WAIT! so feeding this morning went well! Kinga ate more than her usual teaspoon. I'm not quite sure how much she ate? maybe a tsp 1/2 or a tiny bit more? she seemed pretty eager to eat it as I held her but when I wasn't holding her (aka "forcing her") to eat it, nah, she wasn't into it. and once she crossed that line of "I'm done", she really Was Done. Misio continues to be Mr. Stubborn.
when I leave the soup in the room until the pm feeding, is this ok even though Misio barely eats? I feel like doing this he gorges on food in the late pm when I put the kibble back in their cage. :/ hmm
I wrote up a reply last night but it seems it never posted and I've lost it. Sigh., I'll rewrite it then haha!
Stubborness can be quite normal for ferrets, especially when they are older ferrets. At the 6 to 8 month age, ferrets begin to imprint on their food, so after those ages it becomes considerally more difficult to get them eating something new. Kibble is also addicting and considered junk food to ferrets. After a while they get into the thought of "If I eat this new food item only a little now, the kibble will follow soon after" or in other words, take advantage of the situation because they know and expect their human to pop in a bowl of kibble at a certain time. They are smart animals, it's kind of scary how smart they can be hahaha!
Since they will be expecting the kibble back at a certain time, why not just sit with them and feed the soup instead. Mixing up the feeding times will confuse them, but eventually they will have to stop relying on the kibble as a food source and start relying on the soup.
The fact that they are eating is very good progress, but since they are now a round 3 weeks in and seem to be eating more kibble then they do the soup, lets try and get them eating a little more of the soup.
When you hand feed a ferret, it's best to do so with one ferret at a time and in another room thats preferably a boring room with little to no distractions (like the bathroom). This will help them to focus on you and the soup, even if it doesn't look like it haha! 1 block of soup equals to exactly 1 oz of soup, so try and do 1 block per random feeding. You can random hand or spoon feed them throughout the day when ever you have free time. Once an hour or once every couple of hours is a good idea. ^^ Keep trying until Misio or Kinga is able to fully eat all the 1oz of soup (each). If they eat some, but then after a while resist, let them go for a moment so that they can de-stress and then bring them back and try again. Be very verbal with both Misio and Kinga, put down the spoon, hold Misio or Kinga to eye level and make a big deal out of it when they do something good (such as eating a whole teaspoon of soup.) After that, let them go so that they can wonder around the room while you refil the spoon and try a second round.
Believe it or not, my little girl Haru actually became quite stubborn when it came to feeding bone in meat. She handled the soup fine, the slivers and chunks of meat were no problem, but bone in meat she wouldn't touch even if I left it in there all day. I decided that I would try random feeding her, when she least expected it. I had to random feed her throughout the day and sat for a good half an hour until she finished half a wing, then eventually a full wing in my lap. It took a few weeks and started with her pawing my hand away and wriggling to run away, but eventually she began eating the wing on her own, in my lap and stopped resisting. Persistence and patience is the key. She even became stubborn with Wholeprey, so I unfortunately had to do this all over again. (it was more messy with wholeprey, but it paid off and now she takes any wholeprey item I give her.)
This week, I want you to try the following:
Every couple of days, swap the feeding schedules around.(eg. instead of feeding kibble in the PM, the time they expect it to be there, feed soup instead and kibble in the AM. Then the next day, or in a few days, try switching that around once more.)
Try and random hand feed them (one at a time) throughout the day.(Frequent feeding and make a goal to get them consuming at least 1 block/1oz of soup at the end of the hand feeding time. For a few days, make small goals, half a teaspoon or what ever they can handle, then eventually push for a little more from them until eventually they can consume 1block/oz before the end of the week on their own.) ------- Once Misio and Kinga willingly start eating the soup on their own, within their cage when you aren't around, then that would be the best time to start eliminating the kibble all together.
Reduce the amount of kibble (little at a time), and increase the amount of soup in the AM/PM meal and or feed more frequent soup meals.
Time for a short lesson for today! This lesson is on Taurine, a very important nutrient for our ferrets. Read it in your spare time~
Taurine & Cooked Meat
Taurine, an organic acid which is found in all animal tissues, is not degraded by the freeze-thaw process when it comes to raw meats, however it is degraded when it is cooked or exposed to heat of some kind.
Feeding cooked meat, especially if you have made it homemade is a huge risk to your obligate carnivore since Taurine is essential for your ferrets overall health and is lost during the cooking process. Cooking in general causes a loss in many nutrients. Enzymes are destroyed by cooking. Digestive enzymes are produced primarily in the pancreas and released into the duodenum to help digest food coming from the stomach. However since Digestive enzymes are destroyed during cooking, the chore is left to the intestines or the pancreas themselves to secrete amylase and other digestive enzymes. Enzymes are important. They don’t just help to digest the food – they are living proteins that help repair DNA, make hormones, prevent clotting and so on. Eating a diet of cooked and processed foods would put incredible stress on our ferret's bodies. The pancreas in particular, since it has to produce massive quantities of digestive enzymes after consuming a food that is devoid of enzymes. Long term consumption of a diet consisting of completely cooked meat can lead to alot of over worked organs, which can then lead to very horrible diseases. This does not mean that you cannot feed cooked meat though. It is recommended to be only a treat, not something that is the entire diet. Never feed cooked bones to your ferrets as they can pose a serious risk. Once the bone in meat has gone through the cooking process, it can remove the nutritional value of the meat and the bones become more brittle, increasing the risk of splintering.
