Thursday, August 09, 2007

Question and Answer board at the Simian Society

Recently there has been some correspondence on the American Simian Society Question and Answer board concerning the diet of Capuchin monkeys. One contributor advised using commercially available foods. As you know, my experience is principally with Howler monkeys in our shelter in Cojedes Venezuela. Although from time to time we have sheltered Capuchin monkeys for fairly long periods whilst they were being prepared for release into the wild.

I replied directly to Jake, who was the original questioner but there were some points in my letter which may be of interest to readers here.

‘I am also in Venezuela and share Jake’s difficulty in obtaining ‘Monkey Chow’ or any of the specially prepared monkey foods. Quite apart from the inconvenience of importing directly, there is now an added disadvantage to personal importation. Goods arriving by post are subject to new regulations as well as a prohibitive tax of 150%. The actual process requires you to visit the post office in Valencia or Caracas (Local post offices are not enabled for this job), and complete a document with seven copies. Then visit a bank across town to deposit approximately five dollars. This is only to commence the transaction. You must then return to the post office, with proof of deposit, to be informed of the customs charge. Right, yes off to a different bank to deposit the 150%. Then return with proof of payment to pick up the goods. This backwards and forward will take you the best part of a day and woe betide you if your to and fro ing crosses the magic 11.30 till 3 lunch period. Certainly for me, importation is not an option.

From what Jake has said I think he is doing all the right things. We also had concern about providing a balance amount of protein in the Howler diet and in the absence of ‘Monkey Chow’ in Venezuela; we did an internet search and from that compounded our own ‘chow’

Here is the formula:

Ground beef fat removed, or ground chicken for protein. 100 g
Milk powder Two large spoonfuls
All Bran flakes. (is fortified with Vitamins A y C calcium and zinc) 200 g
Quaker oats , has vit A and C 200 g
Soy protein soaked in hot water for 20 minutes before use and drained 100 g
Eggs two large Eggs as Protein and binder.

The quantities can be varied dependant on the taste of the monkeys and the ingredient can be varied dependant on what is available.

We mix the all the dry ingredient together and allow to stand for an hour. We whisk the eggs and add them this should give you a slightly moist mixture which can be formed into shapes. We use a smallest size standard kitchen biscuit former. We place the biscuits on a metal plate and put into a hot oven at 350 for 20 minutes. Allow to go cold and then chop into mouth size pieces.
The children love their biscuits. They keep fairly well in the fridge for a couple of weeks although I like to make mine weekly so that they are always fresh. I call them protein bombs. I regard them being as a supplement to the fresh fruit, leaves and vegetables that we give them daily.

We feed our children twice a day.

Once at about 7 am. Milk banana shake with added Merengada flavor Mantecado, ‘Kiddi’ vitamin syrup and a small shot of Mirrapel (omega 3 y 6 from veterinary shops). A plate of fresh fruit, varied each day between cooked and raw bananas and papaya, a daily a plate of quartered oranges.

Midday a bunch of fresh leaves from the forest.

Second meal at 4 pm

As much as they like of mixed vegetables Apio, Pumpkin, carrots but daily a different flavor. One day Soy with Tuna, another day boiled eggs in mayonnaise, once a week steamed chicken pieces.
This vegetable mixture is steamed and chopped into mouth size pieces or sometimes grated and served raw. (not the chicken of course)

I am not trying to better the 'Monkey Chow' offering but in the absence of commercial importation we have to improvise'.

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