Gina, guess what....he ate soupie, first from fingers then syringe fed then he ate off the plate....so didn't think he would do it. This morning he was like a 2 yrs old lol. He had 1.5 ounces of soupie and only 4cc of egg. His poop is like cat food poop so we will start taking pics and posting of the boys.
Yay for Internet again! And I am totally in love with Jax and his knee pads. I'm going to try to work through your last posts in order; let me know if I skip anything.
Thank you, Heather, for checking on his age. I am terrible at that game. I would not have put him at over 2.
825 grams is much much better, lol. That's about 1.8 pounds. That's about what my little Minnie-girl weighs.
Vaccinations... That's a personal choice. Do your research and make an informed decision. I can't tell you whether or not to vaccinate, but I can tell you that mine won't have any more vaccines. After researching and reading horror stories about reactions, we decided that the risk does not outweigh the benefits for us. We are just very careful about where our fuzzies go and who handles them.
Snowing! Gee, is it that time of year already?!
Jax is a sable. With awesome knee pads. <3
Hooray for soupie!!!!!!! 1.5 ounces is a terrific start! No kibble then. Just toss that bag out and move forward with raw.
His system may pop out a few more of those cat food poops and then it's going to go crazy. He will have to adjust to the new food and since we're doing a sudden switch instead of gradual, it's liable to get ugly.
After dinner pic...first time with a belly full of nutritious goodness in a long time, probably since he was weaned from his mommy.
My internet is blinking in and out again. I'm going to just send this before I lose it. I'll be back in the morning and we'll start working toward bigger chunks and bones.
Congrats on the new little cutie! Give both boys a big smooch and rub those knee pads for me!
Ok Sunday morning check in. Jax ate 2.5 punces of soupie for breakfast. Today is soupie day for the boys.....since Gomez is eating slivers and chunks we were going to make his a bit chunkier. Jax will be on the regular soupie like the recipe calls for of course. Jax gave us a fit but Jami sat on the floor with him and syringe fed, only wants liquid. Below is a picture of his poop from last night....some cat food poop and a raw looking poop.
Dinner Gomez ate 2 oz soupie, thicker and 1 oz ground steak....loves his beef lol. Tried wing tip again, gnawed but that is all
Jax ate oz soupie from a spoon and hand - yippie
Both had teeth brushed.
We will be setting our work alarms a bit earlier since we have both now. We both work at the hospital, Jami in finance/billing as team lead cash posting and I am over the physicians, privacy officer and all medical record systems.
Today we let them smell each other and play a little.
Sorry for not responding sooner. My internet was acting wonky all weekend. I could read your posts but not reply to them. Weird.
Both boys are doing great! I'm so glad Jax is doing well with the raw. From your application: We want to do raw, chicken, beef, pork, fresh sardines, smelt, heart, liver, kidneys Is this still your plan?
I'm very impressed with your dedication and your organization, so I know you won't have any problem with my next request. You have been doing a terrific job of keeping track of Gomez's meals, but now I need you to switch things up a bit. Instead of simply recording what he/they eat at each meal, I need you to use the proteins you're going to feed and build a menu that you can follow throughout the week. I'm going to post a massive information overload in my next reply. There is a sample menu in there that you can follow. I also want you to start making your journal more complete, including poops, activities, etc. When I first switched, I simply made my menu in a table format and did all of my journaling right on the menu. I had 8 columns, with the following headings: date, type of meal (organ, heart, bone, muscle), meats (duck wing, beef chunks, pork liver, etc.), amount eaten, poops, activity level, notes, weight (did this weekly). By keeping a detailed record of poops and activities, you can determine what is normal for your ferrets. For example, frog always makes one of my guys poop yellow and another poop green; boneless chicken makes my little girl throw up (she eats it too fast without chewing); duck makes one boy hyper; turkey makes one sleepy. I know these things because I wrote EVERYTHING down and I could see the same things happening week after week.
