Documenting A Raw Diet Switch
By Sherry Stone
I figured I’d document the switch for 7 month old Cody, and 2 yr old Judge, Indie, and Odin. By putting this here, people new to the world of raw feeding can access it easier than scrolling through all the material.
I mixed up some of the commercial raw I have on hand with enough warm water to make it really soupie.
Because he’s only 7 months I felt comfortable in removing his kibble first thing this morning. I tried giving him the soup mix about 5 hrs later from the spoon on my lap first. He wanted nothing to do with it. I proceeded to scruff and rub a wee bit on his gums so he had to taste it 3 or 4 times then put him back on his feet on my lap and offered some from my finger. He licked it off, albeit reluctantly. We continued with this until he’d had about a tsp, still quite reluctant.
With the 3 older boys, I only removed the kibble for an hour ahead of time, to make sure the raw and kibble didn’t mix.
Offered first from the spoon. No go. I was able to get him tasting the soup simply by dabbing some on his nose 2 or 3 times. He then had some offered from the finger, and finally took it from the spoon on my lap. He had about a tbsp.
This lad out up a fight. It took about 5 minutes just to get him to taste it. I finally had to scruff and tuck his body under my arm. Silly lad- as soon as he tasted it he realized he liked it! I set him back in his feed in my lap and didn’t even have to hold him as he willingly ate about 2tbsp worth
Again, only had to dab it on his nose a couple if times before GE started reluctantly accepting the mix from my finger. As he took it more willingly we switched to the spoon. He ate about 2 tsp.
Day 1- evening meal
All ate well from the spoon. Cody at approx 1 tbsp. Judge and Indie had about 2 tbsp each. And Odin did best of all. He had about 3 tbsp and the last half from the dish itself, rather than from the spoon.
All needed a reminder of what it was by a dab of it on the nose end, but that was it.
Day 2 am
.All 4 boys have accepted the soup from the spoon with a bit of coaxing. They need to be “primed” with a taste, but I’m not getting the reluctance I had yesterday.
For Cody, since he’s so young I’ve made the decision to remove his kibble during the daytime and leave him with the raw. He’ll get his kibble back at night time to be certain he’s getting enough nutrition.
With the 3 two yr old boys, I am still only removing their kibble maybe an hour before offering the raw. Since I don’t know the background of these boys I don’t want to risk a latent insulinoma coming to the forefront.They are all eating between one and 2 tbsp from a spoon on my lap.
Day 2 pm
All took the soup from a plate on my lap!!! Cody only had about a tsp then had to be spoon fed to a total of about 1 tbsp. Judge and Indie had to be started with the spoon, then had another tbsp+ from the dish. Odin, good boy, ate about 3 tbsp straight from the dish with no coaxing 🙂
Day 3 am:
Had to work early today, so didn’t have time to sit and hand feed. I gave them their kibble instead.
Day 3 pm:
Fed all 4 boys, and all 4 ate very well from the dish! I’ll do this for the next couple of days, then start them eating from the dish on the floor. This step will help them learn to eat on their own when the dish is put into the cage.
Day 4 am:
I thought I’d try a little experiment today and push Judge, Indie, and Odin a wee bit. I mixed up the meat mush, put it onto a plate and set it on the floor. I brought all 3 boys in that group to it and just showed them the dish without offering a taste first. They all sniffed at it a bit first, then dug in!!! So, since they now know for sure this is food, I’ve removed the kibble from the cage and set the remains of their breakfast in. Last I checked they were wandering up, eating a bit, then leaving. I’ll see how much is left when I get home, but I have a feeling it won’t be much Little Cody on the other hand. Had about a tsp or so from the dish on my lap then needed to be spoon fed some more. I put the remains of his meal in with him and will check to see if he’s eaten when I get home.
Well- I was wrong. They didn’t eat as much from the dish as I’d hoped, even though they’d done well in the morning. Maybe appetites haven’t kicked into high gear yet? Regardless- tonight I’ll let them have what they’ll eat on their own, hand feed some more, then put a little bit of kibble in the cage just in case.
Day 4 pm:
Again, Judge, Indie and Odin went to town on a dish of raw mince on their own. They are now eating approx. 6-7 oz together per meal. I left some kibble in overnight.
Cody ate about 2 tbsp, mostly hand fed. Acted like he was starving when the dish of kibbles was put back into the cage.
I left the older 3 with just a dish of raw mince. They’d finished it on their own within about 6 hours!!! Again for the evening meal, same thing. This will have been the last night these three boys have kibble in their diet. On Saturday I’m going to start introducing slivers of real meat into their mince.
Cody, stubborn boy, has basically stalled where he is at. He will eat a tbsp or two hand fed. For now, I’ll keep him there until he’s consuming more. He will continue to get his kibble at night to make sure he gets enough nutrition.
Well, NONE of the boys have had kibble in a day and a half 😀 All, including Cody, now eat the mince on their own, and are eating a LOT to make up for the nutrition they didn’t get while on kibble. For the next month or so, they’ll most likely consume close to double what they will finally settle down to.
Since I’ve been working, and had strained some muscles in my lower back I’ve not pushed with the meat slivers. Will be doing that tonight though. Fingers crossed they simply continue to eat it 🙂
Chicken slivers by themselves did NOT go well, lol! It still amazes me how a normally calm, happy ferret can turn themselves into little exorcists when you try to pop something in their mouths that they don’t want there!
Anyway, slivers were put into the mince and they ate everything 🙂 This morning will up the number of slivers to mince ratio.
Major improvements for all the boys! They are eating about a 30/70 meat bits to mince. Pieces of chicken are larger, about the size of my pinkie nail, and they are eating them with no problems!!! Will be upping it to half and half with this morning’s meal. Also- I just caught Judge chewing on a piece of bone in meat when he had to be popped into a different cage when switching out the playgroups!!!
We’ve had to take a step back. Evidently I moved a bit too fast for them. They(all 4) have been doing well with at least a 70% meat/30% mince ratio. I tried a very smashed up chicken wing, pieces about the size of my pinkie nail, which they have been eating well in the mince. No go.
So we go back to adding some mince as a lure, and use the smashed up wing again to see how they do with that.
All 4 boys are now taking whole chicken wing tips, chicken gizzards, and chicken chunks approx 1″ in size! Time to start a different protein, and begin introducing hearts.
Both pork rib ends as well as dressed quail went over very well indeed! However- we are going to have to work on the heart. No one would touch the turkey hearts last night. So- I’ll be pureeing the heart and hand feeding until they start to accept them. Will also try some chicken heart to see if those are better accepted.
We are almost there! Once all the boys will eat heart, liver, and other organ they will be considered to be fed a completely balanced raw diet!
Just over 4 weeks later, we now have 4 RAW FED FERRETS!!!! Granted, I have to puree the liver/organ, but they’ll EAT IT! Success at last, lol!