As an experienced breeder of Bennett Wallabies I am asked many assorted questions about these beautiful marsupials. I enjoy giving free education, coaching and support to my fellow marsupial owners. One question that is asked more often then any other is about nutrition. What milk supplement do I feed to my young joeys and why? Because Lactose Intolerance is a main concern to me, I will confidently answer BIOLAC. Not to say that the others are not good, but, in my own opinion I believe that BIOLAC is by far the most advanced milk formula ever produced for marsupials. Based on the opinion of other reputable breeders and my own findings I fed BIOLAC to my albino joey, Sierra, and am completely convinced that it is a very healthy choice. Several people have asked me to write an article about my BIOLAC findings and with the help of Peggy Wrabetz am happy to do so.
BIOLAC entered the market thanks to Geoff and Christine Smith in Australia. Geoff and Christine are well known for their dedication to the rehabilitation of orphaned marsupials as well as their extensive knowledge concerning the correct handling and care of these animals. They knew the importance of proper nutrition for the animals they were caring for and wanted to do the best for them. Lactose Intolerance was a main concern to them as well. The Smith's went through extensive scientific research to develop a milk substitute that they felt confident in. Thus entering BIOLAC. For the marsupial, BIOLAC is a three stage milk supplement. It contains fully digestible carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and elevated levels of many vitamins and minerals. The lipids have a more favorable balance of saturated, mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids. Most important, BIOLAC contains NO maltodextrins, sucrose or soy proteins, all of which have been proven to cause adverse reactions in marsupials. I liked the fact that BIOLAC is a composition based on the most recent scientific information available on a few marsupials whose milk has been fully analyzed at all stages of lactation. It is designed to follow the changes that take place in the mothers milk supply. I believe that based on these findings and that it is backed by scientific research, that it has been accepted and successfully used by Veterinarians and Breeders world wide.
I decided to feed BIOLAC to my joey after contacting Geoff Smith personally. I also contacted Michael Messer, MSc.,PhD who is a biochemist and a nutritionist at the University of Sydney in Australia where much research had been done on macropods. Dr. Messer first met Mr. Smith in about 1985 as a result of his scientific interest in the composition of the milk of marsupials. He was happy to advise Mr. Smith based on his capacity as a biochemist and nutritionist. He had no hesitation in recommending BIOLAC products to me as a suitable milk formula for my marsupials. I liked the idea of the three stage milk, it was what I was looking for.
As I mentioned, BIOLAC marsupial milk supplement comes in three formulated stages.
M-100 - Stage One, for the furless joey
M-150 - Stage Two, a transition milk for when dense fur has developed.
M-200 - Stage Three, which contains elevated lipid in the form of canola oil.
As the joey progresses to weaning, the levels of lipid in the mothers milk continues to increase, this lipid is a major source of energy for the young joey.
In comparison to other supplements I have tried, Sierra shows positive signs that BIOLAC has worked well for her nutritionally and physically. I started her off on M-150, which is the transition milk because she was fully furred. As her growth progressed and she was producing solid, dark pellet droppings I changed her over to M-200. The transition went smoothly. She remained on M-200 until I weaned her. Her coat is bright, soft and healthy. She had no problems with fur loss or constipation, she had no diarrhea or stomach upset, her muscle tone and body fat were on target, and her growth and weight gains have been consistent with normal growth patterns. Best of all, Sierra took to the milk supplement right away, she never fought the bottle like some of my other joeys have on other milks, in fact she loved the milk so much we had a hard time getting the bottle away from her.
Now that I am a distributor for BIOLAC, I have been contacted by several Zoos and marsupial breeders to purchase this milk from me. Keeping in mind that there are several variables to whether BIOLAC will work for them as it did for my Sierra I have asked each of them to keep me informed on the progress their marsupial is making on Biolac. So far I have received 100 % positive feedback. This telling me that even thought there are several milk and food supplements out there to choose from and responsibly knowing that each can react differently in all mammals due to quality of water, motherôs nutritional and health values, and breeding background, Biolac has so far worked out well for myself and the people I distribute it to.
As marsupial breeders we have all raised many healthy and happy joeys. We have also, had our share of problems. The problems are what keep us striving to find the best milks, foods, medications, breeding techniques, hand raising techniques and proper environments for our animals. Trial and error is how we learn and keeping an open mind allows us to explore all the options out there. I am satisfied with my findings but that does not mean that I will stop here, I am open to every opinion and will continue to strive for the best for my wallabies. This is a promise I made to PeeWee and a promise that I will keep. I hope that you will do the same as I have. Please feel free to contact me to get more information or answer questions that I haven't answered in this article.
My Family and I respectfully dedicate this article to the late Geoff Smith. His over 30 years of love, commitment, and dedication to the wellbeing of mammals has certainly made a positive influence on the health of our much loved marsupials.