Step 5: Heart, Organs, and New Meats
Now that your ferret will eat chunks of meat it is time to incorporate organs, heart, and other meats into their diet. This can be tricky and there are a few ways to approach it.
This is the more popular, and in some ways easier, approach. When you start adding slivers of muscle meat into your ferret’s soup, include slivers of heart and organ at the same time. This way, they learn to accept chunks of heart, chunks or organ, and chunks of muscle meat at the same time. As your progress and your chunks get bigger, you will need to start separating out the heart, organs, and muscle meals to create a balanced diet (see below on balancing your menu).
Start with the raw soup that they ate before adding chunks, and slowly increase the heart and organ, while decreasing the muscle meat. Start with feeding the soup about 7 meals a week (on a 2 meal per day schedule), and continue to work on chunks the other 7 meals. When the soup is 1/2 heart and organs (1/2 muscle), feed it for 5-6 meals a week. When the soup is all heart and organs (1/2 heart, 1/2 organ), feed it 3 meals a week. Next, decrease the soup and add in chunks of liver and heart. The process is essentially the same as switching from kibble to chunks.
Both of the above approaches apply to adding in new meats. You can also try these tricks:
- Try mixing in a couple of very small chunks of the new meat into the chopped chicken (or other meat they are already familiar with) and coat in a light layer of soup or oil. Increase the size and number of the new-meat chunks and decrease the chicken/familiar meat chunks.
- Make a dish of the new meat, and use Soup made of chicken (or other familiar meat) to coat the new meat – think of the soup as being a “gravy” to coat the new meat in to hide the flavor. Gradually decrease the soup “gravy.”
- Combine the two!
At various points continue to try hand feed or Scruff N Sample bigger chunks and/or new proteins – if you can jump ahead a step without the gradual switching process it is always good to do. If they don’t take to hand fed chunks right away though, keep trying with the gradual switch.
You can continue working on adding in more variety while you move onto Step 7.