What Do Ferrets Eat?

Introduction

Certainly when I got my first ferret, Mash, back in 1994, there were many different views about what ferrets should be fed.

Farmers here in Western Australia and, I would think, around the rest of Australia as well as in England, seemed to think the poor animals should have a diet of bread and milk ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I think the logic was that if they were fed that on a regular basis, they wouldnโ€™t be ferocious, bloodthirsty creatures that would lust after the taste of blood!

Huh?

Then there were folk who fed their ferrets canned dog food only; or those who fed them canned cat food or even those cheap boxes of dry cat food from the supermarket. And they even wondered why their ferretsโ€™ poop was technicolored!

However when I explained that it was due to the dyes that were in the cheap cat food, they thought I was exaggerating.

Then there were a few people who used to go and buy sacks of rodent food for their ferrets to eat.

โ€œRodent food?โ€ Iโ€™d squeak and my eyebrows would shoot up in horror at the thought of giving our favorite pets rodent food!

โ€œNo!โ€ I would exclaim heatedly. โ€œIt is most definitely NOT alright to feed them rodent food becauseโ€ โ€ฆ drum roll โ€ฆ โ€œferrets are NOT RODENTS so please don’t ever think of giving your ferret any kind of seed or vegetable as its daily diet.โ€

I would explain that they are โ€ฆ more drum rolls โ€ฆ MUSTELIDS, which means they are obligate (i.e. โ€œstrictโ€) carnivores.

That means that a ferret was designed to get goodness from its diet by eating a large amount of animal-based proteins (i.e. meat) and doesnโ€™t get any nutrition from plant-based proteins (like grains, fruit or vegetables)! In fact, giving those to a ferret could cause problems down the track.

 

Why a ferret needs a special diet

They have a very short intestinal tract, only about 5 times the length of its body. A cat, another obligate carnivore, has an intestinal tract 10 times the length of its body.

Food usually passes through a ferretโ€™s intestine in about 3 hours, compared to the 5-6 hours it takes to go through a catโ€™s gut.

The food a ferret eats must be highly digestible and concentrated to allow for the short digestion time, and must also be high in animal protein and fat, to help maintain a healthy immune system.

A diet containing taurine is vital for a ferret’s heart. Taurine is essential for a healthy heart and good eye function. If there’s not enough taurine included in the diet then the ferret’s heart muscle could stretch and become enlarged. That, in turn, could lead to dilated cardiomyopathy, which would result in congestive heart failure then death.

Ferrets don’t require carbohydrates in their diet as long as they have enough fat and protein in their diet. If a ferret has too much carbohydrates in its diet it could cause two serious problems in the long term – insulinoma and diarrhea.

 

Carnassials

Open a ferret’s mouth and take a look at its teeth.

Whoa, Grandpa Seamus! They surely are big, strong impressive teeth in your mouth

Check out the well-developed carnassials (specialized teeth that form shearing blades to cut up meat, guillotine fashion).

You sure wouldnโ€™t want those teeth grabbing your finger or nose or even earlobe unless you knew your ferret was just going to gently chew on them, would you?

And it always amazes me at how incredibly gentle a ferret can be when its giving its owner a little friendly nibble, say, on the earlobe. The power that those jaws COULD pack, but donโ€™t, is quite amazing!

As already explained, ferrets have an extremely high metabolic rate so there should always be food available for them so that they can snack away whenever they’re hungry.

If you have a talented ferret like Kaos, who could open fridge doors, then you might find her raiding the contents of your fridge at odd hours of the day (or night)!

No, no! I’m joking!! Seriously

She’d lie on her back, scratching, and has wrecked the rubber seal around the bottom of the door but she couldnโ€™t actually open the fridge to get in by herself. Phew!

 

Food choices

What do ferrets eat? Eeeny, meeny, miny, mo โ€ฆ mmmm, what to do?

There are many different thoughts about what ferrets should eat. Some people only feed them dry food; some only fresh meat, while others give them day-old chicks and pinkies (newborn hairless mice).

I believe they are referred to as weener mice/rats here in Australia and also in the UK (eeek – not something I could do and I’m sure my lot would look at me as if I were mad if I served those up to them). And there are still some stubborn old fools here who think ferrets should be fed bread and milk … the mind boggles as to where the logic for that kind of diet ever came from.

 

Fresh meat

If you’re planning to give your ferret a fresh meat diet, you have to think about adding certain minerals or vitamins to the food. We can get an assortment of pet meat from pet stores here … kangaroo, beef, mutton and minced chicken.

Mutton is very fatty and can turn your ferret into a chubby bunny who’ll waddle around if it’s solely fed that. Now, we know ferrets have short GI tracts so need a diet that has fat but too much is no good.

Some people get a whole chook or rabbit, innards et al, and put it through the mincer so that their ferrets can eat everything. You’d probably be right in thinking that would be an ideal diet for your ferret, as it would have all the goodness of the innards, calcium from the bones and muscle meat, all mixed together.

If you only want to give your ferret raw meat, please think about adding a good vitamin/mineral supplement, like calcium, to the food to the food to avoid the possibility of your ferret developing osteodystrophy. Taurine also needs to be added to avoid cardiomyopathy.

 

Day-old chicks / baby mice & rats

Day-old chicks? Well, that’s up to you. I have known certain people who say that is the best diet for them, as it’s what mustelids in the wild would eat.

However I’ve also heard that ferrets can get blockages and bald patches from a diet of day-old chicks, not to mention hypocalcemia and actinomycosis. Hmmm!

You usually can get day-old chicks and baby mice/rats from suppliers to reptile keepers but that really gives me the jim-jams.

Somehow the idea of coming across fluffy little chicks stashed in my underwear drawer is just too awful to contemplate – yuk!

For those interested in giving their ferret a natural diet, you can read more on About.com’s article called Towards a More Natural Ferret Diet – Whole Prey and Raw Foods

It also lists sites where you can learn more about giving your ferret a natural diet.

