I began by presenting the slivers with a nice drizzle of the 'tone, and so Wheatbutt licked all of it up, but completely ignored the pork (except for that it was covered in liquid fert crack). I scruff-and-rubbed over his mouth and tongue a couple of times. One time he took it in his mouth only to walk to the corner and spit it out. He started getting really stressed about it so I backed off after that.
Charlotte was slightly more open to it. She took one of the pieces to hide with some morning chicken, and I'm fairly certain she ate the smallest piece, but no more.
I gave them chicken pieces (small chunks mostly) and organ soup before I put them in the cage. Charlotte went straight to it and ate a couple (4ish?) of chunks and tucked herself in to bed. Wheatley took his time licking up every single drop of soup, ate maybe 2 smaller pieces and went to bed.
I'm starting to wonder if I moved too quickly with the chunks for him. Is he just being lazy or does he need more of the slivers?
I didn't have time to make pork puree, so I'll give that a try tomorrow night. *sigh*
Don't get discouraged! Let's give them a few days back on the chicken. Don't worry about the pork for now. Some ferrets just don't prefer certain meats. For example, my girls hated beef for the longest time and now love it. It just takes time.
As for the chunks, it sounds like Wheatley is having a bit more trouble with them than Charlotte. So tomorrow just give them both chicken soup with slivers of chicken for Wheatley and small chunks for Charlotte since she likes them. Give them a day or two to get happy with that again and then we can slowly work on working Wheatley up to bigger pieces.
Then rather than trying pork again, you can try something a little closer to chicken. Do you have turkey, duck, Cornish hen, or quail available in your area at all? These taste close enough to chicken that they should like it better, but are still distinctly different enough from chicken to be considered a second protein.
Don't be too hard on yourself though! Ferrets love to throw us curveballs during switches and this isn't a big deal at all
Just remember, they are both eating the balanced soup and getting way better nutrition than they ever did on kibble!!!
Plus they are doing awesome! Some people's ferrets take MONTHS to even try raw soup. So your guys are doing pretty fantastic
Alright. I did chicken only today, and watched Wheatley eat a few decent-sized chunks both this morning and tonight while I was watching. I feel a bit better. *sigh* Thanks for the pep talk. It's been a rough week.
I know they sell whole cornish game hens by me. They're tiny, but honestly I wouldn't know what to do with it. I can get some turkey as well-- what would you suggest?
Just keep up with the chicken Time is not a factor in the switch, we can let them take all the time they need
If you can get some turkey muscle meat (turkey breast or ground turkey) I'd give that a try. Feed it the same way you would the chicken. Put a bit of chicken soup on top to entice them, but they should like it
You can definitely get a cornish game hen too. They are usually frozen so what you do is defrost it in your fridge overnight. It will still be partially frozen... this is a good thing - makes it less messy! Then you take a pair of scissors (preferably butcher's scissors but clean regular ones will do the trick too) and you start chopping!
Then once you've chopped it up you can bag it and freeze it. Separate the bone-in parts and the muscle meat parts. So bag the wings in one bag, the rib cage in another bag, the neck/back in another bag, and then chop up the breast meat and other muscle meat (including the meat off the legs - the leg bones are really too big for them to eat unless smashed, but you can throw the bones in one of the bone bags to freeze).
Then dice up into small chunks and try feeding them the muscle meat. The boned meat will come in handy for when we get them trying bones!
Let me know which you pick up
In the mean time, keep giving the chicken and take a deep breath! I'm sorry to hear it's been a rough week!
But give yourself a pat on the back and give your fuzzies some hugs. They are doing great and you are doing great and there's no reason to worry as far as the switch goes Life gives us way too many other things to stress about - this shouldn't be one of them because you are doing great!
So... Wheatley's just been a lazy butt. This morning Josh and I watched him eat nearly half a little plate of the small chunks! Charlotte's been consistently eating the chunks. I've found she's a bit more of a grazer- she'll eat a few pieces right when I put it out, but then she'll go play for a bit, and come back for more (or for her "aged" pieces from the last meal) one at a time for a while.
