Here we layout a comprehensive plan for feeding your ferret. We discuss feeding frequency and the number of meals a ferret needs each day. Other important points we discuss are what types of food to feed your ferret and the best ways to make sure your ferret maintains a healthy weight. So let’s get to it! First up we provide some background information about ferrets and their ideal situation.
Ferrets and Food
Ferrets are carnivores, this means their diet should be primarily meat. Because of this they need special foods. Cats and kittens are similar in that they should also limit their carbohydrate intake as much as possible. Dogs are completely different and can tolerate a relatively High carbohydrate diet when compared to ferrets.
The ideal meal for ferret is whole prey. This usually means small rodents that have been humanely killed and kept refrigerated to guarantee freshness. You can find these at your local pet store. Ferrets are not scavengers and should not be fed raw meat that has not been kept refrigerated.
Alternatively, you can get specialty ferret kibble that will also do the job well. If you are really in a bind then look for premium kitten food that lists meat as the first ingredient. It is very important to make sure that carbohydrates are kept to an absolute minimum.
If ferrets consume too many carbohydrates it will increase their risk of developing certain cancers. Specifically, the cancer they are more prone to developing is called insulinoma. That link is to an article detailing the effects and symptoms of insulinoma in ferrets.
In some kinds of cat or dog food these carbohydrates will come in the form of vegetable or grain material. Because of this it is necessary to check the ingredient list.
How often should I feed my ferrret?
Ferrets also have very fast metabolisms. Young ferrets need anywhere from five to six meals every single day. They need to eat two to four meals a day when they are adults. Some ferrets kept as pets are good at maintaining their weight when given free rein to eat as much as they want. However, in the wild a ferret would need to hunt for every meal they eat.
It can be very difficult to mimic the multiple feedings during the day that a ferret would normally experience. One thing you could try is using a tray style automatic pet feeder. They can feed your ferret up to 6 times a day. make sure to look for one that runs off of batteries. If you’re keeping the feeder in your ferrets cage while you are away you will want to make sure that the ferret cannot chew on the cord. Here is a link to an article on unhumid.com that provides some reviews on this type of pet feeder.
Using a tray style pet feeder will not allow you to feed your ferret whole prey. You would only be able to use this for the ferret specific kibble. We recommend starting off with a tray style feeder. If you leave a big bowl of food for your ferret while you’re gone, your ferret may end up overeating and become overweight.
Once a ferret becomes overweight you will need to put it on a diet. Just like humans ferrets get very cranky when their calories are restricted to the point that they are losing weight. Good could make playtime less enjoyable for both of you.
Ferret Feeding Plan
So to wrap it all up here is a quick summary:
- Ideally feed your ferret a whole prey diet
- Use ferret-specific kibble
- Space out 4 to 6 meals throughout the day, possibly with an automatic pet feeder
Thanks for reading! Our next article will take a closer look at ferret diets and recipes.