Now – if you do give your ferrets day-old chicks &/or pinkies, please make sure you check their cages for any food they might stash there. You donโ€™t want to leave a festering piece of food there which, if eaten after a day or two, will give your ferret a bad case of โ€œMontezuma’s revengeโ€. Something like that could very well be fatal to your ferret.

 

Insects

Some ferrets love crunching on insects – I remember being totally grossed out when I caught Friskie with what I thought were a couple of hairy old twigs sticking out of her mouth until I realized she was chomping on a Huntsman spider. Eeeuuww. I wouldn’t let her give me any licks for a day or two till her spider-breath dissipated

I guess if you wanted to give your ferrets insects as a treat, then you’d be able to find cans of them at pet stores which also supply food for reptiles.

 

Premium quality dry foods


Food made especially for ferrets is still quite hard to come by here in Western Australia so we have to dish out the premium quality cat food.

The food for an adult ferret needs to have a high meat protein value, around 31-32%, 18% minimum fat and a maximum of 3% for fiber.

The brands of cat food we use here are the chicken versions of Iams, Hills Science Diet and Advantage.

You don’t buy them in supermarkets but in pet stores or places like City Farmers (a local one-stop-shop for pet, garden, animal and pool supplies) in Perth.

Some people buy all 3 brands and give their ferrets a mixture. My lot prefer Iams and tend to turn their noses up at the other two so I stick with that.

Make sure you don’t get the Furball type, as that has too much fiber for ferrets to digest.

Kits need food with a higher protein percentage so they should be fed something like Iams Kitten when they are weaned, as that has a 34% protein value.

I came across a site called Pet Food Ingredients Revealed! which lists the worst ingredients found in pet food so it might be useful to check out just to make sure youโ€™re not inadvertently giving your ferret something which might be bad for it.

 

Dry ferret food

We are slowly getting some dry ferret food appearing here in Perth now, thank goodness.

Iโ€™ve heard Wysongโ€™s Ferret Archtetypal-I & II food is excellent but unfortunately both are unavailable in Perthย  ๐Ÿ™

There are quite a number of dry ferret foods which have been around for some time and at the bottom of this section, I put a link to a chart comparing the various brands of ferret kibble.

This updated chart is great because not only does it talk about brands which are available in the US, now it has a comparison chart for brands found in the UK, Europe and also Australia! And … an added bonus … it compares ferret treats too ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ve also listed a pdf at the bottom of this sectionย made by Charlotte, a friend and an Aussie ferret owner – she’s given usย a good comparison of the various brands we can get here in Oz. It’s more detailed than the Overseas Kibble Comparison Chart on the Ferret Edu website so well worth checking out.

Over the past couple of years it’s been found that peas in dry ferret food can cause bladder stones ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Zupreem Grain Free is apparently especially bad for ferrets so whatever you do, please avoid any kibble with peas or a high number of vegetable protein in their ingredients!

A comment from ferret owner Teri received today, Nov 13, 2016 …

Zupreem Grain Free Ferret Food does NOT have peas in it any longer.ย  I’m not sure when they took them out but I have been feeding it for over 2 years with very good results. I have a ferret that was diagnosed with kidney failure at 12 weeks old by 2 veterinarians.ย  He is now going to be 3 years old and has done very well on Zupreem Grain Free Ferret. He gets Marshall’s Uncle Duck 3 times a week as a treat.ย  I am trying to find another grain free ferret food that does not contain peas with no success.ย  He will not eat live prey, frozen prey, canned food, cooked meat or raw meat.

So it would seem Zupreem got their act together and made a great kibble for ferrets! ย Wonderful news ย ๐Ÿ˜€

Ferret Food Charts (Ferret Edu)

An analysis of dry ferret food available in Australia. Please click HERE to download the pdf.

 

Fresh chicken meat

In all the years I’ve had ferrets, I haven’t had one who’s been keen on red meat. They turn their noses up at any of the meats from pet stores mentioned above and even ground beef from the supermarket, but they donโ€™t mind fresh chicken meat. So, whenever I’m making a recipe that requires chicken breast or boneless thighs, I buy an extra piece so that I can give it to them.

I just cut it up into little pieces, put it on a dish and lock them all up with it in the bathroom. That way I know they haven’t stashed any food around the house and when I open the door, the dog follows me in and eats any leftovers happily.

I was told to give Mash raw chicken wings when I first got her. It was something that ferrets were supposed to love and was good for cleaning their teeth at the same time. Hah! After finding the wings nestled in between my pantyhose in my chest of drawers a few times, I put a stop to that pronto! Haven’t had one ferret yet who enjoyed crunching on a wing.

 

Canned foods

Don’t feed your ferret canned cat food from the supermarket. There is nothing nutritional in them and will cause dental problems for your pet.

There are premium quality canned cat foods (like Hillโ€™s Science Diet) but it’s not advisable to give them regularly to your ferret either.

However, if you have a ferret which is ill, then youโ€™ll probably find that your vet will suggest giving it the Hillโ€™s Science Diet A/D formula in the short term to help improve its health.

With a sick ferret, always be guided by your (ferret knowledgeable) vetโ€™s advice rather than going on your own!

No dog food, dry or canned

There is nothing nutritional for a ferret in either dry or canned dog food, so please don’t give your ferret either.

 

Other No-Nos

No cow’s milk

Don’t give your ferret cow’s milk (like the stuff we drink) as they are lactose intolerant and the milk would cause them to have diarrhea.

No fruit orย vegetables

Understand that ferrets are carnivores – they are NOT rodents – so therefore they can’t digest fiber. Please don’t feed them ANY fruit or veggies. There is no nutritional value for ferrets in any fruit/vegetable so please leave them off the menu ย ๐Ÿ™‚

No chocolate

Another no no is giving them chocolate, for whatever reason. Theobromine, which is in chocolate, is dangerous to most pets.

And bread and milk? … No No No!

I kid you not .. some people actually think bread and milk is the right diet for ferrets.

Years ago I used to have stand-up arguments with people who criticized me for giving ferrets dry cat food, telling me I was wrong and that bread and milk was the proper diet for them. Amazing!

