Post by rocketgrootmoose on Jan 6, 2020 22:49:16 GMT -5
Hi guys...i’m back with another food question /: Basically, ever since I’ve joined ferret facebook groups & started doing more and more research, I really really really do want to switch my ferrets to a raw diet. The things that have been holding me back from doing it are: - It seems a bit expensive - It looks very complicated - I’m scared of doing something wrong But in the end I can see that feeding raw does have serious benefits and can help them live healthier lives & I really really do care about my boys so much and just want them to live their best lives. So i’m asking for help...I watched a recent youtube video on the ultimate guide for beginner raw feeders, & she suggested one of the routes to go for raw feeding is commercial grinds, which ultimately seems the most appealing to me. I don’t even know where to start with commercial grinds. - Where can I get this kind of food? - Is there anything in particular I should know about this method? - How should I start transitioning & teaching my 1 yr & 6 month old & 1 yr & 3 month old ferrets to this new food? Please please help!! Thanks !
Post by cockneyferret on Jan 7, 2020 6:30:04 GMT -5
hi, I think you already accept that raw feeding is the best diet, so lets move on to addressing your two main questions.
Feeding raw CAN be expensive, but many of us buy in bulk, or catch bargains at the local butchers. Butchers can really be your friend here, and I cannot emphasise enough how useful it is to go in and chat with as many butchers as you can locally. We can help you with a list of questions to ask butchers.
This will help you get an idea of what foods you can buy locally, and some butchers are happy to set aside not 100% great (for humans) cuts of meet.
You're unlikely to get everything at the local butcher, and that leads us onto ordering online. I would say that I order around 95% of our girls food online. I do get most of the organs locally as the quantities I need to buy online make it unfeasible. Maybe one of the members your side of the pond can suggest where to order from, but I know a few use online suppliers.
Commercial grinds undoubtedly take some of the work out of preparing a raw diet, but they do this at an increase in cost. Basically because someone else is doing the work. Grinds are a good starting point, as you can buy them with a set amount of bone (10-15%) for bone in meals, or bone free for muscle meals. You simply then weight out an amount (2 ounces) per meal.
Grinds are nothing more than just ground up feed, which needs no further cutting up.
One thing I would say about grinds is to try and keep to one protein in a grind and not use mixed or unbalanced grinds, this way, if your boys don't like it, or you discover they have an allergy to a certain protein, then it's much easier to eliminate it from their diet. If you feed a mixed grind, you can't tell what they don't like or react badly too. Allergic reactions to foods are RARE, but it's something to be ware of.
Proteins - You'll hear a lot about proteins, and it can be a little misleading. When we refer to a protein, it's simply a meat source. So feeding Chicken, Pork, and Turkey based meals in a week would be 3 proteins. It doesn't matter if these are bone in or muscle, the importance is the variety of proteins fed. You want a minimum of 3 in a week.
It's complicated? Planning, planning and, oh yeah, planning! Getting a good simple plan is key to making raw feeding NOT complicated. First is a menu plan, which we'll help you with, after you chat to butchers locally and see what's available online in your state. The basic frakenprey menu is a really good starting point:
Transitioning onto raw - No two ferrets transition the same, some just do it without any effort, others take time. Your boys are going to be imprinted onto their food by now, so they'll need to learn that this new stuff is food. Without doubt the best way to transition is with the soup method, this involves blending up a raw meat puree to feed them. I have often thought that soup was a bad name as it implies that it's cooked. All a soup is is pureed raw meat mixed with some water, and bone meal to make a smooth paste. Once you get them eating that, you slowly add it slivers of meat, and build up to small chunks of meat.
You'll need a small kitchen blender to make soups, and I would suggest buying a separate one, as it will take on a certain aroma, however well you clean it.
Anyway, I know that's a long reply. Ask further questions, follow the links I posted and above all else, you can't go wrong if you ask questions and plan. It's not hard, just a little daunting to start off, but plenty of us have done it and are here to help. I am sure others will be along with words of encouragement.
