Jack,much loved, never forgotten

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It is still very surprising to hear from carers who do not know how to assess the actual age or growth stage of their joeys. With all the research that has been collected and that data collated and used to construct growth charts by bio-chemist Brian Rich, it is very easy for carers to work out what approximate age their joeys are.

The four major growth stages of macropods are easily distinguished by their development. The unfurred/eyes closed joey is at the >0.4 stage, the unfurred/eyes open joey is at the 0.4 stage, the just furring joey is at the 0.6 stage and the fully furred/eating solids joey is at the >0.7 stage of development.

Keeping these growth factors in mind, it is quite simple to determine what growth factor a joey comes under, no matter what the species of macropod.

The next factor to determine is the actual species identification, which can be ascertained in three ways.

  • Firstly the area from where the joey came will give an insight into what species it could be by way of verifying which species belong in that particular area.
  • Secondly the foot and tail measurements will allow a species identification when comparing them to the species charts by Brian Rich. (These charts are included in my manual)
  • Thirdly, if the joey is starting to fur or furred, the actual markings and fur colour will provide identification by an experienced carer.

Once the species has been identified, the foot and tail measurements will guide the carer to approximately how old the animal is.

When this has been established, carers can work out how much formula the animal should be given, going by the foot and tail measurements, NOT THE WEIGHT!


  • Most animals have been compromised by the time we acquire them, so the chances that they will be underweight is very high.
  • The weight of an animal does not mirror the age or growth factor of that animal, unless it has not been compromised in any way.
  • The energy required by a developing animal will be according to the stage of growth that it is at. For example a macropod joey at the 0.6 stage will be starting to fur, thermoregulate, eat solids and hop, so it is at this stage of its life that it requires more energy per bodyweight than at any other time in its life! How is energy obtained? -through its food, which is its Wombaroo formula. For those who cannot understand how energy from food has to equal the energy utilised by an animal, this example below should be easy to understand.

    If you fed a large Newfoundland dog the same food as a Greyhound would require, you would end up with a very overweight Newfoundland, as this dog does not need the high-energy food that the Greyhound needs. OR

    If you fed a Draft horse the same food that a Racehorse would require, you would end up with a very fat Draft horse, as its energy requirement would be less than that of the Racehorse.

    And of course the reverse is also true. Food that would keep a low energy animal active would de-activate an animal with high-energy requirements.

    Taking all of the above into account, all carers should know the age of their joey and feed it according to its age! If it is underweight for age, it will soon gain what it has lost when fed to its growth stage.

    Happy caring! Lynda.
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