I’d get one of my ferrets, lift up their lip, show them those sharp canines and say, “See .. they are car-ni-vores” very slowly. but it didn’t seem to make a difference.

Arguing with those types was futile. I reckon it’s easier to push a boulder uphill. * sigh *

 

Treats

People give ferrets raisins for treats but I wonder about the wisdom of that.

(a) Raisins are sweet and ferrets really shouldn’t have sweet things and, (b) ferrets shouldn’t have fiber and raisins are high in fiber. And if your ferret can’t digest the raisins, they *might* cause problems in its gut. Why take the risk? AND, there have been recent reports that giving your ferret raisins regularly could cause kidney problems down the track. More reason not to give that to your ferret.

If you don’t believe me, read what a vet thinks about giving raisins to ferrets here.

Be careful about what you give them and also consider the size, as there have been reports of ferrets having blockages from something as innocent as a piece of carrot which got stuck in their gut.

I’ve found that some of my ferrets absolute LOVE having chicken-flavored Strapz Schmackos but the others sniff the piece I offer and you can almost hear them say, “Ho hum!” as the turn away. I don’t know if you American ferret owners can get them but here in Oz they’re the ultimate dog snack and our dog Zac loves them too.

When I give Zac his treat in the morning, I have one or two of ferrets around my feet, waiting their turn for a small piece of the Strapz. But when I say a SMALL piece, I mean that, as I donโ€™t honestly know if ferrets might find it hard to digest. If you want to give your ferret a piece of Strapz, make sure itโ€™s no more than a quarter the size of the nail on your little finger!

That’s Otis standing up to have his daily Schmacko!

 

Smoothies

All of my ferrets are crazy about their daily smoothie!

It consists of 1/2 cup of no lactose milk, one egg yolk and some supplements, all whisked together.

You can see them all licking their lips in anticipation when I call them to come and have it. So cute!

Kaos used to get so excited about having it that she used to do her most unco weasel wardance, more rolling over and whipping her head from side to side, than pronking, as she followed me to where I normally put the dish down!! She was such a clown

what do ferrets eat
For 6 ferrets, whisk together โ€ฆ

1/2 cup of No Lactose milk

one free-range egg yolk

1/4 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

2 drops Astaxanthin

1/8th teaspoon Camu Camu powder (Vitamin C)

1/8th teaspoon powdered Curcuminย  *

1/8th teaspoon powdered Boswellia serrata (Indian frankincense)

If you have fewer ferrets, then adjust the amount of no lactose milk accordingly or, if your ferrets really love it like my two girls do, leave the amount as is ๐Ÿ˜‰

Serve the smoothie at room temperature.

 

NB* Curcumin thins the blood so if your ferret is scheduled for surgery, please talk to your vet about when to stop putting it in the smoothie.

** When Dash was ill and on pred, I added 3 drops of Milk Thistle to the smoothie.

 


 

Sick Ferrets

If you have a ferret which is ill or is recovering from surgery or an illness and it needs to put on weight, the best thing for that is Duck Soup.

You can find many sites online with Duck Soup recipes โ€“ Iโ€™ve listed a couple which I think are good just for you to get an idea about whatโ€™s needed.

A reader’s advice on how to look after sick ferrets

At the moment, I have two sick ferrets – Mojo has adrenal problems while Dash has recently (2015) been diagnosed with inoperable lymphomaย  ๐Ÿ™ย  I have added more supplements to the smoothie so if you have a sick ferret, please go to my Lymphoma page to see what the additional supplements are.

 


 

Other animals and food

If your ferrets live in the house with you and you also own other animals, you have to come up with some creative thinking on how to allow your ferrets access to their food without it getting snaffled up by the dog or cats.

In the past, I used to have a large rectangular cardboard box on the laundry floor, with a small hole cut out at one end so that the ferrets could go in and out. Having a crafty cat as well, the box used to end up being pushed along as the cat lay on his side, paw stretched inside the box, as he hoicked the food out. Silly really, as the cats got the same cat food as the ferrets but obviously the grass was greener ……!

The box idea wasn’t particularly good but when we reorganized our laundry, Philip had a brainwave and cut a hole in the door to one of our cupboards. That was a perfect way for the ferrets to go in and out without any interference from the crafty cat or devious dog ๐Ÿ˜€

 

If you’re interested in giving your ferret a raw diet, click HERE to read more about it.

 


Comments

What Do Ferrets Eat? — 86 Comments

  1. Thank you this is my first ferrit and now I want to learn more how to look after Julz

  2. Hi Maryanne

    So glad you found the page useful! You’ve started on a wonderful journey of discovering what fabulous pets ferrets are and I’m sure Julz will give you many, many years of love and laughter ๐Ÿ˜€

    Don’t forget, if you have any questions about anything, please join us on my forum. There are a number of great people there and they’re always happy to help newbies ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cheers

    ~Nona

  3. i have 2 lil girls meesha and baby, their 6 months and 5months old. their amazing lil friends but they seem to use the bathtoom in the corner of their enclosure rather than in their litter box literally right next to where their pottying. i clean it up and have been trying to litter train them, do you have any ideas you could share to help with this?
    joshua.

  4. Hi Joshua … most ferrets have a real stubborn streak in them so I’ve kinda given up trying to train my guys, but they’ve trained me pretty well to be their ferret slave! LOL! ๐Ÿ˜€
    Other ferret owners have told me that squirting Bitter Apple in the places where their ferrets shouldn’t go potty works but I haven’t tried it myself. You could get a bottle and see how that works. Also have you got those litter pans which tuck into corners? If you can somehow secure the trays in the corners where the girls go, then they might get the idea. Otherwise I can only suggest lining their enclosure corners with newspapers (cheaper than puppy pads) and that should help with cleaning up any mistakes!
    Hugs to your two from their new buddies down under ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  5. Hi could you tell me the best food to give my ferret she has just had a litter of kitts I have her on kibble at the moment thanks

  6. Matthew, you can give your jill a small, and I mean SMALL, amount (1 teaspoon) of chopped liver daily so that she regains her iron levels after giving birth. If you give too much your jill will get diarrhoea so please be aware of that. Kibble is fine, as long as it’s good quality dry food. You could always give her some fresh boneless meat, either red or chicken, which you should chop into manageable chunks for the mother. If you give her fresh meat in the evenings, please make sure you check every morning to make sure she’s eaten it all and hasn’t stashed it away somewhere. If you find any food stashed the next day, please throw it away as if it goes off, it could cause problems should the jill eat it. Make sure your jill has plenty of fresh water 24/7. Also check your jills teats to make sure she doesn’t develop mastitis (her teats will feel like little hard stones if she goes get it) as that will make her unable to feed her babies.

