Anything and everything! Haha kidney and brains are the 2 best non-liver organs, and if you can get any spleen, pancreas, even lung. Stomach really is on the low end of organ meats, but they can certainly have it - it's just that much more variety. Definitely stock up on hearts, the more types the better. Same for liver. Just remember that organs should be half liver, half other organs. And total diet is of course 10% organs 10% heart. So when you order just order as close to those proportions as possible, and you should be golden. So say a "balanced" order of heart and organs might consist of: 2lb liver, 0.5lb pancreas, 0.25lb spleen, 0.25lb lung 1lb kidney, 1lb brain, and 4lb heart. That adds up to 4lb organ (1/2 liver, 1/2 others), and 4lb heart. I'm just making up some numbers here to give you an idea. Mix it up! You have found an amazing resource, use it to its full extent as much as you are able. (dance)
It certainly wouldn't hurt to weigh how much they are eating. It will give you a better idea. Average intake is super varied from ferret to ferret. 2-4oz of meat per day is pretty average I believe. So lets say as an EXAMPLE, that your boys are chubs and eat 8oz a day total, that is 56oz per week (3.5lb) so 10% would be 5.6 oz or about 1/3 lb of heart per week. So a month and a half of heart would be approximately 2lb.
Weighing their food will give you a better idea of their actual intake. Keep in mind that it will vary day to day just like us, and with ferrets it will vary drastically by season. In the winter their intake will increase significantly! Haha
So sorry, it's been a hectic couple of days...working from 7 AM to 11 PM every day! I have barely had time to think.
I forgot to mention that I took them to the vet a couple of days ago. The vet herself was actually very afraid of them, she didn't know how to hold them properly and was terrified when she first walked in and they were roaming the floor. However...that's a whole other point. She said they looked healthy, although they both had ear mites (poor guys!!) probably since they were kits because they're both marshal mill ferrets. I feel like I should've noticed that earlier, but whenever I cleaned their ears I just thought it was ear wax or something. The thought of ear mites never even crossed my mind. She also told me their weights: Lou at 2 pounds 8 ounces and Chip at 2 pounds 11 ounces. She said their teeth and fur both look great, and their stomachs feel normal. Everything checked out well except for the ear mites!!
I got my hands on some pork ribs (half off at the grocery store, yay!) so they're dining on ribs every night and currently they're working through 2 cornish hens, organs and bones included. Tomorrow I should be getting a nice big beef heart too. Yay!!
This are good weights! Little chubsters! hehe I would suggest looking for another vet... I would never trust a vet that was Afraid of the species she is treating. We're not talking an aggressive dog here. Her being that afraid of them and unsure how to handle them makes me super leery. If something bad ever happens goodness forbid... I have to question her ferret knowledge, as well as her ability to accurately examine, diagnose, and treat not to mention her ability to respond properly in the case of an emergency. What is she going to do when hey get vaccines? Or Des? They will be squirmy and unhappy - how afraid is she going to be if they get nippy because they don't like being poked? What mistakes will she make as a result of that fear? What if they need surgery or some other big procedure? It's one thing to get a vet who isn't very familiar with ferrets as long as they are willing to do their research and learn and be open minded. That can actually be much better than an experienced vet who is stuck in their ways and closed to new ideas and treatments. But a vet who is Afraid of them? That concerns me. A lot. :/ There is a thread around here somewhere with a list of good ferret vets in different areas that forum members have recommended. Perhaps check out that list or even make a thread asking for recommendations. The forum is pretty big and there may be someone who is near you who knows of some better vets. Did she do a BG test? Ear mites are super common in ferrets. Almost every ferret who comes from a pet store/mill has mites. If they haven't had a checkup since they left the mill or store, they probably have mites. Don't feel bad.
