Initially, I stated I was probably going to feed raw in my member introduction post. However, after doing my research, I felt that maybe some raw, mostly whole prey would be ideal.
I will be getting the little kit at 8 weeks here in about 2 weeks. He will have been on Marshall's kibble food...how do I make the switch. Everyone says when they are that young that they do fine with raw but what about whole prey? Would I literally be able to drop a mouse in the feeding den on the second day and the ferret go for it? What about starting with pinkies? Live or frozen? I know I will probably get live mice/pinkies/hoppers but frozen everything else. I just want to make sure I do the switch properly.
Post by sunnyberra on Dec 14, 2010 12:22:11 GMT -5
I didn't start feeding whole prey until my guys were older (primarily because they veto'd mice/rats, and that's what I could get ahold of. Now, I give them quail and they [usually] eat those!)
But, you can offer it in it's original state first and see if the fert will take it. Sometimes with whole it can be hard to get them to realize there's food in the package! If he doesn't go for it, you can do a number of things to tempt them: dab a bit of ferretone/other liquid treat on it to maybe get them to mouth at it, if that doesn't work, you can get a bit messier and either slit open the belly and get some ferretone in the cut or even put a few pieces of kibble in the cut, to get them to smell "food." Or, you can try chopping up the body (probably while it's frozen would be best ) and having it in "chunks" that way the fert can smell what's inside all the fur/whatnot.
I've tried the belly-slitting thing with my guys. Not much luck, everything else I've heard about as potential options.
Post by sherrylynne on Dec 14, 2010 12:28:57 GMT -5
I'd first offer the raw, before they whole prey. Only reason I say this is the fact most ferrets, given the chance at whole prey(once they are used to it) prefer it to raw. By offering the raw first, you'd have him eating both regularly. With the whole prey, you can start with pinkies if he doesn't take to the furrier ones at the beginning
I got my first two together at 8 and 12 weeks. I didn't feed them the night I brought them home as kibble (they were on some kind of marshall mush) and raw don't mix well and to make sure they were hungry. I gave them one meal of raw the next day (chicken), let them go another night, and then offered whole mice the next day. The key to getting an animal to try a new food is for it to be hungry when you offer something new. Obviously you should never starve a ferret but if it's healthy, I see no reason not to let it go a little longer without food than you normally would.
With both the chicken and mice, I used scruff and stuff to get them to try it. Scruff the ferret and put a little of the food in it's mouth. Often times with young ferrets this is all it takes to convince them. With the mice, live might be better to spark his interest and it might not. Many ferrets are natural hunters but even if they kill the mouse, might not realize it's food. My newest killed the mouse, took it to the corner, and then came back looking for food. You could try cutting the (dead) mouse in half to show the ferret there's meat inside if he's confused.
Mine now eat mice, rats, quail, rabbit, chicks, and guinea pig. I'm planning to offer some fish soon and see how they like that. I find whole prey preferable to raw because it's so easy. Whole prey is already balanced and there's no cutting, grinding, blending, ect. for me to do. Just toss the pre-packaged in fur meal into the feeding den and you're good to go. I do also supplement with fish and extra virgin olive oil, taurine powder, and eggshell powder just to make sure they're getting everything they need.
Last Edit: Dec 14, 2010 14:55:54 GMT -5 by bluemoose
Post by sherrylynne on Dec 14, 2010 19:42:08 GMT -5
I don't know that I'd leave even a healthy ferret, especially a kit, for more than 12 hours without food. Up to that time is usually fine for a healthy adult, but kits really do need to eat more often. For an 8 week old, maybe 4-6 hours?
12 hours without food isn't ideal but I don't think a couple times will deal lasting damage. I weighed the pros and cons and felt that a small fast for a quick switch to raw was better than having to feed kibble for a long time because of a slow switch. But to each their own. I'm sure this method wouldn't work for some ferrets and I agree it's not something that should be done all the time. I also understand that some people aren't comfortable with the idea of "tough love".
Last Edit: Dec 15, 2010 0:07:21 GMT -5 by bluemoose
I'm not particularly comfortable allowing farm ferrets to go hungry for too long. Kits in particular. I know that it's done but kits switch so easily I don't believe it's necessary. It's just my opinion. The problem that I see it, is farm ferrets are nutritionally, physically and mentally stressed from day one. Jills are forced into season (you can do this by adjusting the lighting). They are nutritionally challenged, fed a manufacturers kibble that isn't worth the time that's put into boiling it. So you have jills who are in poor breeding condition producing kits. That means that the nutrition that the jill is providing to her kits is deficit. The kits are then yanked from their mothers at about 5 weeks, spade/altered, descented (a procedure that most vets will not perform because it's cruel and unnecessary), they are placed under a hard anesthetic to do this. These kits are then shoved into holding crates and shipped. Once shipped they are then placed in a holding space until they can be received at the pet stores distributors. They are then shipped to the local pet store. Oh, and in the mean time they are fed kibbles. Their soft little mouths are fed these dried up biscuits when they should still be nursing and being gently weaned to even a kibble mush. Through all this these little babies have known pain, cold and hunger. It's not for me to inflict any more pain or hunger. This is why I don't let a farm ferret of any age go hungry. It's just my opinion, just a point of view ciao
I can certainly see and respect your opinion but I adamantly will not feed kibble to my pets if there is any other possibility. I don't consider a short fast to be inflicting pain and I feel there's a difference between hunger and starvation. In my opinion, occasional hunger is not a bad thing even for a young animal.
My first two took to raw/whole prey right away after a short fast but my newest one was more difficult. There was no way I was going to keep giving her the cat food she was eating in her old home and of course I wasn't going to fast her indefinitely. I didn't see any reason to teach her to eat a new kibble when I could just teach her to eat raw. I force fed her raw everyday, twice a day until she would eat it on her own. To be fair, this method could be used without fasting but I prefer to let them eat on their own if possible.