    When your kits get to the 3 week stage, they’ll start wandering around and will be interested in eating the same food as their mother. Check out my page on Breeding to see how to feed the kits…

    http://www.all-about-ferrets.com/how-to-breed-ferrets.html

    Hope all goes well with mother and babies ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cheers
    ~Nona

  7. I am so sorry to here about ur sick babies. I just wanted to say Im planing on getting another one soon. As I don’t have any now but did in the past your site helped rejig my mind about everything I need to know as well as teach me things I didn’t know before I love the recipes u have and I am Deffinitlry saving this and checking back often. Hope ur lovely’s get well soon and read some more new things have a great one

  8. Hi I’m getting a 6 week old female ferret on Tuesday I have 4 cats how do I introduced them to my ferret? also what do I feed my baby ferret?

  9. Hi Jean
    6 weeks sounds awfully young for a kit to be separated from her mother but if you give her lots of love and cuddles, then I think she’ll be okay. She might cry, missing her mother, and if she does, please give her lots of attention.
    Do you have female cats or are they mixed males and females? Just wondering if you have a cat who has a mothering instinct because if you do, it might be an idea to introduce your ferret to her first.
    When I have a new ferret in the house, I let our dog and cats smell the ferret’s bottom first. Then I let them smell the rest of my ferret, leaving its face for last.
    I’ve been very lucky with my other pets as they’ve all been very welcoming to any new ferrets but obviously you must keep an eye on each of your cats to make sure they’re not going to take a wipe at your ferret with their claws out.
    Everything should go well if your ferret knows you’re there to look out for her, and your cats also know that you’re there for them too.
    Our cats were very welcoming when we brought home our first ferret, as was our Rottweiler. Mash was 2 years old, give or take, and she was just such a sweetheart; however when we got our silvermitt kit 6 months later, she was hyper-active and our cats tended to jump up out of the way when she annoyed them!! You can read more about how our animals reacted with our ferrets here, if you’re interested …

    http://www.all-about-ferrets.com/ferrets-and-other-pets.html

    I’d give your little girl good quality ferret/cat dry cat food which has been mixed with some water so that it’s rather wet rather than hard kibble. Also get some mince and see if she likes that. She’ll need that mushy kibble to be available 24/7, with fresh water, but if she likes the mince, please give it to her in an area where she can’t stash it. I’ve heard a couple of heartbreaking stories of ferret owners who missed some “fresh” food and days later their ferret ate it and got the worse dose of gastro, one ferret even dying from that ๐Ÿ™
    You could also give her a smoothie, either in the morning or evening – some no lactose milk, egg yolk and, if you want, add some supplements to keep her as healthy as possible. I’ve listed what supplements I’m giving my guys and if I’d known about them years ago, I would have put them in their smoothie when they were youngsters ๐Ÿ™‚
    Are you getting your little girl from a breeder? If you are, ask the breeder what they suggest you should feed your kit.
    Hope that’s been of help ๐Ÿ˜€
    I’m sure you’ll fall madly in love with her, as will your cats, and you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get a ferret! LOL!
    Please feel free to join my forum if you have any more questions as you’ll probably get an answer quicker!!
    All the very best with your new friend ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  10. Hi Gareth – please don’t give your ferret ANY fruit or veggies!
    They can’t digest fiber so giving them veggies, even salad vegetables, won’t give them any nutritional value and *could* cause a blockage!
    If you want to give your ferret a treat, I’d suggest something like a small piece of red meat or a chicken wing tip for them to gnaw on. If you do give it that, please always check to make sure your ferret hasn’t stashed the meat/chicken wing anywhere because they could get really sick if they eat meat which has gone off!

  11. Thanks
    Very, very useful.
    Notes:
    My 3 ferrets love raw chicken wing tips (just the tips).
    They chew them up, bones and all.
    I give these to them as treats.

  12. Michael, you are so lucky as chicken wings are great for keeping ferrets’ teeth clean.
    Way back when I gave my first group of ferrets wing tips to eat, I was so happy to see they’d all gone from the dish. The next day I went to get some underwear out of my chest of drawers and … lo and behold … I found every one of the wing tips tucked away amongst my underwear!! LOL! ๐Ÿ˜€
    I haven’t had one ferret who like to chew on wing tips so I’ve given up trying ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Hi Nona
    The 3 ferrets I have were bred to be hunters, so they’re more pole cat than ferret. The breader tended to call them bucks and doe’s rather than hobs and jills. A real character.
    That’s why they like chicken wing tips.
    Of course I keep them as pets.
    When bred as hunters they can be quite bitey and savage,
    not recommended for children.
    Although I am managing to train them to be more suitable as pets.
    Regards
    Michael.

