Planning to get a ferret, the owner should study in advance the diet of the animal and its feeding regime.
Such prudence will benefit the animal’s body, save it from unnecessary health problems and significantly prolong its life.
In this article, we will consider the peculiarities of feeding ferrets at home, what you can and what you can’t eat, feeding schemes with natural products, live food, and dry food.
What ferrets eat in the wild
Ferrets are true predators, independently obtaining food in the wild, hunting small rodents, birds, insects, and amphibians. Sometimes they catch fish in bodies of water, but this product makes up a small part of a wild polecat’s diet. Plant food is also practically not present in the menu of these animals. They get all the elements necessary for their body from meat.
Nutrition of domestic ferrets
At home, ferrets must be fed food that is as close as possible to what they would get in their natural habitat. The owner may choose to feed natural products or pre-prepared food containing a complex of vitamins and minerals necessary for the normal growth and development of the pet.
The recommended daily ratio for a pet ferret is:
- animal protein – 30-35%;
- fats – 20-22%;
- Carbohydrates – no more than 20%;
- dietary fiber – 2-3%.
List of recommended products
Now we need to understand what foods contain the above components and what can be given to a ferret at home.
What you can feed your pet ferret:
- poultry meat;
- boiled lamb;
- lean beef;
- rabbit meat;
- poultry by-products;
- Sea fish and redfish;
- seafood (shrimp, squid);
- eggs (quail, chicken);
- Porridge from several bowls of cereal.
What not to feed ferrets
It is undesirable to give ferrets vegetables, especially raw and hard pieces. Their body is not adapted to digest vegetable food. What is more, it has no nutritional value whatsoever for these animals.
What else should not be given to ferrets:
- citrus fruits;
- Chocolate, ice cream, and sugary sweet desserts;
- salty foods;
- smoked meats;
- Fried and fatty meats;
- hot spices and condiments;
- soy products;
- Food from your own table;
- Dog and cat food.
Treats and vitamins
Treat your furry friend with raisins, dates, pieces of cheese, banana, low-fat cottage cheese. Such products are served no more than 1-2 times a week in a small amount.
A diet based on natural products
Domestic ferrets cannot be fed food from their table. Meals for them are prepared separately, without salt and spices.
- Meat makes up 2/3 of the daily ratio.
- 1/3 of the diet is cereal porridge. It is possible to prepare a dish combining oatmeal, buckwheat, wheat, and rice.
It is very convenient and useful to feed pet ferrets “minced meat”, which involves mixing cereals with parts of minced meat and by-products in a ratio of 1:3. It can be prepared in advance, divided into portions, and sent to the freezer. The food is thawed to room temperature before feeding.
If desired, the owner can add a small number of vegetables to the cereal porridge (no more than 10% of the total portion).
Eggs are served to the pet in boiled form no more than 2-3 times a week.
How many grams of natural food is eaten per day by ferrets?
- Adult males – 300-400 g;
- Females – 150-200 grams;
- Smaller ferrets – up to 100 g.
Live food includes live small rodents, birds, insects, and worms. This is close to the natural diet typical of wild ferrets. Feeding live food at home is not particularly convenient.
Dry food-based diet
A simplified way of feeding ferrets at home involves the use of dry food, created specifically for these animals. It contains all the necessary substances in the right ratio.
Dry food is divided into three segments:
- budget category – economy;
The food is selected on an individual basis. After the first days of feeding, the owner should observe the condition of the animal. If the chosen food is suitable, the ferret will be active, the stool will normalize, the coat color will improve, there will be no dandruff and other negative signs.
If any adverse symptoms are detected, the food should be changed. There is a large selection of products from different manufacturers, so there are no problems with the choice.
The only advice from veterinarians is not to buy cheap food of dubious quality for domestic ferrets. Such a product has a poor composition of useful elements in its composition. Low-quality food can cause digestive system disorders and provoke the development of diseases that are difficult to cure.
Nutrition during pregnancy, growth, and molting
During growth, molting, and pregnancy, animals need to be fed more often and more frequently. This is due to the natural need of the body, which requires an increased amount of nutrients. Foods high in calcium, iron, phosphorus, and B vitamins are a priority.
In addition to increasing daily portions, the ferret can be fed fish oil, which is particularly useful for growing individuals and females.
The owner needs to ensure that the pet has free access to clean drinking water, which is especially important for animals that consume dry food.
The diet of the pet ferret should not include carbonated and sugary drinks. Not more than once a week he can be spoiled with non-fat kefir.
Proper nutrition is the key to the good health and long life of a pet ferret!