Everything looks stable from last week considering the difficulty you've had to deal with. My suggestion would be to make separate soups and try to get them use to organs on their own. Worst case scenario, you would just have too remix the organs into the other soup. I would continue to increase the amount of slivers gradually as you notice improvement with how they are taking to it. Maybe even one night put a few slivers on a separate dish to see how they react to it (those would only be once you think they're all rating slivers well enough and it oils still be fed one the side along with soup).
This switch can very often be a case of taking one step forward to just take two steps back. It's frustrating but once you know how your ferrets react it will be easier to adjust e amounts of each food until they're eating chunks, organs, and bones as if they've done so their whole lives. you just have out persist them.
the chunks are eaten but only last after the grind is gone. we are past slivers. pieces are about 1/2 by 1 inch, give or take. the cgh is hugh pieces. maybe 2 inches long. they chew on it but have yet to finish a whole piece. btw the mouse is now two pieces. they have not eaten much but at least they are chewing oon it and think they know it is food but not sure how to eat it. next weekend when I make my grind I will make chicken, heart, kidney, and liver separate. I think this week I will try to post a sample menu to see what you think. I would like to start toward that feeding di fferent things on different days if that's ok.
That sounds like a fantastic idea :)by the sounds of your post I think it might actually be safe to pull the soup entirely and just start with small chunks, or at least rotate soup with full chunks days. Start by feeding a day or two a week of 1/2-1 inch chunks (go by whatever size they reliably finish). The rest of the week can be soup with slivers until you are sure that they are allowed eating a good fill of chunks on those days.
I think a menu would be a good idea. Just make sure you have 3 protein sources or more, 1.5-2 meals of pure heart, and one meal of liver and organs. So your organ soup should be 2 parts heart, 1 part liver, 1 part organ. Bone meals should be 7-9 a week. Just a quick summary in case you forgot any of those if they are still having trouble getting through the cgh chunks you might have to cut them down a bit still.
I think that covers everything I was going to say....
ok so this is a real quick first time thru to plan a menu. They are not eating pork or gizzards yet. I will continue with grind mixed on those days. (I don't have any pork on hand yet so will give chicken chunks on those days this week) for the next week I will give evening meal with grind to make sure everyone is eating and chunks for breakfast. I choose to do a two week menu so I have 1 1/2 heart meals a week and 1 1/2 liver/kidney meals a week. AM PM Sunday beef heart chicken wings Monday CGH chicken gizzards Tuesday Pork ? CGH Wednesday Turkey or chicken liver chicken wings Thursday Chicken wings CGH
I will give duck eggs as a treat 1x a week, 2x a week when sheading I still give oil in the baby bottle, everyone gets some everyday, and sometimes I put it on their food also I will still work on getting them to eat mice. They did really good with the kill, but they are just moving (stashing) him around for now, no one has dug in yet. I feel like there is not enough different meats here, not sure If I should try to add something else. Let me know what you think or if you have any ideas. Liver (my meat market only has turkey livers in the fall durning hunting season, I buy them out, however when I run out I have to use chicken livers)
ok, last two days have not been that great. tried wing tips for breakfast Monday morning, they only ate a few, mixed grind with the rest for dinner and they finished it all. yesterday gave chicken chunks for breakfast, no one ate, mixed grind In it for dinner last night, they only ate the grind. added more grind to chicken chunks for breakfast. everyone has fine poops and activity except pedro. he's back to sleeping all the time. I could not get him to eat last night or this morning even with the spoon and oil. ugg, I thought we were past this. I will continue to give chucks or wings separate for breakfast and mixed with grind for dinner, they have to cave sometime don't they?
I am so sorry I haven't had the chance to reply. It's been a pretty busy week for me with a really off work schedule.