  14. Ahhh, I get you, Michael ๐Ÿ™‚
    I remember when I got my first ferret, Mash, back in 1994. I joined our local ferret society and used to accompany them to shows, etc, with our ferrets.
    Some of the country people (in Oz) would berate us for feeding them fresh meat or even kibble instead of bread and milk and apparently some of the farmers who went ferreting really believed that their ferrets would turn vicious if they were fed red meat ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
    However I’m happy to say that these days country folk have a more balanced view of ferrets, as pets and as workers, thanks to the Internet ๐Ÿ˜€

  15. Hi Nona
    That’s just like the bloke I bought my Ferrets “Pole Cats” off.
    He only fed them canned cat food, the cheap tinned super market stuff. Said never, ever to feed them beef. And once or twice a week he would feed them bread mashed in milk with raw egg mixed in.
    Things I’ve noticed:-
    Cheap tinned cat food;
    Bad idea. Cleaning up liquid poo, awful. Not good for Ferrets.
    Beef;
    What is he breading MogWai? My Ferrets love beef.
    Milk;
    Well my Cat is lactose intolerant. I would hate to think what it would do to a ferrets intestinal tract.
    And yet, this guy breads 60 to 80 pole cats a year as “workers”.
    My rough guide has been:-
    What do Pole cats eat in the Wild? Emulate it.
    That means a very high protein diet.
    Raw Chicken, Poultry, Rabbit bones and all. Raw meat, some cooked meats minus any cooked bones. Eggs, raw or cooked. Bugs and other insects.
    From the Pet store: High quality Ferret kibble or even the more expensive brands of high protein Kitten kibble.
    That seems to work for me.
    Cheers
    Michael.

  16. Oh Michael – those poor little kits and their parents!!!
    It breaks my heart to think of the little ones having to eat the slop he’s giving them. Can’t you tell the breeder how bad the food he’s serving to his ferrets and how it might even shorten their lifespan?
    And I bet, because they’re “workers”, he wears thick leather gloves to handle them ๐Ÿ™
    He should know that one can have a great ferret who’s both a worker and a pet with the right love and training – just like you’re doing with your 3! ๐Ÿ™

  17. Hi Nona
    This guy (breeder) is probably fixed in his ways.
    Everything he’s told me to do has been the opposite of common sense and yet he has a lot of ferrets, some 9 to 11 years old. So he may be feeding them crap but they are surviving.
    He does not wear gloves when handling them, but only holds them from the back of the neck.
    I actually wear fish gloves when handling my three. They are still a bit bitey, so until I get them out of that habit, I’m careful.
    I bought 2 brothers of him and they seem the most docile (Ragnar and Pikachu). He gave me a Jill for free, she had the misfortune of having her tail docked and her back leg eaten off when very young. Cannibalism. We called her Clover. She was supposed to have been the most handled and therefore the most docile. Turned out she was the most viscious, bit me once right to the bone. I definately have to get her out of that habit.
    Cheers
    Michael

  18. Michael, I would love to chat more with you about your ferrets … would you be happy to join our forum?
    We have Americans, English and Aussie ferret owners there – it’s not sparkling but I think that’s because everyone who was on the forum are now on Facebook and so there are just a few lovely people still there.
    Hope to be able to chat more with you there ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. Hi Nona
    I’m not sure. My Internet access and usage are sporadic at best. So joining a forum, I might not be to contribute very much.
    Good news though.
    My hob brothers Ragnar and Pikachu have progressed well. Both were being handled without need of gloves on the weekend. Both had no interest in biting which is good. Ragnar took to a harness and went for a pretty good walk outside without any dramas. Pikachu won’t take a harness just yet. He bounces around and does everything he can to avoid it being put on, although completely non-bitey. So they’re training up well.
    I have had people telling me that its a waste of time naming ferrets as they wont “ever know” their names. These are people that use ferrets as workers and treat them like farm animals. Well, with a bit of training that was no problem. They all answer to their names. Two are now non-bitey, quite well socialised and one even takes a harness. All going well so far.
    I’ve just got to get the Jill, Clover to the same level.
    Cheers

  20. I am so happy to hear how your boys have progressed! Nothing like LOTS of TLC and lots of love shown to them to make them realise they’re in safe and caring hands ๐Ÿ™‚ Congrats!

    OK, sorry we won’t chat there but I hope you’ll keep me up-to-date how things are going with Clover and you know where we are if you want to join the forum!

    Cheers rightbackatcha ๐Ÿ˜€

  21. I’ve joined the forum, but I my posting to it will be sporadic.
    I used treats to train the boys and its seems to work.
    Funnily enough they like cat treats. They also like chicken wing tips and meat balls (mix of beef, pork and egg formed into small balls and cooked). You cool them down and place them in bags in the freezer. Then take them out as needed.
    So it’s a case of they learn something new they get a treat.
    Of course if they do something bad, I also take something away. They have a large play area at the bottom of their hutch. If they poop all over the place, and not in the tray, I close it off.
    They’ve learnt not to soil their play area that way.
    Clover no longer tries to bite me when I’m putting food in their hutch or cleaning it. So that’s an improvement.
    Cheers
    Michael

  22. Good to hear from you, Michael, and hats off to you for getting your “workers” to be pets! Amazing what TLC and love can do to make even the most nervous ferret feel safe and happy!!
    I’m so glad to hear that you’ve joined the forum and look forward to chatting with you there ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hugs to your babies from me and mine!
    ๐Ÿ˜€

  23. Just wanted to say thank you so much for all your helpful tips! Bones is our first ferret so I found so many helpful things on diet here so thank you! One thing I might try is chicken and also going to a pet store for treats meat. Right now we have only given him his dry ferret food. He keeps knocking the bowl down so not good. Lol

  24. Thanks so much for your kind words, Nicole! I’m really glad that you found my site useful and I hope it’ll continue to help you in the future with Bones!
    One tip … if you get a heavy ceramic bowl, Bones won’t be able to tip his dish over ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Hugs to your little man from his new buddies down under ๐Ÿ˜€
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  25. My ferret Rigby who is about 2 1/2 yrs old keeps dumping his water dish. At first we thought it was because the place we got him punished him by taking away his water and food, athough he is not this way with his food he has even managed to break ceramic bowl by hitting them together. He wont drink from a bottle and wiring a bowl to his cage didn’t work. What can i do? -Diana

  26. Hi Diana
    You said wiring a bowl to his cage didn’t work. Do you mean the actual wiring didn’t work or that Rigby wouldn’t drink out of the bowl.
    The only thing I can think of is getting a bowl like the photo I’ve attached. It seems to be strong and looks like it’d be pretty secure when screwed onto the cage bars. If you google “water dish for birds” you should be able to find something similar to get for him if you think it’d work.
    If he won’t drink out of that then perhaps you could keep his water dish in the other corner to his food dish so that he can’t bang the two together?
    Rigby certainly is a smart boy and I hope you manage to work something out so that he has his water!! ๐Ÿ˜€
    Hugs to your little man from his new buddies down under!
    Cheers ๐Ÿ™‚
    ~Nona

    Attached image:

  27. I have 2 ferrets and I got them about 2 months ago they have had the liquid poos since I got them what can I do to help… I have a good that is all meat no fiber.