So that's your written homework. Now for your hands-on assignment. We want to start pushing Gomez toward bigger chunks and we want Jax to catch up with him. You've been giving Gomez soup with every meal, correct? It's time to lose that soup crutch. He's eating small chunks in his soup. Now he needs to learn to eat those chunks without the soup. For his next meal, fix his chunks just like normal, but give them to him WITHOUT the soup. Also, cut one long skinny piece of meat (think spaghetti noodle) and let's get him started learning how to chew. Put that piece in his mouth toward the hinge of his jaws and just hold it there. To move that piece, he's going to have to chew. Don't let go; hang on to it to give him something to pull against. Once he eats that piece, THEN give him his dinner. Actually, do the same thing with Jax. Try giving him a long skinny piece as well. I expect that Gomez will do better with it than Jax, but he could surprise us all. Jax ate the soup with no problems yesterday, so for his next meal, give him soup with some chunks.
I know this is huge. Read through it but don't be overwhelmed. We'll go over all of this as we move through the switch. All of this information is on the forum, but I like to get it all into the beginning of a switching thread so you know where it is if you need it. Happy Reading!!
Welcome to the world of raw feeding. Since you’re here, you already know that raw feeding is the healthiest and most natural way to feed your fuzzbutts. There are several types of raw diets that are commonly fed. Many ferrents use a combination of these methods to provide a balanced diet. Obviously, the MOST natural way to feed would be to let your ferrets hunt for themselves like they do in the wild, but what kind of pet owner wants to just turn their pets out into a field and tell them to ‘go find dinner’! Controlled live feeding is a great way to mimic this behavior and can be used to supplement any raw diet. While it is a personal preference and must be done with caution, IF the ferret is a good hunter, and provided the live prey is no larger than a mouse, controlled live feeding is great enrichment for a ferret. The biggest downfall to feeding live (besides owner squeamishness) is the limited prey options that are small enough to be safely fed live. Pre-killed whole prey is the next closest to ‘all natural’, and is probably the easiest way to feed a ferret. Each whole prey meal is completely balanced in and of itself, so there is no need to measure and weigh (and worry about) what they eat when feeding a whole prey diet. In addition, whole prey poops are awesome - they are complete little fur- or feather-covered packages that are easy to clean up. However, whole prey can be expensive and some of us can’t feed anything that still has a face attached. A commercial grind or mince is another type of raw food that is available. The company simply takes a carcass and grinds it all up together – meat, bones, and most organs (usually not fur or feathers). Grinds are packaged in many different ratios and you must rely on the company to accurately report the contents and percentages of organs, heart, etc. in the grinds. Many grinds include added plant material (veggies and fruits), so careful research must be done to provide a completely balanced diet. Also, there are no “dental hygiene” benefits with commercial grinds so teeth must be brushed frequently, and again, it can be very expensive. And that brings us to frankenprey, a big word that simply means feeding a balanced diet with “grocery store meats”. It is possibly the most complicated method of feeding in the beginning, because it requires thought on the part of the owner, but once the initial learning curve is mastered, it is no more difficult than any other type of raw feeding. With all of these options, it’s easy to choose a method, or a combination of methods, of feeding that works for you. And once you understand the basics of ferret nutrition and establish a routine, you’ll discover that it is very simple to feed your ferret a balanced, healthy raw diet.
One thing you must remember is that with ferrets and their food, we have to speak in generalities - feeding raw is not an exact science. Our goal in feeding raw is to replicate as closely as possible what a ferret would eat in the wild with the correct balance of meat, organs, and bones, but how can we determine EXACTLY what that balance is? Because the difference in bone mass and the size of organs even between two animals of the same size and the same species can vary tremendously, we cannot set a DEFINITE ratio for our prey model and say “This is it; this is the exact amount of meat/organ/bone my ferret must have to be healthy.” Even if every single prey specimen were identical in proportions, who is to say that every single wild ferret would eat every part in exactly the right amount, especially with larger prey that cannot be consumed by a single ferret in one meal. So we get as close as we can to ‘natural’ by using a prey model that has been used for decades, a rough average of many species of prey animals - 80% meat, 10% organ, 10% bone. This prey model was originally geared toward dogs and cats who generally do not need as much bone in their diets as ferrets, which is why we say ferrets need 10-15% bone, depending on their poops. (This will be addressed later.)
Because of the different vocabulary used when discussing the different kinds of diets, there has been some confusion regarding the correct balance of a raw diet. Whole prey is easy. Each prey animal is a completely balanced meal, so there’s no need to think about numbers. Commercial grind companies use a ratio to determine the amount of meat, organ, and bare bone in their foods. (An ideal commercial grind would be approximately in the ratio of the prey model, or 80:10:10.) Frankenprey feeders don’t just toss a bare bone to their pets, but rather give them bone with meat attached, what we call edible bone-in meat. This terminology is where the confusion lies. Because the bone is served with meat, the percentage of bone-in meat is about 50-60% of the total diet (as opposed to the 10% of bare bone in the prey model). This SEEMS to be in conflict with the prey model ratio, but if you were to pick apart a frankenprey menu and weigh and measure every single thing separately, you would find that the ratio of meat to organ to bone would be very close to 80:10:10.
