I know you worry about salmonella... and the disease is very real...but you know unless your immune system is compromised ( I know we're never really sure) I don't think you have worry too much. I won't go into details of where 14 fuzzies can stash food and what happens when it isn't found for a few day but you know I've not been made ill and nor has any family (human) member. That type of thing is personal and I won't go into it too much, if you fear this perhaps a plastic sheet or small drop sheet for him to eat off that you can put in the wash when he's done. Or something that you can wash down when it's all done. Ferrets are not particularly clean eaters and they have a tendency to stash their food and well that's why a few people feed them in their cages or in the bath tub. My guys eat their whole meats at night but unfortunately, once that door is open from their room then anything they've stashed moves it's way into the rest of the house. Congratulations, Mr Poley. Keep at it he will get the hang of it. He's going to take a little work that's all, but you've found his Achilles heel....cream.... ciao
Post by Alliemegan on Oct 28, 2008 22:41:28 GMT -5
Yup, you're right about ferts being messy eaters! We put down a towel for them on the kitchen table at soupy time. They stick their faces right into the bowl (we call it the "soupy snorkel" ) Then they carpet shark on the towel to wipe off their chins when they're done. It's the cutest thing!
It's really reassuring to know that it takes WAY more than 14 little messy eaters to spread salmonella! Ever since the first fuzzbutt came through our front door, we gave up on keeping an immaculate house. We surely can deal with a little stashed chicken jerky. Taffy, the little girl we lost earlier this month, was a super stasher. Her favourite game is to beg for a kibble, stash it, and repeat. She wore us out with that game. (she bites your toes if you ignore her! ) Part 2 of the game is Merry waiting right next to Taffy's hidey-hole, then go in to steal her stash when she leaves. That's why it's a neverending game... I miss that little girl
Question: do you have a favourite food processor/ meat grinder brand? I have a Cuisinart but I need more POWER! What about those hand-cranked meat grinder? Can they deal with bones? Or is that something best left for the pros?
Another question: we saw whole rabbits, lamb and venison at our butcher's last week. Do you think we should introduce other raw meats at this point? Or we should stick with chicken until everyone's up to speed (looking at you, Mr. Poley bear!)?
I used to use a hand grinder, it was able to do backs and small leg bones, but now I just get my butcher to grind it for me (I buy my meat by the case these days, I'm feeding 14 ferrets, 2 cats and 1 irish wolfhound puppy). I also use some of the specialty pet food stores too. If you want to grind your own, Jennifer says this product is really good. I have two of my other people using Northern tool and liking that product too. I guess it depends on how deep your pockets are. I have to admit that grinding the bone and the meat is a much more practical and in my opinion healthier method of switching. I'm not fond of egg shells but also realize that ready access to a grinder or preground foods isn't available to everyone.
**Sam Baere makes the cheapest grinder I've seen that's rated for grinding "soft bone" bone (chicken, rabbit, cornish game hen - smaller animals have softer bones). If you grind bone with your Sam Baere Grinder and it breaks, Sam Baere will fix or replace it. Not true for the other grinders. As one might expect these grinders are not cheap!
Definitely try and get your guys to eat other meats. Mr Poley might surprise you and enjoy something other than chicken. We only start with chicken because it's usually fairly cheap and easily accessible. My guys are particularly fond of rabbit which is another mild meat and part of the natural diet of a ferret. I actually had one little fellow who would only eat rabbit for the longest time (expensive little sh** ). My guys also enjoy venison, lamb, emu, elk, beef, pork ( a couple of them really enjoyed shrimp, but lets just say it's not usually on the menu : whole quail. I had a couple of them also ate crickets (Porthos coughed up the legs later), I caught Lady"B" Itchy slurping up a big dew worm that she had caught while digging in the outdoor play pen, they also eat rats and mice. So use your imagination, some people also feed fish...I tried that....but it's rather creepy finding fish heads buried in the rice dig box I will check in with you later to see how things are doing and if Mr Poley is any happier with his new meals ciao
Post by Alliemegan on Oct 30, 2008 23:19:11 GMT -5
That meat grinder is mighty impressive! That whole chicken leg got ground up just like that! I know what I want for Christmas ! Wait, shouldn't that be a present for the furkids?
Gadget and Tassy had been really good with the soupy. They're regularly eating straight ground chicken (no water added) out of the bowl on their own. They're also eating some of the bigger chunks and seem to be enjoying them. I think I might start them on some other meat this weekend.
Merry had back slid a little. He's only eating off the spoon but not the bowl. I have to hand feed him twice a day but I'm not sure he's eating enough.
