Post by mustelidmusk on Feb 8, 2009 17:34:24 GMT -5
This wonderful news!!!! Are you sure both of your kids are eating the soup? You'll figure this out pretty quickly if one of the two start to lose weight - this usually happens pretty fast for ferrets (unlike with me )
One thing you'll want to start doing is cutting back on the amount of freely available kibble such that by the time the next raw feeding comes around (most people feed a raw meal in the morning and in the evening. ), most of the kibble is gone. Essentially, you'll want to know how much kibble is being eaten and how much raw is being eaten. When the time comes to give them a little "extra encouragement" to eat things like bone and organs, you'll be able to cut back on their normal kibble ration to make sure they're good and hungry for the next raw meal, but you won't be making them miserable since tou know what their normal eating requirements are. In the meantime, keep feeding them the same recipe for a couple of days to make sure they're really comfortable with recipe. If they eat the soup consistently and finish it all, you can increase the percentage of ground meat by a small amount. At this point, you want then developing the taste for meat.
I doubt Bronwyn will have a setback. She'll more likely deprive the other two by hogging their soup!!! ANd the other two maysimply find it easier to eat kibble instead!!! It's really cute that Bronwyn is eating with the kitties
I only give a small amount of kibble in the early afternoon, lately I've been giving duck soup instead. They are all eating duck soup. Hestia is somewhat reluctant but would rather eat it than wait for kibble
I fed the same mix of chicken juice, baby food, etc. They both ate the soup as soon as I put it down. Just a little bit left at lunchtime.
Bronwyn tried to eat a chicken wing. I cut it up a bit so it had some strips hanging. She really liked chewing the wing tips.
PM--Same meal only I tried beef juice. They ate it again but not as enthusiastically. There was none this morning but I think Bronwyn finished it off. She was licking the bowl when I checked them this morning.
I am thinking about purchasing some freeze-dried commercial diet to leave out in the cage. I've never used it but it seems like the texture is a little bit in between raw and kibble. What do you think? I am thinking about some of the diets that have nibblets or pieces instead of patties. Are they okay to mix a few brands together?
Post by mustelidmusk on Feb 10, 2009 9:52:15 GMT -5
YES!!! I'm a strong advocate for the freeze dried diets for several reasons...
1. They really help speed up the switch since they can be mixed with kibble... you can sneak small amounts of crumbled freeze-dried raw in with the kibble, and the ferrets have a TOUGH time picking out the kibbe - they end up eating some raw - like it or not.
2. You can get complete/balanced diets,which lessns the worry of unbalanced diet during the swittch when ferrets have not yet learned to eat bone, etc.
3. Once your ferrets get switched, freeze driesd raw can be offered between meals with less worry about spoilage od cached food that you may not know abouy (ie - a hidden chicken wing, etc!!!!
4. It can be fed dry and then moistened slowly ike a kibble if you happen to have one of those ferrets that hates wet food. SOme ferrets never get into the wet food - but yours already eat soup
5. It's great for between meal munchies - especially for older ferrets that may experience more blood sugar fluctuations or other health issues.
6. I feed freeze-dried only when I go on vacation so my baby sitters don't have to deal with the feedings - I leave out multiple bowls that can remain readily edible for over a week at a time - No worries about spoilage .... at least not in my dry climate
I mention it as an option at first, but I then wait to see how things go before recommending it again since it is not cheap. Although, some people switch to freeze-dried raw (no kibble) before their kids eat a complete wet raw diet.
I highly recommend the Wysong Archetypal I - it has beef and chicken in it, it has shreds and chunks. The reason why I really like this is beause it's been around for quite ome time, and it has a great track record with ferrets. (I started my kids on this before feeding wet raw and had great results)
I also recommnd the STella and chewy's steaks - great if you have chicken-sensitive kids since you can get single source foods in different meat types (lamb, beef, etc) It's great for introducing a new meat type as well.
AFS pattys are also good. I seem to recall that they're mostly (if not all) beef.
Any of the patties are easy to crumble, so you have an option on the texture/size of pices you wish to feed.
I use all of the above - I even mix them at times - like when I travel.
There's also ziwipeak, which is a little different. The Ziwipeak is more like small bits of jerky. I'm less impressed with the Ziwipeak because the different flavors all mell the same, and they have an artificial scent. They have a lot of chicory syrup, which is for the inulin. Inulin is used a prebiotic, which in theory feeds to good bacteria in the gut. It has a low glycemic index, which means that the it should not produce a strong insulin response in the blood stream. AT least that's the theory. The ziwipek tastes sweet (yes, I've tasted it just to see if its sweet ). Sugar is not good for teeth, and it inulin IS a sugar. As such, I occaionally do feed some ziwipeak in SMALL amounts mixed in with with the other freeze dried diets. I add 10 pecernt ziwipeak to the other foods. My kids don't really like it. But, it does offer different taste, smell, which helps keep my ferrets' palate more flexible.
I do know some people who feed quite a bit of ziwipeak, but tI don't know anyone who has fed Ziwipeak extensively long term. In short, its not as raw-like/natural.
