Sounds like they are doing good. Cornish Game Hens definitely have smaller and softer bones, they are a great starter on bone-in meals. The same goes for quail. The only thing I will say about CGH is that your menu should never heavily rely on them as they are a juvenile chicken still. But the occasional meal of it won't hurt the floofs (just don't let it exceed 3 meals a week).
See? Poop is already a part of your life, you're right on spot! I'm not sure if you've had the chance to look at the Poop Chart yet (sorry if you mentioned it and I missed it anywhere). The Poop Chart can be very helpful in diagnosing poops later on. And I say later, since Detox Poops can often be totally crazy-looking even though nothing is going on, but once they have settled poops these can be helpful indicators to possible health concerns. As you go along in your raw journey with your ferrets, you'll become familiar with how their poops look on specific proteins too. Raw-Fed Poop Chart
Long day. Hello Katt! and yea i've seen the poop chart but i should probably check it out again next time. Quick update so i don't forget. They ate 6oz of the cornish hen last night and 6 oz of a cornish hen. I threw a duck neck in and they nibbled on it but i didn't cut it up so i'll try that next time. They were given 4.5oz (offered late and will be giving them more in a few hours so didn't give much) of chicken gizzard for tonight and tomorrow I will be doing the other half of cornish hen but not as much. They seem to do better when I cut the meat into section and leave the bigger segments untouched so I will keep doing that.
I'm so glad they are happily munching away at the CGH! It's perfectly normal for them to start smaller and then work their way up in sizes as they get more used to it. As they get better at the munching of bones and their jaw strength improves (PS. gizzards are a great muscle meat to help with this, so you're already covered there!), they will start eating larger pieces with less and less fuss, and less remaining pieces of bones to decorate boneyards with.
Since we have been babbling about poop lately, let's see if you have the answers to some of these poop related questions. If not, we can cover them afterwards together.
1. How do you know your ferret is getting too little bone in their diet? 2. How do you know your ferret is getting too much bone in their diet? 3. Why do we suggest to offer a bone-in meal after meals such as organs or hearts? 4. Can raw eggs affect your ferret's poop?
Excellent. It sounds like they are eating well. Let me know how it goes with the hearts and if you experience any fussiness when it comes to that meal.
Good job on the questions! I'd like to add a bit of info to some of them.
1. Yes, though organ meals and heart meals do not count for this as they will always soften poops.
2. Yes, when too much bone is fed often these kind of stools will be dry, but they can also be chalky or seedy.
3. Yes, organs and hearts due to the blood content often come out like some kind of tar soup. The bone-in meals help firm them up again.
4. Raw Eggs can make your ferrets stools looser, they can also tint them yellow. Sometimes after a raw egg, it will look as if it came out basically the way it went in, this is because some ferrets don't handle the amount offered as well as some others might. That is why we say to check their stools, especially when it comes to the shedding season which is double the amount. Another way to make sure they tolerate the egg better in those that seem to have troubles, is to offer the amount across a few days of the week, instead of a single sitting. The leftovers should always be refrigerated in an airtight container, or simply crack a fresh egg again and offer some of it if you prefer.
Kinda off topic but can I give raw egg to my cat if he eats kibble? He's been having a lot of hair balls lately so I was just wondering if it could be beneficial. Everytime I prep the ferrets food all my cats act like scavengers but didn't know if it was like with ferrets where they can't have both in system at once.
They ate every last bit of the 5 oz of heart last night. I didn't end up doing the pureed heart but instead opted for small chunks mixed with chicken hearts cut in half. Is there a limit to how much heart I should give them next time, I know that they should only have a certain percentage of hearts and organ/liver so I didn't know if it was possible to give them too much taurine or organ. Hopefully what I'm asking makes sense as Im having a hard time writing what I mean.
I offered the rest of corn hen wich was about 6 oz this morning and they ate 5 oz of it. Its been in my fridge for a while and wanted to use it up so it doesn't go bad.
I offered them 11 oz of deck neck for tonight. I gave them a lot since they have been cleaning the plate a lot lately and I know that means someone is probably still hungry. They've been eating a lot of the bones except the thickest parts so Im expecting a lot of left over bones tomorrow as well.
Tomorrow morning I'm offering 9oz of turkey wing. There is a lot of hard bones so I'm not sure if they will eat them which is why I'm giving them a lot.
Sorry I haven't been sticking to the plan all the way. I wanted to use up stuff I'm fridge and turkey and duck took a while to thaw. Don't want to leave out on counter because I have three very smart cats that are sassy and do as they please. I'm also a very unorganized person if you haven't noticed although it isn't from lack of trying. Im sure this all will get easier as I figure out my own system through time!
You can totally give kitty eggs. Don't be too surprised if there's some....odd stools though. Esp the first time/few times as kitty isn't used to the eggs. Raw diet is just as good for kitties as it is ferrets btw, they are both obligate carnivores...something to consider.