We'll probably pick up some turkey this afternoon and give it a go tonight. I'll let you know how that goes.
I'll save the hen for next weekend when I'm not working overtime and Josh can help me chop it up correctly :-P
At least he has decided to stop being one though! Sounds like they are both at the same spot in the switch now and doing great!
Perfect - let me know how the turkey goes. I'm thinking they will like much more than the pork since it has a similar poultry taste to chicken. We'll try the pork again in a while once they've forgotten they don't like it ;D
Sorry I went a little MIA this weekend. Things got a little busy and I didn't get a chance to get online.
They both ate well all weekend. Last night I ended up finally giving them the ground turkey. I drizzled ferretone on it and mixed in some soup. I scruff and stuffed after letting them sniff at it some. Charlotte I ended up eating a little piece from me and then eating a very small bit of it on her own! Wheatley refused to eat it when I gave it to him, but I guess he likes the soup enough that mixing it in caused him to try a bite or two!
They both seemed unsure of it, but they both went back multiple times to sniff at it and lick a little. I left that until right before bed and then put some chicken chunks in the cage as well. I feel much better about the turkey, even with the slow start. I'll try a little again tonight.
Also, I can't stop petting my ferrets lately. They've always had nice coats, but they're just SO MUCH softer now. And Wheatley's starting to lose his stinky ferret smell. I wish I'd learned about the raw diet sooner.
I'll also post weights and the weekly menu tonight after work.
Oh-- and I'm finally buying the FN182 this week! Soooooo excited to have a ferret- and ferrent-friendly cage! (It'll make it sooo much easier to clean before meals, my current cage is horrible for that.)
No worries, I've been super busy myself and I figured the same happened to you
That is certainly a good start let me know how attempt #2 goes, but it sounds like they will start eating it in no time. Just remember each new food is going to seem foreign to them and it's just a matter of convincing them "yes this IS food" ;D
I know what you mean about the coats! It's amazing what the raw does for them. I am always petting my ferrets too because they are just so soft. You might notice after a while too they will get a different smell to them. Some people say they smell sweet ( grape-tail is a common term because their tails smell like that artificial grape smell! ) others say they smell like corn chips or just a sort of fresh smell.
Yay, congrats on the FN!!!! You will LOVE it!!! and it gives you a bit of extra space, should that ferret math happen ;D
As for the switch, keep up with the chicken chunks - try slowly increasing the size now every second day. And I would say keep offering the turkey 1-2 times a day until they decide to eat it
Let me know how that goes, and then maybe this week we can try them on some teeny tiny pieces of chopped chicken wings with the bone
Name: Wheatley Weight: 2lb 10oz Activity Level: very high. He's got to be out for at least 2 hours playing hard before he starts to settle. It's kinda crazy. Stool size and consistency: small, dark wet lumps. They're more solid now that I'm giving him the squash regularly.
Name: Charlotte Weight: 2lbs (maybe .5oz on top of that?) Activity Level: she's slower to start but still really active. Stool size and consistency: similar to Wheat's, but hers are wetter, as always.
Weekly Menu: It's been chicken chunks and soupie all week, except for unsuccessful pork attempy #1 on Thursday, and a first taste of turkey last night. I did slivers mostly the first few days of the week, and now we're fully on small-medium chunks.
Are you still mixing egg shell in with the soup? If charlotte's poops seem a little wetter than wheatleys then perhaps he is eating more soup than she is and thus getting more calcium. You can try sprinkling a tiny bit of crushed egg shell on Charlotte's chunks and see how her poop responds. They can have too much calcium, so just do a sprinkle or two to start and hopefully that will firm things up a bit. Once we get them eating bone, the stool will improve as well.
Yay ferrets! Definitely moving in the right direction with the turkey! It might not be their "favorite" but as long as they eat it that is good. Ferrets need at least 3 proteins in their weekly diet (my spoiled brats get 7 ) but they definitely always have meals they prefer and ones they eat just cause they have to ;D
Just Keep giving them the turkey once a day until they accept it as part of their diet.
