Thanks for the info and the support! I get freaked out at the drop of a hat with them. You know I did research for about 9 months before I started this raw diet. It was so confusing and quite intimidating. I worried about not having enough knowledge and thus not feeding them the right things and then getting them sick. It's still intimidating, but when I found the rad cat (and the few other foods that are, in themselves, well balanced) it took much of the worry away. Now I can concentrate on the bigger part of the switch and learn more from experience than from just reading.
Their poops can be soft, but after having a sick ferret for two weeks, I'm not as alarmed by a slightly mushy poop. Most have been well formed...not so runny that they pool up on the floor. I think that mostly they are within range for the foods they are eating. The thing that got me when Yogi was sick was the smell! Oh the horror that was! Now, it's the same smell mostly every day. Thank God!!! hehehe
I just went online to see what the rad cat people say about calcium.... does 1.04% sound right? I'm not really sure of what I'm reading.
It has been much easier to keep their cage clean since we switched foods. Now I can just pick up the puppy pad and toss it. Only a few times a week do I have to scrub down the cage and disinfect everything. I used to have to do it every night because their poo was everywhere! And so much of it! LOL This has been FANTASTIC!!!!
Okay, so one thing about the liver.....poos looked like they bled to death! hehehe Those poos were RED!!!! hehehe Makes sense though. There was quite a bit of liver in their meals the past day or two. So tonight I freaked out....I cut up the cornish hen I bought, smashed the wing with the meat tenderizing mallet till it was flat. Cut that into smaller pieces to "hide" in their food. But those bones look sooooooo sharp! I sat here and contemplated throwing it away. So I went onto the fb forum and posted my concerns. Jason and a few others gave me those comforting words I really wanted to hear..that those wing bits were not going to kill my babies! hehehe LIke I said in there, it's one thing to know something (a ferret is designed to eat bones and the cornish hen is just the right size for them) but it's wholly another to put it into practice! I only put in 4 or so little wing bites along with some liver, a cut up breast of the hen, a little gizzards and the requisite rad cat and pumpkin..and a little warm water. Not that they will notice...I went to take it in to them and they had all put themselves to bed in their cage.
So here are 4 pictures....first two were this morning's meal...one with just the meat (and the leftover rad cat bits) and then the whole meal with the rad cat and pumpkin. The second two are this evening's meal. I didn't get a picture of the poo....someone had made a mess of it and gotten it all over the place. Ugh....just when it's safe to back in the potty box! LOL
If that is what they are eating that's a good consistency. How did they do with the little bone chunks? And yes, bones are perfectly fine! Game hen bones are easy peasy. Most chicken bones are perfectly sized (the legs and sometimes the upper wing bone and necks need to be broken to give them a starting point depending on the ferret). Smaller turkey bones (wing tips, ribs, back, etc) and broken med-large turkey bones, broken pork ribs, pork buttons, duck bones, etc are all great bone sources.
You said their poops were red - red how? Bright red or dark?
I haven't checked yet. When I get home I wake them to play for a while in their room before we let them out into the rest of the house. They usually only eat a little bit during the day, but a little while after they get up and play they start eating again. I cooked our dinner and put the babies back in their room so we could eat in peace. LOL Right about now I go check on the food to see if it's been finished, then grab the bowl and clean it and prepare their dinner before I put them back to bed. They usually eat about half the bowl during the night so I leave it (or if there isn't a whole lot in it, I add a little more in the morning). Then the next day it starts over again. I am about to go in and check their bowl again...brb...I'll go check....it looks like one of the bone-in chunks is missing and I check the hidey holes but didn't find anything. That doesn't mean that it's not in the tube or their bedding though. They didn't eat very much of their food so I mixed some water in it again and just watched Mickey eat some. He got to a bone and licked all the food off and hid the bone. So, I'm going with no bone eating as of yet! I'm going to mix some more meat and rad cat in it so they get enough food in them...I hate it when they don't eat their whole bowl in one day. I will wait to wash it out until tomorrow morning. Just now, when I found the bone, I gave it back to Mickey to see if he would eat it....that would be no...HOWEVER...he did take it from me. Before tonight, anytime I try to hand it to them, they turn their noses up at it and walk away. So it is at least starting to seem like they are getting that it is something that goes in their mouth now.
The red color was similar to the liver...it looked like they pooped it back out again. hehehe But today, with a reduction in the amount of liver, their poos were back to brown again. You are right, it's nice to see what the effect of their food is on their bodies by actually seeing their poos change. That's kind of comforting.
