I'm sure she'll think I'm trying to poison her again. >< I'm going to try that this evening. I'm giving her the kibble during the morning hours instead of at night. I want to make sure she's eating something... she looks like she's stashing some of it though.. I'm sure she hasn't been eating the raw, she's not head first in the kibble bowl eating... well eating like she hasn't eaten in a day. Everyone else is sniffing it and walking away.. except Izzie the piglet who appears to be stashing. lol!
I think she's eating... she doesn't seem lethargic or anything.. I give her a teeny bit of kibble every now and then just to make sure though. We had a few takers on some liver yesterday. Everything in the bowl was gone, no idea who ate it but someone did. How often should I add liver? I know they're not supposed to have too much... once or twice a week? I think I want to add some beef heart in next. I should probably grind it... might have better results. =3
Liver should be only 5% of their diet, so if you want to feed very small amounts a few times a week that would work and probably have less of a stinky impact on the litter box. None of my creatures like organs at all, so I hide them in a soup. Since I would obviously prefer that they're chewing their meals rather than slurping them I give them all their liver once a week. The litter box is pretty foul, but this works for us otherwise.
Does Ellie seem at all enthusiastic about the raw? If you get her eating something don't change it for a week or so. She might revolt and then you'll have to start all over again.
So far everything I've offered has been mush that I ground in the meat grinder. This week I want to start adding a few chunks in and see if they go for it or not.
She doesn't seem that enthusiastic at all really but one thing Ellie has started eating that she never showed an interest in before are the freeze dried Stella and Chewy patties that I have. At least those are better than kibble. ^^ I want to offer those occasionally to make sure they still like them. I think those would be easier to feed on a road trip than raw.
I got Ellie to eat some meat this morning off of a spoon and then she went for the bowl! I think she's just about caught up to where everyone else is now. I plan on adding the chunks of chicken breast tonight. I added a few tiny tiny pieces of gizzard this morning... so far I've seen Ellie gnawing on a piece for a bit then she gave up. =P
Whew, all of this cutting is a lot of work. I'll be glad when they're eating bigger chunks. So far I've been able to get them to eat chunks slightly larger than my pinky nail and will be moving to slightly larger than that tomorrow. I've been waking up and getting home to empty bowls and pretty happy ferrets. I wonder if I'm feeding enough though. I know I've heard that they won't eat as much with raw but I fear that maybe I'm not giving enough. I suppose with their next feeding I'll offer a little more to make sure.
Organs, bones, etc... when should I start regularly introducing them and how much? I worry that because I'm mostly feeding muscle meat (although I know they're getting some other things because I still add a NV medallion) that they're not getting proper nutrition. They still won't touch gizzards although Izzie and Riley will eat their gizzard jerky... maybe I should try to get the others to like those treats as well. It would save me a lot of money on N'bones.. these treats are much cheaper! I've also heard of getting bone meal and adding it to their mix? My husband is also worried about them stashing bones, we've had that problem in the past when I would give Izzie chicken wings. ^^;
Oh my yes. I don't miss those days of all the cutting and bribing. It's worth it in the end though.
When ferrets first start getting fed raw they often eat and eat and eat for the first month or so. Also it's winter and they need to pack on the pounds. It will slow down eventually, but give them as much as they'll eat. How many bowls or plates of food do you have out at once? Could you maybe have a bowl or two of frozen stuff that could thaw during the day while you're gone for them? Personally I just throw food in the den whenever it gets low. Ferrets are good at self-regulating, so it's rare that you'd have to worry about overeating on raw.
If you're still grinding and mincing every meal you could add their organs right in with that. As for bone, dry out some eggshells and crush them into a powder. Add that to the mix. 1/2 teaspoon per pound of meat.
Obviously we want them to really chew some meats and crunch up bones eventually. Gizzards are really very, very tough and they may not have the jaw strength to deal with it yet. Save those for a bit later and give some easier meat chunks for now.
As for stashing bones and meat chunks... you have a couple of things to try once we get there. You can lock them up in the cage or carrier when they're fed and take away the leftovers when they're let out. I suppose mush is impossible to stash so you could leave the mush available at all times and put away the chunks. The only problem with that is that ferrets tend to be lazy and they may choose to just eat the mush and not bother with the more difficult stuff.
Option B is to train them to use feeding dens. Set up boxes or bins that are just used for food. Have one entrance/exit so it can easily be defended from thieves. Ferrets like to have a dark, private place to eat, so training usually isn't too difficult if you make the box and the location attractive to them. Then when you feed the big stuff put the ferret in the box and wait. If they come out to run off with their stash, put 'em right back in the box. They get the hint pretty quickly.
There you go! You're doing great. I'm very proud of you and your business. Keep up the good work!