  28. Oh Candace, I’m not really sure what to suggest ๐Ÿ™
    I know that ferrets can have different poop when they get different food but I would have thought that after 2 months they would have got used to their new kibble.
    It might be worth taking them to a vet for a fecal examination just to make sure that it isn’t a bug or parasite that’s causing their runny poop.
    This article might help you ..

    http://azeah.com/ferrets/diarrhea

    Make sure that your babies have lots of water as you don’t want them to get dehydrated.
    I hope that whatever is the reason for your ferrets’ liquid poop gets solved asap and that they get back to their old selves soon!
    Hugs to your two from their new friends down under ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  29. Hi Myra
    This page should give you all the information you need about what ferrets eat ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  30. Thankyou so much for this. I just got my ferret from the local petshop!!!! I named him Campbell.

  31. Hi Bellarina
    Very happy to have been of help to you ๐Ÿ™‚
    I know you’re in for a fun time with Campbell and I’m sure he’ll bring you many years of love and laughter!
    Hugs to your little man from his new buddies down under ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  32. Thanks so much for posting this! I’ve got a question though, do you think feeding Kaytee grain free chicken food is good? I’m very limited on what foods I have, all I have is Marshall’s (Which I’ve heard really bad things about so I won’t feed that), Kaytee, and cat foods (Lower quality ones)I really think that Kaytee sounds like a great food except for the peas in it, and it’s only $16.00 for 4 lbs of it! Thanks so much ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Hi Emily
    We can’t get Kaytee kibble in Oz so I don’t know it personally but this food chart might help you find something for your ferret …

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/tUNWoTJPH8hIwW-FHeY-tqg/htmlview?pli=1

    I’ve given my guys Iams chicken for cats since 1994 and while it’s not perfect, my guys have done pretty well with it (touch wood)!
    I’m sure Kaytee would be fine for your ferret if there’s nothing better available ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hugs to your baby!
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  34. Thanks again! This definitely helped a lot, I most likely will be feeding Kaytee ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Hi! It’s me again ๐Ÿ˜› I found out my local petstore doesn’t sell Kaytee grain free ferret food which was what I was going to feed my ferret. ๐Ÿ™ But, I did find out they carry Iams ProActive Heath kitten food (It says online they do, so hopefully they really do or I don’t know what I’m going to feed my fuzzy) and I just wanted to check in and make sure that this food is okay for them. And is the food you feed the kitten kind or adult kind? Thanks so much!

  36. From the list of ingredients it sounds like it’d be okay for your ferret.
    You could also try feeding it raw meat or chicken, chopped up for easy consumption. Chicken wings are good for ferrets to gnaw on as it cleans their teeth but my guys won’t eat them, just stash them in my underwear drawer LOL! ๐Ÿ˜€
    I’ve never tried giving a natural raw/whole prey diet to my guys but a lot of people seem to think it’s the best for their ferrets’ health. That would mean ordering weiner mice or day-old chicks from a special store online. If you try that, please make sure you check your ferret’s cage after the food has gone as if your ferret stashes something, then eats when it goes off, it could give it awful gastro which could kill your fuzzy ๐Ÿ™
    These two articles are worth reading …

    http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/ferrets/a/feedingferrets.htm

    http://exoticpets.about.com/od/ferretcare/i/naturaldiets.htm

    Kitten food is good for young ferrets but once they’re 18-24 months old, then switch them to adult cat kibble. However I do know some people who’ve given their ferrets Iams kitten throughout their lives and they say their ferrets were all fine so I guess it’s up to you.
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  37. So I saw the bit about groundbeef but can I feed my ferret dry ferret food and give it ground beef raw mixed in with the ferret food? And what other meats are ok? I’m in the states and am unsure what to buy to give him.. can you give a smoothie of raw egg and a human multivitamin? Do they make a ferret multivitamin?

  38. Hi Lendsi
    Yes, you can mix the kibble with raw ground beef and see if your ferret will eat that. I give my guys turkey mince, as they don’t like red meat. I also tried them on chopped up boneless chicken thighs but they weren’t keen on that either. You could try that with your little man to see if he likes that.
    I give a smoothie to all my ferrets which includes a raw egg yolk, not a raw egg as egg whites aren’t good for them. I have heard of people who give their ferrets a hard boiled egg, shell still on it, but I personally have never tried that with my gang.
    I also add various supplements to protect their livers and those are “human” supplements as it’s hard to get pet supplements here in Australia. Since you’re in the States I’d suggest getting pet ones. Here is an article about which ones to get for ferrets, and also a list of supplements from ferret.com

    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=1916

    http://www.ferret.com/health/vitamins-and-supplements/626/

    Hugs to your little guy from his new friends down under ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  39. Was just wondering really what is the best cat food for your ferret I’m getting one this weekend and I’m just really confused I understand the aw part but not the dry I don’t wanna give him the wrong kind of cat food

  40. Hi Gina
    This is a good place to check which brands are the best to get for your ferret …

    http://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/tUNWoTJPH8hIwW-FHeY-tqg/htmlview?pli=1

    You need to find a brand which has meat in as many of the first few ingredients as possible, that has a decent percentage of Fat and Protein but is low in Fiber. Ferrets can’t digest fiber and it has no nutritional value to the animal.
    If you look at the brand right at the bottom of the page you’ll see how lousy their list of ingredients is ๐Ÿ™
    It seems like the writer of that document thinks that “Go! Fit and Free” is the best to give to ferrets so why not try that on your new addition?
    Sorry if what I wrote was confusing :/
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  41. Wow, your site is simple, yet very detailed with infos. Not cluttered like smallanimalchannel.com or other sites. My 2 narcoleptic, kleptomaniacs are free roam, like yours.