Kitties can TOTALLY get eggs, and as Katt said, a raw diet is very beneficial to them as it is to all obligate carnivores. Hades doesn't like eggs at all and still fights me on that, but it's always worth trying. I'm currently working on getting Hades, our cat, on a balanced raw diet. He's still fussing me pretty hard on bones, but he eats meat now. It took hard work and a lot of time to get him switched, I found pork was the acceptable choice to start him with, he still HATES chicken for some reason.
If you want to switch kitty to raw, you're more than welcome to and I'll try and help with that as I can too. Your first steps would be to limit his kibble to offering it twice daily, for 30 minutes at a time. No more free-kibble feeding. If your cat already is eating wet food too, then stop the kibble and begin offering only wet food as meals. And then you can proceed from there.
So.. the thing with hearts is, you technically CAN give too much, but only in the sense that it will lead to some really bad diarrhea (more so than the usual heart poops). But Taurine is water-soluble, so they simply excrete the excess amount of it. Now, with liver, Vitamin A is fat-soluble so it can build-up in their body instead, which then could lead to a Vitamin A toxicity. Which is why it's more important to not overdo with the liver vs the heart.
Once you have a better idea of what the average is for your ferrets, you simply offer them heart or organ (half liver + half other) meals in that amount for those meals.
For the turkey bones, especially the thickest bones of the wing, you can go ahead and smash them up with a hammer. I've given my ferrets turkey thigh (which is weight-bearing) before when I couldn't get other pieces of turkey and THOSE bones are a nightmare, so I always bash them pretty good with a hammer.
You are doing really great hon, and so are little Leela and Nibbler. I do feel we are a little out of sync time-wise, but we'll manage alright. Tonight's been a bit hectic for me, or I'd have checked on here sooner. The husband has the flu and I'm handling our ferrets so they don't get sick from him, by just doing it all myself right now.
PS. Something new to learn, if you didn't know already, but ferrets CAN get the flu from us. They cannot get the rhinovirus (common cold), but they definitely can get influenza (flu). So it's pretty important to take precautions if you have anything going on respiratory-wise, even if you aren't sure it is flu.
Yeah, I have given some thought to switching the cats over. I know the younger ones will probably be easy since they are always harassing me but I can't even get my 3 year old cat to eat the chunks in wet food. After I feel confident with the ferrets I'll revisit the idea but I don't like that my vet is anti raw diet because if anything is ever wrong I feel like they'd blame it on that.
The ferrets ate 8 oz of duck neck and left a couple bones and a few untouched peices so Ill probably do 8 oz it next time. I'm going to offer turkey wing again for am meal because that's all I have besides beef which I plan on serving next week.
I've read the post about them being able to get sick from humans a while ago. How is a ri treated or does that require a vet visit? Im starting breeder rats for my snakes and noticed a couple of them sneezing a lot but since they are snake food I'd prefer to not take them to vet if possible and if it is an ri I don't want to pass it to ferrets or cats. I have four of them and only two sneeze a lot but it could be the aspen bedding I'm using. I only hear them doing it when i interact with them and dosnt sound like thwy are having breathing problems. Not sure if you'd know anything about it but thought it couldn't hurt to ask.
Rats with RI Issues - So, that shouldn't be an issue for the ferrets, unless it's an actual bacterial problem. Rats tend to have respiratory issues because of Mycoplasma, and it is species specific. Mycoplasma flares do need to be dealt with and not simply ignored, even in feeders. I've spoken to my friend Kelsey (Aftershock) who is also a mentor on here and breeds rats. She's suggested that you order some fish mox. And in the meantime until that arrives, to boil some oregano and honey and add it to the rats' water bottles. Hopefully it will do the trick and you won't need the meds, but you should always have the medicine just in case. We think it would also be a good idea if you joined (if you haven't yet) the rat group we're in on Facebook, it's called Realistic Rat Breeders.
URI Issues in Ferrets - So, ferrets have quite delicate respiratory systems, and things tend to go south easily enough with ferrets most of the time so this is no different. If you ever fear an URI in ferrets, then vetting is the best bet as medicine will often be required. Certain issues can quickly lead to pneumonia (which can really only be detected through Xrays) and that isn't a fun ride at all.
Switching Cats - Hades is 3 years old, I went from kibble to canned and kibble to just canned, to actual raw. You just need patience and persistence with the kitties. The idea is always there, and it will be better for their health overall.
Anti-Raw Vet - So sadly, most vets tend to be anti-raw, simply because they receive a very basic nutritional education which is paid for by the big kibble companies. And the only other times they get to deal with the subject of raw is when somebody was being a fool and fed an unbalanced raw diet which led to medical problems. We generally advise to not bring up the discussion of what you feed your ferrets. If it comes up via X-Rays, showing bones in the intestines, there's no escaping that. But usually just not mentioning it is the best bet, because some vets get such a bug up their butt about it that they blame EVERYTHING on the raw without trying to actually diagnose those issues. So your concern is real, not saying it isn't.