They should do awesome with the bigger chunks
you do have chicken wings, correct? I'm thinking they will be ready to try those by the weekend ( we'll do it then since that is when you are home )
I am still mixing the eggshell into the soup, but Wheatley is probably eating a bit more of it than she is. I sprinkled a little extra on the chicken and turkey last night. This morning though, Charlotte left a slightly... mucousy gift. I read that this can happen when they try new foods. Is this okay? It seemed normal except for the mucous. She ate well last night and this morning and was playing normally. Is this from the eggshell, the turkey or both?
On that note, I put about 2tbsp of ground turkey mixed with the soup out last night, and Wheatley ate maybe half? I was really impressed. Charlotte had a few good bites, but she also had stashed away some chicken from breakfast in her cage, so she decided to go the old chicken route before I realized what she had. So they like it, and they know it's food, but I'm not sure they like it enough to not give them chicken afterward yet.
The bigger chunks are going really well, too. I never thought I'd enjoy hearing them chewing so loudly, but it's music to my ears now.
Mucous in the stool does happen from time to time and can be caused by a new food, or even just stress or something unrelated, so dont worry too much. was it clear mucous or white and slimey? (this was probably actually a hairball passing through).
Keep an eye on her poops and let me know if you notice anything else or the mucous persists.
That is great news that they are eating the turkey now. Once they are eating more of it, then you can replace one of the chicken meals with it entirely (one of the day ones, not the overnight ones).
Perfect, I think they are definitely ready to try chicken wings on Saturday, I'll give you some more instruction on what to do with those closer to the day.
That is so great on the chunks! Good ferrets! How big of chunks you work them up to is really up to you. My ferrets don't get any bigger than large chunks and most don't, you can work with them so that you can throw whole slabs of meat in there, but most are just lazy bums ;D
The mucous was clear, and I didn't see any at all last night. However, she did have a... sort of seedy(?) poop. I have no idea what this means. Charlotte's poops are confusing.
Wheatley is still going strong with the turkey, but Charlotte didn't really eat much of it last night. I tried to scruff and stuff a little but she was very unhappy about that. Is it possible that she has a turkey sensitivity? Or is she just being stubborn?
I'm excited to try the wings this weekend
They both ate a decent amount last night. Wheatley's dinner was about half turkey and then half chicken later in the evening. Charlotte licked at the turkey a little, but ate a good amount of chicken later on.
The seeds in seedy poop are undigested fat and it basically just means the food has passed through her system too fast.
Try taking Charlotte off of the turkey for a day or two, see if it her poop goes back to normal, if it does, try the turkey again. If it goes yucky again, it might be a turkey sensitivity.
Wheatley can keep having the Turkey since he likes it and is doing well on it
You could try the chicken wings at any time, I just said the weekend cause I figured it was easy for you, but of you want to try it today or tomorrow you definitely can. Or wait until Saturday. Totally your call.
For the chicken wings: do you have a pair of scissors (butcher scissors), these are way easier than a knife.
Start with the tip of the wing and chop tiny pieces off. Separate the smaller bones in the front part of the wing from the thick bone in the back of the wing but finding the joint and cutting between it. There are two bones in the front of the wing, separate them by cutting the meat between them, then chop them up into tiny pieces. Each piece should be a tiny piece of bone surrounded by some meat.
The last bigger solid bone is harder to cut. Depending on how big it is and how sharp your scissors are, you may be able to cut it or snap it by anchoring it on the scissor blade and snap. If this fails, use a hammer or a sharp butcher's cleaver.
Let me know if you have any trouble
They might have some trouble with it at first. Don't get discouraged! You have to remember their jaws aren't strong enough yet because they aren't used to bone, and it will take them some practice to build up the strength. So if they chew around the bones at first or spit them out, this is totally normal and they will get it eventually