Roo Poo: A Magnificent Obsession

First rule is DON’T OVERFEED

  • 10% of body weight is a good amount at first. After you have established a good routine then quantity can SLOWLY be increased. If faeces become soft or runny then go back to quantity given before the soft poo started.
  • Don’t worry about soft, even runny droppings; as long as joey isn’t constantly messing his bed, then he’s OK.
  • If you feel droppings are too runny/watery then albi calb or other ‘thickener’ in 1 or 2 of the bottles may help. Don’t make this a habit, medicating when not necessary can start up a range of problems such as going from runny to hard to pass which can end up with various worrying episodes such as refusal to feed, too much straining [eventual prolapse] even some bleeding. Far better to have a stress free you and a baby with sloppy poo than problems that are much worse.
  • It is best to have only one joey minder with an experienced back-up if you need one. Lots of noise [tv, vacuum, etc] may cause stress as can barking dogs.
  • Some joeys show stress by shaking/trembling, by licking their forearms in an agitated manner, by developing diarrhoea. Others appear to be quite calm and happy in their artificial pouch but are in fact more frightened than those showing symptoms. Look for diarrhoea, refusal to feed and no grooming; these can be signs of stress in quiet joeys.
  • A relaxed joey will groom itself in some way quite regularly even when very small.



  • Be absolutely sure your joey needs antibiotics before using
  • At times, despite vet advice to use antibiotics, it may be preferable to use your own or another experienced operator’s judgement and not use, or perhaps delay use, until you are certain they are needed.
  • Once you start antibiotics the full course MUST be taken. Do not stop just because joey appears to be OK.
  • Any overuse of medication can cause problems eg. diarrhoea or thrush. Thrush is also caused by poor hygiene. If not diagnosed in time it can cause eventual death. Medication is a poor and unsuccessful substitute for cleanliness. Undiluted bleach poured over the entire sink area and left for several minutes before being wiped with a cloth that has also been soaked in bleach is what I use. I then wipe over any other area where bottles, etc may have been standing.
  • Until your joey is eating plenty of solids then sterilizing bottles and teats is essential. Teats should be washed in warm soapy water after use then stored in the fridge until the next feed. Steep in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Use any reliable method of sterilizing bottles.
  • If your joey develops diarrhoea, regardless of the reason, the joey and all his bedding must be kept clean. After washing, rinse pouches in a suitable disinfectant. Don’t be afraid to shampoo your joey [dirty area only], use warm water and a mild shampoo, rinse off and towel dry. Don’t let him get cold.
  • Kangaroos don’t start getting out of the pouch until they’re quite old, usually over 8 months, therefore keep the joey’s pouch routine as it would have been in the wild, ie don’t allow finely furred joey’s the run of the house. There may not be any problems but it’s wise not to take the chance. Problems with the skeletal structure may occur.

I think the most important point is never to allow the ‘poo’ of your animals’ to become an obsession. If your baby is not messing his beds and is otherwise healthy then the consistency doesn’t really matter. This also applies to outside joeys, droppings vary in consistency for many reasons, don’t worry if your outside animals are not always popping out perfect little balls.

All this is only relevant if you know with certainty that your joey hasn’t an infection, personally I rarely have problems with sickness in joeys, on a couple of occasions a ‘stress’ episode has brought on a messed bed or two but before day’s end it’s cleared up. Stress can be something as simple as a sudden loud noise or a really ‘loud’ person coming into the room.

For constipation a drop or two of oil – I use wheatgerm oil [sometimes liquid paraffin] – in the bottle once or twice should do the trick. Pure prune juice is also good, wallabies enjoy it.

This little fellow was the victim of well-meaning but ignorant care. He arrived quite malnourished and suffering severe diarrhoea. His bones were very thin and was unfortunately beyond help. He was euthanased.

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