What do ferrets like to eat ?
Ferrets like to eat high protein & fat food but low in carbohydrates, the ideal is to give them whole prey like pre-killed mice , a human grade raw meat or chicken that contains a little fat and a big raw meaty bone once a week, otherwise high protein and fat special premium kitten pellets with a supplement of insects or chicken & turkey baby food .
Never give your ferrets table scraps and leftover food , you can easily get them impacted digestive system climbed up ,they can get in a clogged intestines and kill them.
Do Ferrets actually like to eat Commercial ferret food ” pellets”?
Where we are now, ferret food manufacturers have not really made an effort to create pellets specifically for ferrets that will really satisfy all their nutritional needs without making them sick with preservatives and other additives.
The result is that ferrets are treated by these brands as second class animals, while they have nutritional needs very close to those of cats, their pellets are made almost with food waste, for example:
Chicken by-products (organs only !! ) , which means , the chicken waste that is left after the good pieces are removed to feed humans !!! and even the chicken pieces that are judged unfit for human consumption but they judged that they can transform them to feed ferrets !!! This is unbelievable!!!
On the other hand, they add tons of additives and minerals like copper, copper sulfate …. Cobalt carbonate … Oh my god !!! We are not feeding an iron ferret !!! without forgetting things like “cornmeal”, just fillers and that have no nutritional value for ferrets !!!
And finally, these pellets contain synthetic vitamins that the ferret will not benefit from (they do not have the same structure as the vitamins contained in the natural food of ferrets) and other chemicals that really scare me just by hearing their name, for example “ferrous sulfate!
To conclude, we would have liked if the manufacturers would have broken their heads to create a healthy food for ferrets but unfortunately this is not yet the case and if you really have to give pellets to your ferret, buy him premium pellets for cats if you can’t feed your ferret with organic food which I will talk about now.
What do ferrets really like to eat?
To find out what ferrets love to eat above all else, you have to look at what their closest cousin, the European Polecat, eats.
Ferrets will surely love to eat fresh meat from wild hares or just rabbits, rats, small mammals, amphibians, birds and earthworms.
I have even seen Polecats stealing eggs from hens in a farm and they love them !
Ferrets will love to have natural preys as food, and why not live because they will surely love to catch their own food.
With what to replace the natural preys to feed a ferret ?
Ferrets love to chase a hare in its burrow and make several good meals out of it, or to surprise a small bird sleeping on a branch and make a snack out of it… but you can’t guarantee all this for your ferret, how to substitute them then ?
What to feed your ferret that he will like as his natural prey and especially a substitute food for ferrets from which they will get all the nutrients their body needs?
The best way is of course to feed whole prey, there are frozen mice for example, but it is not obvious and it could become a little bit pricey!
The best alternative is to create a Frankenprey diet !
FRANKENPREY Diet to feed my ferret ?
Frankenprey is a technique that consists of mixing different parts and raw meats as well as bones, internal organs … etc. to create a mixture that reproduces as much as possible what your ferret will find in its natural prey.
So you will mix :
- Raw meaty bones (chicken necks, rabbit feet…)
- Muscle meat (all raw meat, without bones like chicken breast, duck breast, pork, lamb, beef …etc)
- Heart and liver meat (chicken heart, chicken or duck liver)
- Other organs like kidney , brain …etc
Here are the percentages of the different parts that you will mix to create a balanced menu that your ferret will surely love and especially to ensure a balanced meal for your ferret:
- Muscle meat : 75% to 80% (10% heart meat )
- Raw meaty bone : 10% to 15% (10% heart meat)
- Liver : 5% of the diet
- The other secreting organs like kidney : 5%.
Start with this composition but keep an eye on your ferret and try to increase or decrease the rations a little to find the ideal meat mix for your ferret.
How much does a ferret eat and how often should it be fed?
A ferret will eat until it is no longer hungry, during its 3 or 4 hours of waking up, it will eat between 6 and 10 small meals, generally the equivalent of 5% to 7% of its weight each day, preferably a meal that contains at least 30-40% protein and 15-20% fat.
My pet ferret is used to pellets, will he like raw diet ?
Yes, absolutely, you just need to make a smooth transition from dry food to raw food, usually you just need to put a piece of raw meat in front of your ferret’s nose and he will take it and start eating it, if not, you need to be patient and slowly introduce this new diet to your ferret until he adopts it completely and only eats raw meat and meaty bones…etc.
Offer chicken, rabbit and lamb raw meat at the beginning and then introduce other proteins to find out what your ferret prefers to eat more than the others in order to create a mix of meats, bones and organs especially for him.
You will also find out if your ferret has an allergy to a particular meat so that you can remove it from the mix.
What an adult ferret will like to eat for a week:
Ferrets are quiet & crepuscular animals, so they are active early in the morning before sunrise and early in the evening at sunset and it is at these times that you will feed your ferret and give him his playtime too, your ferret must eat until he is not hungry, don’t be afraid, ferrets never overeat and won’t get overweighted!
Here is how to feed your ferret during the whole week (Frenkenprey diet):
|Raw meaty bone
|Raw meaty bone
|Raw meaty bone
¼ other organ
|Raw meaty bone
|½ Liver meat
½ other organ
|Raw meaty bone
PS: I advise you to feed your ferret as often as possible with whole prey like frozen or pre-killed mice, chicks, quails and rats.
You can also add a piece of trout, salmon, sardines, anchovies or even egg yolk to your ferret’s meals but not too much.
Chicken or turkey baby food should only be offered to a ferret when it is convalescing or refusing to eat because of a toothache or illness!
Do ferrets like to eat insects and bugs ?
Waxworms, cockroaches, earthworms, mealworms and crickets are the most common insect treats for ferrets. Your ferret will love to have a cricket or a small pinch of mealworms, or a full live earthworm but only every other day, while waxworms can be given daily to the ferret because they are not as caloric as mealworms while crickets are an excellent source of protein for your ferret.
Do ferrets like fruits & veggies?
No, ferrets don’t like fruit and shouldn’t have it because it contains sugar, which will increase their insulin secretion in the blood, the level of potassium in the blood will increase which will disturb your ferret’s heart rate, not to mention that sugar can cause cancer in ferrets and diabetes of course.
Ferrets don’t need vegetables and they can’t digest fiber, so don’t give them veggies.
I would also like to add that ferrets should not have dairy products, cheese and yogurt for example because they are lactose intolerant, they can not digest this kind of products.
Do ferrets like to eat cat food ?
Cat food is not suitable for ferrets, it does not have the same nutritional composition and above all it does not have enough protein to satisfy the nutritional needs of a carnivore like the ferret.
If you don’t have the choice and if it’s just temporary, buy kibbles for small kittens, they have a higher percentage of animal proteins, but be aware that it’s still not enough because only the diet I talked about in this article is ideal for a ferret and that’s all he really likes to eat
What treats do ferrets like to have?
Ferrets can have cat treats if you don’t have raw chicken or turkey meat cut into half inch cubes, your ferret will also love boiled eggs, especially the egg yolk.
Be aware that these treats can be used for potty-training your ferret, and any other training, choose the heart pieces for demanding exercises.