Can't wait until the weekend so I can go check out what the butcher has...
I would definitely let Gadget and Tassy eat a chunkier fare if they will go for it. I'm sorry that Merry has back slid a little but it's not uncommon You should be able to convince him to eat back out of the bowl in a couple of days. I would definitely continue to supplement feed him until you're sure that he's eating enough on his own. What I usually did was try an feed my guys about 3x a day when I supplemented. Once I was comfortable I would remove the middle meal and once I had seen the ferret at the bowl then I would remove either the night time meal or breakfast depending on how much and when they've eaten (these are meals that you're personally spoon feeding them I'm not talking about removing the food ). If they've already been eating on their own they usually will eat within a couple of days. Sometimes they're unhappy about the consistency or some progressions that are moving too fast for them. Unfortunately, their idea of protesting is usually to dig in their heals and stop eating. The best thing about it is it's usually temporary and can be easily rectified by either back tracking your feeding (either consistency or vigilence, spending more time with them making sure they eat) and finding that comfort zone that they had before. Once you find that then you move forward again slowly after a couple of days. How's Mr Poley doing? Have a good weekend and a Happy Halloween (if you're into that stuff ) ciao
Post by Alliemegan on Oct 31, 2008 10:19:54 GMT -5
Poley's making baby steps but still difficult in general. We're blending ground chicken with whipping cream into this "chicken mousse" . The big guy likes it well enough, sucking it back from the syringe and I got him to lick it off my finger at breakfast this morning so that's progress. He's being really picky with texture though. He's fine with the pulverized chicken that's suspended in the cream but as soon as he hits a bit of fat (we're talking a rice-sized blob), he'd freak out and start gagging and spitting!
Gadget just LOVES chicken! He can eat a cupcake sized puck all by himself in one sitting! Is that about the right amount a ferret should eat? Hope he's really hungry and not just stuffing himself for the novelty! Tassy eats about 2 heaping tbsp a sitting but he's so easily distracted.
Midday meal is kinda tricky. No one's home during the day to hand feed them so we usually let them have all the soupy they want at breakfast (hand fed) and then leave another bowl in their cages on our way out. Gadget and Tassy share a cage and Merry and Poley are in the other (Tassy and Merry are getting along better these days when they're out for play time, but there's still screaming and bushy tails and "scared poops" once in while. we still don't trust Tassy in the same cage with Mer unsupervised... or we're just being overprotective and should just leave the boys to sort it out themselves... I don't know). So far Merry's not touching his soupy unless it's fed to him, let alone Mr. Poley Bear. Gadget and Tas on the other hand are so enthusiastic about the soupy, they start diving into the second helping before it even lands on the cage floor. Problem is, they're already full form breakfast so they just stash the fresh soupy! We come home to chicken.... smeared... everywhere.... I don't mind cleaning the towels but I'd rather that chicken ending up in their tummies than decorating the cage!
BTW, when I get whole rabbits, should I ask for the offals? Is it just the heart and the liver again? I don't think they sell rabbits with the heads on, but if they do, should I have the heads grounded too?
I'm sick at home today so at least they're going to get fed lunch. I'm a bit weary of handling them too much when I'm sick... don't want to give them what I have. No snuggles from Mommy today!
We thought about taking the fuzzbutts trick-or-treating, but they're not too great on leashes and they might get stomped on by kids hyped up on sugar. Guess we'll stay put...
Last Edit: Oct 31, 2008 10:49:04 GMT -5 by Alliemegan
I"m sorry to hear you're under the weather....not a good thing I'm fighting a horrible cold so you definitely have my sympathies Take the whole rabbit (truth if they'll do it put the whole thing through the grinder, skin, head liver, heart, kidneys...the only thing my guys will not eat under any circumstance is the stomach, the gallbladder and the intestines (they decorate the room with that stuff , the first time I saw it I freaked...thought one of my guys was really sick, then I realized that it was the rat's insides that were all over the place not one of my furbabies ) I took my furbabies trick or treating one year....I stuck them in a treat bag:) They loved travelling around in there and then there's no chance of anyone stepping on them either.....you can really mean "trick" or treat Maybe, you should try leaving some meat chunks for them midday...rather than the soupy. If they're really hungry they can chew on those....I realize that Mr. Poley and Merry aren't really there yet but Gadget and Tassy just might take to it. Might be worth a shot...you could even leave a couple of pieces in with Mr Poley and Merry, you never know. Sometimes they just might surprise you Just a thought Get better soon ciao
Went to St. Lawrence Market today and talked to a couple of butchers. Pretty bummed out that they all refuse to grind RMB for us. Don't want to damage their machine with bones, or run the risks of small pieces of bone getting stuck in the grinder and then dislodging in someone else's sausage.... understandable but that kinda mean that we have to look into getting our own grinder.
