The ferret is a carnivore. He must be fed on a strict diet otherwise the animal will get sick. Here are our tips for providing them with the right food.
What food should you offer your ferret?
You will be able to very easily remember what to give your ferret because it is in one word: meat! This mustelid should only eat meat. If you try to give him something else, his digestive system won’t take it.
It does not digest fiber or grains. In addition, it has a short small intestine which does not facilitate the absorption of nutrients. This is why it digests very quickly, in 1 to 3 hours, and needs food rich in fat, able to quickly provide it with the energy it needs.
As for sugars, whether slow (carbohydrates) or fast (carbohydrates), they can cause pancreatic cancer in ferrets.
The mixture of raw meat: sensitive souls abstain!
Raw meat mixture is the diet that meets the ferret’s needs.
In France, we find the name “BARF”, acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, or in French “biologically appropriate raw food”. It is a little different from the diet that really corresponds to the ferret, that is to say the Raw Feeding, raw food.
The latter consists of a mixture of bones, muscles, offal and brewer’s yeast. As the French are considered to be poorly gifted with foreign languages, the two diets are often confused while they differ: fruits and vegetables are present in the BARF and absent in the Raw Feeding.
However, if you have followed correctly: no fruits or vegetables for the ferret!
The ideal ferret dish
80% muscle (including 5 to 10% fat) + 10% bone + 10% offal including 5% liver: this is what makes the ideal dish for ferrets.
The choice of meat poultry is to be preferred. Beef and horse meats are proportionately more fatty. Duck fat or oil (vegetable or from fish) can be used as a supplement. Fish such as salmon, trout, perch, cod, known to be without or containing very little thiaminase can also be used. The offal (hearts, livers, kidneys, brains, tongue) will also be poultry. When it comes to bones, you can use bone meal, chicken or duck bones, but also finely crushed eggshells. Brewer’s yeast promotes digestion and gives shine to its hair.
After mixing or finely chopping these elements, you can add water in proportions that vary from one ferret to another: some like their porridge a little more fluid and others a little more compact.
As for all weaned animals, only water will be given: clean and regularly renewed. The ferret being a very playful animal, he loves to spill his water bowl. It is therefore advisable to use a bottle like those used for rabbits.
The alleged effects of meat on character
Feeding ferrets can cause problems for people who have given up meat for food themselves. Some may think they have the solution by giving the ferret protein of plant origin. But it really only supports protein of animal origin.
There is a rumor that meat makes ferrets aggressive. This is as wrong as it is for humans, or as the idea that a dog should be killed after it bites another animal or human in the blood.
Advances in science suggest that it is possible to transform nature. Thus, many people think that any animal could be fed on plant foods, as long as these foods provide the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that the animal needs.
Serious sites specializing in veganism themselves regret that they cannot give an alternative to meat to feed a ferret: no one can guarantee that the animal will stay in good health. health if we give it anything other than meat.
Foods to avoid
The ferret is intelligent and greedy. He’ll quickly figure out how to convince you to let him taste your mouthwatering treats and cookies. But know that you will pay the price: even a small amount will trigger diarrhea. However, he will not make the link between the food and his intestinal disorders and will ask for more. It is indeed your intelligence that it is necessary to appeal!
As with cats and dogs, the chocolate is toxic to ferrets. Its ingestion can lead to rapid death. And while he adores them, the ferret should be kept away from any fruit or vegetable. Grapes, fresh or dried, can trigger kidney failure. Garlic, onion and shallots will cause it to suffer from fatal anemia.
Special ferret kibbles do not seem ideal for their digestive system. Indeed, the compositions indicated mention a protein level without specifying the origin, animal or plant. In addition, they contain carbohydrates and fiber.
If you want to feed your ferret with kibble, meat should be the first element in the composition. Analyzed from this angle, the kibbles for kittens seem much better suited. Take the time to study the indications on the packages: those indicating 80% of ingredients of animal origin and without cereals will be preferred.
The diversity of animal diets
An animal feeds on the elements it finds in its natural environment. To know the diet of an animal, we can:
- observe how the animal lives
- observe the traces of its meals: gnawed acorns, remains of prey, cut young twigs, etc.
- examine the contents of an animal’s digestive tract after death
- or analyze his feces.
From this information, the diet is defined.
The animals feed on:
- either exclusively other animals,
- either exclusively of plants,
- or a mixture of both.
Animals that have a vegetarian diet feed on plants or substances produced by plants (sap, nectar, etc.). This diet can sometimes be very specialized, that is to say that the animals eat only one type of food: the herbivores consume only grass, the granivores only eat seeds, the frugivores not consume only fruits, nectarivores feed only on nectar. Have fun finding animals you know that fit any of these categories!
There are also among carnivores animals whose diet can be very specialized: insectivores, piscivores or scavengers.
And then there are the omnivorous, which feed on both animal and plant foods. The whale is an example of a specialized omnivore because it certainly feeds only on plankton, but this one is indiscriminately of animal and plant origin.