Below are a few of the things you will need to know as a raw feeder no matter which method of feeding you choose to use. All of this information is located in various places on the forum, but I’ve tried to condense some of the basics here for reference. This seems like a lot of information, but believe me, once you get into the actual planning and feeding, this becomes second nature.
First, raw food MUST be served RAW. I know that sounds like a really obvious statement, but I’ve heard from several people that they feed raw meat, but they cook it. (I know. I don’t understand that statement either, lol.) Cooking destroys many natural vitamins, minerals, and proteins in the meat and bones. In fact, cooked bones are extremely dangerous because they can splinter and perforate the stomach or intestines. Raw bones do not splinter; they break cleanly. They pass through the intestinal tract safely and the clean edges are actually smoothed by the stomach acids. They come out the other end a little rubbery feeling, and rounded with no sharp edges. (This video shows the effect of a stomach acid on bones. video)
Raw meat is safe for ferrets to eat. A ferret’s digestive tract is very short and bacteria doesn’t have enough time to set up camp in there. And, surprisingly, raw food can be safely left out for several hours at a time, depending on the ambient temperature:
“Soups” - 6-8 hours (for soup recipe, see below) Grinds - 8-12 hours Chunks - 10-24 hours depending on the size (larger chunks last longer) Bone-in meats - 12-24 hours, again depending on the size Whole prey - up to 48 hours
With soups and grinds, in general, trust your nose - if it smells off, it likely is and should be tossed. You will find that the bigger chunks of meat typically go through a few stages. During the ‘safe’ hours it will dry up and the surface may feel tough or leathery; it is still safe to eat at this point. Then it goes through a stinky, greasy phase during which most ferrets will not touch it. This is usually when it gets tossed because it smells awful, but occasionally a piece or two will get stashed well enough and missed. These pieces continue to dry out and become fairly odorless, making what we call ‘ferret jerky’. Most ferrets can’t resist this and will eat really nasty looking stuff with relish. If they’re eating it, it’s either not too far gone, or it has been successfully stashed and jerkified.
Raw soup recipe
8 oz raw skinless/boneless chicken 1 oz raw chicken liver (about half a liver) 1 oz raw chicken heart (about 2 hearts) 3/4 tsp. eggshell powder Water to thin
Blend all ingredients until soupy. Freeze in ice cube trays (rubbed with olive oil for easy removal) to make easy-to-serve portions and reduce waste. Chicken is the most common protein to start a switch with, but any protein can be used.
The amount of food your individual ferret eats will depend on gender, age, season of the year, and his general mood. It can differ dramatically sometimes and until you become familiar with his eating habits, you will have some waste. In general (and with ferrets and their food, we ALWAYS speak in generalities), adult males eat 2-4 ounces per day, adult females 1-3 ounces per day. Kits of either gender eat 2-3 times MORE food than an adult. They all eat more when they are in the fall and winter mode, less in the spring and summer mode. In fact, ferrets can lose up to 40% of their body weight in the spring. Other factors can play a role in their eating habits also, such as stress, excitement, temperature, or attitude (“I just don’t feel like eating chicken today, mom”). Being familiar with your ferret’s eating habits at any given time of the year is important in keeping track of their health. This is one of the reasons we always recommend that you keep a food journal to track appetite, poops, activity, and weights. MOST ferrets are self-regulating and will eat only what they need. This is not to say that there are NO obese ferrets, but as a rule, they eat what they need to survive and no more. A good guideline when feeding is to try to make sure there is always a bite or two left over when you feed the next meal.
Ferrets, whether they are fed whole prey, grinds, or frankenprey, or some combination of the three, must have a minimum of 3 DIFFERENT PROTEINS in their diet, preferably including at least one red meat. Examples of different proteins are chicken, turkey, quail, beef, rabbit, pork, venison, lamb, goat, frog, fish, etc. Some common red meats are beef, bison, venison, goat, and lamb.
