Post by Forum Administrator on Oct 25, 2008 18:48:01 GMT -5
Ferrets can be little pains, can't they? Keep feeding by hand, slowly lower your hand to the plate so eventually they have to eat from your hand AND from the plate, then stop hand feeding. I had to hand feed De when I was working to get her on a raw diet. She was such a pain. Hang in there, you are doing good.
It's quite cute feeding them by hand really, not very practical though! They are eating quite big chunks now, which is good. At the moment they are just having chicken really and a bit of kibble. Should I be giving them anything else or should I leave that until they are ripping meat of bones themselves?
The next plan is to get the cats on to a raw diet too!
Post by Forum Administrator on Oct 27, 2008 5:05:14 GMT -5
I would work on getting them to eat the chicken on their own before you make any changes. Just make sure everyone is getting enough to eat, and that no one is losing weight. Once they will willingly eat the chicken on their own from a plate, work on slowly increasing the size of the chunks till they can eat "thumb sized" pieces on their own.
I've been giving them meat over night and it's all gone by the morning, nothing stored anywhere! When I give them their meal time indoors, they eat off the plate and then when they are fully they start storing it around the room. They are eating chunks, with the skin on, that are about 1.5" long and half that wide and thick. Is that big enough?
I'm guessing that their poo will change consistency, what should I be seeing/looking out for?
Post by Forum Administrator on Oct 29, 2008 18:12:26 GMT -5
The reason the poop looks like that is two fold.
1. The food is higher in moisture 2. There is no fiber in the raw chicken chunks to hold the poop together
Once your ferrets are eating raw bone along with their meat (which should be very soon), you will start to see an improvement in the poop. So no, I wouldn't worry.
Now, lets get started on improving those poopies. Here is the next step in the diet switch, take a whole raw chicken wing. Now using a cleaver, or scissors cut the wing into three pieces (at the joints). Now make several score marks into the meat using a knife or scissors (so they can learn to grab on). Offer the ferrets this INSTEAD of their usual chunks. You can make the wing segments more appealing by:
warming (but not cooking!) them slightly slathering them in babyfood or blended raw meat mashing up their favorite treat, blending it with water (to make a paste) and putting it on the wing
See how they do. They *should* show interest in the wings, but they might not know how to eat them. If this is the case, try playing "tug of war" with the wing segment. It will teach them how to sink their teeth in.
Observe to see if they eat it. If its been over 24 hours, they will need to eat *something*. So if they havent touched the wings, offer them the chunks and try again the next day.
The wings went down well. They are eating them without any issues! It's great I've given them some lamb and beef too as a little snack and they enjoyed them too. I found some ox heart, lamb heart and lamb kidney in a shop today. I was thinking of freezing it until I can incorporate it in to their diet.
Post by Forum Administrator on Nov 3, 2008 3:50:20 GMT -5
Excellent! So are they eating whole wings now, or are you still sectioning them at the joints? If you are (still sectioning the wings), the next step would be to get them eating whole wings. If they are already eating whole wings, then try them on chicken thighs and legs next. The probably wont eat all the leg bone, and thats okay, as long as they eat most of it. As for the thighs, they are usually pretty meaty, so if they are eating the meat but not eating the bone, cut some of the meat off before you feed it, so that they dont fill up on JUST meat and then not eat the bone.
The fact that they have eaten lamb AND beef is WONDERFUL. I would start adding in the lamb and beef into their diet. Feed chunks of lamb and beef that are approx the size of your thumb, or bigger. You can also try pork and turkey.
The ox heart, lamb heart and lamb kidney is great. What I would do is set those aside for 1 meal a week (your "organ" meal). You could feed each ferret:
1 raw chicken liver a "thumb sized" piece of lamb OR ox heart a "thumb sized" piece of lamb kidney a handful of raw chicken gizzards 1 whole raw egg (including shell) OR 1 raw chicken neck
I like to portion off the "organ meals" into little baggies and then put them in the freezer, that way all I have to do is pull a baggie out of the freezer and "thaw and serve"
So to leave you: work with your kids and get them eating:
Chicken legs and thighs Continue feeding the Beef and Lamb (thumb sized pieces or bigger) Try a new meat or two, such as pork or turkey
Once you've got them eating the chicken wings, legs, and thighs, the beef and lamb, and try them on a new meat, we will work on setting up a "feeding schedule" for you so that you can make sure they are getting a balanced diet. After we make your schedule and I review it and put my stamp of approval on it, you'll be ready to graduate from the mentor program.