They are eating meats, bones, organs, and hearts. What meats are they eating now? Can you give me a full list? Also, it's time to start working on your menu! You need to create a week menu that demonstrates they are getting good variety (min of 3 proteins, the more the better), and proper balance (10% organ - half liver half other, 10% heart, 10-15% bone, 65-70% non-heart muscle meat including gizzards). Again that comes out to about 1.5 meals a week of heart, 1.5 meals a week of organ (half liver, half other organs), and 7-9 meals containing edible bones. Once you have completed a good menu, I will submit it to Heather for approval for graduation.
I agree completely, I left there and was completely convinced that I will not be going back. I didn't know how much ferret experience she had, she said she has 11 other ferret clients, but that's very hard to believe. I'll just have to continue looking for a new vet. I don't think she tested for BG, what is that? She knew nothing about adrenal disease, lymphoma, diabetes....etc. I asked her how she would treat all of those and she looked completely shocked that ferrets could even have those health concerns. Also didn't know about Waardy's, and when I mentioned all three of my ferrets are Waardy's, she looked very puzzled. I told her that's why Chip has back leg and tail problems. She said she thought it was because we stepped on him....(really?) I also asked about vaccines, like what she would give them, and she said she would give them the cat vaccines in a lower dose, which I immediately said no to. I don't know much about shots, and I should really research more, but I don't like the sound of ferrets getting something made for cats.
I am still having a very very busy week, but on sunday I should be able to sit down and write a menu out for you
Wow...she sounds like a train wreck. I would turn tail and RUN! Holy cow... Vaccines are not typically made for ferrets, they usually get the same vaccines a dog or cat would get, and at the same dose usually. That's part of why vaccine reactions in ferrets can be so severe. Honestly unless its required, I would avoid vaccination. Thy would have gotten their first 1-2 distemper shots before arriving at the pet store, Nd sometimes during their stay. Some pet stores do rabies, some do not. Read the article Sherry posted earlier about What you should know about Distemper. ONE vaccine should really protect them for life. The same has been theorized for rabies, I forget if I have seen an actual article to this effect or not though, but I feel like I heard about research to that effect somewhere.... To my knowledge the current rabies vaccine doesn't match with the current strain of rabies anyways. THAT is hear-say though so take it as you want.
She MAY have 11 other ferret patients. In a clinic that is not many patients at all. And unless they are exceptional ferret owners they probably only come in on rare occasions. Maybe even have-been-in-once patients.That's all it takes for them to be on the system and then when you run the reports it will show that person as a ferret patient. Hope I'm making sense here. Haha
Good luck finding another vet! Maybe ask around the forum and FB group? A lot of people are on one but not the other, so asking in both will give you a wider depth of input, better chances of finding someone who lives near you.
I think I found a good vet that works close by. Thank goodness!! Next year for their check up I'll take them there.
Here is their menu for this coming week, if you could tell me if it's alright. I'm thinking it will be all good, but I just want to make sure before you submit it
Monday- morning: one chicken wing and one chicken thigh night: pork ribs (they can't eat the bones, but it provides them something to chew on and they seem to love it) Tuesday- morning: other chicken wing and thigh night: chicken breast (with ribs) Wednesday- morning: beef heart night: cornish hen ribs with meat Thursday- morning: beef liver night: beef kidney Friday- morning: cornish hen limbs (with bone) night: chicken breast (with ribs) Saturday- morning: 1/2 chicken limbs night: 1/2 chicken limbs Sunday- morning: pork heart night: pork ribs
I figured since they can't eat the ribs in pork and thigh bone in the chicken, and they can only eat about half the bones in the wing, I would add 'bone' to pretty much every meal. The meat with the bone is cheaper than meat without it, and I'd much rather they have some bone they can chew on and not eat than not have enough bone at all.
Sunday could also be the 'leftover' meal. If they didn't eat as much chicken breast as I thought they would, or as much heart..I could throw it all together and serve it for one or two meals on sunday. Can't be wasteful
Don't worry, I won't submit a menu until I approve it first.