Taurine is an amino acid necessary for heart, brain, and eye health. Taurine is found in muscles that are used A LOT. This is why heart is a required part of the diet. The heart is constantly working, therefore it is very high in taurine. Heart can be ordered online if you cannot find a local supplier. Other good sources of taurine if you cannot find heart are brain and tongue. Brain is VERY difficult for some of us to find, but cow tongue can sometimes be found in grocery stores in locations with a large Asian or Hispanic population. If for some reason, you absolutely cannot get any of these sources of taurine, you can use a taurine supplement (500 mg per ferret per day). The NOW brand is a good one to use because it has no fillers in it. You can get taurine in capsule form, which you can break open and empty onto a meal, or pure powder form. (500mg of taurine is equivalent to ⅛ teaspoon.)
Eggs are a very healthy addition to a ferret’s diet and help in the prevention of hairballs. Generally speaking, a ferret can have the equivalent of one chicken egg per week. (I say the equivalent of a chicken egg because quail eggs, for example, are very small and it takes 4 or 5 of them to equal one chicken egg.) A whole egg is basically a completely balanced meal, designed to provide complete nutrition and waste removal for a baby bird. Therefore, ferrets can be fed the entire egg, shell and all. Whether you want to serve the egg all at once or spread it out (a little bit several times a week) is up to you. Some ferrents choose to only serve part of the egg. In this case, it MUST be the yolk - do not feed egg whites without the yolk. During shedding season, eggs can be fed 2-3 times per week to help prevent hairballs from forming. One thing to be aware of when feeding eggs is that they can create slimy, stinky poops.
And speaking of poop, poop patrol is going to become a fact of your life. A raw fed ferret’s poop is NOTHING like a kibble poop. Their poops change from meal to meal depending on what they last ate. Here is a link to the ‘poop chart’ for reference. poop chart You will likely become a little (or a lot) obsessed with your fuzzy’s litter box for the next few weeks at least, and very likely you will soon be able to tell what your ferret ate for dinner just by looking in the litter box. (You can brag about this talent to your friends if you want, lol.) In addition to his activity level, a ferret’s output is the best indicator of his health. It is also how we determine if your fuzzy needs more or less bone in his diet. As mentioned earlier, the diet should include 10-15% bone. Sometimes they need a little more bone, sometimes a little less, depending on the poops. If the poops are loose, they need more bone. If the fuzzy is constipated, or poops look dry and hard or chalky, they need less bone. Blood-rich meats (hearts, organs) will cause dark, looser poops; heavy bone meals (like chicken necks) will cause drier, more formed poops that often have tiny bits of partially digested bone in them. Another thing to expect during the first few weeks is STINKY poops! Your ferret is basically on a detox from the nasty things that are in kibble. While his digestive tract gets used to processing the raw, his stools will be stinky and odd looking most days. This will all clear up and you will have smaller, less stinky raw poops before you know it!
The goal with frankenprey is to mimic what a ferret would eat in the wild, with the correct balance of organs, muscle meats, and bones, using foods that you can find at your grocery store. Each part of a prey animal has a unique combination of vitamins and minerals that are essential to the health of your ferret. A long term imbalance in their diet can and will cause serious health issues, so it is critical that you plan your meals in advance to ensure that your little friends get the nutrition they need for a long and happy life.
When feeding frankenprey, there are 4 main PARTS of an animal that we need to feed to meet the diet requirements: muscle meat, heart, organs,and edible bones. Remember that at least 3 proteins are required for complete nutrition. Those 3 proteins should be in the meaty part of the diet, not in the organs. However, you should also have a good variety of sources for organs, not all chicken organs, or all beef organs.
1) Muscle meat is fairly self-explanatory. It is any kind of meat that is NOT an organ, including hearts and gizzards. When discussing muscle meat, however, we are typically referring to skeletal muscle.
2) While heart IS a muscle meat, it is a cardiac muscle rather than a skeletal muscle, and it is in a category by itself because it is a vital source of taurine in a raw diet.
3) Nutritional organs are considered to be any part of the body that SECRETES a hormone. Examples are liver, kidney, thymus, pancreas, reproductive organs, lungs, brains. Liver is the easiest organ to find and should make up at least half of the organ requirement. Other organs can be very difficult to find except directly from a butcher, cultural markets, or online sources. Neither hearts nor gizzards are organs. This is a very common misconception, so be aware of it when shopping for organs. Many meat department personnel and butchers commonly call hearts and gizzards organs, but they are NOT. They are muscle meats, AND heart is a separate requirement in a ferret’s diet (see above).
