They are both between 9 and 11 weeks old and I've had them since August 29th. I instantly put them on commercial raw and they loved it. Then I introduced a variety of chicken, rabbit, beef, lamb, and turkey. They ate it like crazy with no issues. Chunks, bones, everything.
The last 5 days or so they've regressed and won't eat grinds and will only eat duck, turkey or beef chunks. They turn their nose up to grinds and today won't touch lamb at all. I had originally planned on not starting a transition thread because they were doing super awesome but now that it's been a few weeks they're getting picky. It still seems a bit young to be picky I thought?
I figure I'll make a lamb soupie but if they won't eat grinds I assume they won't eat soup?
Maybe them being picky is a good sign. They were underweight when I got them and are a whole lot bigger than they were just three weeks ago. But I still thought kits should be eating everything.
But yes, I thought the process was going to be seamless but... nevermind lol!
Okay, well I was thinking last night and I should probably not be as hard on myself as I have been. They are my first pets as an adult and I find myself worrying that they'll have less of a great life simply because they are my first ferrets and I don't want that to happen. I was reading through various people's transition threads (I am so grateful that you all keep an archive of them) and was specifically looking at timeframes and it sounds like it's often two steps forward and one step back. Even with baby fuzzies like mine.
They came to me with fevers, diarrhea, and underweight and it threw me for a loop because as a new ferrant I know I only know what I have read and applying that knowledge is a steep learning curve. I've been super terrified that they won't eat enough and every time there is a slight change in the amount of food they eat I freak out. Or when they WOULD eat chicken wings but now they WON'T, I freak out. Or when they don't immediately come eat the bowl of food I set out of them, I freak out. Or when they come by and smell the food and then turn around and go play, I freak out. When they turn down liver and heart soupie, I freak out.
But the fact is that both of their energy levels are good right now, they seem happy and playful. They're curious, clearly bonding with each other, and I have to up my ferret proofing game every day as they figure out that they can get on top of various things. Their poop is runnier than I would prefer but I'm struggling with bone in meals. They have gained over 400 grams in 24 days and are 11 weeks old at 1.68 and 1.53 pounds (females). I've had them for 4 weeks and that really isn't a long time and I have to remind myself of that. I'm waiting for a mentor which will likely help me feel a lot more confident in my decision making. So this is me outwardly taking a breath and reminding myself that everything is okay right now and it won't be the end of the world if they don't have everything perfectly worked out within this four week time span.
Last Edit: Sept 25, 2017 10:20:57 GMT -5 by stacylo
Post by motherofgryffindor on Sept 25, 2017 11:45:32 GMT -5
Keep up the positive thoughts. I havnt switched to raw yet (still getting things in order and ready) so your one step ahead of me . I have several pets of all differnt kinds and some days I feel like I'm not doing good enough, it's all part of being a part parent. Do your best and keep smiling.
Thank you all. :) They ate a total of 6 oz combined yesterday. On average they are eating 6 to 8 ounces combined. Sometimes as little as 3 ounces combined. It seems like they consistently are eating less than what people are saying babies should be eating. I know they're supposed to be taking easily to raw, and they were, but they don't seem to be anymore. I've never given them anything else so I'm not sure what to do about it. The only things I can get them to eat are beef bits and duck bits. I'm trying chicken wings (they used to eat them), rabbit bone in meals (smell and then leave it alone), duck wing tips (same thing, they smell them and leave them alone). Won't touch the heart and liver soupie I made. They used to eat grinds and won't touch them now. I'm worried because they really aren't getting a balanced diet.
People keep saying I don't need to start with soupie and that they need bone but they won't eat it. I snuggle with them and try to offer spoon fed (which they begrudgingly take but aren't too pleased about it). What can I do to make this a more positive experience for them? I feel super lost. :/
They get 8 to 10 hours out of their cage every day and are energetic little balls of love. They play well, sleep hard, and seem happy.
Take a deep breath. You're doing great. I just got my first fuzzballs too, and they're putting me through the ringer as well. We're in the same leaky boat!
My boys are about the same age as yours, and averaging about the same a day. They're sick as well, and turning their noses up at organs. Don't give up. Hang in there. If you need someone to vent to, feel free to PM me. We can do this!
Dogs: Angel, Reba, Levi Ferrets: Ratchet, Paint Gecko: Maleficent
Oh I'm definitely not giving up. They're at their forever home and we'll figure it out as a family and hopefully I don't mess up their development too much in the meantime as I fumble over all these pieces. I work in the child development field so I'm all too aware of how important these early times are. I think of all the calcium they're missing because I can't get them to eat bone in anymore (bone meal is arriving today but then I think about their teeth needing the bone!) and all the nutrients they're missing by not getting their organs right now and it makes me so sad for them.