Got some ground lamb and pork along with the ground chicken today. I tried to serve them as is but even Gadget's not crazy about the coarse grind. I had to water things down a bit and give it a little extra blitz in the food processor. The pork is not going over too well. I got Merry, Gadget and Tassy all to tried it but they turned their heads after a few bites. Gadget adores the lamb though. Gulped it right down! Merry ate some of the lamb when I mixed a dab of a/d in . Tassy wouldn't touch it but I'm not sure if it's coz he might had filled up with EVO earlier. Will try the new meat again tomorrow..
Poley's making some progress. He's eating the chicken mousse off my finger and even a few licks off the dish! We're just going to keep at it. Let's see if we can up the chicken content again too.
Take care! Hope you're getting over your cold too!
Sounds like your guys are doing well. Unfortunately, taste is rather like us picky hoomans I have a couple who adore lamb, everyone loves rabbit, chicken, some will eat turkey, some will eat beef...I have a couple of fuzzbutts who love stealing the cats salmon mix. Just hang on with the grinder, I'm going to post a couple of "where is the meat" questions on supply lists I'm on. Maybe I can help you out. How far can you travel...now you may find that paying for ground is really expensive so a grinder may well be the best way to go. I'm contemplating it myself, it's just the time factor that is holding me back (no time to grind the stuff ) No, you're right when I asked my butcher it's a friend of his who has hunting dogs who does the meat grind for him....not him directly...he just distributes it and gets the meat for him. I found that instead of water, I use raw egg...none of my guys will really eat the grind dry...(I'm a terrible momma, I spoil them) That's great about Poley, you're getting there. You're doing great with your guys, keep up the good work...persistence that's what's it's all about. There's really no great trick, it's just sticking to your guns knowing what's best for your furbabies (they may not think you do, but when you see those fat little bums and glossy little coats you will understand ) I will check in this evening to see how things are going....I'm off to work at the gallery and see if I can draw some masterpiece to sell to feed my furbabies ciao
Seriously! I was on the floor when I heard how much they wanted for frozen, vacuum sealed, ground chicken packages! 2.5 times of what we pay for fresh whole legs. Suddenly the grinder looks like a pretty good investment. I saw the Sam Baere TS-110 on ebay and you can potentially get it for around US$100!! (Item number: 190262142758 in case you're interested) . But I'll hold off on the bidding and see what you can find out.
We don't have a car but there's this thing in Toronto called Autoshare where you can rent a car by the hour (like Zipcar but it's a local Toronto company). So if there's cheap quality meat to be have, we can get to it. Just need to crunch the numbers and see if it's worth our while.
Weirdest thing... last night Gadget was going gaga over the the ground lamb, so I put a big blob out for him for breakfast this morning but he wouldn't touch it! I watered it down, added a/d and still nothing. But when I serve him chicken he hovered it right up so he's hungry but he just didn't want the lamb any more. I wonder if the lamb didn't agree with his belly. The meat is from our regular butcher so we know it's good, looks and smell fresh. His poops from last night were formed but kinda light and skinny... I don't know what that means. Could ground lamb be too fatty for him? I'll give the raw egg thing a go tonight. Maybe my hubby can use the rest of the ground lamb for his dinner tonight too...
So you're an artist! Cool! Hope you got a lot of great inspiration today. One of these days I'd love to see some of your work! ------------------------------------
Looks like Gadget might have a cold too! He's been sneezing and coughing all afternoon. Poor little guy we're going to keep him warm with his brothers and make sure he eats his chicken. Hopefully he'll get over this soon.
