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We recomend a high protein, high fat, dry ferret food. Vitalin, Merlin, Science Select and James Wellbeloved are used by our volunteers.
These will give your ferret all it requires, but fresh meat is also good. Raw or cooked chicken, mince, rabbit, day old chicks, mice, an occasional egg yolk can all enhance their diet.
NOTE ferrets with Kidney disease require a lower protein, low phosphorous diet and elderly ferrets may also benefit from a reduction in protein to help their kidneys.
When feeding ferrets we recomend introducing them to a mix of food, rather than only one type, just in case you are unable to get hold of it one week, or the supplier changes the ingredients or discontinues production. The ferret kibble we use tends to be a mixture of the following:
Dr John Merlin
some pet stores.
Supreme Science Selective Ferret
Available from Feedem, Amazon and some pet stores.
James Wellbeloved Ferret Complete
Ferrets are lactose intollerant and so they must never be fed Bread and Milk.
If its a raw meat diet that you want your ferret to follow, then make sure you give your ferret a variety of raw meats. A diet of day old chicks alone is not sufficient, so make it varied with minced beef, chicken wings (including bones), rabbit, livers, heart etc, all enjoyed by ferrets. Try not to give liver more than about once a week as too much Vitamin A can build up in their liver. Ensure that your meat is fresh and sourced and stored safely. There is some very useful information about BARF (Bones and Raw food) feeding at Ferretlove.
and also on this forum http://holisticferret.proboards.com/index.cgi
Dont rely on roadkill or feed your ferret carcasses that you come across in the fields as there may have been something wrong with that animal that led to its death. If you are buying whole rabbits check that the liver is healthly as this is a good way to tell if the rabbit has a disease.
Also check that there are no lead pellets in the carcass as ingested pellets will lead to lead poisoning in ferrets.
If you wish to source your raw meats online, then use a reputable supplier and make sure you freeze as soon as the delivery arrives.
Try not to store frozen meat for more than 3 months as the vitamins etc within the meat deteriorate overtime even in the freezer.
Cooked meat can be given but should not be relied on as the main food as a lot of the goodness is lost when meats are cooked. Cooked bones should never be given as cooking makes them more inclined to splinter which can cause problems in your ferret.
Ferrets are obligate carnivores which means that they depend solely on the nutrients found in animal flesh for their survival, and lack the physiology required for the efficient digestion of vegetable matter (although some ferrets enjoy a bit of cucumber or other veg as a treat). Plant matter in cat food and similar can infact lead to bladder stones in ferrets which is why it is best to buy dry food (kibble) specifically manufactured for ferrets or follow a raw meat diet. In fact many owners provide a diet of both dry food and meat.