Post by Forum Administrator on Sept 19, 2008 18:06:16 GMT -5
Hmmmm.....sounds like we've got some picky babies. Let me talk to Jennifer (mustelidmusk) our HF Mentor that specializes in "difficult to switch" ferrets. I think I might pass your thread over to her, as she can provide better assistance then I, in the matter of picky ferts.
Don't worry, we'll get your boys to swith, I'm callin in the big guns (Jennifer)!
Post by mustelidmusk on Sept 19, 2008 23:23:21 GMT -5
Hi! I 'll be happy to work with you - the stubborn ferts are very entertaining to work with since they can be so dramatic. I need to review all your stuff - I'll start tomorrow AM - need to have all the brain cells working to out-smart a ferret
Post by Forum Administrator on Sept 20, 2008 0:08:43 GMT -5
and dont worry, I'm still here to assist as well, Jennifer is just going to help me get your kids eating the raw continuously and then I'll work with you to get them eating whole raw and bones and whatnot
Post by mustelidmusk on Sept 20, 2008 19:39:26 GMT -5
Hi! My morning has rapidly turned into later afternoon! Anyway...
I posted the following discussion below on a couple of other threads. It's kind of a summary of how I deal with the stubborn babies - at least most of them. I originally wrote this for Raspy - she's one of Wienercat's babies. Please ask any questions...
There are a couple of things that seem to help (at least I've had good luck with these approaches, which have helped some stubborn ferrets on this forum switch as well)....
ENRICHMENT: ----------------- 1.get protein/ meat on Raspy's tongue every day - even if you have to stuff it between her teeth on the side of her mouth! I've always done this - plus Bob Church just said (at the Buckeye Bash) that ferrets have a taste bud for protein, so getting meat on the tongue is essential to override the imprinting.
2. Play with Raspy when you're feeding her. Show her nose all kinds of stinky things - from socks to spices to stinky cheese and flowers. Get her curious about all kinds of stuff as often as possible- especially smelly things - she'll start **expecting** enrichments from you. Play with her, and stuff some meat on her tongue during play time. Do this repeatedly throughout the play session - but make MOST of the session fun for her - and you too. This will be an important bonding exercise that will help reinforce her trust in you. Also, play tug-of-war with her. Once she's into the game, swap in a strip of meat to her to tug on.
So, start up the enrichments as soon as possible! It's actually very fun
I have a different understanding of insulinoma than that which was previously posted. As such, I feel carbs aggravate the insulinoma and should not be fed unless the ferret is suffering from a hypoglycemia attack. I will be double-checking on this with my vet. We'll still provide a bit of kibble for a while anyway, so there's no need to panic about misinformation - we'll get this ironed out.
I'm also going to be somewhat controversial here by voicing some of my opinions on feeding insulinomic ferrets. My opinion is based upon my experiences with one of my previous insulinomic/IBD ferrets coupled with my observations around the feeding habits of ferrets that have been switched to raw diet.
Again, these are simply my opinions, and you're free to choose the feeding program you feel is best for you and your ferrets.
In general, I agree that, when done properly a whole prey diet offers the most nutritionally complete diet. However, this assumes that.......... 1. the ferret is eating normally and is not affected by illness that may sway his appetite. Low blood sugar 2. the ferret has been raised on whole prey and is not prone to bouts of pickiness Many ferrets that have imprinted on kibble periodically get picky about what they eat If you have more han one ferret, it's very easy for a ferret to stop eating bone, or organ meats, heads, whatever...., and you may not know it.
The last thing a sick animal needs is an imbalanced diet, and many of us do not have the time to observe the consumption of every meal.
As result, I recommend the following for insulinomic ferrets:
1. Complete/balanced commercial raw diet (inclusive of a variety of meat sources ( chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, venison etc.) Meals at least two times per day. Here are some recommended procucts that I'm familiar with:: Recommended products: Natrure's Variety FROZEN raw (NOT he freeze-dried - see below) Stella and Chewy's Steaks for cats AFS Primal - for CATS (pheasant only. I don't like to feed raw fish unless it's freeze-dried, and their venison diet seems lean for ferrets)
DO NOT buy the Nature'sVariety FREEZED_DRIED raw since it has LAarge pieces of pumpin seed in it ( potential for obstructions)
Free feeding: offer kibble with some freeze-dried raw mixed in - feed this DRY, and keep this available at all times.....crumble up some Wysong Archetypal I (or stella and chewie's,or ziwipeak complete diet) into the kibble - Your ferrets will not be able to pick around the dry crumbs -> more protein on the tongue. Use complete/balanced diet for the freeze-dried stuff. Start with a small amount. Over time, replace the kibble with freeze-dried food if you can afford it. The freeze-dried is not cheap, but it can be temporary, and even if you use only a small amount sparingly, it will still get meat on that stubborn little tongue.