Last Edit: Nov 2, 2008 19:11:39 GMT -5 by Alliemegan
Ok...I will be totally upfront. Any prefab ground that I can come up with is going to be expensive. For ground rabbit, I get a 5lbs pkg for $35....I can get a whole case of ground chicken for that price (a case being about 45 lbs). Turkey costs me about $75 for a case (one of the reasons why I've been thinking of getting my own grinder) I will check with a couple of contacts and see if they know anyone in your area. That being said, if you have to rent a vehicle, and then pay the price that prefab is ... well I think you know the math too Picky little sh** Don't be surprised by these funny little quirks when they first start raw feeding. It can be so frustrating though. One day they just hoover something and the next day they won't even sniff it. I had one little fellow who ate nothing but rabbit for 6 months and then suddenly decided he hated it and wouldn't touch it again for months. There's no accounting for taste. Sometimes the grind is different (one of the reasons why grinding your own has benefits) and then they won't touch it. Lamb is a richer, not necessarily fattier meat and it may have upset his tummy. He may actually go back on it on his own or you can try offering a little on a spoon to see if he will try it again and all he needs is some convincing. Once they get really comfortable on the raw, they will eat more steadily but they will have their favourite meats. They say that a ferret can't get a cold....well ok...but you know they can get some of these sniffing and sneezing things because my guys have all had what I would call a cold. They call it an upper respiratory infection...difference being??? Anyway, watch it closely ferrets get pneumonia very quickly and you can't hear it, it usually requires an xray. Just a word of warning. If he suddenly goes off his food, gets really lethargic, you may want to take him to a vet to make sure he's not really sick. Good luck, I hope that Gadget gets over his cold soon, and he doesn't spread the wealth That may be why he turned up his nose at the lamb, he's just feeling a little under the weather ciao
Well, the deed is done... we bought a grinder off ebay! Pretty excited about what kind of interesting meats we can get the little dudes to try! From the YouTube video it looks like it's going to be some high speed processing. Will let you know how it goes.
Gadget's doing okay. He still has sneezing fits once in a while but not too bad. Definitely doing better than his mommy. I'm still out of commission and it starting to look more like the flu. Yuk! :(I got my hubby to feed the kids this morning, just in case.
Need a nap now... will check in after the kids' dinner. Have a good day!
Congratulations on your new toy....you will have to let me know how it goes. I'm so seriously thinking of buying one for myself. I'm glad to hear that Gadget is starting to feel a bit better, got to love a ferret with sneezes....I remember poor Mad Max. He felt so terrible but it was funny to watch him run down the hall, get into a sneezing fit and sneeze himself backwards. The vet didn't believe me that it actually happened until he did it in her office. Of course her floors were a lot more slippery than mine I tried not to laugh, I mean he was really sick and was really under the weather but it was funny to watch. You have soooo got my sympathies, I've been feeling a bit more than under the weather myself. So, look out for yourself, take care and get better. ciao
Hope you're feeling better today. I still feel like sh*t but I went to work anyway. It's really nice out today and honestly I was going a bit house-crazy. Man, I love DayQuyll!
Took Merry and Poley to the vet today. Merry's blood glucose was on the low side (2.6 mmol/ L) so we have to up his pred, which I'm kinda bummed out about. Coz clinically I swear Mer is much brighter and more energetic since he started on raw but his BG doesn't reflect that. But Dr. Mike also said that their bodies get used to having low BG so they just don't show symptoms.
Our vet was pretty alarmed by how naked Poley is, so on the spot he gave Poley a ferretonin implant. Holy crap, the size of that needle!! But Poley was a little trooper, didn't even flinch. Ferretone makes everything better! I was hoping to get Mer on melatonin too but the vet said to wait and see how he responds to the pred... I don't know. Got more reading to do.
Everybody ate well when they got home. Poley finally learned to eat out of the dish!!! Hubby made to soupy with too much cream and not enough chicken (to my liking anyway. Poley likes that just fine). Gadget is definitely better. I thought I'd warmed up enough chicken for both him and Tassy. Left Gadget with the bowl and went to find Tassy. When I got back, Gadg ate the whole thing! Tassy gave me this "and what are you going to do about that, mommy?" look...
Gonna turn in early (and maybe keep dinner down for once in the past few days...) Take care of yourself and feel better soon!
I'm sorry that you're still feeling lousy I hope that you will be feeling better soon. It was indeed a beautiful day, I hope that it continues for the rest of the season...(not going to happen but I can hope ) I'm sorry that Merry's glucose level was actually lower and therefore needs his pred dose raised, poor little soul Don't get too bummed out yet, we may be able to hold him steady yet. We're not done our journey, we've only begun Poor Mr Poley, horrible needles he's such a brave little boy. I'm glad to hear that he's eating out of the bowl on his own (naughty little boy getting spoiled with extra cream I hope he enjoyed it. He earned it ) Hopefully, he will see some new fur on his little body to help him keep warm this winter. Piggy little Gadget, all that nice warm chicken I do hope that Tassy was finally able to get a good amount too . Your guys are all doing really well. Keep up the good work, get well, make sure you look after yourself too . I'm going to light a healing candle for your two little ones, Mr Poley and Merry, I hope that the mix of modern medicine and good old natural diet will help keep them healthy for much, much longer. I will light a second candle for you, because without you, your furbabies will not have the driving force to keep going. Good luck, get well and I will check in on you again ciao