It's fantastic that your life is now falling into place and it allows you some time for yourself. I'm glad that your guys are all doing well and that they're eating their raw food for the most part. You did really great, you know. It's not easy switching 7 ferrets of different ages. H***, it's not easy switching 7 ferrets plus all the other things that happened as well. Give yourself a pat on the back and all your furbabies a big hug. Welcome back ciao
Post by ferretpalooza on Feb 6, 2009 0:28:26 GMT -5
OK, we've caught our second wind, hours at work are now reduced and I mostly work one job and the ferrets have been eating the raw/soup mix now for months. I needed to make a new batch yesterday so what I did was use the largest grade on the grinder so the meat is a little more chunky. I dont know that I am real comfortable with ground up bones forever. I did add a lot of pure bone meal, I know it is cooked but it is sold mainly as a calcium source and there is chicken and beef liver in the ground mix too. Of course the first day, I got the snubbed noses but most of them make the meat soup their main source of food so the second day I was watching them eat and they were carrying chunks off from the bowl under the cage. I did chop off the knuckles of the leg bones and left a little meat on them and have been puttin one in each bowl of soup. I also keep a bowl of chicken, lamb and duck jerky and most are chewing on that so maybe they are ready to take raw feeding up another notch. So we're back and gonna see if we cant coax them a little further on this journey.
Sounds great and looks like you're going about it in the right manner. By using the larger bore for grinding you're getting them to eat more meat and bone chunks. This is really good and makes them start to get the idea of how to eat bone . I would seriously be getting them to eat the ground bone more than the bone meal. Even baring my dislike of bone meal you want them to be eating the bones, that's the most difficult part to teach ferts and cats. Dogs seem to naturally cut into the bones, but cats and ferrets would sooner eat only muscle meats . I find my guys really cut into the knuckle at the end of the bones more than the long bones (those are what get left in the room, the long bones). This is really good for them because not only are they getting bone but they're eating a good portion of cartillage. You've got good variety going in the dried meats, what are you feeding as far as ground meats? If I remember you had a fairly good variety from the beginning. It's great to see you back. Let's get the little furmonsters eating more whole meats... I will check in with you tomorrow to see how things are going. ciao
Post by ferretpalooza on Feb 6, 2009 13:53:58 GMT -5
I grind up chicken thighs, a pork roast, a beef roast, chicken and beef livers. They eat chicken, duck and lamb jerky. I am also saving egg shells to add to soupies next time for more calcium. I know bone meal is not optimum but I am concerned about them constantly eating slivers from ground leg bones. Id like to get them on a simpler diet.
Those bone slivers from your ground mix probably won't hurt them. Their bodies are meant to digest those bones. It's really much better for them than either the egg shell or bone meal. They wouldn't be crushing up the bones if they were eating them. Ferrets like all carnivores aren't really meant to chew. They rip, tear, bite off....they may grind those bone pieces a bit but not any finer than you're doing with your grinder. You've got them eating an awesome mix of proteins....good job. Excellent work. Did you get any takers for the leg bone knuckles the other day? If you want to feed them whole bones to chew on, we will have to come up with some bones that are the proper size for them to eat. Leg bones unground are usually too heavy for them to eat sizeable amounts, so wing bones....mini drums, necks, small pork riblets. They'll all work. If you can get quail and cut them into quarters and they can eat the whole thing (my guys have no problem handling that bone). That's something for starters You may have to take a hammer to the bones to start with. Your guys are already used to eating the sharded bones, so that wouldn't be a far stretch for your guys to eat the crushed up larger bones Good luck, I will check back with you tomorrow ciao
Post by ferretpalooza on Feb 7, 2009 0:00:17 GMT -5
You dont think it would be a problem if they swallowed splintered bones??? I heard they mostly dont eat the leg bones. I heard Petco sells frozen mice. Im going to call them to see. I may slice up a mouse once a week in addition to adding bones. I finally got all the hardware from Midwest and got the cages put back together like I had them. They had their eating dens back now too. No, noone touched the knuckle but they are eating the larger chunks of ground right off so thats a good start. I have a bunch of single packs of frozen legs and such that I will start thawing out and seeing if I can get any takers.
I've found when offering whole legs, especially at the beginning (I still do it to a degree, they just seem to enjoy it more) score the legs right to the bone and score the meat quite closely. This allows them the idea that they're eating smaller pieces than they actually are. It just means that they don't have to work at it as hard as they would if it was a whole piece. It also means that even if they get into a tug of war over the piece, someone always gets a bite. That way your actually teaching them to tear the pieces apart themselves. As they get more proficient lessen the number and the depth that you score the legs. I usually just run 2 scores a side on the legs now. I find if I don't score at all, the whole leg usually gets stashed in the litter box If your really concerned about the bone splinters (because your using legs as our ground meat source, use chicken necks or backs, they're cheaper too. I don't know about the US but up here the chickens are very young when sent to slaughter so the legs aren't as hard as they could be. A lot of people who grind their own meats grind chicken backs. Lots of fat, there is a good portion of meat, you can add some breast if you think there's too much bone and the bone is softer (not weight bearing). I find that my guys eat about 1 mouse each as a treat. If we make a meal of it, 2 to 3 mice, with the girls eating about 1 or 2. So when my guys sit down for a meal of mice I have to have at least 28 mice (only 14 of the 16 eat prey at the moment, my newbs don't recognise prey as food yet) that's one of the reasons why I raise my own. That's great that you have your habitat up in the manner that your guys were accustomed to. I will check in with you later tonight. Have a good weekend. ciao