Your menu looks good on the amounts of bone meals vs muscle meals vs organs and hearts. But you're relying too heavily on chicken.
You've got to interchange it with another type of protein more regularly. Quails and Turkey both count as different proteins so see if you can adjust the menu to fit them in there a couple times more.
Chicken and beef are the most popular meat animals in North America, so to keep production high, and to prevent any infections in crowded farms they are often given lots of antibiotics, and other things. They are also the animals used most in the production of pet food. This has led to the fact that these meats are what ferrets can be allergic to most often. So try to branch out to other meats as much as you can
My name is Jason and I'm one of the admins here at HFF. I don't post to much on the forum these days but am quite active on our FB page. Sveta asked me if I could step in and take over for a while as she is dealing with some personal issues and felt she couldn't focus on your switch at the moment. I've read through the posts so far and it seems to be going very well.
To answer your latest question, we (mentors) will always say more variety is better but you seem to have that covered pretty well with your menu at the moment. The more variety you can introduce and get them eating the more flexible their palates will be and the better balanced the menu is nutritionally.
Now it's my turn for some questions . I see you have quite a bit of bone in meat content from larger poultry (Turkey, duck and are using chicken necks as well). How are they doing with the larger bone in meats (the turkey and duck)? Are they consuming a decent amount of the bone?
Secondly, if you can, I would suggest replacing one of the chicken neck meals with a bone in meat with a higher meat content (say chicken wings or bone in quail). Chicken necks tend to be higher on the bone side of the bone to meat ratio when it comes to bone in meats.
Otherwise, your menu looks really good. How is everyone doing with the switch? Any of them still holding back or a bit behind anyone else? Anyone making a pig of themselves and not sharing with the others? Any issues with wasted meat (stashes)?
If you could post everyone's weights again it would be helpful so I could go back and compare to the other times you have posted them.
If you have any questions for me, don't hesitate to ask.
Last Edit: Feb 24, 2017 18:42:09 GMT -5 by bitbyter
Earlier you said, "Now I need to figure out how much of what makes a meal".
That really depends on the number of ferrets you have, how much they weigh and what season it is (the amount they eat can actually vary by up to 40% from winter to summer). We are just coming up on spring so don't be alarmed if you see their appetites dropping off (my two are already starting to eat less).
There are two methods you can use to zero in on how much you should be feeding per day:
A) Weigh everything you prepare for them for the day. B) At the end of the day, weigh any left-overs and then figure out how much they actually ate. C) Record those values for a week or two and then average the results. That should give you your daily amount. Keeping in mind of course that for the first year you'll probably have to do that for each season (spring, summer, fall, winter).
A) Feed amounts that you think are right. B) If you are finding stashes that are uneaten the next day, then you are probably feeding too much. C) Cut back a bit until you aren't finding stashes the next day anymore. D) This method tends to make for a slightly leaner ferret and makes them appreciate meal time more. E) You also have to keep an eye on their weight and judge their hunger better (especially in the fall/winter when their appetites increase) and increase amounts accordingly.
Generally, Method 1 is better for those ferrents new to raw (even though it is more work) and Method 2 is a better option for more experienced raw feeders.
Post by kattadragon on Feb 27, 2017 10:09:42 GMT -5
I hope she is okay. It is good she is taking the time she needs. I wish her the best.
Here is the menu from the weekend: Rabbit, bone in Heart, liver, and kidney (chicken, beef, and lamb) Quail (two whole) Turkey wing
I did not list these as AM/PM because they seem to linger with some of the food and chow through others so the schedule is a bit off. It looks like all their poops are still recovering from the internal organ meal so it will probably be duck tonight.
I did find a good stash in a shoe!!! I took a picture and will post when I get home. Now I check their shoe for left overs before I get them more to eat. We are still starting the turkey and I have not yet had a chance to give them duck, or beef. So far they have not had any problems with the bone.
Jezzy has been a little behind in her switch, but I think peer pressure got the better of her. Last time I tried to weigh her she was about 755g. I will see about getting those weights tonight.
Post by kattadragon on Feb 28, 2017 9:56:34 GMT -5
They ate 3/4 of the turkey wing yesterday. Everthing but the large meaty part at the top. Maybe too large a bone in the top or I should probably cut it down smaller. We did heart for breakfast (10.3 oz.)and I have taken out duck for dinner.
I am a bit worried about Jezzy's weight dropping off. Her poops look okay and her body looks okay, she has a thick fluffy coat and I have seen her eating. Maybe I should kennel her separate again too keep a closer eye on the amount she is really eating? I think she gets a bit depressed when I have to separate her out so I try not to do that.
Ok, their body shots look good. A comment about the shoe. It may be a favorite toy but honestly, shoes are a HUGE blockage risk. They are primarily made of rubber and foam both of which ferrets like to chew, can easily cause blockages and are hard to see on x-rays.
Was that food that was stashed in the shoe actually eaten by the next day / meal? If not, you might want to cut back on your amounts a bit.
As for Jezzy, as you have her weight now, try separating her for meal times for a week and see how it goes. After the week, you can see how her weight is and see if she has moved on with the switch a bit more. Unfortunately, we are coming up on spring and ferrets naturally eat less and drop weight around this time of year. It makes it hard to know if the weight loss is related to the switch or is just regular spring weight loss. We'll keep an eye on it, though. I haven't had time to go back and compare to the earlier weights in the switch but I will try to in the morning
In future, I'd suggest posting their weights consecutively and tracking it this way at home. What I mean by that is like the example below:
Wilma: 1100g / 1125g / 1005g / etc / etc (at home you can add dates to compare year to year)
It just makes it much easier to spot drastic changes or trends without having to go back through the posts. Weighing them monthly and keeping a record is a valuable tool.
Last Edit: Feb 28, 2017 21:46:18 GMT -5 by bitbyter
They did not eat all the food in the shoe. I think I need to reduce the amount I give them. About 2/3 of the heart was eaten. I gave them 11.3 ounces duck last night and most of it was still in their bowl.
Small back story: Jack and Jezzy are both rescues. It was explained to me by their previous owner that Jezzy would bleed from her rectum and vulva. I took her to the vet. They said it was due to poor diet. After chasing the "higher quality kibble" I ended up here. I knew this was the right thing for them, I just had no idea how to balance it or that anyone knew how to balance it. Then I discovered this forum!!