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What do we do when our ferrets get sick? Well the first thing is to get them to a vet to determine what is causing the symptoms. The next is to make sure they are getting some form of nourishment into their little bodies.

Below are several recipes for Duck Soup, this is what the Ferret Community calls the food we mix together to give our ferrets when they aren't eating their regular food and need some extra nourishment.








This is from my friend Regina who also wrote the article on Litter Box Training.




NOTICE: Some of these recipes contain large amounts of sugary substances (Nutrical, etc). Before feeding ANY of these recipes, get your vet's approval. It should be noted that sugar in any form that is in any of these recipes could be particularly troublesome to a ferret with Insulinoma.

Ferrets who are not eating should be fed around 80-90cc's per pound per day. Divide into 4 to 6 individual feedings A great thing to have for any of these soup recipes is a small inexpensive coffee grinder. Makes grinding up the food much easier.

A feeding syringe can be purchased at a pet store, these are generally used to feed "baby parrots" and are just the right size for ferrets.

Even though you are "force feeding" do not force so much food in your fur babies mouth that he will CHOKE, just a small amout in the mouth and have a towel handy to wipe up what gets spit out. Ferrets can spit, and quite far!!

When trying this for the first time it is easier to dab it on his mouth with your finger, and then slowly procede with the syringe. It is also a great idea to make a "duck soup" occasionally and give it to them as treats so they become accustom to the taste. This can also be done with the Pedialyte. I personally use Gatorade, it is convenient as my kids drink the fruit punch flavor and it is very similar ( human taste ) to the pedialyte. Pedialyte also comes in powder form, and is much more economical then the already mixed and has a good shelf life also,ask the pharmacist.





Everyday "Duck Soup"

This is a basic duck soup to be used occasionally and as a treat to get your ferret use to the "soft" food idea. It is also a good idea to use as there are no additives other than what your ferret is use to. So there is no change in diet except the fact that it is soft.

Take whatever food you are currently using and grind it up (coffee grinder), if you don't have a grinder a hammer and plastic baggy will do. Put some food, the normal portion, in the baggy and pound it down. Put the pounded food in a dish with hot water, let it sit and soak until it becomes mushy, if any lumps remain smooth them out with the back of a spoon. Add some more warm water to the consistency you want, if the ferret is eating by himself leave it thicker, if you need to syringe force feed add more water and make it thinner.

If he is use to getting Ferretone, or Linatone, or even vitamins add these. Just remember if it goes in as mush it will come out soft.

The general idea is to get your fur face accustomed to eating a variety of things and textures a little at a time. If they are sick do no add or change their basic eating habits until seen by a vet. Since this is basic it will not hurt, cover or mask any symptoms, has a great deal of moisture, and can be given just as normal food.









Phyllis Smith (Sissy)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Ground Totally Ferret 1 cup Warm Water 1 jar Chicken Baby Food, Stage 2 1/2 tsp. Brewers Yeast 1 200 mg. Chromium Chelated or 2 tsp. GIF Chromium 6 Papaya tablets 1 tsp. Lecithin Granules 1 400 mg Vitamin E capsule 1/2 tsp. Ferretone 1 tsp. Ferretvite 1 1/2 tsp. Timmy's Tonic

PREPARATION

I mix everything in the water except the ground Totally Ferret and baby food in a blender. I then gradually add the Totally Ferret until completely mixed and then add the chicken baby food.

STORAGE

You can make it into ice cubs and freeze but since I go through a double batch every three days, I just put it into a plastic container and keep it refrigerated. I do freeze some in baby food jars in case I run out. Since there is no Ensure or the like or Pediapred, you don't need to freeze it unless it will last more than 3 or 4 days. A single recipe should last an average ferret about 3 days.

SERVING

First heat it for about 10 - 15 seconds depending on your microwave. Faith likes hers on the warm side. I feed them between 1/2 to 3/4 a baby food jar or 1 heaping tsp. of the refrigerated soup or what ever they eat. I feed Faith every 6 hours, but some need to eat more often, especially if the only eat a small amount. I feed Faith and then I feed Hope and then I go back to Faith. Some ferrets can eat only a little bit, so you need to let them rest a few moments and they will eat some more.