Post by Forum Administrator on Nov 4, 2008 22:50:40 GMT -5
I would say fairly soon. They are doing well on the raw right now. Lets get a feeding schedule put together for them and then we'll work on adding whole prey.
Here is how I want you to design a weekly feeding schedule:
Raw Meaty Bones 4 days a week Be sure your ferret is actually consuming the bone and not just stripping the meat. Your ferret must eat most of the bone (they will leave a little behind and this is okay) for it to count as a “raw meaty bone meal”.
Muscle Meat 2 days a week If you notice your ferret has slightly runny poop or if you would like to add more calcium to your ferret’s diet, you can add a tablespoon of finely ground eggshell powder per eight ounces of boneless meat.
Organ Meat 1 day a week. Organ meat (especially liver) can be very rich and this can cause runny poop in some (but not all) ferrets. To combat this, try offering your ferret a very small raw meaty bone (snack sized ones such as a chicken neck or chicken wingette) or a whole egg (included the finely crushed shell, if your ferret can tolerate egg) as this will add extra fiber (cite) (as well as calcium and other minerals) and can help to firm the poop on organ day. Even if the organs cause runny poop you do need to feed them as they are an essential part of the diet, as liver provides vitamins A and C.
Also another important thing to keep in mind when designing a feeding schedule is: Variety is key!
Variety is important because it helps your ferret to have a complete diet. Variety in diet not only means feeding different types of meats and proteins, but also ages, parts, and providers.
Meats/Proteins: Be sure to offer more than one protein source. Holistic Ferret recommends feeding at least three different protein sources each week. Ideally, you would offer a different meat each day of the week, but some people may not have the funds or desire to do this. Pork, chicken, beef, turkey, and lamb are all acceptable and can usually be found locally with very little effort. More exotic meats, such as elk, goat, and ostrich can be fed as well.
Different meats vary in nutrient composition. By providing a variety of meats, you can ensure that your ferret is not getting too much or too little of certain nutrients. For example, chicken is not very high in fat (which ferrets need a decent amount of), but it has a fair amount of taurine (a nutrient ferrets need for eye health). Lamb is very fatty, but is not high in taurine. Beef is high in iron and, depending on the cut, can be higher or lower in fat. If you rotate lamb, beef, and chicken, you can ensure that your ferret is getting a decent amount of fat and taurine.
Ages: Whenever possible, try to feed different ages of meat. As an animal ages, its nutrient composition changes. Whole prey feeders vary the age of the prey they feed in order to ensure maximum nutrient diversity. As a raw feeder, you should do the same. Here are the names of several common protein sources and the names of the younger and older version of each:
Beef/Veal Mutton/Lamb Chicken/Cornish Game Hen Turkey/Poult Pork/Piglet
Body Parts: Different parts of an animal’s body vary in nutrient composition. For example, chicken wings are very bony and have less taurine than chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are meatier and have more taurine, however, they do not have as much cartilage that can be found in a chicken wing (and cartilage is important in the diet of a ferret. Mix it up. Feed different parts of the animal, or different cuts of meat. For example, on days when you feed chicken, offer thighs one day, wings another day, and legs another day. With boneless meats such as pork, you can feed a pork steak time, and pork tenderloin another time. See the chart below for detailed charts/lists of all the possible cuts of various meats.
Please design a weekly feeding schedule using the guidlines above. Once you've designed your schedule, post it here and I'll review it and help you "tweak" it to make it as balanced as possible. Once we get a good schedule set up for you, I want you to feed your ferrets on that schedule for ONE week. If they go a full week and eat everything you offer them, then we will work to incorporate some whole prey into there diet. Sound good?
Ok, here's my feeding schedule. Also, they've taken to not really eating at "meal time", they prefer to drag their food around and hide it in the kitchen, most of their eating is done during the day in their hutches so it's difficult to tell who has been eating what. Should I stop giving them stuff for during the day or just leave it as it is?
Does heart count as organ or muscle meat? Oh and my "organ meal" is the recipe that you gave me
Monday Bone chicken wing Tuesday Muscle pork loin/beef steak Wednesday Bone chicken thigh Thursday Muscle lamb shoulder Friday Bone chicken wing Saturday Organ organ meal Sunday Bone chicken leg