Also, Casey's Pantry (she's on this site) offers all these products an has decent prices.
So, got for it and have fun... it's not as expensive as it seems - it goes a long way since it's concentrated!
I actually spoke with Dara(owner of Casey's Hidden Pantry) and I ordered a sample pack to try out.
I may have to feed a majority of commercial dried. My husband found my our toddler walking around with a chicken wing--He wasn't amused. He didn't tell me to stop feeding raw but I think it would make him feel better knowing it isn't being stashed around the house. I assume Bronwyn did it because we found a small pile in Kelby's closet which is her favorite stash spot for everything.
We have a little more stashing because of the cats and Bronwyn being loose while they eat. I have tried feeding everyone in crates and the ferrets eat in the cage. That didn't work, the cats wouldn't eat crated.
I've noticed less of a problem with chunks being stashed or carried away to be eaten. They all eat around the dishes with those foods.
None of the ferrets have a problem with wet foods. They have eaten EVO and Wysong canned foods before.
I'm not really sure what to do yet because I am trying to keep everyone (ferrets, dog, cats) on the same general type of diet. I really don't want to feed RMBs to some and not the rest just because of the amount of time I already spend making meals for everyone. (it really isn't a lot of time but preparing 3 types of meals is a little more involved)
I made soup today with pureed pheasant(whole ground). Then I added a few kibble sized beef pieces.
Soup was gone and a couple chunks were left at lunch time. They weren't as excited about the lunch kibble they got. I wet it down and added some fish oil, then Hestia ate some. Nereus didn't go for it.
PM--Same meal as breakfast. All gone this morning. I think tomorrow I'll up the amount a bit.
Bronwyn at same ground whole pheasant with larger beef strips with cats for both meals.
None of them touch the water with little amount of meat juice added. They drank the cats/dog water all day.
I made the same food as yesterday but double the amount they got at each feeding. This time I had a little more than a teaspoon left at each meal.
Bronwyn ate chicken chunks with pureed heart/liver. She really like the puree and licked all of that off of her food before eating the chicken pieces. Her poo was a bit runnier this morning but not too bad--Is it normal for it to have a metallic smell? I'm not sure if it was her poo that smelled but she was the only 1 with a new food yesterday.
Post by mustelidmusk on Feb 11, 2009 22:45:20 GMT -5
Your ferrets are doing extremely well!!!
The introduction to organ meats typically does result in a runnier stool since the meat is richer and a little harder to digest. The stools are usually darking in color due to a high blood content in the organ meats - especially liver. I have heard of ferrets getting a metallic scent in their poops, presumably from the higher blood content in the organ meats.
I'm not sure cats eat in dens. Most ferrets prefer it. But some actually want to be fed outside of the den so they can run to the den to eat their "prize". One of my girls likes to eat this way. I feed the raw fresh meals twice a day....and I supervise the feedigs. I feed them only the amount they can finish is one sitting. So, I think my kids eat about 50% freeze-dried raw.
I also feed mostly Nature's Variety frozen raw medallion (various types of meats). Mostly commercial food. Since 3 of my 4 brats turn 4 next month, I had complete bloodwork (CBC) done on the 3 of them (my youngest boy will get his turn when he reaches 4.) Anyway, the bloodwork was outstanding - my vet says to keep doing whatever it is I'm doing.
I feed commercial raw for two reasons: It's convenient, and it's balanced. I have heard of people getting into issues with RMB diet because they are not diligent enough with the ratios of muscle meat, bone, organ meats. Too much bone will result in elevated kidney values, etc. Also, having multiple ferrets on RMB can be problematic because one ferret may stop eating certain things (like bone). SO you could have one eating too much bone whle they other is not getting enough. With a ground diet, each bite is balanced (at least in theory)
The drawbacks to commercial raw diet include less control over what goes into the food. Ground meat harbors more bacteria (just like hamburger), less cleaning action on the teeth (the bone is ground into the meat), and expense.
As you already know, there's a lot to consider with a feeding program. Ferrets have also done well on all freeze-dried raw diets. And some people even retain some kibble in their ferrets' diets as well.
In short, you do have a lot of flexibility in feeding options, which is a good thing, and I'm sure you'll find this switch a learning process regarding what works well for you and your family as well. I am a strong beleiver that the diet you arrive at for your pets must work for your lifestyle as well as for your ferrets' well-being.
Keep up the good work!!! Your kids are doing really well. One thing you may want to start doing is saving some egg shells. I feed my 4 brats 1 raw egg yolk (I mix it in their ground raw diet) each week. The one yolk is split across my 4 kids every week. I rinse the egg shells out and turn them upside down to drain and dry out. I stick them in a small plastic conainer in the fridge. Once I have several collected, I grind them into a grainy/powdery texture. I use a couple of pinches in their ground meat mix a couple time a week.
During the switching process, you ferret are probably not getting much calcium in their diet, so the addition of the egg shell helps with this. Also, the eggshell adds some fiber to the diet, which helps to firmm up the poops if they become yucky (this yucky poop thing is to be expected during the switch.)
