So menu time! Your menu should have 10% organ, half of which should be liver, 10-15% bone, about 10% heart, and the rest is non-heart muscle meats.
If you are giving 2 meals a day that comes out to 1.5 meals organ, 1.5 meals heart, and 7-9 bone-in meals. There should be a Minimum of 3 different protein types (pork, chicken, beef for example), but more is always better.
Once you have submitted a menu that demonstrates the proper balance and variety, and feel comfortable and confident that you can make the necessary changes to the menu as you incorporate different proteins and such, and you feel confident that your business are all eating all of the bones well, then you will be able to graduate! You are 99% there!
Here are some menus from graduated mentees... The following is a reference for you. I give it to help give ideas for menu making.
Feed them heart at least 1-2 times a week so that they are getting the taurine that they need. And organs should be 10% of the diet. Ideally the organ meat should be half liver, and the other half a variety of things such as: kidney, spleen, and brain.
Here are some example menus. Your final menu should look something like these...
SUNDAY: AM- Cornish Hen: Wings , rib cage and diced meat PM- elk tendons and commerical Duck patties (pretty sure the Duck patties have bone in them, not sure about organs - yet to pick them up)
MONDAY: AM - Organs (chicken liver, hopefully other types of liver, beef organ patties eventually and pork brain - what other organs do they need? spleen? kidney?) And I realize they are going to have nasty poops ;D Do I give a whole bunch of organs at once or alternate them each week? Is it better to split this into two meals? PM - Cornish Hen: Legs, back and diced meat (basically the rest of the cornish hen from Sunday)
TUESDAY: AM - Pork Muscle Meat (depending on what I have on hand this will be one or more of the following: pork tenderloin, pork chops, pork ribs - they don't really eat the bones so it counts as muscle meat, pork belly sliced - it looks like unseasoned bacon, the closest thing I could find to what you described) PM - Hearts and chicken necks(Chicken hearts for now, but hopefully I can get pork and beef hearts too)
WEDNESDAY: AM - Goat meat (stewing goat chunks/some bone, commercial ground goat/includes organs) PM - Chicken wings and chicken backs
THURSDAY: AM - Turkey Necks and split turkey wings PM - Hearts and chicken gizzards(hopefully a different kind of heart from what they had earlier in the week)
FRIDAY: AM - Lamb meat and bones (commercial ground lamb/includes organs, and lamb bones to chew on - don't think they can eat these, just suck the marrow out) PM - Whole Quail (bone in) cut into smaller chunks
SATURDAY: AM - Hearts (hopefully different from whatever kind of hearts they got earlier in the week - if I could go pork hearts one meal, chicken hearts one meal and beef hearts one meal I think I'd be set and wouldn't have to supplement with Taurine? Or should I get taurine supplements anyways?) PM - Commerical rabbit meat (ground carcass with bone- I too think this includes organs but let me know if you find out)
I do want to get Beef in there somewhere too once I can get them eating it. I actually bought veal cutlets and am going to try them with veal first and then work my way up to the beef ;D
Also possibly work frozen thawed mice in eventually, but I think for now that's a decent menu?
Okay sounds good, I added more bone to the menu, I was so glad to hear that I could use them more than once For some reason some meats (even the obvious ones) are hard to find here Oh well, let me know what you think, again
Fifth ferret menu. Monday: turkey breast, turkey necks, heart Tuesday: gizzards, pork loin chop meat, chicken wings Wednesday: chicken feet, salmon Thursday: heart, veal- only meat, chicken drumstick or thigh (bone broken up) Friday: liver, chicken ribs Saturday: heart, chicken or turkey neck Sunday: chicken wings, heart, and beef sirloin
I will also switch out some of these meats for bison, lamb, and other fish (such as whitefish, halibut, and tilapia)
I noticed the local market has duck feet and head, as well as pig face which appears to have meat, fat, skin, and cartilage. My fuzzes already love eating the bones in chicken feet so I bet duck feet would be a no-brainer. I could incorporate those, to get this:
Third draft: Monday morning - Mousey (whole, jumbo mice) Monday night - Rabbit legs or ribcage (I forget which I have left) Tuesday morning - Chicken hearts Tuesday night - Chicken wings Wednesday morning - Turkey neck Wednesday night - Turkey back and ribs Thursday morning - Duck hearts with chicken feet Thursday night - Pig heart with chicken feet Friday morning - Chicken back & breast Friday night - Pig face Saturday morning - Beef heart with duck feet Saturday night - Beef heart with duck feet Sunday morning - Chicken liver & gizzard Sunday night - Turkey liver & gizzard
Today is beef chunks and some left over ground turkey. There is some pork on sale for $1.29 a lb, so I am going to pick some of that up this weekend.
I'm not sure if you saw my "Diet of mostly rodents" thread. I definitely want to do mostly whole prey eventually. The cost right now isn't necessarily feasible, but that is my eventual goal. With my girls pickiness, I don't think large whole prey will be an option for a bit. If I just put a rabbit in front of them they will pick and choose what they want. But with smaller whole prey, that is much harder
What do you think of this diet:
Monday: Mice Tuesday: Rats Wednesday: Bone in meal Thursday: Hamsters Friday: Gerbils Saturday: Bone in meal + extra organs Sunday: Bone out meal
I'll try getting in some more variety, if I can find goat, buffalo, duck, etc...I'll add some in there! I could also try giving them a rat or a mouse here and there but I'm not too comfortable with seeing a ripped open mouse in my cage just yet. ;D When I get more comfortable with prey, I can get some frozen rabbits at my reptile store, I'm sure they would enjoy that.
