Just making my switching post, and hope to get some ideas for my two babies who want nothing to do with raw anything. I want to start them out with something before my mentoring starts to hopefully make it easier I've been occasionally trying, but not sure if HOW I'm trying is right. I have tried raw egg yolks, raw and cooked chicken, homemade soupies, and beef liver. They want none of it! am going to get some salmon oil, and pray that they like that because it might help a lot! One question I have, is how long should I keep the raw food out for them? I know it can't be out for too long, I've been leaving it in their cage for about an hour when they are in there. They smell it and go away.
Chunks of meat should be OK for 12 hours. I feed my guys about that often. If they haven't had their kibble for a couple hours, they may be hungry enough to give the raw meat a try. You might have to coach them. With soup, you could rub it on their gums, but chunks are tougher. I used to hold a ferret by its scruff and when they yawn, hold the piece of meat in its mouth and it ends up chomping. If the ferret struggles, set it down and try again in a few minutes. If it holds the meat in its mouth, let it down and see if it eats.
Here is a good general time frame for how long you can leave raw out until it goes bad soupie: 6 to 8 hrs ground meat: 10-12 hrs med - large chunks: 12 hrs bone in meats: 12 to 24 hrs whole prey 24 to 48 hrs
When I switched mine I tried scruff and stuff first with the soup so they got the taste of it in their mouth, and did that repeatedly throughout the day and evening. Then I offered the soup on a spoon or my finger while holding them, and they were more willing to try it on their own then. I had one of my girls who would only eat off the spoon for quite a while before she started doing it voluntarily. she liked the attention take kibble away from them around 2 to 4 hrs before you try the soup to ensure they're hungry good luck!
8oz raw chicken thigh (raw) 1 oz raw chicken liver (or other raw liver) 1-2 raw chicken hearts (approximately 1 oz) or 1 oz other raw heart ½ to ¾ tsp bone meal or crushed egg shell (air-dry egg shell then crush with mortar and pestle or in a clean coffee grinder)
Most ferrets will not take straight to raw, they have to be taught that it is food instead of poison. haha Start out by removing their kibble when you get home for about 2 hours. Then make a batch of the raw soup recipe I posted above. Sit on the floor with them and gently use your finger to dab a little soup on their nose/lips until they lick it off. Whenever one runs by you, pick them up and dab the soup. Do this until they start to lick it more willingly. Be prepared that at first they will not like it! They may even shake their heads and spit like it is poison. Teaching ferrets to eat raw in the beginning is like teaching a toddler who was raised eating only ice cream to eat broccoli. (giggle) But I promise that if you are patient and presistent you WILL get them switched.
I am so excited!!!! I made some soup, but this time I added a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. I put it on my finger scruffed them and put it on their mouths. Wolf took it great! Then I put some more on my finger and he licked it off. Continued this, and he licked five fingers. Sophie on the other hand was mad, and she licked off what I put on her lips, did this a few times, then tried it on my finger....This was a no go! But I am so happy Wolf ate it. I only gave them a small portion and they are in their cage without kibble. I will check on it in a couple hours. This gives me so much hope! My fiance doesn't think Sophie will ever switch, but I am going to keep trying! Will let you guys know tomorrow how it goes!
That is great news! Sophie will definitely switch as long as YOU are determined and persistent. It is very common for them to act like it is poison at first. Don't be disappointed if they don't take any from the bowl in their cage tonight - thought if they do that is fantastic! I would take as much time as you can each day to do the Grab-and-Dab to keep encouraging little Sophie to taste it. Dab some on her nose and lips so she has to lick it off. Pick her up, dab, and set her down. Don't turn it into a big fight or struggle or she may start to resent it. Keep doing this any time she runs by during play time, and give her lots of love. Keep it up!! (dance) You are already off to a great start. Be careful on the olive oil btw as too much oil can make their poops runny and they will already be prone to some yucky adjustment poops as they adjust to the new diet.
So, neither of them ate it while it was in their cage. Wolf did have a few more licks off of my finger last night. Gave them some more today. So far, Wolf did eat a little bit more than yesterday, but only off of my finger Sophie has been sleeping since I put it in their cage, so we will try her when she wakes up. Also, I only put a few drops of the oil in as I saw that it might help them to eat it(on the Holistic ferret facebook page). The next time I make some, I will try it again without that. Thank you for the words of encouragement