Keep up the good work, and as long as your kids are eating the soup, continue to add larger bits of meat to the soup and less kibble. When the start to enjot the mrat without much kibble, you can add tiny tidbits of organ meat (or puree), or beef, lamb, etc. to give then variation n flavor - as wlell as supplying them with different nutrient.
I think feeding commercial diets (raw and dried) as the bulk of the diet is the best option for us. The whole RMBs thing isn't going to work with a toddler and our mix of animals. I am still planning on feeding different meat chunks in addition to commercial diets. I would rather pay the higher overall cost and not have to deal with the meat pieces around the house.
I'll start saving egg shells. Just smash it into a fine powder?
How many medallions do you feed per ferret of NV?
Last Edit: Feb 12, 2009 16:23:33 GMT -5 by bronwyn
Post by mustelidmusk on Feb 13, 2009 12:16:18 GMT -5
Since Hestia is getting a bit picky, cut back on the amount favorite items suh as kibble, or soupier mixes (less chunky).
Something that many people have found useful is as follows: After they eat their dinner, provide only a small snack for night-time munching. (In fact, may have been able to remove food for the nighttime hours) to make sure they're hungry for breakfast. It does take time to get them used to eating chunks. One of my sometimes boys still resists a bit if he's not very hungry. But I feed raw ground, which includes the ground bone. So, my brats never got as much practice eating big chunks.
The important thing here is that Hestia recognizes the chunks as food...if she's hungry, she'll eat it as long as she can't fill up on other foods. I recommend staying with the slightly larger chunks rather than stepping back to smaller bits of meats. Your ferrets nee to develop the strength required for bone slicing.
It's great that your babies are eating variety already. You've obviously been doing a lot of work with all your animals (I hear cats can be VERY difficult to switch!!!) Keep up the great work - your kids are progressing very quickly!
My sample pack from Casey's Hidden Pantry arrived today. So, I made meals with some of the items. I tried a stella and chewys patty for breakfast. None of the ferrets touched it until I put a few pieces of ziwipeak in the bowl. Then all 3 ate almost the whole patty.
PM--I made the same with a different flavor patty and put a little bit of AFS Majestic sprinkles on top. All 3 ate the patty again. I found a few pieces they put aside this morning. It looked like they were all pieces of meat that weren't completely dried and brown. All the pieces were still pink. Bronwyn was cleaning them up this morning when I fed them/cleaned the cage.
Post by mustelidmusk on Feb 15, 2009 10:43:36 GMT -5
Your kids are pretty amazing....they accept new foods more readily than most. The younger ferres are usually pretty easy (but not always!) the introduce to new foods, but the older ferrets can be real stinkers.
Since all of your kids will eat freeze-dried , I recommend providing freeze-dried at least a few times per week - even if you just provide a few bites as snacks in a foraging cup. If you keep your ferrets accustomed to eating the freeze-dried, you have flexibility if you need to travel. It's difficult for some ferrets to switch "cold turkey" between raw and all kibble for a week or two while you travel. It's not so much the acceptance of kibble/raw - it's more of a digestive thing.
You do have the option of switching them off kibble onto freeze-dried raw with two raw meals per day. The benefit is that is gets them switched to a 100% raw diet that's balanced more quickly than feeding wet raw (RMB/prey/grond diets) since it takes a while for ferrets to learn to eat bone and tear food apart. I switched frm Kibble to freeze-dried raw, and then frozen ground raw, I added RAW after my brats were already eating the ground diets.
Another thing you can do is mix some of the freeze-dried raw into the soups and start removing any of the soaked kibble that may be in the mix. The freeze-dried raw can also be served chunky - evn when moistened. This may help with getting the kids to accpt chunky food.
Keep those chunks of meats coming in their food. we want to work then up to trying the tips of chicken wings . Bronwyn will probably already accept wing tips.....when you first offer wing tips, cut them in half, paralell to the "length " of the wing tip to make two thinner strips. This will allows your ferrets to learn to position food for chewing. These trips also make greats toys, and they may end up being cached if you don' supervise their meals. Some people (myself included) supervise their meals, remove any leftovers immediately, and then provide freeze-dried foods between meals. This allows them to stash only the dry foods.
How are they doing with the chunks ofo meat? If they're still resisting try cutting back on the amount of food provided between meals.
I fed and AFS carnivore patty. I soaked it with water so that it wasn't hard but it wasn't soggy either, still pretty chunky. They all ate the patty without much of a fuss.
PM-Everyone ate AFS chicken nibblets that were wet. None of them had any interest in them dried--I don't blame them, they look really gross and feel weird! I also added a couple of dried green tripe. Bronwyn ate that.
I also added another ferret today! She is alone on the top half of the cage right now. I gave her the same diet and she ate it without a problem. I imagine it is because she is a pet store baby and was already eating wet food. (I know, I know....I broke down and bought a pet...I have only owned rescue pets so I feel like I cheated)