Fun fact: Most mammals produce amylase in the saliva, but dogs, cats and ferrets do not. Amylase helps with predigestion, and since a majority of carnivores simply bite off chunks and swallow, they do not have any need for amylase in the saliva.
Can Ferrets synthesise Taurine?
Obligate carnivores are not able to synthesise all the taurine they need from other amino acids (such as methionine and cysteine) unlike some other carnivores and unlike herbivores or omnivores. This means that it is essential to their diet and must be fed to the ferret.
What is the role of Taurine?
Taurine is a major constituent of bile and can be found in the large intestine. Taurine has many fundamental biological roles, such as conjugation of bile acids, anti-oxidation, osmoregulation, membrane stabilisation, and modulation of calcium singling. It is essential for cardiovascular function, and development and function of skeletal muscle, the retina, and the central nervous system.
Is Taurine an Amino Acid?
Taurine is unusual among biological molecules in being a sulfonic acid, while the vast majority of biologically occurring acids contain the more weakly acidic carboxyl group. While taurine is sometimes called an amino acid, and indeed is an acid containing an amino group, it is not an amino acid in the usual biochemical meaning of the term, which refers to compounds containing both an amino and a carboxyl group.
What may happen if Taurine is not in the diet?
A diet that does not have enough taurine can cause the heart to stretch and enlarge (dilated cardiomyopathy). This can lead to congestive heart failure and in worse cases, death. In the eye, a low taurine diet can cause blindness from central retinal degeneration. In order for any issue to arise, a Deficiency must drag on for a certain length time. It may take months, it may take years, it all depends on the ferret.
Can I feed too much Taurine?
Taurine is a water soluble nutrient, so that makes it incredibly rare that a ferret would overdose on Taurine. If a ferret eats something and there is too much taurine in it, the excess is simply excreted VIA urine.
I will give you another lesson on Water Soluble and Fat Soluble Vitamins another day.
So where can Taurine be found?
The main source of Taurine for our ferrets in the Frankenprey menu is Hearts. Taurine can also be found in other types of meat, but hearts are essential to insure they get an appropriate amount of Taurine in their diet. If you cannot find hearts or need another option, brain, and tongue also have a high amount of Taurine. Raw (beef) tongue is also the next best option to hearts as it is very high in Taurine. In fact, Tongue has a higher amount of Taurine than that of Heart and is also quite fatty. Beef tongue is a good option if you can find it or if it is in your budget.
If you cannot locate a Heart, or Tongue, Supplementing with a Taurine powder can be used short term until you can find alternative sources for Taurine. A health food store should have Taurine powder. It may be handy to have stored away for emergencies. This thread has some good information on Supplementing with Taurine Powder/Capsules. holisticferret60.proboards.com/thread/13404/little-education-on-taurine
hi! thanks for the lesson. my local butcher actually provides hearts and tongues for really cheap (like $2-3 for a whole heart/tongue). but yeah, everything I read about raw emphasizes how taurine is essential, and it's nice to understand why.
so we've been slowly improving. Misio's going at a snail's pace, of course. and sometimes when he gets "too big" a chunk of soup he'll go off as if he'll eat it somewhere else but he just drops it and pretends to eat it. tsk tsk.
Kinga though has really improved! she ate half an oz! (throughout the entire day, but still!) and she seemed like she was eager to eat it, leaning forward in my arms for the next bite, but who knows if she was just eager for the whole feeding to get done, haha!
and oh, don't worry! I don't just stick the soup in their cage and leave!! I always hand-feed them first before doing that. but taking breaks and coming back to it makes sense. I like the surprise attack method, haha.
It's always great to get raw for a good price. Some ferret owners find that they cannot resist stuff on special of stuff that goes for a good deal- I can't either, I would have my basket full of organs, bone in meats and muscle meats and I find myself explaining that its for my ferrets since I'm actually Vegetarian.
Misio is such a character. I'm sure he'll catch up to Kinga eventually. The fact that Kinga is now very eager for the new food is a fantastic sign~ I think she's really getting into it!
You're doing a very good job with Misio and Kinga. Even if Misio decides to take his time, The end goal is the same. So he'll end up on a fully balanced diet eventually. Kinga is doing so well, I have a feeling she'll be on Slivers in no time.
so things are pretty constant right now, Kinga with a half an ounce/day, and Misio still testing out the stuff, haha. I will post the ferret info soon (my brother's wedding is going on), but just wanted to let you know what's going on.
