Finally got to make up a big batch of weasel chow this weekend, and Linus and Patty are being characteristically picky. Patty especially won't go near anything remotely new without being held and hand fed, but I think it's going a lot better this time around. The only flavor they didn't eventually come around to is the pork, I think because its a drier meat, and running it rhru the big grinder plate makes some pretty good sized chunks. But after I whizzed it in my little blender for a sec, they both tucked right in.
They are starting to gain some confidence with the little chunks they get, maybe bean-sized or so. They are actually having to chew their food instead of just slurp and swallow. Still haven't gotten any takers on chopped up chicken wings(except Piggy) but I found some cornish hens 2 for$4, so I will offer them some single ribs soon. Not sure how you could get more easy-peasy than that!
Otherwise, the gang is doing pretty well. No fur yet on poor Linus, but he seems to be getting along pretty well.
Post by catznfertz on Jun 10, 2010 22:34:11 GMT -5
I think Linus is finally getting some hair! You can't really see fur yet, but his once smooth and pink skin is turning a horrible bruised-looking bluish black. If I hadn't done enough homework to know better, I'd think he had been in some terrible trauma, or had some nasty skin disease! At least his poor nekkid butt can't possibly look worse than it already does. I'm sure Linus will be thrilled to finally have a proper fur coat again.
The cats got some rabbit ribs for dinner, so I snipped off a couple of single ribs for the ferrets. Everyone gave it at least a sniff or lick, but Pigpen was the only one to try and chew it. He did manage to get it away from me and ran off with it, but I don't know if he ate it or just stashed it away for safe-keeping.
So how does the whole graduation thing work? I'm certainly not where I wanted to be at this point, but I think I've got a pretty good handle on it. I was kind of worried about switching batches this time around, but it seems like after trying the new stuff a couple times or so they all accept it ok. Tonight was the third time they got the new batch of chicken mix, and Patty tucked right in instead of having to be spoon fed like the first two times. So if you think we're ready to graduate, we must be.
Okay! Here's what we need to do. Type up a detailed menu of what you feed the ferts in a week. Also outline Linus' meds and feeding routine since he's inso and adrenal.
Of course we would like the goal to be your crew eating chunks and bone-in meats, but what you're doing now is definitely better than any commercial food, so bravo! Promise to keep trying, ask questions and post, okay?
Heather will review your menu once you post it and she will have the final say on you graduating.
All blends are ground coarse with bone, except for the pork. I pull out the leg bones from the chicken quarters I use, but leave the backs and thigh bones in. I only use some bone from the turkey legs, since I have to bash them up before I run them thru the grinder, and the ferrets eat around the bone pieces anyway. for the duck and rabbit I use the whole carcass, including whatever heart/gizzards/liver I get.
I puree a mix of about 50/50 chicken or turkey liver and pork kidney and add it to the ground meat to make around 10% organ mix. I also add about 500mg taurine to their evening meal most nights.
I feed twice a day, morning and evening. Sometimes they are all hungry and go to town at once, but other times some of them prefer to sleep instead of getting up to eat. I make sure Linus eats at every meal, and if he doesn't eat enough on his own, I will put some in a little bowl and hold him while he eats. Lately I haven't had to do this much, since he's feeling pretty good. He seems to be doing quite well on twice a day feedings as long as he gets a good feed. Everyone seems to be keeping good weight, and Franklin has maybe lost some (which is a good thing, since he's pretty roly-poly!) Linus gets 1 mg of prednisolone twice a day with some Beechnut turkey baby food right after his meals. He thinks this is dessert!! The deslorelin implant is really kicking in, so the little guy is sprouting hair all over. I think he is glad to not be the only one without anything to wear.
So you think I should just continue what I'm doing, or do you have any other suggestions on getting these guys to crunch bone? Pigpen and Schroeder seem to have it down, so I do give them the occasional cornish wing or something, but everyone else just spits it out or ignores it.
Last Edit: Jun 23, 2010 23:16:01 GMT -5 by catznfertz
Congratulations....you've made it You have now successfully graduated your raw switch. Great job, your little ones are eating a healthier diet, that should see them with softer coats, less odour and less litter box cleaning for you If you have any questions please feel free to either post to the site or pm any of the mentors, they will be more than happy to assist you. Luci says she will pick you up and be your mentor, so if you need to ask questions and are not comfortable just pm'ing just any one, Luci says she will be more than willing to support you. Please remember that the first part of your journey is now complete, but learning about dietary issues is an on going process and never stops. As far as getting your little ones to eat whole boned meats, just keep offering (have you tied smashing the bone with a mallet?). As they are eating ground make sure that you check their teeth on a regular basis as they're not getting all the good tooth cleaning bones (have you tried feeding gizzards (gibblets))? The gristle on these will assist in giving your little ones the jaw workout and teeth cleaning that they will be lacking from not eating boned meats. Good luck ciao
I have tried them in the past on chicken gizzards, but no takers. They seem to eat their food by lapping/slurping instead of using teeth, so they have a hard time picking up a chunk of gizzard. I haven't tried lately, but will try again next weekend when I get some from my meat man.
My main issue is that they seem to be eating around the little bone fragments instead of chewing and swallowing. My thought was to get them used to a bit of crunchiness to their food before moving to larger bits of bone. But now I'm not sure they are getting any, especially when I feed rabbit or turkey. They clean up the meat and leave me a plate of bone shards. Think I should start adding some eggshell again? I think they do pretty well with the bone bits in their chicken blend...
Last Edit: Jul 2, 2010 21:50:07 GMT -5 by catznfertz
Have you been offering chunks/strips of meat by hand? If you make a game of it they might go for it. Play a gentle game of tug o' war and let them win. Smear it with baby food. Sear (boneless) meat ever so slightly to up the smell factor.
As for the egg shell... If they are not reliable eating bone, then yes, go ahead and add it back in. Watch the poops. If they start looking too dry and hard then back off.