We have given them mangled chicken bones and they liked it. Unfortunately we have this ton of meat already cut up. Ideas? I bought bone meal at Natural Pantry and we're using that now instead of the egg shells. It's: KAL Bone Meal Powder (Bar Code 21245 13429) Is that better (or OK) to use?
Sorry I missed your reply! Yes, that bonemeal powerer should be fine - but we still want to get them eating whole bones. That's great that they liked the mangled chicken wings. Honestly if you have a bunch of boneless meat chopped up I would just stretch it out by alternating meals with new meats so we can work on bones. If they accept the mangled wings, start offering them those for at least a few meals a week. As they get used to the chewing, start smashing them less (be sure pieces are either mangled, or big enough to make them chew without being easy to swallow whole), and eventually offering them whole.
How many weeks of meals do you have prepped at the moment?
So the last time we gave bones (Monday) they mostly didn't eat it at all. They are such brats. At least they ate the hearts from breakfast. We continue the effort. Probably have a week of food. Maybe he should grind the bone & chicken and let them regress a little? Or maybe they were eating their food stashes!
Just weighted the business: Karma: 1.6 lb D'Artagnan: 3.2 lb Havoc: 1.97 Athos: 3.1 The last time they didn't eat the bones in the chicken legs I cut the pieces with scissors and it helped some. We've only tried chicken legs I think - maybe wings. So we should feed them one meal of just meat and then the next meal would be mangled bones of whatever? Ultimately what will we do when we feed them beef?
Leg bones are a bit big - I wouldn't really recommend them as starter bones. It doesn't hurt to offer them, but I'm not surprised they haven't taken to them either. Not all ferrets can handle thigh bones. Wings are a better place to start. Typically I have people start with smashed wings. As they learn to chew the mangled bone, then it can be cut up less and then, as they get better, given whole. They need 7-9 bone-in meals a week with significant amounts of edible bone, so that gives a lot of meals a week to work on the bones.
We also need to get some more variety in their diet and work on adding some other organs. I can usually find pork kidney, uterus, and brain at Midtown New Sagaya. Their organ content should be 10% of their total diet (1.5 meals a week), of which at least half should be liver. The other half CAN be liver in a pinch, but ideally should be other organs - like kidney, brain, pancreas, spleen, uterus, testes, etc.
What proteins are they eating so far? If I remember right so far you had: chicken, pork, turkey - am I missing any? Have you tried beef yet?
Let me know how the game hens go with the bones. Keep in mind that CHG (Cornish Game Hen) is really just a young chicken. While the bones are great for introducing them to bone eating due to the smaller size, the young age of the animal means that the bones are not fully matured and cannot be considered an adequate source of calcium and other minerals to be a substantial portion of their bone content.
Also while they are not eating bones consistently, you need to continue supplementing them with bonemeal powder or powdered eggshell. Do you know how to adjust the amount of bone or bone supplement based on their poops?
patti49er please update with a menu. How are bones going? I'm really worried about their balance if we don't work on their menu and variety....it is pretty straightforward to balance properly once you get the hang of it, but I need to make sure it IS balanced and you and hubby understand the balance. This is THE most important part of the switch - getting the balance and variety right.
We are adding the bone meal with every serving. No I don't know how to adjust based on their poops. More bone if it's runny? When you say variety - do you mean just the organs? They rotate chicken, beef, and pork every feeding - like if he did chicken for am then he does different at night. The last bone feeding we didn't mangle the bones enough. So after a while he cut them up more and they ate some. If we feed beef how would they get any bones other than the supplement? Monday: am:chicken and bones pm:hearts and livers
We are adding the bone meal with every serving. That is good - but we still really want to get them eating actual whole bones. It is very important for their dental health, and helps them build important neck and jaw muscles. How are they doing with the game hen bones? If they are eating those well, I would start smashing them less. If they will eat whole game hen bones, move to something larger - chicken wings, rabbit bones, non-chopped quail bones, etc.
No I don't know how to adjust based on their poops. More bone if it's runny? You got it. Poops are your best measure of their bone and calcium intake. Overall soft/runny poops (other than on heart/organ days when dark, loose stools are expected) typically mean they need more bones. Dry, hard, small, chalky, crumbly, pale-dry, etc poops can all be indications that they are getting too much bone. Raw fed ferrets tend to have smaller poops than kibble fed, AND heir poops will naturally be more moist as their food has a MUCH higher water content. Their poops will also vary by meal. For example organ meals tend to produce dark, soft stools. Chicken stools tend to be lighter, red meats like beef tend to be much darker. Bone-in meals you may notice small bone chunks. Fatty meals poops can be seedier. Etc.
