Yeah, I can get one done for $8 or so. What should I be looking for?
$8?!?! What vet do you go to?! That is an amazing price! Oh what I wouldn't give to get fecals done for that amount! lol (If you mean doing it yourself in the lab, then I would advise against just for the simple fact that it would be so easy to overlook something a trained vet or vet tech might catch fairly easily - or not lol). But basically what the fecal would be testing for is the presence of foreign bacteria not native to the ferret's gut flora, an unusually high count of bacteria present, or any parasites - worms, paramecium, etc etc. You might want to look into fleas. I know you mentioned a flea allergy, but what about diseases/parasites transmitted by fleas?
How are her poops looking? If she is shedding she could just be really stressed... I hope you figure it out! If she doesn't start feeling better soon I'd say a vet trip is definitely in order
How is Trixie doing? Is she still getting chunks and bones?
No, it's just a cat/dog vet that has them for cheap :-) not my vet, but I can always take the results there.
So Pixie is doing 100% better. She played hard last night, was active and curious. Ate her pork mush very well. So this morning I gave chicken wing chunks and Pixie ate a small amount. Trixie went to town! I had to chop up more because she finished it all. Stools are good, so I'm going to hold off on the vet visit. I'm getting flea meds soon so I think it might just be stress and maybe some hairballs. I'm going to keep up with some lax and olive oil.
Oh yay! I am glad to hear that! To help with hairballs, you can mix some pumpkin into their chunks/meaty bones so that it coats everything to give them a little fiber.. Just a teaspoon or so each. The fiber will help push any hairs through their system. I find that my boys do much better with a regular source of fiber anyways, so I tend to put pumpkin in their meals more days than not.
Okay, so the girls did fantastic on the chicken wing. They ate the entire thing. Soon I'm getting those shower hooks, so I'll be able to offer the wing whole. Today is ground turkey/pork chunks. They are not used to the ground texture much, so I mixed in some freeze dried to help make it more appetizing. I should have know they'd pick out the pork chunks
Hopefully they'll get hungry enough try to try ground. If not, I'll blend it up and they'll eat it like that.
Last Edit: Feb 12, 2011 15:43:03 GMT -5 by Deleted
So Trixie took some ground turkey and stashed it in the feeding den (after she ate all the pork). Hopefully that is a good sign!
I made a post in the whole prey section. I've been contemplating feeding only whole prey, but I'm fuzzy on a lot of the details. I probably won't feed live, but frozen is fine. I don't necessarily have the money to order now, but if I could work out how much of each I would need, I could start saving and trying to convince bf to ordering whole prey. We have a LOT stuff in the freezer right now, but it's something I'd like to do if the price isn't outrageous.
Don't worry about all of the posts! First off yaaaaay to Trixie eating the ground. Now we just need to get Pickie-Pixie eating the turkey too. Ok so for the chicken wing, you don't have to have hooks - just give it to them whole.
For the all-whole prey diet. Here is the difficult part. You are going to have to have a minimum of 3 different protein sources still. And mice/rats are so similar that I have heard many people consider them the "same" protein source. Obviously not exactly the same, but similar enough that you will still want a min of 2 more animals. To be honest, I would recommend a Mostly whole prey diet, supplemented with store meats like you are feeding now - the chicken, turkey, beef, organs, etc. Then you get all of the balance and benefit of whole prey diet, but a bit more variety than can be found in whole prey. So let me know what you think of that. I can help you either way you decide.
For now, start checking out your resources and let me know what types of whole prey you can get. Some good ones to look for are obviously rats and mice, rabbits, quail, chicks are a good treat but too low in calcium to be a balanced meal. Also guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, other fowl like duck, game hen, yadda yadda. Whatever you can find. Let me know what you can find, what you want to do, and please ask me questions. That is what I am here for. Obviously.
To start out with whole prey though, look for some mice pinkies.
Well a lot of it depends on how hungry they are. I'd say average though 2-3 adult mice per ferret. Prey of all ages should be fed, but Pinkies should not be a whole meal by themselves as they are (like chicks) low in calcium. They are great treats and they are awesome for transitioning to whole prey from a meat chunk diet. I recommend getting several pinkies and fuzzies to start. chop the pinkies (easiest to do when they are still partially frozen) into bits (start with halves qnd see how they do) and mix them into your regular meat mix. When they happily eat the halved pinkies add whole ones. Then repeat this process with the fuzzy mice. This method is vey methodical. Hehe It gets them used to the taste, then gets them used to the most difficult part of feeding whole prey - the fur. New meats they are used to now, but FUR in their food is something totally alien to them. Kind of like the texture change from kibble to raw. Some ferrets get past it quickly, some take a while. Now, once they are eating the fuzzy mice, it gets much easier to move up to adult mice. They might even go straight for adults after eating fuzzies, but if not what you do is feed whole fuzzies, then whole hoppers, weanlings, small adults, med large etc. this whole process can be repeated for any whole prey. I find that it seems to work super well. It gets easier once they eat their first fur though and hoer new furred prey goes faster.
I'm going to look into the cost and see if I can pick up some pinkies and fuzzies. I love the idea of whole prey, but the cost is absolutely horrid. I'll probably start with just adding a couple mice a week, as it's own meal, and then hopefully start adding rats and larger prey.
Before I start larger prey, I need to get both more interested in organ meat
Today is liver day and they are completely ignoring it. I even sprinkled freeze dried all over it. Nada. I'm wondering if it's off... It doesn't smell bad. I don't know. But the girls have been digging into their stashes, so I know they're hungry.
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2011 16:06:39 GMT -5 by Deleted
If they won't go straight for whole wing, just start cutting it gradually into bigger and bigger pieces. Then when you get to whole sized, you can even chop a few gashes in it, then go to full-whole. For the liver, let's go back to basics a bit. Make them some liver soup with some liver, and chicken, and maybe a little pumpkin. See if they will eat that. Again, back to basics so start with hand feeding tastes, then pouring over their meats. When they will eat if along with their meats, try slipping in some liver chunks, then reducing the soup:liver chunk ratio. If you do this in small amounts, say one meal a day or every other day, you should be able to keep it consistent for them until they will eat it, without totally overloading the liver amounts. If they get a little over 10% for a little while, it should be just fine. They will probably have some darker poops, but watch out for signs of upset bellies and such of course. Hopefully if they get the idea fast enough they will only need soupies a few days.
Another option too that jsut occured to me as I type this. Mix the liver into some chicken meat (or tukey, pork, etc) and don't grind it, but chop it all up together so it is all a pile of little chunks and htey have to taste one to get the other. Try that first, and if they still won't eat it, then try some liver soup. Let me know if you have trouble/questions.