And thanks, yes I will definitely PM you, thank you. As you can tell I'm clearly a verbal processor haha.
Don't fret, you are going to do great. Wee fuzzles are sorta meant to give us as many gray hairs as they give us laughter in our lives.
While technically, yes, kits are usually easy to switch to raw, this doesn't make it set in stone. Sometimes there are those who get a kick out of making us work for it. You just keep in mind the two key things every switch requires: "Patience and Persistence".
Will the wee mites eat/chew on gizzards by any chance? These do help clean teeth a bit, and it helps to strengthen their jaws for bone crunching. When giving them the bits of muscle from duck and beef as you are trying to get them to be more open to bones, use some of the bonemeal powder for now. It's recommended to do 1/2 - 3/4 tsp per 10oz of meat.
For the soupies, have you tried the Dab'n'Grab method of introduction to the taste on them? Have you tried adding any enticements into the soupie to get them to try it?
Do either of them have any mouth or teeth troubles?
LindaM - I've been very persistent but patience has been harder to come by LOL. I haven't introduced gizzards yet but I can get some tonight and give it a go. They won't take to liver or heart or a mix so I assume that'll be true for gizzards too but I'm certainly open to the experiment. My freezer is full with a wide variety of things that I have been trying! I've tried to switch to a more shallow bowl/plate in hopes of that helping but it hasn't made a difference yet.
Bone meal arrived today so that will be useful in the meantime though I really do want them eating real bones. Thank you for the dosage amount I was just getting ready to look it up.
I have tried dab'n'grab and I think I need to just try for longer periods of time. We're on day three of spoon feeding (which feels like forever so I'm glad that I am keeping a journal to keep me honest of the timing) lamb grind and it appears as though we're not making any progress yet. So I need to just keep going I imagine.
I got worried when they went from eating to not eating and I've spent more time worrying about them just getting something inside of them than solid strategy. So maybe I need to back up. I have been avoiding chicken since Calamity has a lot of digestive issues and not a single test is coming back with positive results. The vet says IBD but the feedback I'm getting from those who know a lot say that it's likely more a sensitivity issue than IBD at this age. So I'm trying to move them toward lamb at the moment.
More than anything I'm super concerned with how little their eating. Between 10:00pm last night and 4:00pm today, combined they have eaten 1 ounce of turkey and 1 ounce of spoon fed lamb grind. Is having to force feed them a bad sign? Or just simply a part of this process?
They'll likely eat around 3-4 ounces total combined today and that just worries me so much. They're supposed to be "tummies with teeth" and these two seem super apathetic about food. They don't come to the bowl when I put it down, they sniff and run off if they do, etc.
I haven't added any enticements because they both look at egg and salmon oil like it's poison. I can get one to eat a bit of egg but when I put it on top of their food they just ignore it like they do anyway.
I will start wherever I need to which maybe means, "hey, spoon feed them this much of soupie every day until they take it on their own whether that's 2 days or 2 weeks". I have the flexibility to make that happen.
I would just like to know what I should do about them not eating as much as I've read and am told that baby ferrets should eat. I worry about their intake amount at this point and am feeling desperate for them to eat anything. ESPECIALLY because they WERE eating everything.
Hmm, at how fast a rate have you been trying the various proteins? Could be that the changes have been happening too fast.. or they may be trying to hold out for something else. Sometimes tough love can help things along. I think Sherry has said before that she's offered the same thing 3 days in a row to get stubborn snooters to eat it, especially with bone-in.
Do they allow you to spoon feed them the food? Do they eat it if you offer it like that? Or do you have to put force into getting them to eat from it? How do you spoon feed them, can you describe how you do it?
Be aware, we fuzzies are very intuitive, they can pick up on your stress and it can stress them out too. Try to remain as calm and confident near them as you can, even if you need to go scream into a pillow later.
Hm, if IBD or a food sensitivity is indeed the concern, then yes, lamb is a good choice to try and get them on. We can avoid chicken and beef for now, and focus on other proteins, and let's try getting them onto a protein properly first, before switching to the next. Sometimes a new protein can cause an odd poop or two as well, as their bodies get used to the new foodie.
As for the egg and salmon oil, keep using the Dab'n'Grab method for that. Try it consistently over the next few days, whenever you have time, or in a session of 20-30 minutes, dabbing every 5 minutes. Sometimes it really does take a while for them to spark the idea that it is actually yummy. Loki was pretty stubborn about eggs at first, I thought about pulling my hair out from it.