I have another question for you regarding adrenal disease. Does being adrenal make them itchy? I saw some blood on Mickey's side two nights ago. I inspected it and the sore under the dried up blood was no longer open but I have noticed that he is itchier than normal these past few days. I inspected him again thoroughly this evening and found a few little scabs here and there on him...about 2 or 3 small little spots. Tonight I gave them some oil (the only thing I have on hand is what is left of the ferretone...but I will be purchasing the evoo the next time I'm at the store)...just for good measure. Since they are not eating as much Rad Cat as they were, I assume that they are not getting as much oil as they were before. However I am giving them some chicken fat and last night they got some fat from the hen as well. I have salmon oil but Mickey didn't like it very much. I might try just a touch of it in their food when I put their dinner together. What do you think about that? Could they be getting dried out from not as much oils with their diet changing they way it is?
One more thing to add... tonight I saw Mickey really chew. He is the oldest of the bunch and the one that was slower to pick up this new eating thing than the babies were. But tonight I went in to check the food and bone situation (btw...I found the other bone chunks....all cleaned and laid next to the bowl in their cage ) and I saw that most of the liquid was gone from the food. When I see that I usually add a tablespoon or two of water to the rest of the food and mix it up. They usually start eating again then. Tonight I sat quietly in the corner watching Mickey go at the bowl again. he would lap up some of the liquid then get a bite of meat and back up or go to the side of the bowl and start chewing it. I was happy to see that! I was afraid that he was just swallowing the small little slivers of meat, but he's not..he's actually chewing them. That explains the shards of bones in the cage and the one he took to his hidey hole....they are chewing enough to notice things like bones. Makes a momma so proud!
That is great that he is chewing it. When you add more liquid, try to add less than you currently do. Both when making the initial soup mix, and when you are "rehydrating" it. Wean them off of that crutch.
Yes, one of the symptoms of adrenal disease is excessive itching. I can only imagine that this contributes to (though it is certainly not the sole or even primary cause of) the hair loss seen with adrenal disease. If you are worried they might not be getting enough oils in their diet, or they are having dry skin (it has been super dry up here lately, I don't know about where you are. I woke up with a bloody nose a few nights ago bc it was so dry) you can give them some olive and/or fish oil. (fish or salmon) About 1/2 - 1 tsp per ferret every 3-5 days.
RE the bone chunks, I am not too surprised honestly. They will get there though, never fear. And it never hurts to keep trying to skip steps and push them forwards. Worst case scenario, they pick around the new part. Have you tried hand feeding any bone? Get some bone with the marrow exposed (it's like nutritious candy!) and try hand feeding or scruff n stuffing them. Have you tried hand feeding meat chunks? I forget if you mentioned this, sorry.
Good morning! I not feeling me best this morning....little more tequila than I should have last night. Today we are giving me a break and the fuzzies a treat. I put down a plate of ziwipeak venison (the dry stuff) and they are loving it! They keep going back and eating a few more pieces and I can't keep Yogi from standing on the plate. heheh Cute little buggers!
Okay, I will start reducing the amount of the water I put in their food. I know that they will eat it anyway because eventually there is an empty bowl regardless of having water or not. LOL I think that crutch is more for me!
It's spring here and the humidity has been quite high...it's been raining a lot over the past weeks. I'm treading water as we speak! LOL I think that some oils will help but I think that I gave them too much yesterday. I had a run on the runs this morning! Looks like all three were not exactly pleased with their dinner last night. Should go back to normal today but if not, I'll let you know. I gave them 3 capsules of fish oil in their dinner for the three of them. However, they are not used to having it added...plus the other day we gave them that ferretone too...I think they've had too much oil in the last couple of days. Hopefully this will all calm down now. Oye! If it isn't one thing, it's another!
I've tried hand feeding them bone and whole pieces of meat and they sniff, but that's about it. they won't even eat what is in their food mix if I hand one piece to them. Yeah, I think you are right...time to get rid of that water so they can see what they are eating and start getting used to the texture.
Later today, after my nap, I'm going to go out into the world and look for some hearts to start putting with their food. That butcher up the road probably has some available all the time. Woot! Road trip!!! hehehe I'll let you know how it goes! But for now, it's breakfast and a nap!
LOL My boys love dry FD food. I buy Stella and Chewy's. They won't touch it wet, but love it dry. Shane calls them "cookies" since they are patty shaped and they love them so much. Dry FD food is okay as long as it is not a regular part of their diet, it can dehydrate them.
I generally suggest keeping oil down to about 1 tsp per ferret every 3 days or so. Any more than that and you can run into soft stool problems.
Good luck on the heart hunt and I hope you feel better soon.