Thanks for the update, and thank you for letting me know that such an important time is going on. (Congrats to your brother!) You can take your time with the info, there's no rush at all. I'm actually starting a course next week (Monday the 18th). Since I have to travel from 5AM and won't be home until 7PM at night, I may be less active on the rest of the forum- however I will always be checking in daily (usually at night) with Mentees.
It really sounds fantastic that everyone is getting better at eating the new food. When ever you feel ready, you could probably start trying some slithers of meat with Kinga and even Misio. Cut a few tiny pieces and try hand feeding one or two to Kinga and Misio, see how they go and continue as you are with the soup. You could also put some slithers into the soup if you like. ^^
Once you are confident that they both are going well with the soup, then you can start to remove the kibble (if you haven't already). The next phase of the transition is to have them fully on soup (without kibble whatsoever) then to begin introducing actual solid pieces of meat, either as hand feeding without the soup, or even in the soup, you could try both. ^^
oh wow, those are long days, I wish you good luck with your course!
I have to say yesterday was tough. I tried removing the kibble entirely, and they really did Not like it. even Kinga refused to take a bite of the soup for at least 15 minutes!! misio took his characteristic few bites but I was so surprised at Kinga's behavior!! eventually I had to put the kibble back, because even trying the soup again after breaks resulted in them turning up their noses. :S they then ate that kibble like I was starving them. I swear .....
Ferrets can act like brats sometimes. When my boy Yuuki was younger he would throw a tantrum if he didn't get his own way. (Still does at times) sigh. It's okay though! You can still push forward (even when there may be times like these) and continue with the soup. It can be quite hard on us ferrents when the ferrets behave like children, when things like these happen, do your best to be persistent and try your best to not give into the behaviour. Sometimes you need to do some tough love, otherwise they will get the idea "If I behave like this, or do this, the human will give me this or that." It scares me sometimes how smart ferrets are! The main reason for this behaviour is simply that they are addicted to the kibble. Ferrets act like its the end of the world when they are left without their addictive kibble for a certain amount of time and it can be incredibly hard seeing it and worrying that they won't eat etc, but be persistent and stubborn in return. If they behave like children, leave them for a bit so that they can calm down, then comeback and hand feed (make sure to get some in their mouths, even if they wriggle). Continue like that in frequent and short tries, before leaving the soup in the cage. If we were to give in every time they behaved like a child, then we wouldn't be able to move forward much, if at all.
Since this approach of simply removing the kibble didn't do so well with Misio and Kinga, What you can do is slowly reduce the kibble instead. You feed one meal of kibble now correct? Continue hand feeding, and then leave soup in the cage for a length of time.
Throughout the week you can do either: 1# Increase the soup in the morning meal and leave it throughout the day, or, 2# Do one small meal of soup in the morning and a larger soup meal around lunchtime - both being seperate meals. At the same time, reduce the kibble amount being fed gradually. So during the week, you could add less and less to their night meal and increase with the soup meals. Sometimes when there is too much food on one plate, this can be intimidating and I noticed this with sizes as well during my transition- keeping meals small and short may help, but this also means that an extra meal will be necessary- so if you want to try adding two meals of soup during the day, feel free to do so.
If they start to pick up on the kibble change, you may need to be strong and push through. Hopefully they won't even notice much because they will be filling up more on the soup rather than the kibble throughout the day.
That's wonderful to hear! Actually it is right on track. I'm happy both are showing progress with the soup . Taking things gradually will benefit Misio and Kinga. I think you're doing a really great job! Keep it up~
hey! so far they're eating an oz of soup a day (though lbh it's mostly done by Kings).
Ferret's Name: Kinga Ferret's Weight: 1.13 Eaten x Per Meal: a little less than half an oz to be honest! she's got a good appetite when it comes to the soup!! but she does always know when she's done. Stools: kibble stool still Activity Levels: same as earlier; sleeps a ton, but when active she's ACTIVE you know the weekly menu at this point
Ferret's Name: Misio Ferret's Weight: 2.11; he's lost a lot of weight :S since we began - or maybe I should weigh him again tomorrow .... Stools: kibble stool Activity Levels: not as hyper as Kinga but he crashes less, haha
I think Kinga might be ready for the slivers? or should I wait till both ferrets (or at least she) are eating 1oz of soup each?
Weightloss sounds normal during a switch. They tend to drop the kibble related fat and then gain muscle. It took my girl Haru about a few months, maybe 4 months or so for her to gain all the muscle in the right places. Keeping weight records is fantastic for watching weight. You may also see changes in weight during seasons changing.
You're more than welcome to try Kinga with the slithers. Every ferret progresses differently. You could also try reducing the kibble a little if you like. Maybe Misio will follow Kinga's lead and be tempted to try a small piece of meat. Hopefully this time they won't notice the slight change in kibble too much.