Step 3: Ditch the Kibble
Once the ferret begins to eat the soup consistently, remove the kibble from their diet completely. Congratulations, they are now on a RAW soup diet!
Do NOT let your ferret run the show!
Keep in mind that ferrets are like very stubborn, intelligent human toddlers – they can and will try to manipulate you into giving them their way. If you tell a toddler to eat vegetables, and when they refuse cave and give them ice cream they will never learn to eat their veggies because they know that if they wait long enough, they will get ice cream. In the same way, many ferrets will “refuse” to eat their raw despite being adjusted to the taste because they know that if they refuse long enough, you will cave and give them back their precious kibbles. THEY have trained YOU! This is often even worse with Freeze Dried food! Both kibble and freeze dried are very “addictive.” For this reason, we recommend holding freeze dried food and treats until AFTER your ferret is fully switched to raw. Once your switch is complete, you can add the occasional freeze dried meal or treat back into their diet, but not before.
If you are worried that your ferret is not eating enough, weigh them regularly and track their weight over time to watch for significant losses (keeping in mind that some fluctuation is normal, and that there is a significant drop in weight when your ferret enters spring/summer mode.) You can also dangle your ferret and look at their sides – their sides should be roughly parallel. Bulging sides means they are overweight (OR can be a sign of organ enlargement requiring a vet visit). Hourglass sides indicate that your ferret is underweight. If you think your ferret is too skinny, we suggest that you attempt hand feeding the raw soup to ensure your ferret is eating enough. (Do not give back the kibble unless you absolutely have to). This will also help to accustom them even more to the raw food. Once they gain the weight back, begin weaning them off of hand feeding to eating on their own.
Stay strong! Would you let a human toddler dictate what they eat every day? (Even if they chose to eat nothing but ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner)? Remember that YOU are the adult, YOU are the parent, and YOU decide what your ferret eats, NOT your ferret!
Health Note: At this point in the switch your ferret is on a soft foods diet. In addition, it takes some time for their GI tracts to adjust to the new foods. It is normal to see strange poops at this point in the switch, and you should expect stools to be significantly softer than usual. This will improve as their GI tracts adjust, as well as when chunks and bones are added into the diet. If their stools are too soft you can increase the amount of bone meal or eggshell powder.
If you are concerned about the poop, check out our poop-chart
Additionally, any ferret not yet eating chunks of meat and raw bones will need their teeth brushed 1-2x per week.