I'm going to run your menu by the other admins to get their opinion, but so far my main question is what ratios do you plan on feeding your heart and organs in? For example, will the liver be a split meal, with the chicken wing (from the first week example) to fill the rest of that menu, or are you going to feed a liver only meal at night and a separate meal in the morning? I think the only thing I want to suggest at the moment until I get some feedback from the others is you might want to add another half meal of heart as well per week. You have a good variety of sources in your menu, but don't be afraid to try something new in the future with them Even just getting an extra protein source through your FDR would be a good idea (duck, fish, rabbit, etc for example).
Don't get too stressed out about the appetite drop, sometimes it just happens. As long as it's not consistent it's nothing to be concerned about. This process is often one step forward, two steps back and takes a lot of patience. Yes, eventually they will get curious again and decide to give the wings a taste randomly and remember why they liked them. Don't give up You're doing a great job!
no problem. my daughter is home now so they are back in their cage. they get sc duck duck goose in the cage. they also get chicken and pheasant dream treats but usually only one each a week. oil is daily evoo, grizzly samon oil mixed with ferretone right now but slowly removing that from the mix.
I did a two week menu giving 2 heart meals one week and two organ meals the next to average 1 1/2 meals each. I was just going to give organ/ heart morning and the wings at the evening meal to make sure everyone eats what is served. if that makes sense. if that is not right let me know again this is a rough draft and they are not eating everything yet but I thought it would help me to know what to work on in the switch.
Update, Pedro is going to the vet in a couple hours. He again was not eating much the last few days, activity was low for even him. This morning he would not play durning playtime and refused food. 1 hour later my daughter called me, he was vomiting, there are 5 vomits in the cage, two more after she realized what is going on. he is lathargic (sp?) refusing all food and water even treats that he loves.
as soon as I posted and called the vet he got up ate and played. I guess I just got over concerned cause he's so tiny and had problems in the past. Going to just keep an eye on him. I will let you know if he has any more problems.
ok, so I'm a total noob ferrent....a little coughing until vomiting and I called the vet. before we could get him in he stopped, ate and played. never looked dehydrated. gums red, scruff ok. ugg, sometimes I wish they could talk.
how long does it take before they get bigger pieces. I know everyone weight is stable but it seems like they are eating less and less. also be giving just chunks or bone in pieces everyday for breakfast. they are hardly touched, when I add grind to it they eat it?? I was hoping to stop the grind soon. I'm starting to worry about nutrition. it's been almost 5 months since I started the switch. feeling frustrated right now. I would like to just put down a bowl and know everyone will eat what is served. Pedro does not like pieces or bones, buddy doesn't like organ meals and penny doesn't like grind. they just skip the meal and wait till what they want is served. I can't removed food from the cage cause pedro will lose weight... feeling lost
Unfortunately, I can't give you a time when you can progress. Every ferret is different and will progress differently than the rest, which unfortunately means it will take longer to switch a group for the exact reason you mentioned, they are all in different stages. If you're willing to try this, maybe start by feeding each ferret a separate meal once every few days to watch their progress and to give the more advanced ones the chance to continue to advance. It is definitely difficult to find the proper balance in a group. Keep in mind, sometimes bone-in meals are more filling than grinds so there's a chance they aren't finishing the wings because it was more filling (a chance, there's also a chance they just aren't as interested yet.) If you're uncomfortable with their current process and the lack of balance it has, I would recommend looking into buying from Hare-Today. I feed my two grinds from HT 5-6 days a week, and then the last day is a meal of heart and a meal of wings. HT has pure organ grinds (I buy the rabbit one), which I feed one meal of a week. The rest of the grinds are meat, bone and organ. The ratios differ depending on the protein, but generally the poultry is 10-15% bone, and the land mammals are 5-10%. Organs are a lot harder to get a percentage of, which is why I also add the rabbit organ mix. I feed duck, turkey, beef, mutton, and pork mixes and my two eat their entire serving every day. The bones are small enough that I don't think yours will pick through it, and the organ grind can be mixed in to get Buddy to eat it. The only problem would be if Penny wouldn't eat the grind, but I find it does have enough texture for them.
Feeling frustrated and lost is okay, it happens to all of us. It's just a matter of finding what works for everyone, which can be a very exhausting process, but once you find it you'll be so relieved.