Just a few examples. The ratios should be roughly (as a reminder) 10-15% bone, 10% organ (at least half liver), and 75-80% muscle meat (including heart, and gizzards).
Ok a few things. You are still going to need more bone in the diet. Think of how much bone is in each bony item and how that compares to the amount of meat in overall mass. Then shoot for 10-15% bone. Also, just because a bone is not edible does not mean that you cannot offer it, it just means that it doesn't "count." I give my boys pork chops and they will often eat the smaller pieces of bone and suck the marrow out of the thicker parts. It is still good for them to chew on as long as it is not too heavy (beef bones are typically a no-no, most pork bones are okay). With the bigger bones just be sure to remove them after 24 hours as they will begin to dry out and they can crack their teeth on them. Your heart ratios look a bit better. I would make sure that the liver is a significant portion of the meal that day too. If it helps you any (I know it makes it easier for me) think of it this way... 7 days a week x 2 meals a day=> 1 meals a day. So ONE whole meal is going to be slightly less than 10%. 7 days a week x 3 meals a day=> 2 full meals is going to equal almost exactly 10%. They need organ 10-15% bone 10-15% and the remainder should be muscle meat - gizzards and heart are both muscles, and heart should be a significant portion of that. I'd try to shoot for about 10% heart - so 2 meals a week - at least. As long as their poops are solid, more heart never hurts.
So as a ROUGH GUIDE: FOURTEEN MEALS One meal organs (1/2 liver, ½ other organ) One meal half heart, half liver One meal hearts
The rest of the meals should be mostly muscle meat, including heart, gizzard, and BONE.
Let me know if you have any questions on any of that!
I've taken to feeding them a midday 'snack' of chunks of hearts, just about 175gr around lunch time to tide them over until the evening feeding. It's usually pork or chicken, though I am looking into getting some beef as well.
I went to the BARF store today and got some more chicken and lamb, and while I was there I also picked up some beef and horse, bone-in. Since I've seen everyone eating bits of bone and cartilage, I figured they wouldn't mind. We'll see.
It's been through a grinder (or a wood-chipper for all I know) so the bone bits are small enough, and there is even some fur still attached some places. That's...good, right?
How does this look? Menu 1.0
Day - Morning / Evening
Monday - Lamb / Horse (bone-in)
Tuesday - Chicken/Turkey with Cartilage / Beef (bone-in)
Wednesday - Lamb / Chicken/Turkey with Cartilage
Thursday - Chicken/Turkey with Cartilage / Horse (bone-in)
Friday - Horse (bone-in) / Beef (bone-in)
Saturday - Beef (bone-in) / Pork Heart
Sunday - Organ mix (Heart/Liver) / Organ mix (Liver/Kidney)
Overall not bad. The heart and organs look good, as does your variety. The one thing I am concerned about is your bone. Unless the horse and beef have ground bone in them (I can't remember if you mentioned this already? ), I would be concerned about whether they are getting enough Edible bone. Cartilage is great, and they should definitely get it in their diet, but it doesn't count as a bone source either really. They need about 10-15% Edible bone in their diet. If you can get chicken wings, those are a great source of edible bone as are chicken backs/necks, Cornish game hen (or other small fowl), turkey necks (bones will need to be at least partially broken), turkey wings (bones will probably need to be broken, at least the larger ones - some ferrets can manage whole turkey wings once they build up the jaw strength, but not all), etc. The key is edible. If you are having difficulty finding some smaller bones that they can crunch on, another option is to supplement what you have with a calcium supplement (bonemeal or powdered egg shell).
Wow, not sure how I missed that part! Sorry! The ground bone should be great! In that case it looks pretty good. You might consider supplementing one or two of the cartilage meals with a little calcium if their poops look soft, but I really doubt you'll have any problem there. I am submitting your menu to Heather for the final approva for graduation! Do you feel comfortable making changes as needed and like you can keep up the balance? You really have done a great job. With larger businesses I usually prepare for a longer switch, but your crew have been one of my easiest switches yet! You pretty much had a handle on it without my help. I'm proud of you and your fuzzy business.
Congratulations you've graduated and you're ready to walk this path alone, now. You have the foundation to help you feed your fuzzes in a more natural and healthy manner. Please remember that your learning never stops, and dietary needs change from ferret to ferret (as I'm sure you are more than aware of) and throughout each their lives. I would also like you to be aware that though you now have the capability and the knowledge to create and adjust your little ones diets, you are never alone and that your mentor (you need only pm) is always available to you. The list is also a very good resource and you should always be aware that it's available to answer any questions you may have either about diet or care. Hurricane Katt, will be in shortly to congratulate you on a job well done Good luck, in a few days either Sherry or I will lock down this thread. If you wish to update your menu do so now as it will be viewed and can be used by yourself and many others at any time as a reference tool. Once it gets locked down you will not be able to post or change it. Congratulations again ciao