Meals: offer at least 2 fresh raw meals per day. Try mashing up a medallion with a small an mount of water and a little bit of ferretone or olive oil. Don't ake this soupy yet. If they refuse to take a small amount from your finger, put some of their noses to get the to lick it off. If this fails, make it a little soupy. You may even want to mix in a little eg yolk. Try again and see if you can get thm to take some.
Post by valkyriestorm on Sept 20, 2008 20:35:58 GMT -5
Thanks Jennifer. I will try sticking some raw meat in Skunkers mouth everyday. And I will start mixing some of the freeze dried food in with the kibble too. And yes freeze dried food is very expensive and I use the Wysong freeze dried food. For the Primal meat why do you say only pheasant? When there is chicken and turkey too. Thomas dose not really have a problem eating the raw meat as much as SKunkers does. But they both dont like beef and they still only eat raw when it is mixed with duk soup too.
Post by valkyriestorm on Sept 20, 2008 23:40:22 GMT -5
Just a few hours ago Skunkers just woke from a nap, so I warmed up the raw chicken meat that was out and picked him up and put some right up to his face and he went right to eating it. Then while I was holding him he just kept eating out of the dish. Weird. Why all of a sudden did he just stuff his face with it?
Post by mustelidmusk on Sept 21, 2008 13:10:36 GMT -5
Regarding the Primal... unless they've changed their products, the Dog foods contain about 25% vegetable matter, which is too much vegetable for a fert. The chicken product for cats contains salmon. (so does one of their other cat products.) A small amount of fish is good for ferrets, but fish typically has fewer amino acids than some other meats, plus, leaving fish out is dicey and it STINKS very quickly!!!)
If you have the Primal, g ahead and use it up. Longer term, you may want to look for something a bit better suited to ferrets.
Why do ferrets eat sometimes and not others? Perhaps thy filed up on kibble? Perhaps you're holding them and they are enjoying all the attention. Perhaps they like something different to eat for a change. Who knows? Sometimes in the wild, ferrets and polecats will skip a day of food.
Now in Skunkers' case, the insulinoma may be resulting in a minor bit of hypoglycemia, which tens to make ferrets naseuos and not want to eat even though they really need o be eating smaller mounts of mprotein on a regular basis to keep the blood sugars from over-fluctuating.
Here's one thing I will say about ferrets and raw diet. Ferrets that are switched to raw diet after they've imprinted on kibble tend to have more bouts of pickiness than ferrets raised on raw/whole prey. As a result, I prefer to feed commercial raw. With 4 ferrets and a tight schedule, I don't have time to supervise every meal - I would not know if Tomichi is eating bone (which she's picky about, Shaman is eating liver (which he's picky about), Kachina is eating all the hearts, etc.) You don't have this worry with the commercial raw foods.
Let's hope Skunkers continues eating the soup! it will be easiest for you to keep the two eating the same thing. If you want to push Thomas a little farther, you can ad a few pieces of larger chunks to is soup if you plan to have him eating t raw meaty bones and/or whole prey.
Also let me know if you have any questions about the insulinoma as well. - I may have some advice since I've had insulinomic ferrets. There's a post in the medical section I commented on about insulinoma - you may find it to be informational.
Post by valkyriestorm on Sept 21, 2008 20:55:06 GMT -5
The Primal ground meat we sell at my work is for dogs or cats and they have it with produce (greens) and without produce which just has the meat ONLY. I only use the all meat one but last week by accident I bought the one with produce in it, but I think it was only 5% and the rest was meat. We sell the Bison, turkey, chicken, sardine and I think venison. I was wondering if the Bison and venison ones are OK for ferrets?
Post by mustelidmusk on Sept 23, 2008 11:36:06 GMT -5
It sounds like Primal has expanded their product line since I had last checked, which was a about 3 + years ago - that's great!
If the mixes you are feeding are muscle meat only (no bone, no organ meats, you'll mneed to be balancing out the diet with the addition of bone and organ meats. The only types of commercial food that can be fed "as is" would be cat diets that are labeled as complete diets. You probably already know all this, but I would rather error on the side of repeating info rather than leaving something out!