How much bonemeal are you adding? Are you still adding it on the days that they are eating bones? (Are they eating the bones yet)? If they ARE eating the bones, don't add the bonemeal on those days or it will be overdoing it.
When you say variety - do you mean just the organs? No, I mean everything. We say that they need an absolute BARE MINIMUM of 3 different proteins (e.g. chicken, pork, and beef) to give people a minimum guideline and starting point. But in reality they should have MUCH more than that - the more variety the better. For example, chicken can not be their only bone source. They need 7-9 bone-in meals a week....if chicken is their only bone source then the majority of their diet is now chicken, meaning the diet is FAR too chicken heavy. [Also as a heads up, cornish game hen is simply a young chicken. It does not add significantly to their variety. While game hen makes for GREAT starter bones to teach them to eat bones, they (particularly their bones) are not fully matured and thus are not sufficient to be a significant source of edible bones in their diet long-term.] Just like humans, ferrets need a wide variety to ensure they get the optimal nutritional profile..... 1.) They need a variety of bone sources (chicken, quail, rabbit, duck, turkey necks, quail, frog legs, some can eat pork button bones, etc). 2.) They also need a variety of muscle meats (chicken pork, turkey, duck, rabbit, quail...etc) of which AT LEAST one should be a red meat (beef, goat, moose, caribou, etc). 3.) They also need a variety of organs. Their organs should consist of 10% of their total diet (1.5 meals a week), of which *at leas* half should be liver. 10 of the diet being liver is acceptable, but NOT ideal. Whenever possible, half of their organ content should consist of other, non-liver organs such as: kidney, brains, pancreas, spleen, uterus, testicles. 3b.) Their organs should come from as many different animals as possible. What happens if you offer chicken liver as their only organ source, and on develops a chicken allergy....? Now you are really, really stuck. Midtown New Sagaya is a gold mine. They carry: pork and beef and chicken liver, pork and beef kidneys, pork brains (completely safe and very nutritious, but very rich so keep to 1/4 or less of the organ content), pork uteries (uterus). 4.) They should also have a variety of sources of heart for the same reasons - what happens if one develops a chicken allergy? Also, different animals have slightly different nutrient profiles, offering a better overall nutritional intake. Midtown New Sagaya sells chicken, pork, and beef hearts. - Note: New Sagaya carries different things different weeks. Sometimes you go there and they have a TON of kidney, sometimes they have none. I always go and stock up on what I can when they have it, and if they are ou of something I need I try again in a couple of weeks.
The last bone feeding we didn't mangle the bones enough. So after a while he cut them up more and they ate some. Perfect! Work on cutting the bones up less and less as they build their chewing muscles and learn how to eat the bones. As they build their strength, we need to start adding in other bones as I mentioned above.
If we feed beef how would they get any bones other than the supplement?
On a 2 meal/day schedule, they need: - 7-9 bone-in meals a week. Bone-in meals should contain significant amounts of EDIBLE bones - if they don't eat it, it doesn't count. I mentioned several good bone sources above. - 1.5 meals a week of heart - 1.5 meals a week of organs, of which at least 1/2 should be liver, and the rest other organs That then leaves you with 2-4 meals a week which are boneless muscle meats. THIS is where your meats like beef, goat, and pork come in.
Your Current Menu:
You have 2.5 meals of liver - this is too much. Too much liver can cause runny stools, and over time can lead to Vitamin A toxicity. Their total organ content (liver+/- other) should make up 1.5 meals a week.
You only have 0.5 meals of heart - this is not enough. They need 1.5 meals a week of heart or you risk taurine deficiency. You can't "overdo" heart per se like you can with liver, other than too much can cause soft stools, and of course you don't want to take up spaces for other important things like bones and organs. But they need at LEAST 1.5 meals a week of hearts.
I discussed the bones, which we are working on so that will get there.
The variety is also something that we need to increase. Yes you have the technical "bare minimum," but that is really not enough as their only bone source is chicken, so their diet will end up far too chicken heavy.