Do you know what do ferrets eat?
What is the best ferret diet and why it is important?
Everybody wants to have a healthy and happy pet. But, to achieve that, one has to do research about that particular animal, in this case – a ferret. So, today we will talk about what can ferrets eat, what is the best ferret diet for you and your ferret, ferret eating habits, and everything else related to ferret food.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What is Natural Ferret Diet?
People who are new to the ferret world often think that ferrets have a similar diet to rabbits or rodents. But, they are quite the opposite. Just by looking at their sharp teeth, you can see that ferrets are carnivorous, which means they have to eat meat and only meat. So, we can say that they are more similar to cats than to rabbits. Ferrets have a quick and short digestive system, meaning, they are made to digest animal proteins. Fibers can make a mess in their digestive track because their body doesn’t know how to deal with it.
The best ferret food is raw meat diet, but it is not the only option. You can also feed them with dry ferret food, but not any kind. You have to pick the type of ferret kibble that will provide the nutrition ferret’s body requires. Raw meat and kibble are the best two options you can use to feed your ferret. With that in mind, we have to choose the best foods ferrets can eat and that is the main topic of this article. So, let’s take a look at what can ferrets eat!
Do Ferrets Eat Raw Meat?
Yes and absolutely yes. The ferret raw diet is the best diet you can give to your ferret because it is their natural diet. In nature, wild ferrets eat mice, rats, rabbits, and other small animals like small birds, frogs, insects, worms, etc. Due to that, there are two raw meat ferret diet plans you can feed your ferret with. Raw ferret food can be a whole prey diet and a Frankenprey diet for ferrets.
Whole Prey Ferret Raw Diet
The main difference between those two diets is that the whole prey diet requires you to offer a whole prey to your ferret. That means, for example, an entire rat or mouse. That means everything, an entire prey with fur, tail, face, organs, everything.
There are 3 options for you in the whole prey diet. You can give your ferret live animal, fresh animal corpses, or frozen animal corpses. Each depends on what you can provide, although I would say that the easiest way is the 3rd option, frozen animals. Those are safer since they are pre-frozen and you can probably find them in stores since they are used as food for snakes, etc.
Frankenprey Diet For Ferrets
The second option is the Frankenprey diet. Frankenprey diet for ferrets requires you to combine meat, bones, and organs from different animals in one meal. That means you won’t give whole prey to your ferret, but you will combine rabbit meat with chicken heart and lamb liver. The only issue with this diet is that you have to make a detailed ferret raw diet chart so you can keep track of each part of the organs/bones/meat you gave your ferret. You have to keep your ferret’s nutrition balanced, meaning, you can’t give him too many bones or not enough organs. That has to be balanced.
The good thing about this option is that it gives you the opportunity to adjust the ferret feeding plan to animals you have near you. For example, if you can’t find any whole prey, you can replace them with chicken wings you combine with a turkey heart that is available near you. If you can’t find chicken, you can replace them with rabbit meat, etc. It is actually a good idea to use different meat in this ferret raw diet plan. I will talk about the ferret diet chart later in the article to make it less complicated.
What Is Best Dry Food For Ferrets?
The dry ferret food is also known as ferret kibble and it is not as good as the raw meat diet for ferrets, but it is a close second. You can’t compare their natural diet with fabricated meals so you have to find the best dry food for ferrets. So, to achieve that there are a few rules you have to follow. If you are curious to learn more about dry food, read my post about the best kibble for ferrets.
Choose High-Protein Kibble
A good ferret kibble has to have a high percentage of animal protein because they are carnivorous. There is no room for fruits and vegetables in the ferret’s diet. So, look for grain-free dry food with meat as the first 3 ingredients on the list. That can be chicken, turkey, lamb, etc. If they are in the first 3 places, that means they are the majority of ingredients in the food. That type of food is good for ferrets because it has high nutritional value.
