Ferrets have unique feeding requirements. They are carnivores and are unable to obtain nutrients from vegetable matter; the food they eat also passes through their digestive system very quickly. For this reason their diet needs to be high in animal protein, fat and low in fibre. A ferret thrives on a varied diet, so the more varied you can make your ferret’s diet, the better.
There are a few specially designed dry complete ferret foods available and are specifically formulated to provide all the nutrients a ferret needs.
The base of your ferret’s diet should consist of a dry food, this is recommended over semi-moist and canned food alternatives because the soft food can lead to gum and dental disease. Once you have a good dry food you can also offer other food to make their diet more varied.
These can be offered as an occasional treat either cooked or raw.
Ferrets aren’t so keen on fish, but it can still be offered as an occasional treat if your ferrets decided they like it.
Meat and bones
Ferrets love both cooked and raw meat, in particular rabbit, poultry and mice. Raw meat should be given fresh and don’t worry about the bones, ferrets can eat bones and they are a great source of calcium, marrowbone and minerals.
Other treats that can be given, but in very small quantities, and not on a regular basis, include:
- cooked vegetables
- non-acidic fruits, e.g. raisins, banana and coconut
Food to avoid completely include:
- dairy products unless they are lactose-free)
- salty/sugary/spicy food
- cat/dog food
Most of these cause tummy upsets, even if fed in relatively small quantities, and so are best avoided.
This really is up to you. You could either leave a bowl of dry food for them all the time, this way they can eat when they are hungry, or you could give them a couple of feeds a day, either way, you will soon learn which method is best for your ferret.
You should also remember that your ferret should always have access to fresh, clean water. This can be offered in either a water bottle or a heavy ceramic dish to avoid spillage.