What Should I Feed My Ferret? Best Ferret Diet
Many novice ferret owners would ask: what should I feed my ferret? The main point to remember is that ferrets are 100% carnivores. They need a high quality food to be healthy.
The ferret’s metabolism is extremely quick, so be prepared to feed your ferret often usually every 3-4 hours. As ferrets can be very picky, it’s good to train them from young to eat raw chunks of meat such as chicken, turkey etc.
In their natural environment they will hunt small animals and their diet will consist of raw meat, bones, etc. Therefore, to raise a healthy and happy ferret, you must feed them with a high protein and fat diet that is low in carbohydrates and fibre.
The more you educate yourself about your ferret’s diet requirements, the better you can mix and match their food and keep them healthy.
Pet foods, and even foods that are created especially for ferrets won’t always have the same balance of ingredients, so you need to be incredibly careful what you feed your ferret.
Always read the ingredients list on the packaging and even with the ingredients listed that can be misleading. The items listed first would usually make up most of the diet, but you wouldn’t know what proportions.
To learn more on what is a good nutritional balance for your ferret’s diet, check out the chart below.
Protein: 32-38%; average of 35%
Fat: 18-25%; average of 20%
Fiber: Less than 3%, average of 2%
Carbs: Simple preferred, no sweets in the food
Starch: Well-cooked, extruded
Ash: less than 7%
Moisture: Less than 12%; average of 10%
Most important thing you need to remember from this chart, is that your ferret needs minimum of 35% protein, 20% fat and no more than 3% fibre in their diet.
Look for meats and try to avoid “by-products” as those as the bits that don’t make it in human food and are usually hard to digest, so that wouldn’t be suitable for ferrets.
Eggs are good protein and fats source for your ferret, so maybe consider adding eggs to their diet or use it as a treat.
You want to look for foods that have a good balance of omega 6 and omega 3 fats. A good choice is poultry fat. Eggs are also a good source. In processed foods those fats lose their qualities, so if you can try to find a natural source.
Safe Foods For Ferrets
In addition to the quesiton what should I feed my ferret, you also must know what foods are safe for your ferret.
Safe foods for a ferret include:
- Non-processed meats
- Non-processed meat fats
- Chicken meal
- Turkey meal
- Lamb meal
- Whole eggs
- Liver (liver meal)
- Poultry meal
- Bone meal
- Chicken fat
- Turkey fat
- Poultry fat
Other Safe Foods
- Beet pulp
- Brewer’s Yeast, a good vitamin B supplement
When reading the label of the pre-packaged food you’re going to feed your ferret, you need to make sure that the first ingredient is always meat. Moreover, in the first three ingredients you want to be able to see – Fat.
You never want to see in the first three ingredients any of the following:
- Corn (no more than once)
- Sot (no more than once)
- Wheat (no more than once)
Safe Food Brands For Ferrets
After doing some extensive research, I have gathered these products that are meant to have a well-balanced combination of ingredients to keep you ferret healthy and happy.
100% Human Grade food ingredients. The first three ingredients on the label are animal proteins and it has no by-products or corn.
The balance of ingredients is 36% protein and 20% fat. It does contain eggs and chicken fat which is suitable for your ferret. However, it also contains milk which can be a possible issue.
This pre packaged food is probably with the best nutritional balance. The one negative is that it does contain go by products and some unknown sources.
It is expensive but you’ll be safe feeding this to your ferret. Ingredients balance – Protein (min) 36%, Fat (min) 22%, Fibre (max) 1.5%, Moisture (max) 10%
The brand’s product range consists of several products:
- Baby. These are feeds for babies during the first year of life;
- Active. This is a ration for adult ferrets;
- Senior. These are feeds for senior animals (over 5 years old);
- Bits. These are healthy snacks.
ZuPreem Premium Ferret Diet
First three ingredients on the label areChicken meal, Wheat flour, Chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols). The negative is that it contains starch.
It follows the rule first ingredient – meat and fat in the first three ingredients. The balance of this food is good – Crude Protein, min 40.0%; Crude Fat, min 20.0%; Crude Fiber, max 3.0%.
Wysong Ferret Epigen 90 Digestive Support
Food designed specifically for ferrets. It doesn’t contain any starch ingredients which is a positive.
The balance is 62% protein and 16% fat which is a good combination for your pet ferret. It’s easy on the digestive system and it keeps their poop consistent.
This product has good reviews on Amazon and it seems like a very well balanced diet for your ferret.It’s important to remember that the healthier the diet of your ferret, the less bad smells they will be letting out.
What Not To Feed Ferrets
Even though ferret’s metabolism and digestive system is very quick, and they can flush a lot through it, there is still a long list of foods that must be avoided.
The ferret’s intestine is extremely small and if they can’t digest the food, It might stay there for a long period of time until it creates a problem such as organ and mouth damage.
You should never feed your ferret the following:
- Large or hard bones
- Grains (bread, cereal, seeds, etc)
- Chocolate/ ice cream or other dairy products
- Processed sweets and treats
What is safe for us, it’s likely to be dangerous for your pet ferret. Always think about their safety first and remember they like to sneak and hide objects, so it’s likely they’ll try to eat food that can harm them.
If you feed them kitten food, you must select a brand that has round shaped biscuits as the ones with edges can hurt their mouth or get stuck in the airways.
During feeding time separate if you have other pets as ferrets are known for stealing and you wouldn’t want them to steal food that’s not meant for them as that can be dangerous and bad for their health and digestive system.
Safe Treats For Ferrets
Ferrets love treats! Treats can be given also as rewards and a good training tool. What you need to know is what treats are safe for your ferret. As mentioned above, ferrets’ diet is strictly meat and fat based, so anything processed or sweet is out of the question.
Never give them chocolate or any sweet treats. They won’t be able to process the ingredients and you can seriously damage their health. You should always think what they would eat in their natural habitat and simply stick to the rule – meat, meat and only meat for my ferret!
If you want to mix it up – cooked eggs, cooked meats with no seasoning, organ trimmings can make for an excellent treat! Also, Totally Ferret offers snacks designed specially for ferrets.
Read more about how to raise a healthy and happy ferret by clicking here How To Raise And Care For A Ferret