Avoid Fibers, Grains & Sugar
The second rule you have to follow is to avoid all fruits and vegetables. Ferret’s digestive system can’t digest fibers. They will simply go through your ferret and cause all kinds of problems. You might not see those problems now, but they can start showing later in their life. For example, peas can cause bladder stones in ferrets which is a pretty dangerous diagnose for them. When you look at that, ferrets have a pretty simple diet – only meat. Everything not related to animals is bad for them.
Best Cat Food For Ferrets
As I have already mentioned, cats and ferrets are very similar and that is why there are a few pretty good cat and kitten food for ferrets. They are all chosen by the rules I mentioned above, meaning they are high in animal protein and low in fibers. That category is also known as grain-free premium cat kibble and it is the best option for cats also. If you want to see what are your options when it comes to the best cat food to feed ferrets, then read my post Can ferrets eat cat food?
How Much Do Ferrets Eat?
Now that we have scratched the surface in the quality department with questions like can ferret eat raw meat or what is the best dry food for ferrets, let’s talk about quantity. As you can imagine, ferrets don’t eat much. Well, you can see that they are small animals so you know they can’t eat as much as an adult cat or dog. But, there is a difference between whether they eat raw meat or kibble in the amount of food they digest.
Feeding Ferrets Raw Meat
If you feed your ferret with raw meat, you can estimate he will eat 5-10% of his body weight in one day. That means if you have a ferret that weighs 1 kilo, he will probably eat 50-100 grams a day. Separate that into two meals (morning and evening) and you will end up with 25-50 grams of meat per meal. Female ferrets usually eat less than males, but there are exceptions so don’t get surprised if you end up with one hungry jill that can eat like an adult hob or vice versa.
Feeding Ferrets Dry Food
Kibble nutrition has a different story. Kibble is good, but it doesn’t have the same nutritional value as raw meat. That means a ferret has to eat more to achieve the same level of energy. The ferret will also poop more on a kibble diet because he can’t use everything in it. So, my recommendation is to leave kibble in the cage at all times and let your ferret eat when he is hungry. Most ferrets will stop eating once they are full, but if you notice your ferret is fat, then you will have to make some changes in the diet. Another very important thing for kibble-fed ferrets. Always leave clean and fresh water in the cage. Kibble is dehydrated food so ferrets have to drink more to stay hydrated.
Snacks Ferrets Can Eat
Another pretty important part of the ferret diet are snacks. Snacks can be used as a bribe during training, as a distraction during grooming, as help during shedding season, or simply as a snack. Choosing good ferret snacks is as important as choosing a good diet. So, just like with whole meals, you can choose two different types of snacks.
Natural Ferret Snacks
I can’t call this category raw meat snacks because there are things you can use as a snack that isn’t meat. For example, one of the most popular snacks is a raw egg. A raw egg is a part of their natural diet so it is high in nutritional value, it keeps their coat shiny and it helps with hairballs during shedding season. Raw meat can also be a good snack, but you can also cook meat (without spices, only in water) or make a pet-friendly jerky and offer it as a snack. You can read more about those natural snacks ferrets can eat in my post about ferret treats.
Storebought Ferret Snacks
There are many ferret treats you can buy in stores that are healthy for your pet. You can try with standard dry snacks, but keep in mind to use the same rules you would use when choosing kibble for your ferret. Besides that, there are more interesting snacks in different forms. I am talking about salmon snacks. They come as salmon oil or as a salmon paste.
Salmon oil is great for your ferret’s coat and it helps him with hairballs during shedding seasons. It is so yummy you can use it as a distraction during nail clipping or ear cleaning and other grooming you do with your ferret. You will be done and your ferret won’t notice a thing! The same story is with salmon paste. It is easier to give to your ferret due to the structure (you don’t need a spoon), but it has the same benefits as salmon oil. Great way to distract a ferret and an even better way to train your ferret to do various tricks.
How To Make A Good Ferret Feeding Schedule?