I swear these fuzzies just like to make me worry. I have never been so worried about an animal in my life. last night when I got home from work they had eaten all their chicken wings and about have of the chucks, NO GRIND. the wings for size comparison, cut into 9- pieces. 3 for the tip, 3 for t the middle and 3 for the big end. also got them another mouse. nice clean kill, toro dug in and ate about 1/4 of it. the others at least licked it. cut it in 4 pieces and add to grind for dinner :-)
Buddy 2lb 8 oz lost 4 ounces Toro 2lb 12 oz lost 2 ounces Pedro 2lb 2 oz lost 2 ounces Penny 2lb 0 oz no change
Monday: chicken wing tips, chicken wing tips with grind and duck egg Tuesday: chicken chunks, chicken chunks with grind Wednesday: chicken chunks, CGH with grind Thursday: CGH, CGH with grind Friday: chicken chunks, chicken wings with grind Saturday: CGH, mouse with grind Sunday: organs, CGH
activity is a little low, poops are fine. again they eat between 4-10 oz per meal. There has been a change in weather here. I have not changed the air in the house, but it is cooler outside, therefore is cooler inside. Not sure if this is why activity and eating has been down or not. Let me know what you think and how I should proceed.
Menu plan for next week: Monday: CGH, chicken wings Tuesday: chicken chunks, gizzards with grind and duck egg Wednesday: organ mix, CGH Thursday: CGH, chicken chunks Friday: CGH, chicken chunks Saturday: chicken chunks
I will add grind with any of the meals that they don't eat on their own, this morning no one wanted CGH, so Sarah added grind and they all ate up. Also will be going shopping Saturday. I have plenty heart, kidney, livers, but wanted to know what you thought about the sample menu I posted last week. I don't want to add the pork yet so will serve chicken chunks for the time being just wanted to know if I should change anything before I go shopping? this week will be the last of the premixed organs so in 1 week from now I will start serving heart, kidney and liver in separate meals in chunk size pieces.
Hmm, while they have lost quite a bit of weight, I'm not too concerned because they are all still at pretty healthy weights and they're all still eating. The climate change along with getting their mommy back might have messed with their systems a bit (there's also a chance they might have their seasons backwards this year).
I'm not sure if we've already talked about this, but do you have any salmon oil or olive oil that they're used to and really enjoy? If so, maybe try drizzling whatever meat they aren't keen on with that first before adding grind. You could also do the "shake and bake" method if they really enjoy their FDR. Just smash some FDR into tiny crumbs and stick it in a bag with the meat, shake it up and leave it in the bag for maybe half an hour to an hour, just so the FDR sort of fuses its smell and flavor with the desired meat.
My new girl Theia was a bit more stubborn with her switch than Javik was, and I often had to bribe her and tempt her to eat her food with these methods and eventually found her eating what I served without the additions in no time. Granted, she is a kit so the switch should be easy as it is, but she's a VERY stubborn kit lol
Also, I'd be more comfortable if you could add another half meal of heart in one of your meat chunk days. As for shopping, maybe try adding more turkey. Either buy a whole turkey (untreated, of course) and butcher it yourself, or add turkey breasts, or turkey necks. It's a relatively easy protein to add as it has a pretty mild flavor. The bones are a bit denser than chicken or CGH though, so unless you really break them down, the main weight-bearing bones will be too difficult for them to eat (leg/thigh bones specifically, some of the wings might be too dense as well).
Other than that your plan looks good to me, don't get too discouraged by them not wanting to switch from the grind. It might not be where you want them to be, but at least it's not detrimental to your switch. Our main concern is making sure they are getting the proper ratio of meat to bone to organ and heart, whether this is through chunks or whole prey or organs, it doesn't matter too much. Of course larger pieces of meat are important for proper dental health, but as long as they're getting some chunks with the grind it shouldn't be a major concern. Don't feel the need to rush them out of their grind, it could be quite useful when getting them to try the new additions you want to add.