Bev Fox, North Coast Ferret Shelter

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Dry Food (Totally Ferret, Iams Kitten or other high quality food) 1 piece of chicken fully cooked, skinned and de boned 2 cups chicken broth 10 papaya tablets 1 tsp. Ferretone or Linatone 1 6 oz can Iams Cat or Kitten food 1 TBS Brewers' Yeast 1/2 tsp. honey or corn syrup 1 inch ribbon of Ferretvite, Nutrical or Nutri-Stat (optional) Water

PREPARATION

Cook chicken until well done. Do not add salt. Save broth. Add skinned de boned chicken to blender with broth, Add papaya tablets and blend on high until mixture is pulverized. Add dry food and continue blending until smooth. Add water or remaining broth as needed. Add the remainder of ingredients one at a time with the canned cat food being the last item. Add the canned cat food and blend for approx. 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add water to top off the blender.The mixture should be thin. Strain mixture if desired. Freeze in ice cube trays. Place the frozen cubes in sealed plastic bags for long term storage. Each cube equals 1 serving. For ill ferrets, feed a minimum of 1 cube every 4 - 6 hours. The more the better but feed at least 4 times a day.

SUBSTITUTIONS

1 jar of chicken baby food or turkey rice baby food may be substituted for the piece of chicken and a can of low sodium chicken broth can be used in place of the homemade broth if desired.

MODIFICATIONS

For insulinoma ferrets - Add 200 mcg (1 tablet) elemental chromium (G.T.F. Chromium) available at health food stores. For ferrets on Lasix therapy or severely dehydrated ferrets - Add 90 mg Potassium (1 tablet).

For adrenal ferrets - Add 200 IU of dry vitamin E (1 tablet). Of course if you are like us and don't know what the duck soup is going to be used for from day to day just add one tablet of each of the above to the recipe and you are covered for most illnesses and situations.








Michael Janke, South Florida Ferret Club & Rescue

This is a very simple recipe that has proven to be a life saver for many of our shelter's ferrets. This (along with Prednisone) is also used for the hypoglycemic ferrets at the shelter with excellent results.

INGREDIENTS

1 can of A/D, Hills Prescription diet (available from your vet) 1 jar of Gerber's 2nd stage chicken or turkey baby food 1/4 tsp. FerretZyme (available from For Ferrets Only, 1-305-378-8877) 1/2 baby food jar of water (personally, I use no additional water unless dehydration is a concern).

PREPARATION

Mix all ingredients well. Note that the FerretZyme will thin the mixture considerably as the enzymes go to work breaking down the nutrients.

STORAGE

May be refrigerated for up to 48 hours. Freeze in an ice cube tray for longer storage.

SERVING

Feed at least 25 cc's at a time, more if your ferret wants it. How many times you feed per day depends on whether or not your ferret is eating any of it's regular food. Medications may be added at time of feeding.









Sara Roy

INGREDIENTS

5 cups of Totally Ferret (Iams Kitten) 1- 235ml bottle of Ensure 2 teaspoons of Brewers Yeast 1/2 cup Goat Milk 8oz Matol (Please read about Matol here -- You can only buy the Matol products through a distributor of Matol) 5 Enzymes Tablets (Also found on the Matol page) 1/2 of a 14oz can of Iams kitten (soft food) 1- 4oz jar of Gerber Turkey (baby food) 1/2 cup of water (if it's too thick add more water) 3 chelated Chromium Tablets And 2 capsules of Biomune (immune builder) mixed in separate daily (info can be found on the matol page as well) ( I really think Matol is a wonderful product and don't think that Slinky would be with us today if it weren't for Matol and it's products.!)

PREPARATION

Take the Totally Ferret, water, milk and mix together.. Crush all the tablets and add to the Totally Ferret.. Add everything together and put in blender (blend until no lumps).

STORAGE

Separate into ice cube trays, freeze, then store in freezer baggies.. Makes about 56 cubes, 1 cube per meal.

SERVING

Mix 2 capsules of Biomune per cube. I add in Slinky's meds.. Slinky LOVES it.









For this you need a meat grinder available for about $40.00, hand operated.

Bob Church's Chicken Gravy

Here is a great trick that can be used with a ferret with a very queasy stomach, or one just coming off a liquid diet and not wanting to eat solid food.

Because most kibbles are about 60% grain, a lot of ferrets will accept bread because it smells like kibble. When I have a ferret that just won't eat much, I dip a *tiny* piece of bread into a gravy made from pureed chicken. The chicken goes in with the bread, which they recognize. Soon, they are licking chicken from my fingers, then sucking it out of the bowl on their own. Then I make the chicken puree "lumpier" until I get them on solid chicken (tuna also works).

