I went to the local Barf Store today and bought a 'standard pack' for the fuzzes and some bone-meal. There's even kidney in there, and salmon. Today is a chicken meat and pork hearts day. I am trying to devide it up in a menu, so they have liver/organ once a week. I am going for beef tomorrow, and salmon the day after. Stools are good.
Edit: Forgot to add that they are eating pork hearts in chunks today! Yay.
Chunks - yay! Good step! Will they take anything else in chunks? Usually once they get used to the texture, it is just a matter of building up those chewing muscles. What is in a "standard pack?" I haven't heard of it before. The kidney and salmon are great! Seafood has lots of Omega 3's so it's very good for them in moderation (just be careful to not feed too much due to higher sodium levels and mercury). Kidney is a great organ source. Once you come up with a menu, let me know what it is. That is one of the "tests" you have to pass to graduate the mentoring program is to come up with a menu that demonstrates you have a balanced and well varied diet. We still have some work to do with getting them on bones and such, but they are doing great. If you start practicing making up menus now, it will be second nature by the time they are done with the switch. Try to get one and a half meals a week of organ meat, one and a half meals a week of hearts. I find sometimes the easiest way to do this is to do one meal organs, one meal heart, one meal half organs half heart. Remember that liver should be at least 50% of the organ meat. The rest of the meals should contain 7-9 meals of bony meats, and other muscle meats like chunks, ground meat, and gizzards.
Again, these are just examples of how you might split it up. The key is to get 10% organ, and 7-10% heart. Let me know if you are unsure about anything! I will try to post some example menus when I get on from my laptop at home.
The standard box from the barf store: 8 x 500 g oksekallun, Ox stomach, (just the walls, not the content) I'm not sure how much of this I should be feeding, but according to wikipedia it's a good source of protein and fat? I know people can eat it too, and it is probably the most common dog-treat in Denmark when dried.
4 x 500 g indmadsmix, Organs, 50% hearts, 25% kidney, 25% Liver. I have more liver in the freezer, it's the easiest organ to get a hold of here, next to hearts.
4 x 500 g oksekød, Beef
4 x 500 g lammekød, Lamb
4 x 500 g laks, Salmon
4 x 500 g fjerkræ m/brusk Chicken and Turkey with cartilage, i think it's called. The ferrets really enjoy chewing it.
There is also a horse-box, a turkey-box, and a wild animal-box that has deer and reindeer. You can also buy any of that separately, as well as things like chicken necks, and turkey-necks.
I figure that once I have them consistently chewing the cartilage and chunks of meat, I'll start giving them some chicken-wings to get them to eat bone?
Yes, chicken wings are a great source of bone and usually the best/easiest bone to start with as they are nice and small. As for your organs, you included heart. Heart is muscle meat, not organ. It sounds like you have a good mix of organs though. I would add the stomach to the organ meats for now, but I will check on that for you. Stomach is a hormone producing tissue in the body, so it is an "organ" as far as ferret meats are concerned, but it is also made of smooth muscle, so it is also a boneless muscle meat. I'm checking with the other mods/mentors to see if it should be fed more like an organ, or more like a muscle meat so we have a better idea of how much to offer in a given week. I'll let you know what the consensus is. It is definitely a good thing to feed them IF they will eat it though.
Your meat source sounds awesome. I wish I could get some of that variety. You will have to let me know how they do with the lamb, some won't touch it. Koda used to eat lamb, but when his IBD got really bad he was on nothing BUT lamb for a while. One day he decided he'd had enough and wouldn't touch it - and has refused to eat it since. Other ferrets I have heard refuse it some days and eat it others. It seems to be something that may vary by batch. Just a heads up that they may be iffy on it. It is an incredible meat though - very gentle on any sensitive stomachs, or food allergies, IBD, etc. It's definitely something I recommend having in the diet if they will eat it. Then if they ever have stomach issues, they already recognize lamb as food. Another good one if you can get any is goat. It is very similar to lamb.
As long as they continue eating chunks okay, I would try the cartilage chicken/turkey mix sometime later this week and see what they think of it. If they will chew on and eat the cartilage, they will be one step closer to bones! I hope you know they really are doing great. I honestly didn't expect them to be as far along as they are so soon. You are doing a great job with them and they are cooperating really well!
Thanks. Happy New Year to you too! Salmon is definitely a different taste, so it will take some getting used to. I am really glad that they liked the lamb. It is a great meat to have on the menu and a good thing to have them familiar with eating.