When you do your update, could you also post a photo example of the sizes you are currently offering the ferrets when it comes to bone-in?
I'd also like to add, that you can totally include whole prey into your diet if you want to. The rats you breed could be some yummy meals for the ferrets too.
As far as switching cats, my older cats bottom teeth look like they are barely there, like there have been rubbed down. I can try to take a picture later but he has been a grumpy cat since I moved into my new apartment without my girlfriend.
Good to know about not telling the vet about raw diet. That's exactly my worry that they would blame everything on raw.
I gave them turkey wings yesterday late morning and it looked untouched by the time the evening came so I left it in there over night. I tried to crush the bones in turkey and it was very difficult so what was crushed was very hard and sharp looking pieces so I took the little bits out because i was afraid they would swallow them whole and were to sharp.I will take a picture of the leftovers and post with my weekly post that I will do a little later.
Since they didn't have the chicken gizzard last night I am going to give it to them now and do the corn hen organs for tonights meal with a couple chicken hearts added.
I plan on giving the extra rats to the ferrets because I only have 3 snakes and they are still pretty small so anything that grows too big for the snakes I plan on feeding off since I don't plan on freezing them unless I have to.
Should I offer them prekilled when the time comes or does it depend on size? It will be a while as I just started and the rats I have look a little young. How would this work? I looked at the alternate meal post but it was a little confusing for me. Would I offer them a couple each or just one each and just leave it in there for like 12 hours? Will they know to eat it if it's whole and not cut up? When I first started my raw journey I had a mice pinky left over from a snake that was still a live and offered it to the ferrets in the bath tub and they just walked over it like it wasn't there. Is there any safety precautions I need to take with the feeding whole rats or a certain size they should be?
I'm in a group for rat breeding on Facebook but I forgot what it's called so I'll check it out later when my phone is charged.
Rats - I most definitely recommend joining that group I listed earlier. So for rats, you can't quite go off of size to gauge age. Five weeks old is the minimum age for a rat to be considered a complete meal for your ferrets. Since you just started, we would suggest you get in touch with the breeder you got yours from and ask how old they are. The general recommendation to start breeding rats is when they are approx. 3 months old and/or 250g. I would also look for any hormonal or maternal aggression in yours, if there isn't you should even be able to colony breed and the females will allow conception when they are ready. As for when you are using them for feeding, yes, definitely go for culled vs live. Doing a CD (Cervical Dislocation) or CO2 is your best bet and humane to do. Pinkies are only ever considered a snack as they are baby animals (not fully developed nutritionally) and cannot be considered a meal.
Kitty's Teeth - Hmm.. and he's been kibble-fed all his life? Could be damage from that, kibble is quite horrid on the teeth. But other health problems can also be the cause for that. Has he ever been in for a dental at the vet?
Anti-Raw Vet - Not all vets will blame raw though, some will simply disapprove but still do their job right, some may even be convinced about raw, and there are still those who will be stubborn as a mule and refuse to do their jobs right. I usually go search for another vet when it comes to the latter, because they can only risk the life of your little ones with an attitude like that.
Heavy Bones - So, if you don't already have one, the most recommended knife on here is a Ulu knife. I also use an incredibly heavy full tang Japanese metal cleaver. For the heaviest bones on turkey, the back wing joint or pieces like thighs, I literally take a club hammer to it either in a bag on a plastic board on the cement garage steps, or simply the bag directly on the steps. You won't need to do that for the wingtips part of turkey wings though, but that end bone can be quite tough sometimes.
Whole Prey/Alt. Meals - Okay, so the chart might seem confusing at first, but it's actually quite easy once you get it. Now, first thing to do is to decide how many Alt. (Whole Prey/Commercial raw such as grinds or FDR) you want to feed in the week. Let's use 3 as the example, so you want to do 3 Alt. meals, then you look at the line with 3 Alt. meals. It lists that for the rest of the week you will need 8 bone-in, 1 muscle, 1 heart and 1 organ. Count again to check if the meals all add up to 14 total meals for the week. 3+8+1+1+1=14 Perfect!
Whole Prey you'll want to weigh as well, for example with 2 ferrets, there's a bigger chance of them each eating a rat, versus each eating a whole rabbit. When first starting to offer something new like that, you can cut it up for them, and even add a little squirt of salmon oil as incentive. When your whole prey is the size of a rat or bigger, you should also gut them or your ferrets will start decorating everything using the entrails which they will not eat in those sizes and bigger.
Sorry I got some personal things going on right now but I'm still committed to converting to raw. I've just been to struggling to keep up with posting but I always read what you write. I'll try to be better this week.
I've basically been sticking to last week's schedule so far since I didn't post on yet. Forgive me I haven't been doing the best at writing down what they have ate but again, I will do better this week.
They've ate turkey wings monday am and chucken wings monday pm and Tuesday morning. I am feeding them chicken gizzard for dinner.
I'm on my phone so I'm going to post this and get on my computer to post weekly update.