They do indeed sound like they aren't eating as much as I would expect at their age, so I'm gonna tag in some of the admins and mentors who may have an idea to help remedy that. Sherry, Heather, Aftershock, FireAngel
Post by FireAngel on Sept 26, 2017 17:13:31 GMT -5
At 3 months old they should still be pretty easy to switch and no 4 ox between them a day does not sound like a lot but some ferrets do eat less than others. When I switched my first 2 they were just a little older then your two and ate about 6-8 oz a day. I now have 5 eating frankenprey and whole prey and i feed over a pound of food a day. LindaM is correct stick with one type at a time until they are accepting it on their own. This does get tricky with organs and hearts though, so to get them to not look at salmon oil as poison make them lick it off your fingers. They will get used to it and they will end up loving it. Organ meals are easiest to feed as soups, that way they can not pick out their favorite parts and spoon feeding a soup is easier than hand feeding slivers usually. As kits they do need more calcium so that is a major thing. If you have to make a soup of the proteins you have to get them started eating them on their own that is fine. Just change out the amount of chicken in our soup recipe for lamb or whatever and then you can slowly make it thicker and thicker and then add slivers and then chunks, so on and so forth until they are eating. Patience and persistence is absolutely the key! Keep trying, you will get it and so will they!
LindaM and FireAngel - I've been offering them literally every kind of protein I could find that was on the list. (Chicken, beef, turkey, pork, quail, rabbit, veal). I bet you're right at the changes happening too fast. I just figured more proteins the better but it could very well have thrown them off.
With spoon feeding, I sit on the floor, put one of their blankets on my lap. Put their food on my lap. Grab one of them as they're playing around, give them kisses, talk with them and let them smell the food in the bowl, then on the spoon and give them time to decide to eat some on their own, they don't so then I lightly scruff them with their feet still on the floor and offer them the spoon. I just put a little bit on the spoon and when they eat it off I spoon out some more and offer it. I let them go when after maybe 30 seconds or a minute to give them a break, I kiss them, snuggle them, and give them praise and grab the other. I do the same thing with them and give them a bit of a break and do it again maybe 10 minutes later. I'm super open to changing this method if something else is more effective.
I feel like once they're into eating again I won't mind being stubborn and offering the same thing three days in a row but with them being so little still I worry about them not eating for that long.
That's a good point about stress. I'll do my best!
Okay so I will stop trying to offer them a variety of proteins and stick with lamb. For example, today I offered turkey and beef (beef because duck and beef are the only things they're accepting right now and only in small quantities) and they've eaten a total of 2 oz in all of today. (Eeeek!) So I will start with offering the lamb soup and/or grind and keep it to only that protein for now. I'll leave out a bowl of it for when I'm not there but I'll make sure they take 3 to 4 ounces by spoon if they don't eat it otherwise. otherwise. I can make a batch of lamb soupie tonight as I have all the ingredients.
I will also offer them egg and salmon oil using the Dab'n'Grab method over the next few days. Thank you. It is super helpful to be able to strategize with people to come up with a specific game plan!
Will they eat whole meats rather than grinds? What is the consistency of your soupy? That is a very low amount for baby ferrets ....but....your wee ones have had a very rough start. I would suggest to stick to one protein for a few days if not longer. Let them get used to the protein. Some meats have a stronger flavour than others ciao
Morning 1 of lamb soupie - Both fuzzies super not into it. They definitely thought it was poison. Grab'n'dab every 5 mins for a half hour before work.
They ate 0 ounces last night of soupie (which isn't surprising to me at all). Spoon fed 2.5 oz of lamb grind this morning after soupie attempts so they don't starve to death. I'll be able to come home and try again on my lunch break.
Heather - They USED to eat bone in and big chunks of meat. Then they started eating less and less of it and now they won't eat anything on their own. Yesterday they even turned down the duck bits that they had been loving. Their energy levels are great so I don't feel like it's an issue of being sick. I think maybe I overwhelmed them with protein variety and am going to stick with lamb soupie and the lamb grind that they will kind of eat on their own.
Last Edit: Sept 27, 2017 6:55:52 GMT -5 by stacylo
Alright! I have good news to report! They are still thinking the lamb soupie is total poison but Calamity ate 2 ounces of the lamb grind totally on her own today. Rogue had to be spoon fed still and has this super cute stubborn attitude about the whole thing but I'm gaining confidence that she will come around.
I Dab'n'Grabbed lamb soupie on three occasions today, for about 30 minutes each time and about every 5 minutes. I also did the same with egg and that went over much better than the soupie but still some hesitation.
It's the first night in two weeks or so that I haven't been super concerned about them eating enough to get by!