Weaning Kittens to Raw

By Meghan Leah Waals

Weaning kittens onto raw is the best way to give a good start to life to your kittens. Not only is their development better, but their immune system is healthier among many other benefits that will only continue into adulthood if raw feeding is continued. Here is the simple way to wean kittens on to raw.  Keep in mind that most often when mom is already on raw, kittens very quickly take to raw as they watch what their mother is doing and eating.

We do not offer any kind of milks (KMR, goats milk etc.) nor pro/prebiotics (unless absolutely necessary) to kitten in order to give them a chance to build their gut flora naturally. They have the advantage of not being compromised by commercial pet foods which affect the natural microflora.

(For orphans or kittens being hand reared please skip to the bottom of this guide. Their transition will be different than those weaning straight from mom.)

Weaning from mom:

If I start seeing interest from the kittens to mom's food, at 3-4 weeks I add some home prepared ground complete meals in with my queen's food so they have something to nibble on.

Around 4-5 weeks I begin adding small chunks to the ground mixture.

Between 5-8 weeks I add larger and larger chunks until they can start chewing bone.

By 8 weeks they are eating big chunks of meat about 1" or so in size as well as bone like chicken necks, rabbit ribs, small prey like mice.During this whole time span I provide as much variety in protein source as I can.

Recap:

Age 3-4 weeks

Offer ground complete meal with mother's meals

4-5 weeks

Small chunks with the ground mix

5-8 weeks

Increase the size of chunks and start adding whole bone

(not ground)

8 weeks

Eating big chunks of meat and bone like chicken necks, rabbit ribs and whole prey

Kittens are usually fed at least 3-4 times a day as much as they want per sitting within reason (we don't want them vomiting from eating too much at one time.) If they are hungry more throughout the day we give more feedings

8 weeks+=Good to go for the rest of their lives....

Weaning orphaned or hand rearing kittens

By Jasmine Hall

Unfortunately some kittens are unable to stay with mum and need hand rearing. Weaning these little ones to raw is slightly different as they don’t have mum to copy or eat from. 

I start the raw weaning at 3 weeks of age. I start on a flat plastic plate. Kittens can eat as much as they want over 4-6 sittings a day. It is best to feed them before their milk replacement (KMR). 

At three weeks old I offer ground tripe or ground skinless boneless chicken. Kittens usually become interested in food between 3-4 weeks old. As kittens learn from their mother’s sometimes you will need to encourage eating. You can do this by rubbing a small bit of the ground tripe or chicken on their nose (not blocking their nostrils) for them to lick off.

At four weeks I then start adding in some ground chicken bone at 10% of the mix (wings work best) into the tripe or chicken mix. Once bone is added over the next few days slowly start to introduce some different ground proteins at increments of 2-3 days. 

At 5 weeks you can start adding the liver and offal slowly. Whilst doing this begin to offer small pieces of meat into the ground meat and bone mix. When they are eating the small chunks you can make the pieces bigger. 

At 6 weeks they should be on the 80/10/10 with ground bone and small to medium chunks of meat and offal. At this stage you can offer bigger chunks of meat and begin to offer chunks of bone. It is best to get some chicken wings and bash them with a hammer (be aware of sharp edges). Continue feeding small pieces of wing through the week. By the end of week six they should be on medium chunks of meat and offal and small pieces of bone.

At 7 weeks you can start to offer larger pieces of bone and meat. Throughout this week slowly make the bone pieces bigger until you are offering whole wings or wing tips. At the same time making the meat chunks bigger to large pieces. 

At 8 weeks they should now be on whole bone and medium to large chunks of meat and offal. You can now offer different soft bones like necks. During week 8 offer various bone choices.

At 9 weeks they should now be ready for their new homes and able to eat medium to large pieces of meat and bone. They can now continue their raw journeys in their new homes .

RECAP:
Week 3:
Ground tripe or chicken.
Week 4:
Add ground bone and other ground proteins 
Week 5:
Add liver and offal. Add small meat chunks to the ground meat.
Week 6:
Add bigger chunks of meat and small chunks of bone.
Week 7:
Add larger bone pieces working towards whole bone.
Week 8:
Whole bone and medium to large chunks of meat. Start adding different whole bones.
Week 9:
Fully weaned and ready to go.

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