It is a good idea to make a ferret diet plan, especially if you are feeding your ferret raw meat. With a good quality ferret raw diet chart, you can keep track of proteins, bones, organs, and meat you give to your ferret. That way you can be sure he always has a well-balanced meal. The Frankenprey diet for ferrets requires a diet plan because it is up to you to combine the number of organs, meat, and bones in one meal. If you feed your ferret whole prey, he gets everything he needs in one meal.
There are three categories in the Frankenprey diet: bone-in meat, muscle meat, and organs. The biggest category in weekly percentage is bone-in meat, the smallest are organs. If we take a look at the list of meals for one week we will come up with 14 meals (2 meals per day for 7 days). In those 14 meals, 7-9 meals should be bone-in meat. 2-4 meals should be muscle meat and 3 meals should be organs.
Bone-in Meat Examples
Bone-in meat is a category that consists of bones with meat on them, for example, chicken wings. That doesn’t mean you will come and remove the meat from bones. You will use the entire chicken wing with meat and bones. This category consists of entire chicken, quail, rabbit, frog, etc. There are a few bigger birds you can use, but only some parts like turkey and duck neck, ribs, and wingtips. Other parts of those birds are too big and too strong for ferrets to eat.
Muscle Meat Examples
Raw muscle meat is meat without bones. For this category, you can use turkey, duck, lamb, beef, chicken (gizzard too), etc.
The most important organ you have to give your ferret in at least 1,5 meals is the heart. Yes, the heart is a muscle but you have to include it because it is a source of taurine for ferrets. Taurine is extremely important and if you don’t give taurine to ferrets, you can cause neurological problems, etc. You can use chicken, turkey, duck, and other animals, but try to avoid rabbit heart since it is not that rich in taurine.
The second very important organ is the liver and it should have the highest percentage next to the heart. Other organs you can use in this category are kidneys, brains, pancreas, etc.
If you want to keep your ferret’s diet balanced, stick to this amount and use 3-4 different animal proteins in the diet. Make sure that at least one of the proteins is red meat (beef, lamb, etc.) and combine chicken, rabbit, fish, and other meat types you can find. You can read more about the raw meat diet in my post about Raw meat nutrition right here.
Can Ferrets Eat Cat Treats?
Yes, ferrets can eat cat treats as long as they are made with high animal protein, grain-free, and low in fibers. Cats and ferrets have similar nutritional requirements so you can use cat food to feed ferrets, just make sure it is high-quality cat food.
Can Ferrets Eat Cheerios?
No, ferrets can’t eat Cheerios. Cheerios are filled with additives that will ruin your ferret’s digestive system so avoid feeding your ferret Cheerios.
Can Ferrets Eat Crickets?
Yes, ferrets can eat crickets, but a better question is whether a ferret would eat a cricket. They are very picky when it comes to food so your ferret might ignore it if you offer one to your ferret.
Can Ferrets Eat Oranges?
No, ferrets can’t eat oranges. They are stick carnivores so they can’t digest any type of fruit or vegetables.
Can Ferrets Eat Tomatoes?
No, ferrets can’t eat tomatoes. Their diet should consist of meat, bones, and organs without fruit or vegetables.
Can Ferrets Eat Human Food?
No, ferrets can’t eat human food. Our food is filled with sugar, spices, and other additives which can be harmful to ferrets in the long run. The only thing they can eat is raw meat without any spices.
Can Ferrets Eat Mealworms?
Yes, ferrets can eat mealworms since they are high in proteins and fat. But, the better question is would a ferret eat a mealworm since they are very picky about their food.
If you are interested in more can ferret eat questions, read my post about What can ferret eat?
As you can see, the ferret diet should consist of meat and only meat. It is up to you to decide whether you can provide a raw meat diet or dry food nutrition. No matter which one you choose, make sure you know how and what to use in it to keep your ferret healthy. Which ferret diet did you choose and why? Share your opinion in the comments below! Subscribe to our Friendly Ferret for more ferret-related articles!