Teddy is doing well today. Getting easier to handle and even has his sweet moments. Eats like an elephant! Sure do love him! I have been sneaking in the organs and he is tolerating them. I get a new shipment of meat tomorrow so I can stock up. Sure wish he would eat the mice but just drags them around.
The longer you wait the better. Ideally they should finish out one mating season, but lots of people will neuter or chemically castrate to bring them out of rut. Females are usually slated their first heat to bring them out. There's still a lot of controversy around this, but have you considered using Des as chemical castration instead of neutering him? We still don't know much about it, and it seems to work better in males than females, and many breeders won't agree to allow it in their kits - but it is an option to consider. I would - at the minimum - let him reach his first rut and then wait as long as you can stand it. He is super adorable!
Q - I understand from what Heather says you recently bought a bunch of the Oma's grinds and are waning to use those up...how much freezer space do you have?
Regarding the rut, would I need to let him come into season to see if I can stand it before implanting the DES? Teddy does not stay in a cage. So, I am not sure about hiking his leg to pee on furniture, or rolling around in his urine. I keep a clean house and that will be difficult. Plus, I don't know about the stronger smell. I don't mind his smell now. But when he poofs, it is ghastly! Plus, my husband does complain sometimes about the smell. So, I am wondering if I can let him come into rut, see how he does, if it is bad then take him to the vet and deal with it. I will certainly try the DES first. Is it really that bad to implant the DES before he comes into season?
Regarding the diet, I am getting meats from a distributor here in Las Vegas. I cannot order anymore whole prey until October or November due to the heat. Now Teddy likes the grinds only and will not eat a mouse or chick. He will just refuse to eat it and go a long time without eating until I finally give in. I am attempting to brush his teeth. With my other ferrets, I had their teeth cleaned by the vet once a year. I was hoping he would continue to eat a whole gizzard, but now he is refusing to eat one. This ferret has been a whole new experience for me as compared to my previous ferrets. So, this is a learning process. I hope we can get through the first rut and get the diet worked out. I have no desire to breed ferrets.
With mixing all the meats together I have been able to get Ted to eat the heart, liver, and kidney. In fact, I now take the whole 24 hour combo, thaw and mix, then divide it up and he eats everything within 24 hours. We are finally on a role. Now to just be able to brush his teeth....LOL! When my kids were toddlers (had three of them), they had a cabinet in the kitchen that was theirs to play in filled with Tupperware. Well guess who has one too! Of course, everything has to be washed in hot, soapy water prior to use. Spoiled little fert!
Too cute about the cabinet. I'm not sure how feasible it is for you but if you could get a chicken wing into that mix everyday it would help with keeping his teeth healthy and would also help to keep him used to crunching bone.
Yes. I am offering wings and gizzards. He is one stubborn little ferret. I do rub the toothpaste on his gums and teeth daily. At least try to without losing a finger...LOL! He is such great fun. He is the first ferret I have had that lounges on the couch like a cat, dog, or human. I have ordered him a harness and leash to see if we can train to lead. Each week he eats the following: 40 oz. bone in meats 16 oz. muscle (no bone) meats 3 oz. turkey liver 3.5 oz. pork kidney 7.5 oz. turkey heart
I do try to get him to eat a gizzard or wing prior to getting a meal. He is eating 70 oz. of meat each week and I never throw any out. He eats all of it. He is 4 1/2 pounds now. His brother is on Totally Ferret kibble and weighs only 2.41 lbs. He does not look overweight but looks more like a badger.....LOL!
He munches a little and then tries to carry it to a place to hide it
Do you have a feeding den? That may help some. Honestly I think we really need to push him now while he is young and will be more accepting of new foods. If you think he is being stubborn (and lazy haha) NOW just think about how much worse it will be when he is an adult and has finished imprinting on food. You'll be starting from scratch almost. So, with that in mind I honestly think you need to remove the grinds for a while. Don't worry, they won't go to waste, we will get them back into the diet - but he needs to learn now that he can't hold out for food he wants. He is young, healthy, and certainly doesn't have insulinoma. Which means that he can go without eating for a bit and be just fine. Obviously we don't want to starve him and as a growing baby he needs food BUT he also needs to realize that YOU dictate the meals and not him. I would pick a meat - chicken wings, mice, whatever you want it to be (not chicks bc they are snacks rather than meal food), preferably something he has eaten in the past but is now refusing. Let us know what you settle on. Then THAT food item is what he is going to get for his next few meals until he decides to eat it. You will need to watch him, as obviously we don't want him going *too* long without food, and if you do say, a chicken wing, you may need to smash the bones up a little to give him a start point, and you MAY need to hand feed him a bit but I don't think it will come to that just yet. He KNOWS this stuff is food, he has just learned that if he holds out mom will give him some yummy grinds that his royal lazy buns don't have to do any work to eat! Ferrets are like ridiculously intelligent, manipulative, lazy toddlers.
Ok. Sounds like a plan. However, he has never taken to chicken wings or thighs. I even bought CGHs and cut them up and he refused them. The grinds do have bone ground up in them. So the only whole prey I have to feed are mice. (and chicks) He refuses both. Since I don't keep him in a cage, he can drag the raw food all over. I made him a feeding den and he refused to use it. He carried all the food out and under the bathroom sink. I tried "hooking" wings and thighs in the den and he munched a little and then refused to go back in the den. I have a travel cage I tried feeding him in the other day and he dug at it until he escaped. He is over 4 pounds and strong. Are the grinds really that bad? I tried to get him to eat one mouse the other day and he went 8 hours without eating, so I gave in and gave him so grinds.
It's not that grinds are "bad" per se and yes they contain ground up bones but ground up bones do not provide the same benefits of him chewing and breaking down a bone on his own. He is 6 months now? Soon it will be very hard to get him to eat anything other then what he is eating now. He is imprinting on his food now. Sit with him and hand feed him small pieces of cut up mouse or CGH or quail or anything with a small bone in it. Put a little of salmon oil on it if you need to or use some warm water if he likes it warm. Do this two or three times an hour offer him nothing else to eat in this time and do this until he is eating for you. Taking away the grinds for a while is the best way to make this happen. When he is eating whole prey and bones again then maybe add in the grinds one day or two meals a week to use them up.
Ok. Teddy is not quite 4 1/2 months. I did get him to eat two mice today. But mice is all I have until I can order in October or November. So I don't think you want me feeding him only mice again. He will not eat the baby chicks and I know they are to be used as treats only. I have him on quail grind and hope to order some quail in November. But I have 2.5 months to go before I can even consider ordering the prey. We are still in the triple digits and the order has to come from IN to NV. So I have lamb, turkey, duck, beef, chicken, quail, heart, kidney, and liver and I have the menu worked out for the week. I plan to keep attempting the mice daily and hopefully he will get up to eating three or four per day. But then I hope I will have a supply that will last until October or November. The company had to replace the shipment that arrived spoiled and the second shipment was starting to thaw when it got here three days earlier than the first shipment. They send it to AZ where it is on the truck for 12 hours and then send it here where it is on the truck another 12 hours.