Message Number: YG2053 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Brett Middleton
Date: 2001-04-02 16:49:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Gerber chicken food vs "duck soup"

RRC <rrc961@m...> wrote:
> Also, I am against force feeding ferrets with syringes or other
> devices. While probably minor, I think the risks of overinflating the
> esophagus and/or stomach or getting food into the lungs outweighs the
> benefits of a few extra calories. I use my finger or an ice cream
> stick to feed my ferrets. If they eat only a small amount, I increase
> feeding times rather than make them eat more than they want at a
> single meal.

I don't much care for the idea of force feeding myself, but what do you
do when they want nothing at all? When I was faced with this after
months of spoon-feeding Chicken Gravy, I reluctantly broke out the
feeding syringe. But, no matter how much I thinned the gravy, I had a
tremendous problem with the syringe sticking and slipping. After a
couple of feedings, I convinced myself that she'd be safer if I played
Russian Roulette with her, so I ditched the syringe and tried using my
finger to smear a little at a time into her mouth.

This was safer, but still messy and stressful to both of us, and I
wasn't getting much into her. Then I had a rush of brains to the head
and realized that good nutrition was irrelevant at this point -- the
issue was to get enough calories in to keep the engine turning. So I
switched to smearing NutriCal instead, but this was still a sticky and
stressful process. Finally I hit on the idea of thinning it with a
little warm water and going back to the syringe. (This was before I
had heard of Dyne and Stat.) I could get several ml into her at a time
with very little fuss, and with no more danger than was involved with
any of the oral meds she was getting. It also helped keep her
hydrated, so I could cut back a little on the Gatorade I had to syringe
into her anyway. Since I never gave more than about 15 ml of stuff
(NutriCal + Gatorade + meds) at a time, and took it slow, I didn't
think I had to worry about overloading her stomach. (Ferret stomach
capacity is about 100 ml, isn't it?)

I can't say I'm totally happy with my final solution, but I haven't
thought of anything better I could have done under the circumstances.
Any suggestions I can file away for future reference will be more than


*SLMW 1.0* Genius vs Stupidity? Genius has limits!