  42. So glad that you like my site and I appreciate you telling me ๐Ÿ˜€ It is a never-ending work of love!!
    Hugs to your two troublemakers from their new buddies down under ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  43. Hi Nonna,
    I’m expecting my little ferret in the next month and want the best possible cage set up for her, so the days when I’m not home she’s happy, comfortable and able to play to keep herself entertained. What size cage and set up would you recommend? Also what toys best interest your little ones?

    Cheers Neesha

  44. Oh Neesha, I’m not the best person to ask about cages as the only time I had my guys in a cage was when I was breeding them ๐Ÿ™
    It has to be big enough for your baby to move around, and also have space for her litter tray and food dish in separate areas. You’ll also want to make sure there’s space for you to hang a hammock as ferrets love lying on them ๐Ÿ˜€
    You can see the cages on offer here …

    http://www.all-about-ferrets.com/ferret-store.html

    Toys? To be honest, my guys have never really bothered with toys! They LOVE noisey, crinkly things so if you want to spoil her, you could check out the Toys section there and get her the S.A.M. Ferret Crinkler Sac & Tunnel. They also love bouncing in a box with either biodegradable packing peanuts or toy balls, which are also available there but to be honest, you could just get a plastic shopping bag and she’d be happy with that. Ferrets also love running through pipes and we have a couple lying against the walls in our sitting room. We got those from the hardware store but I’m sure you could find see-through plastic pipes in the store too.
    Some ferrets love playing with balls but some don’t. If you get a ball for her, please make sure it’s made of thick rubber (like a kong and they do make ferret kongs!) because if it’s plastic or foam, sure as eggs are eggs, your baby will bite and chew it and could possibly end up with a blockage if she swallows the pieces!
    When playing with her, you could put her on a towel and run dragging it along behind you! For some reason ferrets think that is just fabulous fun! Also when you make your bed, just have her on the sheet and flap it up and down … they love that too! ๐Ÿ˜€
    But it all depends on the personality of your girl … some ferrets are very playful and enjoy playing with toys, while others are most laid back and like to just chill! I’d wait until you get your new friend to see how she reacts with playing before you spend money on toys! Try her on plastic bags and a cardboard box with biodegradable packing peanuts to see if she loves them before splashing out lots of money on actual toys.
    I did that with the packing peanuts and a couple of my ferrets jumped in, then jumped out, and that was that! No more interest! LOL!
    I bought a bag of plastic balls from Toys R Us and a deep plastic box for them to play in and Kimiko, my silvermitt, went and put every one of those balls under our sofa!! I have to get my husband to tip the sofa over to collect the balls and put them back in the box and within 24 hours, Kimiko puts them all back under the sofa! What to do?!?! ๐Ÿ˜€
    Anyway, hope that’s been of some help.
    I’m pretty sure that when your little girl arrives next month, she’ll give you so much love and laughter that you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get a ferret!!
    If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask away as I’m always happy to help people if I can ๐Ÿ˜€
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  45. This is a picture of Kimiko taking one of those balls into the sitting room to stash under the sofa …

    Attached image:

  46. Thank you so much Nona, she won’t be in the cage at all when I’m home so I guess I don’t have to worry so much about the cage.. I’m super excited to get her. And your page has been really helpful!

    Ta Neesha

  47. Hi.
    1st. I want to say how good your page has been to develop my knowledge on ferrets
    2nd. I’ve been researching ferrets for quite a while now and have been really keen to buy one. Then someone told me today that they really stink and I should REALLY REALLY reconsider getting one, I just simple said dogs stink too. ( I knew they had a slight odor but didn’t think it was quite this bad).
    But I was wanting you opion on they’re odor. Do yours smell. Can your guests tell?

    Regards Jim

  48. Hi Jim
    Yes … ferrets do have an odour and I guess it depends on how sensitive your nose is! Some people HATE the smell of ferrets whereas other people, like me, love to stick their face in a pile of sleeping ferrets and take a deep breath DesiSmileys.com
    The thing is that you can control the smell by washing their bedding often and keeping their litter box clean, etc. It’s no good to wash a ferret often because that would strip their natural oils from their fur and make them itch ๐Ÿ™
    If you have just one ferret then I can’t imagine that the smell would be obvious but I guess it depends on how big your house is, etc.
    Can you get to a shelter or a pet store and smell a ferret to see if you are like me and like the smell (I think of it more as an aroma than an odour! LOL!) or if you find it objectionable?
    It would be good for you to check if you’re worried because I would hate for you to get a little friend then find you just can’t stand the smell and so take it to a shelter ๐Ÿ™
    Hope that’s been of some help ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  49. Hi, Nona,
    my partner and I are moving his ferret (~4 years) to our house from his place. We want it to go easy for him. Do you think he’ll have much trouble settling since he’ll be using the same cage?
    We also have a couple puppies (4 months) and a young adult dog, so I know proper introductions will factor into the adjustment. We’ll definitely give him more attention here. The pups will love to play with him too. I’ll need to train everyone to be more gentle though, the pups are rough with each other and the ferret loves to bite toes! I hope our adult doesn’t think the ferret is a toy! He chases squirrels and groundhogs given the chance.

