Kittens commence the weaning process from about the age of 3-4 weeks. It is from this age, that their little digestive systems are now capable of handling solid foods and they can be introduced to a raw food diet, including raw soft bones such as chicken necks (perfect for growing kittens).
Kittens do not actually finish weaning from their mothers until around the age of eight weeks, so it is especially important that they still have access to mum’s milk until this time.
The best way to provide raw meaty bones and meat is as fresh as possible and it should be warm.
This can be achieved by placing the raw meat and raw chicken necks into a ceramic bowl. Place this bowl in an additional bowl filled with hot tap water (not boiling). This will prevent the meat from cooking. Do not use a microwave, as the food will begin to cook from the inside out. Cooked bones create splinters and are extremely dangerous to pets.
Around the age of about 3-4 weeks is also when the milk teeth are erupting.
For these reasons, the raw chicken necks will need to be slightly crushed with a meat cleaver. This process will make the bones easy to chew and will expose some of the meat beneath the flesh, creating a further interest in the bone.
At first, your kitten will find it challenging due to the unfamiliarity of the food.
As kittens are naturally inquisitive, they will begin to enjoy the raw food in no time. The introduction of both raw meat and bones is about getting them used to the smell, taste, and texture of their future diet, it is not about consumption at this stage.
It is important to note, that it is a gradual process and something a kitten will need to build up to over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, the chewing process will be a natural way of assisting the kitten to cut his/her milk teeth.
By the time your kitten is seven weeks old, the chicken necks won’t need to be crushed too much and can be offered almost whole.
When the kitten is around seven weeks of age, they will be around 95% weaned and at this stage will be crunching through a whole chicken neck with ease.
The above information only applies if you have had the opportunity of being involved with your kitten from birth.
The reality is that most pet owners are only responsible from the point of adoption, which is around 10 weeks of age. This can mean that adding raw meat and bones to the diet can be a real challenge if it is not done the right way, especially if your kitten is eating a commercial food diet from the breeder or shelter.
Just as we introduce a 3-4 week old kitten to raw bones by crushing them, this also applies to your new kitten at adoption.
The bones can be prepared in this manner until your kitten is used to the taste, smell, and consistency of the raw bone. Mincing the raw bones initially is another way of gradually introducing the taste of bones.
It is beneficial to get your kitten onto a raw food diet as soon as you bring them home. Sometimes a transition diet may not be necessary depending on the age of your kitten. For older kittens, I have a free transition diet to help you through the process (subscribe to my email on my website for a free transition diet).
Check out my Customised Raw Meal Package for Growing Kittens.
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