Right now your menu is light on bone. Right now I'm counting 5-7 meals with edible bone, and a few of those are pretty light in he bone department. You also have 2 meals of organ and 2 of heart. It should be 1.5 meals each. I typically recommend one meal of heart, one organ, and one half heart half organ. You can make the extra meal a bone-in meal. Also, use a hammer, poultry shears or meat cleaver to break up the bigger chicken bones. Even breaking them once or twice will give them a starting point to work from to make it easier to eat those bones. You can try on the pork bones but I don't know how easy that will be. You could also look for some turkey neck, or turkey wings - crush them up also. Cornish game hen bones are ALL edible sized so you can cut up a whole hen into a few meals. I personally buy whole poultry (whole chicken, turkey, and duck) and cut it up. They can eat most of the wing, spine, and ribs with no trouble and a little smashing up takes care of the legs, necks, and bigger bones in the turkey or duck wings.
Also, in the meals you have that are bone-in, how much bone is there? Chicken breast + ribs, are we talking a big chunk of meat with a few teeny ribs, or a good amount of bone to the meat? What about "chicken limbs?"
Here is an example of how to split the heart and organ:
Day 3-7 then must include another 6-8 Edible bone-in meals throughout.
[These are just examples of how you can split up the organ and heart meals. They do need 1.5 meals of each though, and organ should always be at least half liver.]
Remember too, this isn't a menu that is set in stone but a guideline. It's simply a tool designed to help you learn and to show to us, that you can create a properly balanced diet and know how to make appropriate subsitutitons to maintain that balance each week. Every week they should get 1.5 meals heart, 1.5 meals organ, and 7-9 meals containing a decent amount of edible bone. If you are light on bone one week, you can always supplement with some powdered eggshell (though try to get bone first before supplements). Going a little over heart is fine, more taurine never hurts, the high blood content will make softer stools though. If their poop is too soft too much it increases the risk of prolapse. You want to try to not go over in the organ department though. Too rich and too much Vitamin A. If you pick 2 days out of the week and every week on those days make sure to give the 3 organ and heart meals like I described, you will know you are always meeting their heart and organ needs.
I knew I was forgetting some heart and some organs!! I meant to put more in there but must have been distracted.
So, what would be edible bone? Ribs, the smaller bones in wings, and neck bones. I can't really find neck, but if I do of course I'll give it to them. Would that mean that I'd be buying a lot of chicken and hen and turkey breast and not so much the thighs?
You didn't forget the organs and heart, you had a bit too much. Game Hen bones are perfectly sized for ferrets. I'm not sure what harm you think they would cause? They are nice and small for easy crunching. Not as much tooth cleaning action as the bigger bones, but easier to crunch up and digest. You can certainly buy more wings and less thighs. Do you have some good knives (maybe a meat cleaver or poultry shears or even a nice sharp butcher knife)? I suggest buying the whole bird. Frozen meat stays good for forever so you can certainly use it all, and it's Much more cost effective. It costs me $10 for a whole chicken, and $7-9 for a small pack of wings... That way you get a lot more edible bones - back, neck (they stuff it down inside usually), ribs, spine, wings, pelvis. Unfortunately because poultry bones are the easiest to obtain edible sized bone, most raw diets end up a bit heavy in poultry. You can add the extra variety by rotating through (so say feed beef one week, lamb another, rabbit another), and by getting different types of poultry (game hen, goose, duck is super good as its fattier, etc). You can smash up bigger bones too to make them edible. Try the pork ribs (you may not be able to break those though), chicken legs, turkey wings, etc - find a nice hard surface (wooden chopping block, cement garage floor) and smash them with a hammer or mallet.
Another thing to consider, sorry if I asked this already, but what are your feelings on whole prey? If you want to include whole prey in their diet we can work on that with them. Prey is a great bone source - it's a perfectly balanced meal.
You can also order some more "exotic" meats and whole prey items from retailers like Hare Today (sells commercial grinds that include ground bone) or RodentPro (whole prey provider).
Just popping in for an update. I might not check back in until Sunday night or Monday as I'll be at a wedding tomorrow and on a Train all day Sunday. If you have any urgent questions though just PM Sherry or one of the other mods. I'll try to check in tomorrow after the wedding if I can.