Hey! So as some of you know, my husband and I are in preparation to bring home some fuzzies! We still have a lot of time, mostly because I'm being the slowest seamstress known to man at the moment. But I also want to ask some questions about feeding raw.
I know about raw feeding dogs, but fuzzies are totally new to me. I'd love to feed the fuzzies whole prey raw, but no one that I can find around here sells anything but frozen mice and rats. Where do you source your food from? I'm about 30 - 45 min south of Houston, TX if that helps anyone. And there is no way I could buy live food from the store and kill it for them. I'm too soft hearted and would end up with a million guinea pigs or something.
Also, someone said, because I will be getting them from the store so young I can transition them much faster, or right away. Should I pick up some of the, very gross, food they are being fed at the store so they have something familiar? How soon is too soon to give them bits of meat?
FDR IS a viable option. A holistic pet store down the street from us sells several great brands, with a variety of proteins. This would be the easiest for me, but I'm not sure it is the best for them.
Also, I plan to clicker train them to do some fun tricks. I love training animals, and I thought it would be a great exercise for fuzzies. What is a good, small treat I can give them during training sessions?
So, help a newbie out?
Last Edit: Sept 14, 2017 7:32:47 GMT -5 by Kaitlyn
Dogs: Angel, Reba, Levi Ferrets: Ratchet, Paint Gecko: Maleficent
Post by Aftershock on Sept 14, 2017 10:28:17 GMT -5
Honestly, I currently feed Frankenprey (grocery store meats). This has been the best option for me since it's much cheaper than wholeprey. Are you really dead set against feeding Frankenprey? It would be better than FDR (FDR still contains a small amount of plant matter) I did actually order some wholeprey the other day though from Rodentpro.com because I can't find much wholeprey in my area even though I live in a hunting town. There is also the option of breeding your own prey for them, and using a CO2 box to euthanize them. They should be young enough you can toss a chicken wing at them and let them go at it, BUT there are always exceptions. My girly wanted NOTHING to do with raw and it was a three day battle of feeding her every few hours, but if I had gotten her before the boys, I would have never known what to do. You may want to just in case you get a stubborn baby. As for treats, salmon oil in an eye dropper bottle is my favorite go to treat here, and they LOVE it. The eye dropper bottle allows for control on how much you give as well. : )
I got baby ferrets 2 weeks ago (8 weeks old at the time but that's still up to debate too) and they were eating Marshalls. They gave me a little bag of it to take with me but I just couldn't stand to give it to them so I started with FDR and frozen bits by Instinct Raw for cats I think is the name. They took immediately to the FDR and the commercial raw. Then I introduced them to duck and they ate it like they had never eaten before. The same with chicken wings. One of them has had pretty bad diarrhea but it was accompanied with a fever and some other symptoms. I think she was sick before I got her and transitioning her to raw didn't seem to make it worse or better.
Heart is the main sticking point. I'm happy to order, I just wouldn't know where to start, or what good sources are. The website you gave is exactly the thing I'm looking for.
The good news is, if I buy organs in large quantities, they won't go to waste if the ferrets can't eat them fast enough. I love to dehydrate organs when I find them and use them as dog treats. Our blind and deaf senior girl has scaled the cabinets to get into a Tupperware full of dehydrated chicken liver.
Last Edit: Sept 14, 2017 10:54:12 GMT -5 by Kaitlyn
Dogs: Angel, Reba, Levi Ferrets: Ratchet, Paint Gecko: Maleficent
Post by Aftershock on Sept 14, 2017 10:58:58 GMT -5
; ) it takes quite a while for nutrition to start degrading while frozen (I think it was 6months to a year?) so I wouldn't worry about that too much. Definitely be wary about feeding too much liver, Vit A is fat soluble, so if they eat too much it can build up and cause a toxicity. Have you already seen the page with the basic frankenprey menu set up? It has lists of what counts as bone in, muscle meat, and acceptable organs. : )
Kelsey is right, FDR will always contain a small amount of plant matter, thus it is very important to stick to 95% or higher meat percentages in a brand. There is a brand who does 100% meat.. but unfortunately that isn't the only concern. A balanced ferret diet will have the following ratios in a grind/commercial: 10% heart, 10% organs (half should be liver), 10-15% bone, 65-70% muscle. This particular brand, Vital Essentials is amazing honestly, I love their treats for my furballs.. BUT their food FDR is not balanced for them as they use 45% organs in each recipe, which is too high.
It is also quite expensive.. I buy Stella & Chewys to add in with my Frankenprey diet, and while it only plays a part, I can easily spend $200-300 a month for my four ferrets and cat (I used to spend that on ferrets only, but I now give them less FDR than I did before).
For treats.. like Kelsey said, salmon oil is great (limit to 1tsp per ferret, per week though). I also use FDR treats for my lot, I like the brands Orijen, Vital Essentials (they'd kill you for the chicken hearts LOL and recently they've taken a liking to turkey testicles too), and Sojo's Simply. As with all FDR, it tries to absorb moisture to rehydrate, so don't give too much at once if giving as is, you can break pieces smaller and offer that way too.
As for getting gross pet store food... I did have some in the house for getting in rescues or new ferrets.. but when I got my last two at 7 months old from another couple, I switched them to raw the day I got them. Kits switch easy, adults are harder. It's kinda a safety net to have some of the crap kibble on hand if you need to slow transition.. but that's up to you and which ages you get.
To confirm about meats in the freezer.. most are good for up to a year. Chest freezer is usually best as it keeps more consistent temperatures than fridge freezers most of the time.
Last Edit: Sept 14, 2017 15:38:48 GMT -5 by LindaM
Hey guys...you missed the boat and didn't see the fish for the reeds.....she said she can get cow's tongue...that's your taurine meal...your heart that you're all trying to source....that's so simple lol ciao
Post by Aftershock on Sept 14, 2017 16:38:53 GMT -5
Heather, I've always been under the impression tongue should be a temp replacement for heart? But that's also because I thought I had asked someone before and never really got an answer if it could be an actual replacement. It could also be the question of 'What are some good emergency taurine sources if you run out of heart?' and I assumed it was only a temp option.
Heather I too was under the impression that beef tongue was only meant as a temporary measure until hearts could be sourced. I know there are some raw feeders who feed their one full heart meal as hearts, and do the half meal as tongue sometimes, but I didn't think it could be used for both for longer than only a temporary measure until hearts could be sourced.
Last Edit: Sept 14, 2017 20:23:54 GMT -5 by LindaM