The only problem with chicken is if you don't puree an entire chicken with its skin and fat, it is too lean to be healthy, so you need to add an outside source of fat so the mixture is roughly 70% chicken, 30% animal fat. Here is my recipe:

Bob's Chicken Gravy (Yum!)

1 whole roasting chicken (cut into pieces to fit in the blender; do not remove skin, fat, bones or giblets-small pieces puree better)

1 Tablespoon olive oil 1 Tablespoon ferrettone (or whatever vitamin supplement you use)

1 Cup ferret, mink or high-grade cat kibble

2 Tablespoons fine bran OR whole oats OR Metamucil

1 Tube Nutrical

3 or 4 Eggshells

4 Tablespoons honey

1 Cup fat trimmings (uncooked; I save trimmed fat for just this purpose)

Puree the chicken with the fat, kibble and eggshells; add water until you make a thin gravy. Pour the mix into a pot and cook for 30 minutes, or until it has the consistency of cream or thick gravy. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Now, here's the hard part.

Put one cup of chicken gravy into a ziplock, push out the air, and set aside. Repeat this process until all the gravy has been portioned out, then dump the ziplocks into a container to store in the freezer. Ha! Not hard at all, especially after all the grinding has been done.

To serve, just allow a bag-o-chicken to thaw, mix water or pedalyte to the desired consistency, and nuke it for 20-30 seconds.

This is a high-calorie, high fat, high protein, low carbohydrate food that is extremely easy on a sick or injured gastrointestinal tract (well, compared to kibble), and provides for all the ferret's nutritional needs in excess of most requirements. Mine eat it as a treat every couple of days or so, and all my sick and dying eat it as a primary food.

BTW, it is very easy to digest, and it digests well, so not a lot comes out the back end when compared to kibble. However, if your ferret is not used to it (its on the rich side), it can come out the waste chute somewhat runny. That is not a problem with a hydrated ferret, so don't worry about it; there are plenty of electrolytes and the ferret will just drink more water. Once the digestive system figures out what is coming down the pike, it will adjust. If not, then cut the metamucil in half.

Also, this food has a lot of water in it compared to kibble, so your ferret will probably not drink as much at the bottle. Finally, it has a whole lot of really good nutritious stuff, so your ferret might not eat as much of this as when they eat kibble. It also has a lot of undigestible bulk (fiber, bone, shell, other connective tissue) which helps clean out the tubes, which I am personally convinced lessens the impact of ECE and other intestinal diseases.

Now, this is mostly chicken, and your ferret may not want it at first, especially if raised for a long time on a kibble diet. So load up a syringe and squirt it in their mouth. It might take one squirt, it might take 100, but eventually your ferret will sniff the stuff and dive in grinning. Once that happens, it is easy to get them to accept ANY poultry, from duck to turkey, which they will learn to eat off the stick, so to speak.

ALL my ferrets eat chicken and turkey, even those that are shelter adopties raised for years on cat chow. Once they get used to it, omit the kibble and grind the chicken so it is "lumpier."

A really fun treat for ferrets that love this stuff is to put a tablespoon full in the bottom of an eggshell prior to serving. Thats how I give it to mine; each ferret gets a half an eggshell containing a tablespoon full of chicken gravy. They don't fight at the dish, they all get an equal share, and they can carry their eggshell to their favorite eating establishment.

Now, I use a thickened gravy rather than a thin one, so usually the only cleanup is vaccuuming small pieces of eggshell. Don't worry if they happen to eat some shell; it won't hurt them and the minerals will actually do some good.

Now, this isn't a replacement of anything your vet might prescribe, duck soup or any other food; its just something I use and highly recommend. But its not etched in stone either; if it is too rich for your ferret, take out some of the fat or oil. If there is too much bulk, cut back on it. Make whatever adjustments you need for your individual ferret's needs.









This recipe is from my friend Kimberly and is also good if you just want to put a little extra weight on your ferret.




You can substitute the chicken baby food with turkey or beef baby food. Use the soup while it is fresh, the Pedialyte only lasts for 24 hours.

Take a cup of their regular food, put it in the blender and add the following:

Sustical or Enfimil ( baby formula) lactose free. You will use most of this.

Nutrical ( They love this so use a couple of tablespoons or more.)

Egg yoke

teaspoon Karo syrup

Baby food ( chicken, beef, lamb or turkey)

Blend it well, it should have almost a soup like look to it.

You can pour it into ice cube trays and freeze the leftovers. When you need them just pop a couple of cubes into your microwave and warm. Let them eat as much as they want. You can also try heating up some Pedialyte and Nutrical, it's like a broth and they love this too.