I feed my kids bison and venison. These meats tend to be very lean - a little low in fat for ferrets, but they are good for variety to ensure your ferrets get a good range of nutrients.
Post by valkyriestorm on Sept 23, 2008 21:04:39 GMT -5
He seems to be doing better if I put it on my finger, then he starts eating it. Just like Thomas used to do. So what else could I add to the ground meat? I have been putting gizzards and egg shell in it too.
Post by mustelidmusk on Sept 25, 2008 9:04:27 GMT -5
Hi, Sorry for the delay - things have been hectic these day.
I recommend liver, heart, kidney, sweetbreads, pancreasetc. the gizzard and heart are actually a type of muscle, which is fine. They have a different concentration of amino acids (more taurine, for example). Liver, kidneys, pancreas, etc. are not muscle. They have different nutrients. Liver is really the only readily available organ that I've seen in the stores - a lot depends on where you live.
Tripe can be found in stores - white tripe has just about zero nutrition while green tripe is supposed to be very ntruitious (green tripe is uncleaned stomach lining and it smell just like a very ripe cow pie!!!)
egg yolk once per week mixed in is good (you may want to add a little water with this since it ca be sticky (doesn''t dry out as fast with a tiny bit of water added.)
A few drops of Salmon oil per feret adds a lot of good fats and EFA's. Kelp or antler can be used to add trace minerals.
Heavy cream is commonly used to add weight to thin ferrets. It's also well accepted by most ferrets, so mixing it with some of the things they may not like can help.
And of course. you can always try new muscle meat such as lamb, etc. These other types of meats can be slivered ad mixed in with chicken in small quantities , of course.
How have your kids been doing? any new progress or improve general acceptance of raw? Any speific likes/disles?
Post by valkyriestorm on Sept 28, 2008 20:35:55 GMT -5
I will try the green tripe, we sell the Bravo brand at my work. Their still eating it. Sometimes I still have to push them to eat it, like still sticking my fingers in their faces with the meat on it. I will never buy the ground Primal meat with Organic greens in it again. I found a big apple seed in it. So I gave the rest of it to my friend at work and bought the meat without the organic greens in it.
Post by mustelidmusk on Sept 29, 2008 8:56:43 GMT -5
The primal complete diet (with greens ) has more green stuff than I like to see. My only concern about the met grinds is that they sell them as "incomplete" diets - The calcium phosphorous rations are different between the "complete diet" and the "incomplete grind". The idea is that you're supposed to be adding your own greens. I know that some greens have calcium..but how d you know what's missing from and what you should be adding to the grind??? (This is why I feed the NV........it's supposed to be complete. I hate the guesswork associated with barf diets )
OK, I was able to reconfirm ho the insulinoma works, and I don't feel its necessary to feed carbs for insulinoma unless your ferret is showing sgns of a hypoglycemic episode, in which case, youer ferret will probably not be eating anyway.
Here's how insulinoma causes crashes...when sugar/glucose is detected in the blood stream, some pf it goes to the red blood cells and the brain, and insulin is produced to move leftovers to storage, mostly in the muscles and liver. When in storage, the glucose is converted to something else and is no longer readily available to the brain and blood cells...the stored stuff has to be converted back into glucose before it can be used.
With insulinoma, the tumors over-produce the insulin when sugars risie in the blood stream. The insulin start cramming all the glucose into storage such that there is not enough left in the blood stream for the blood cells and/or brain. This is why you get weakness and seizures, etc with an insulinomic crash. Since Proteins tat longer to break down than carbs, there's a slower, more constant rate of release of sugars released into the bloodstream. With carbs, there a rapid dumping of glucose into the blood stream, which stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin. So, this is why you get the initial immediate recovery with karo syrup (readily available glucose) that followed by a crash if no protein if provided after the sugar is given. Does this make sense???
Since sugar cause rapid increases/deceases of glucose in the bloodstream, the only time you'd want to feedhigh carbs/sugar would be when your ferret is crashing. Otherwise protein will keep your ferret more stable.
Prednisone/prenisolone helps to stabilize the blood sugars from the wild fluctuations caused by insulinoma, so prednisone can go a long way towd preventing insulinomic crashes.
Post by mustelidmusk on Sept 30, 2008 20:20:45 GMT -5
Hi, I posted a better version of the insulinoma discussion in the health section....I t's much less confusing than what I wrote the other day (when half alseep!) And it has a few more tips in it as well.