I want to start transitioning my two female 7 year old ferrets from Wellness Core Original to Stella & Chewy's Freeze Dried Chick, Chick, Chicken. The only thing is I don't know how to prepare it, when to feed it to them, how long to leave out, how much to feed them etc.
Also I've heard a lot of debate about pumpkin seeds, I also heard it was bad for ferrets with insulinoma, what's the tea on that?
If you wish to go the FDR route, you still need to offer a bare minimum of 3 different proteins, so once they start eating this one, you'll need to offer at least 2 other varieties as well.
I follow the instructions on the bag on how much water to add to rehydrate it, sometimes just a touch more, but not a lot otherwise your ferret will be filling up on water and not food.
Adult female ferrets will eat on average 1-3oz of food. It's hard to say exactly how much, as each ferret is their own individual and can vary from one another. So you'll need to try and discover the average of your ferrets over the course of a week or two and increase/decrease food as you go. The best way to get an average, and something you should always do with raw, is to weigh the amount of food you give, and after they've eaten to weigh the remainder. That should give you the exact amount eaten and you can start figuring out an average. There are other factors that come into play for appetite as well, such as seasonal changes, age, gender, health. Ferrets will eat more in the winter and less in the summer and during those times can often gain up to 40% of their body weight in winter, or lose that much come summer. Ideally, there should always be a bite left by the time the next meal rolls around. For healthy ferrets, most of us feed an AM and a PM meal, though many of us also free-feed, meaning we leave the bowls out instead of taking them away after a while.
When switching, it's also important to not remove kibble until they are eating the new food of their own volition, ie. you're not needing to entice, spoon feed, finger feed, etc. them, but that they will eat from the bowl by themselves.
FDR is also Raw.. and you cannot feed kibble and raw together or it can lead to a bacterial overgrowth in their gut and will need to be fixed by antibiotics from the vet. So, you take kibble away a few hours before offering raw and replace it a few hours after raw.
Also, did you wish to switch them onto full raw later, eg. Frankenprey or Whole Prey? If so, please keep in mind the issues I spoke about when it comes to feeding FDR before getting them used to Frankenprey first.
Perhaps one of the admins can chime in about the pumpkin seeds for you; unclejoe, katt?
Wow, thanks! I'm still conflicted about switching to full raw later on down the line. Now, I just want to get my ferrets on a healthier diet that isn't so time consuming and more convenient than full raw. I also want to get myself in a rhythm of feeding them off of kibble and budgeting for this new diet. I should do more research and information gathering before I get there.
When you mention other variety of meats do you mean the different varieties within the Stella & Chewy's brand? Are there any other great FDR brands that are nutritionally great for ferrets? And do these FDR need any added vitamins or minerals?
Doing research ahead of time is definitely beneficial and we will do all we can to try and help answer the questions you may have. I'm also going to give you some links to read up on about the raw diet, while FDR is a wee bit different, most of the raw facts remain and the knowledge will serve you well. holisticferret60.proboards.com/thread/17480/intro-raw-newbies-read
So, in a raw diet, your ferret needs a variety of proteins. Proteins are what we call the different animals, eg. chicken, duck, lamb, beef, etc. Because different animals are not the exact same in the amounts and levels of nutrients they provide, and some meats are lean and others fatty, and because some ferrets may have a sensitivity to certain proteins, we advise that you have 3 different proteins at BARE MINIMUM. The more variety you can provide, the better. This counts for every part and type of raw, Commercial, Frankenprey and even Whole Prey.
Since FDR is only a part of my Frankenprey-Commercial diet, I mostly only get Stella & Chewys for the Commercial part and haven't bothered with other brands too much. There are plenty brands out there, but you need to contact the companies and get a take on the balance. For example, Vital Essentials while it looks amazing and is ALL MEAT, has a ratio of 45% organ and ferrets require only 10% total, making it quite unbalanced. Primal Raw is another I know of, only some of the feline products are okay, some of them are pretty low in the percentage of meat versus indigestibles. Actually, thinking about it, there's a ton of brands I know about, but as far as I recall there was one or more problems with each to take them out of the equation.
On a balanced raw diet, ferrets will receive all the vitamins and nutrients they need. It's a common misconception that ferrets need things like Ferretone/Ferrevite and the like, those things are actually incredibly bad for them and should be avoided. Ferretone contains carcinogenic ingredients that can lead to cancer over time, and Ferrevite is filled with sugars which are bad for ferrets and can contribute to insulinoma, heck you might even call it "Insulinoma in a tube".
The biggest concern with Rad Cat is that they use eggshell instead of bone, making it unsuitable for long term use, and would be best used with other products containing actual bone, or a Frankenprey/Whole Prey diet.
Be careful about falling to hard for the differences in Crude Protein levels of raw compared to kibbles. It's incredibly misleading sometimes.. in kibbles, part of that crude protein percentage is coming from indigestibles, eg. plant matter and the like, which does a ferret no good in the first place as they can't make use of something that's indigestible to them.
Depends on the protein really, as with all meat, textures and the like tend to vary from protein to protein. Some blend with the water better than others during the rehydration, so some end up a bit more chunkish, and others more smooth.
Here's an old photo of two of my fluffballs having some S&C, I think it was duck that meal.