Last Edit: Jan 7, 2020 6:38:51 GMT -5 by cockneyferret: Cannot spell for toffees today. Shocking, truly shocking!
So you need about 4 different proteins and 3 at the minimum The place that I am very familiar with is Hare Today which is in the list of website providers that cockneyferret provided for you. Since I know their site pretty well,I will list shortcuts so you will not miss things while hunting on their site. You will have to buy at least 10 lbs of meat in order for them to ship(I get their whole quail and whole guinea pigs). You can portion out 2 oz in maybe snack baggies or something cheap then put all snack baggies in a gallon freezer bag---or however you want to store meat in the freezer. Some people use plastic containers. Duck hare-today.com/product/raw_pet_food/ground_duckbonesorgans_5_lb_fine_ground
Post by abbeytheferret6 on Jan 7, 2020 9:37:53 GMT -5
Some info I got from my mentor way back in 2014
Mince or commercial grinds are essentially a ground up version of whole prey that should include all of the important meat, bones, and organs (often called offal) of the desired animal. The hair is not typically added in the mince, but it can be found included at times. You can order mince in different size grinds, as well as variations like hearts only, minced offal, or combinations of different proteins mixed together. While a balanced mince meal should contain the required 80:10:10 (meat:offal:bone) ratio, remember that this model is geared toward other carnivores, like cats, who do not require as much bone in their diets as ferrets do. When feeding a mince diet, stools should still be watched and if they are too loose, steps must be taken to firm them up. Mince can be a convenient way to feed, but like everything else, there are many pros and cons to consider before feeding mince: Pros: Can come in pre-packaged servings. It is easier for ferrets to eat Can be ordered online and delivered to your door!
Cons: Don’t always contain enough bone to keep healthy stools Teeth brushing is a must Some argue that the amount of taurine in most minces is lacking, so a supplement or meal of hearts may be needed weekly Sometimes hard to get certain proteins that have a 'season' Can be more expensive to serve Many grinds are not complete, balanced meals so depending on your grinds, a commercial raw diet may require more work to balance properly
The best way to successfully feed a mince diet is to offer as many different proteins as possible in the weekly menu, with the minimum still being 3. Because minces can be out for 12 hours, it is normal to feed 2 meals a day. Often times ferrets will not eat it as willingly if it dries out, so a small amount of warm water can be mixed in after a few hours to refresh it. Others prefer to simply feed 3-4 smaller meals a day. Trust your instincts and nose and never refresh or offer a mince that has a bad smell or seems off.
Another thing to consider is it is important to contact the supplier of your grinds to get an idea of what exactly is and is not included in each variety you plan on ordering. This tends to vary from supplier to supplier and even each type of grind. If you find that the supplier only includes a certain offal or an uncomplete mixture of offal, it is wise to consider feeding a whole meal of what is lacking. For example, some suppliers only put in two different organs in each mince mixture. This is completely random and they are usually unable to tell you which one has what organ included. This is fine for some of the organs, but the heart and liver are important to include in the menu, so many ferrents that feed a mince diet will include a meal a of just hearts (for the taurine benefits) and a meal of liver every few weeks to make sure their ferrets are getting a more complete diet. This is also the case with the bone content, it is lower in some grinds so a BI meal or supplements can be added to the weekly meal. This is easier to notice because the ferrets poops will be loose if they are lacking the needed calcium.
Minces tend to bind with back teeth and cause plaque, some worse than others. Because you lose the tooth brushing benefits of feeding whole bone, you have to utilize other methods of dental hygiene. In general, teeth should be brushed a minimum of every other day on a mince-only diet. More frequent brushing and/or a professional cleaning at your vet’s office may be needed if you can not remove all of the plaque. Another option for cleaning teeth is to offer a bone-in meal 2-3 times a week. Gizzards are also a good organic tooth brush. Even with feeding bone-in meals or gizzards, teeth should still be checked regularly and brushed or professionally cleaned if plaque starts to build up. Feeding a bone-in meal can also firm up loose stools if they should occur on a mince diet, but mixing in powdered eggshell or a good quality bone meal with the mince will also work.