bit from summer.

Solids - Offer small pieces of apple, banana, or jam on bread in their pouch at night and you will soon find them munching away. Always provide fresh, shallow drinking water. Ringtails (white tails) need native plants like eucalyptus young leaves and flowers of wattle, bottlebrush, melaleuca, leptospermum, and roses. Also offer fruits and vegetables. Brushtails (black, fluffy tails) as for the ringtails also broccoli, celery, sweet potato, lettuce, capsicum, parsley, carrot, grapes, cheese, fritz, jam sandwiches, tomatoes, watermelon, rockmelon, cucumber, banana-no peel, pears, roses (hybrid tea), silverbeet, walnuts, passion fruit, boiled potatoes and rice, crushed pineapple, corn, cooked peas & carrots, raisins, sultanas, dried fruit, bread in carnation milk & sugar, rolled oats, muslie bars, biscuits, tinned fruits, baby food, avocado, pumpkin, strawberries, kiwi fruit, nuttela, vegemite, honey, orange-no peel, boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, dry dog food, roo or rabbit pellets, grape vine leaves, almonds, pureed apple baby cereal, gum leaf tips, crown mints, parsley.

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Birds and Meat Eaters

Rescued birds - As with possums always warm the bird in a dark box, with a hot water and a bottle, lamp or electric blanket, for at least one hour, to recover, from shock, before offering it a drink of water.

Most baby birds - can be fed Farex baby cereal mixed with warm water, and a pinch of glucodin for energy, on a spoon or a syringe. Cookies pigeons, parrots, and sparrows can all be fed on this mixture.

Nectiverous birds - like lorikeets, wattle birds & honey eaters can be fed a nectar mix using 1 cup of honey or sugar, 1 cup of farex, 1 raw egg, 6 pentavite vitamin drops, all mixed up together and made up to a litre with water. 1 cup of Wombaroo nectar mix can also be added. These birds need constant supply to survive.

Meat eaters - like magpies, minors, ravens, need a high calcium intake, so tinned dog food is suitable with chick crumbles added, or grated cheese, and boiled egg. Wombaroo insectivore mix can also be added. Always find out what species you have, from a book or over the phone from a Vet, my self or other rescue workers, to ensure you are feeding the correct diet for the maximum chance of survival. I can help you with raising or recuperating anything for re-release in its own territory or with foster carers. Don't leave it too late to get advice.

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Vets

Dr. Helen McNaught, Balhannah, ph 8388 4686

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