4) Edible bone is any bone small enough for a ferret to eat. Generally, these are non-weight bearing bones of poultry or small animals. Because we do not feed a bare bone, but rather one with plenty of meat attached, we sort of combine this category with muscle meat and call it “edible bone-in meat”. When I (or others) refer to “bone-in”, this is what we are talking about. If we refer to “muscle meat”, we mean meat that has no bone included (chicken breast, beef roast, etc.) Examples of edible bone-in meats are poultry wings, necks, backs, ribs, sometimes thighs, whole quail, whole Cornish game hen, rabbit, mouse, guinea pig. Sometimes you can find smallish bones from a larger animal that are small enough for a ferret to eat. One example is pork button bones, or pork riblets. Some of those bones are too dense, but occasionally you can find some small enough. Although the bone requirement is only 10-15% of the total diet (remember that we use the poops to determine the bone content), because the bone is attached to muscle meat, edible bone-in meat makes up the majority of a ferret’s diet. It is critical that your fuzzy learn to eat and enjoy bones, for healthy teeth as well as to meet the calcium requirements.
Now, moving on to the basic frankenprey menu: Raw fed ferrets are generally fed twice a day, 12 hours apart, making a total of 14 meals per week. The basic weekly menu should include:
1 ½ meals of heart (~10% of the total diet) 1 ½ meals of organ, at least half of which must be liver (~5% liver, 5% other organ) 7-9 meals of edible bone-in meat (~50-60%) 2-4 meals of muscle meat with no bone (~15-30%)
When building your menu, you want to consider the effect a particular meal will have on the poops. For example, remember that blood rich meals (liver, other organs, hearts) cause looser poops, so to combat that issue, you want to feed at least one bone-in meal between them. It is best to spread organ/heart meals out as much as possible throughout the week.
This is easier than it sounds. Below is a sample menu (in the format I will want yours to be, when we get to the menu making part, once your ferret is eating all kinds of yummy stuff).
Sun AM: organ meal (½ liver, ½ other organ) Sun PM: edible bone-in meat
You will take this basic menu and rearrange it to suit your needs, making sure to include at least 3 different proteins, and adjusting the bone-in meals depending on the poops. It is important to be flexible with your feedings. If you notice runny poops and have hearts planned for that meal, you can give a bone-in meal instead, and save the hearts for the following meal if their poops have firmed up. Don’t worry about not having something defrosted if you have to make a last minute change. Ferrets are perfectly content with ‘meat-sicles’. Some ferrets will require the full 9 meals of bone-in, while others only need 7, and this can vary from week to week depending on different factors. It won’t take long for you to figure out what YOUR ferrets need.
The easiest way to prepare meals is to have your meat separated into serving size portions (once you learn the correct amount for your business) in your freezer. Once you have your menu planned, it’s easy to grab one bag or container per meal. When you serve one meal, you can put the next meal into the refrigerator to thaw. It’s good to keep an extra bag or container of bone-in and muscle meat available in case you need to make a substitution, or your fuzzies beg for a snack.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of this mini-book, lol! If you waded through all that information, you can do this switch! I have faith in you, so don’t feel overwhelmed by this information overload and get discouraged. We’ll do this in baby steps, and we’ll go over all this information again as it becomes necessary.
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2015 17:10:35 GMT -5 by gfountain
Oh lord.....wow Even though you know it and we have read it for months before getting our boys. We had our first baby Bella Marie who we lost in late July and we were going to start on raw but didn't get a chance.
We have cut and packaged meals in trays, baggies, containers all labeled. So, a lot of the mini book we do know but still a ton of info, thanks for sharing. We have ice cube trays and have been making soupie since Sept in those and then put in freezer bags, take out 2-3 cubes at a time. Yes, we are doing raw and we mean raw nothing cooked here lol. We cannot do live prey, could maybe do mice eventually but that is all. So you do frogs too, didn't think of that for the menu. Jami will get the menu sheet done, we have one or will use this one. Jax is doing great and Jami will post how he did today but I tried a small chunk and he just would not take it, tried rubbing putting in his mouth etc and nope....will try the long skinny piece. Will post some pics of poop....yea poop talk is so good with us forum peeps lol