I feel much better today! I just didn't have the stomach yesterday for chopping up raw bloody things. hehehe
The first day that I went to the pet health food store I bought a variety of things since I didn't know what they were going to like. One thing I bought was the back of ziwipeak. It was like $15 for 14 oz of dried venison. They didn't like it at all but I've kept trying just in case. It would be nice to have something dry that can go with them if they have to go to the vet or if they go to summer camp. The shelter that I got them from will board if you are going on vacation or whatever....and she calls it summer camp. When they come home she makes a little certificate for them with their picture on it...sort of like 6th grade camp or when I went to girl scout camp hehehe. It's very cute and they always have fun. I was just thinking about that this morning since we are considering going camping this summer. I sure hate leaving the babies, but we have to relax and recharge sometime! I can't really imagine Denise at the shelter feeding them raw meat, so I think it would have to be either something canned or the dry food.
Yeah, we had the soft stool problem the day after all the oils. It returned to normal as soon as it was all out of their system...so that's good.
I never left the house yesterday. However, today is another story. lots to do and maybe a trip up to safeway to see if they have any hearts or a stop by the butcher to see what he has there. Time for new meats for the babies! I froze the carcass of the hen I got last week because there isn't much left besides the bones....might as well keep them until they will eat them. I was thinking that I should really chop up one side of the ribs to continue adding to their food mixture. Eventually they will eat it, right? Is there a trick to getting them to eat the bones?
So the goal this week is to reduce the amount of water in their mix and get them eating more chunks. Oye, I wish we could be over this....but one day at a time! Thanks so much!!!
For take-along foods I suggest Stella and Chewey's freeze dried. You can order from Casey's Pantry. My boys LOVE it and it is really convenient to always have on hand.
The trick to get them to eat the bones is patients. First they have to start eating chunks. They need to build up their jaw and neck muscles. That takes time and practice. Those will build up as they eat more chunks and we move them to larger chunks. Then we will hide the bitty bone bits in their food much like you are doing with the chunks in the soup right now, and gradually increase the size. That is really the key to any switch, patience and persistence through a gradual, sneaky change.
Found chicken hearts at Fred Meyer's today! WOOT!!! They will start with hearts tonight.
okie dokie....going to concentrate on eating bigger chunks. They are leaving quite a bit of them in the bowl these past two days....but they are eating some. I've really minimized how much rad cat they are getting in their bowl each meal. I put less than a half cup in of rad cat and the rest is meat chunks...chicken meat with fat, some chicken gizzards and some chicken livers. Now I'm starting to wonder about the right mix of proteins. If I start adding some chicken hearts, that's a whole lot of chicken. The rad cat is turkey, but I do have some primal lamb frozen and still have some nv duck. I also bought another cornish hen. Is the cornish hen basically the same thing as chicken though? They had beef liver but I didn't buy any....they also had turkey legs...probably should have purchased some of those too. Oye! LOL I can go back to the store tomorrow after work and buy those things if you think it would be better. I still haven't had time to get to the butcher that has all those good meats, but there is a butcher closer to me. I think they are only open for a few hours a day but I'll check on it.
Thanks! I know, I always want to jump ahead....but they keep bringing me back to my senses when they refuse to eat their even bigger chunks. Ugh....I guess I'm the one who has to learn! hehehe
Oh you have freddies? That is great! Where are you located?
For now don't worry too much about the lack of protein variation. It is not going to hurt them short term. You can also try mixing it up by using different types of chunks throughout the week. Chicken, beef, turkey, pork, etc. Who knows, you might find that they actually like something other than chicken better and take to the chunks faster. Sometimes they like to surprise you. lol
Cornish Game Hen is a different protein than chicken. Yes they are similar, but it is still a different protein source, as are turkey and chicken.
In time they will be munching chunks and bones and you can buy in more bulk. I know it can be hard to resist. As long as you have freezer space though, there's nothing wrong with buying it now and keeping it in "storage" for later use. They don't mind a little freezer burn. haha
Glad that the cornish hen is a different protein source. They seem to like it. I gave them most of the meat and they ate it all...and nibbled the boney pieces (nut left the bones for me to find). I took the lamb chub out of the freezer so I'm going to start mixing that in with the rad cat again. That'll put me off from going all the way to the pet health food store for another day or two...as will the nv duck. I would prefer to not have to go all the way up there after work (traffic!!). LOL
I have a big chest freezer in the garage, so freezer space isn't a problem. We barely ever use it...in the past I forget what is in there and eventually throw it away, so we mainly use the freezer in our kitchen. LOL I just went and looked in there and I have a whole turkey from 3 years ago....still frozen like a bowling ball. I remember it was too small for our family meal (it was a gift from work). I could buy hens and chickens in bulk now...I know they will eat those.
Tonight I cleaned out their cage (I made them a new liner for the bottom of their cage where they eat) and I found the rest of the bones from that hen! hehehe Clean as a whistle, those bones were! At least I know that they can navigate around them!
They really worked around their chunks today. Didn't want much to do with them. So rather than mix up a whole new batch, I added some rad cat and gave it back to them. Tomorrow morning I'll check again and toss anything left then. Hopefully they will get hungry enough to eat it!