2) How do you make sure every ferret eats what they need with larger prey? My fear is that I'll get a whole rabbit and one will eat all the liver, the other the heart, etc. Is larger whole prey an option for choosey ferrets?
3) What are some other examples of smaller whole prey like mice and rats? Hamsters? I like the idea of smaller whole prey because it's harder to pick of the good stuff.
4) Rabbit - does anyones ferrets eat the head? Do you crack it open for them? What don't they eat in rabbit (and other large whole prey)?
The quail that I get are about 1 lbs. Unfortunately, I don't have access to whole quail (at least affordable). Feeding rabbit...depends on the size. The last rabbit that I fed I actually had to cut up into quarters. I fed the head but really should have fed it split in half which I'm going to try and do next time (if you do all this when it's frozen it's not as messy and it doesn't smell as bad...rabbit stinks). Left over...hind feet (the rabbit foot) and ears....fur because there really is too much of it for them. They turn the whole rabbit inside out. Oh and the tail which they played with for a couple of days. I understand that guinea pigs are a well loved prey (I don't have access) but I know a number of people on the site who's ferrets think it's the ultimate delicacy. ciao
Post by goingpostal on Mar 16, 2011 15:16:02 GMT -5
1. Well there's different kinds of quail, I buy whatever rodent pro sells and get the 10 week old which are the largest, and I have some 1 week old for more snackies, the big ones are around 7-8 ounces, I usually give it in the morning and it's gone by 3-4pm with four ferrets.
2. That I don't know, I feed a variety of large and small prey, they always get mice every week and each ferret eats several mice but they split the larger stuff like guinea pigs and quail. I do feed half the week raw and give them organ mush once a week, most of my ferrets like organs except for Pip, he'll eat them in whole prey fine but not by themselves.
3. African soft furred rats are similar sized to rats/mice, hamsters are going to be expensive to buy, same with gerbils. You can also just vary up the sizes, I feed a couple medium guinea pigs or one big one, I sometimes give the 1 week old quail to top off the larger one if they finish early, 1-3 day old chicks for a snack.
4. Mine aren't too thrilled with rabbit heads, I've fed them twice now and 2nd time went better but I have to smash them up a bit to get them going and they are skinned and really bloody. They leave the top part, too hard maybe? Mine also won't eat intestines in larger prey, they had a bad habit of opening them though, getting poo all over and then refusing to eat them until I cleaned it up so the GP I clean out beforehand now, haven't tried whole rabbit yet. Sometimes they leave quite a bit of fur with GP and sometimes they eat it so not sure if that's just one ferret over another or what the deal is. They don't leave anything but feathers with the quail and eat the rats/mice completely.
Mainly I've learned my crew will eat quite a bit more than I would have thought, my next whole prey order will be mostly larger prey, with some smaller GP, quail and rats thrown in for variety.
Post by goingpostal on Mar 16, 2011 15:18:32 GMT -5
Heather how are you chopping the rabbit up? Just thawing and refreezing it? I bought a small one from hare today and it's like 3x the size of the one I got from rodent pro, I'd like to split it up but haven't quite decided how to approach that, it looks like it'd be hard to chop. My b/f said I was welcome to buy him a bandsaw and use that, lol.
The rabbit that I had weighed about 7 lbs. So I cut it in half through the middle (crossways) removed the guts intestines (they only decorate with that stuff anyway and it stinks horribly ). I then cut the head off, split the two pieces between the hip and shoulders This basically gave me 4 equal pieces. I partially thawed this so that my knife could get a good grip. I refroze the pieces that I wasn't going to use. I gave them the head to play with. My bunny had all it's fur on, so it was rather messy as there were tufts everywhere (sheds worse than the cat) ciao
Post by goingpostal on Mar 16, 2011 16:00:10 GMT -5
I think mine was about 2.5 pounds and whole, I'm going to try them on the smaller one first since they haven't been super thrilled with raw rabbit so far, I was kind of afraid I'd have to clean these out too, that is seriously gross. My b/f the other day said something about his g/f "playing with dead animals", I told him most guys around here would love to have a girlfriend who did that, since this is hunting heaven but neither of us are into that. Although I'd like to start to supply the critters so at least I am getting comfortable with icky stuff.
You're talking about a dressed rabbit? I always find this weird, I take the fur off, take the insides outside, and remove the head and now it's dressed The rabbits that I had were whole too. Fur, heads, insides all in one piece. I buy them at the raw feeding coop. ciao
Post by goingpostal on Mar 16, 2011 22:25:04 GMT -5
That's what I've fed so far is dressed, although it's from hare today and appears to be simply skinned, with some organs intact and run through a bandsaw into chunks, they eat it ok but they don't seem excited about it. Now dressed duck on the other hand they love. I would try the dressed first because you can chop it into chunks easier and they don't have to work through the fur, unless they are already eating fur well, then I'd get the whole and just open it up, for some reason mine eat furred stuff better if I open them but they don't seem to mind feathers at all.
I feed whole rabbit. I partially skin it since SOME won't eat it with the fur on . I make a slit at the diaphram area, dump the guts, and chop it up. I cut the head in half, since I've got two in two separate cages who adore the head. Vincent, and Miss Emily. Oh- and I also let them play with the fully thawed rabbit before chopping it up ;D It got their interest up, and that's why both Vincent and Miss Emily now chew away at their portions of the head
Ferrets: Contessa Kitties: Watson, Oskar DIP Sinnead, Vincent, Boris, Zeus and Athena, Willow, Mr. Frodo, Indie, Lucrezia, Judge, Odin, Miss Emily, Suki, Cody, Aristotle, Butterscotch, Frankenfurter. RIP Herne, Ligeia, and Mr. Stubbs
Hi, I feed a lot of rabbit- they get more rabbit than anything else! During the winter I knock the guts out but leave the head and fur on and leave them to it. Sometimes one will get all the kidneys or all the heart and lungs; this doesn't bother me as it is just as likely to be someone else getting those parts next time. I aim for balance over time and as long as I know that no one is missing out completely I am happy for them to sort themselves out. It just depends on your ferrets. Watch them and see how they go. In summer I chop the rabbits into chunks and dish them out as needed- the meat goes bad too quickly in the heat to be leaving entire rabbits out. Mine do eat the head and I don't do anything special to it...they can crack their own rabbit heads, lol! My lot leave the pelt, the big furry back feet and the bones in the back legs. Sometimes a bit of spine. I use wild rabbits and their bones are very strong and dense.