  50. Hi Karly
    I really don’t think there’ll be a problem with transferring your little man to his new home, especially since he’ll have his usual bedding/cage, etc.
    Please make sure that your place is ferret-proofed if you let your ferret roam so that there aren’t any accidents with him escaping :/
    You sound like you know what you’re doing re your dog/puppies ๐Ÿ™‚ Obviously please watch how the dog reacts when he first meets your ferret – God forbid he snaps at your ferret and kills him. Eeek!
    We got our dog from PetRescue so not knowing his pedigree, I was really paranoid about having him meet our gang. When the Rescue people brought him to our house, the dog came into the front door and went right down on all fours to smell the doormat, so obviously the ferrets’ smell caught his immediate interest! LOL! ๐Ÿ˜€
    I didn’t introduce him to our ferrets until he got used to the smells in the house so the poor little critters were shut in our bedroom 24/7 while Zac had the run of the house for about a week. Then I brought the 6 out and introduced them by letting him smell their butts but I didn’t let them run around for a couple more days.
    It took about 10 days before I let them mix and it went well. Zac was used to their smells and they were used to him but I wouldn’t leave them together in the house if I went out. I kept the ferrets shut in our bedroom for a few more times, just in case!
    You’ll obviously use the same sense when introducing your ferret to the dog and the pups just so that you’re happy that the ferret won’t nip the dogs on their fetlocks or they won’t bite the ferret!
    Hopefully it won’t take long before they’re all buddies!
    Here’s a short video clip of Zac reacting to a new ferret after he’d been with us for 6 months. Mojo (the ferret) was a very feisty girl when she was a kit and she wanted Zac to know that she was the boss! None of our other ferrets had ever latched onto Zac’s jowls like she did but you can see he was pretty calm with the way he dealt with her ๐Ÿ™‚ Now, 6 years later, he just gets out of his bed and walks away if the ferrets decide they want to sniff his bottom ๐Ÿ˜€
    I’m sure everything will go well and hope you guys have a very happy Christmas and best ever 2016!
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  51. Neesha,
    A ferret nation cage is the best for ferrets. It is roomy and very well built. I own 6 ferrets and they love their cage. It has multiple hammocks for them. 2 litter boxes, and blankets. They also have a couple balls and a couple other toys. Sometimes they play with them sometimes they dont.

  52. Jim,
    My ferrets only smell if they arent kept clean. I keep their litter boxes clean and wash their bedding weekly. I honestly dont find them to smell at all. I have 6.

  53. Here is an interesting question that I hope someone can shed some light on. In the wild. If ferrets live in close proximity to say a pond or stream, can they or would they suppliment their diet with fresh water vittles as in crawfish, small trout, or other fresh water items like clams,shrimp, or amphibians. Thanks

  54. Hi Ron
    I don’t know if many ferrets would survive in the wild, although there are “wild” ferrets in New Zealand due to fitch farmers letting their “stock” loose when the price for fur fell ๐Ÿ™
    However the closest cousin to the ferret is the European Polecat and, as I found out, polecats will include frogs, slugs and snails in their diet and some sites have said that the polecat will eat fish as well.

    http://www.all-about-ferrets.com/european-polecat.html

    If there was a ferret which adapted to the wild, then I would imagine it would eat whatever it could get its hands on so that it wouldn’t starve :/
    I think the ferrets we have in WOz are so domesticated that they wouldn’t survive in the wild, plus our climate wouldn’t be kind to a lost ferret and it might die from heatstroke before starving ๐Ÿ™
    Just as an aside, there is an Aussie ferret kibble which smells very fishy … I got some for my guys when it first came out and they took one sniff and walked away in disgust! LOL!
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  55. I just got a ferret a couple of months ago, and have been continually doing research on different things (we had a flea problem because of the dog, but thanks to the vet, that has been handled). There is a ton of information out there that sounds similar but is rather contradictory. I love that this is not based solely on opinion, but rather more on your years of experience. Thank you so much for this.
    As a side note, I was told cat food can work in a pinch (if you pay close attention to the label) but if ferret food is available and you are going the dry food route, you should stick to the ferret food whenever possible.

    I hope you all enjoy your ferrets company as much I enjoy mine.

  56. I’m really happy that you found my site enjoyable, Glenn! Thanks for telling me ๐Ÿ˜€
    Yes, obviously ferret food is the best thing to feed ferrets but there are some lousy brands on the market so just because the label says ferret food, people do need to check the ingredients to ensure it has all the right ingredienets for their babies.
    We can’t get decent ferret food here in Oz so I have been feeding my guys Iams chicken since 1994 and they’ve done well on it. Cat food is fine as long as it’s a good brand, like Iams, Hills Science Diet, etc. Cat food from the supermarkets are a definite no no ๐Ÿ˜›
    Have you see the Ferret Food Chart? It’s pretty good in showing which foods are good and which to avoid …

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/tUNWoTJPH8hIwW-FHeY-tqg/htmlview?pli=1

    I’m also so glad that you’ve found out how fabulous ferrets are as pets ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve been a total ferret slave for 22 years now and doubt I’ll ever be without one.
    Hugs to your little friend from his new buddies down under ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  57. Hi I have a 3 month old ferret “toot toot” the owner before me gave her “cat food” I was wondering if you have any tips on how to ween her off the cat food because I having a little trouble “she’s a fussy eater”

  58. Hi Camilla
    What a gorgeous name for your little girl!! Love it ๐Ÿ˜€
    You didn’t say if your previous owner was giving Toot Toot dry or wet cat food :/ If it’s dry, do yo know if it’s good quality cat food or something from the supermarkets?
    If it’s dry and from the supermarket, I’d suggest you put 3/4 of the old food into Toot Toot’s dish, and add 1/4 of good ferret food to the mix. Leave it for a day or two then increase the percentage – 1/2 old food vs 1/2 new food – the a few days later, make it 1/4 old food vs 3/4 new food. That is what most ferret owners do with fussy eaters ๐Ÿ˜‰
    If Toot Toot was getting wet cat food then I can only suggest reducing the amount of wet food but make sure you have her good ferret/cat kibble available 24/7. Slowly reduce the wet food until she’s eating only the dry kibble.
    Hope that’s of some help ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hugs to Toot Toot from her new buddies down under ๐Ÿ˜€
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  59. My ferret Rosey is almost nine years old & now that she’s getting older it’s hard for her to eat her normal hard feret food & is loosing weight fast, any suggestions?

  60. Hi Makyla
    I would suggest getting Rosey some Carnivore Care to eat instead of kibble …

    http://www.oxbowanimalhealth.com/products/type/detail?object=1609

    You can read about the product and how to give it to Rosey on that website. It’s good for sick ferrets so hopefully it will put weight back on your little old lady and make her feel better. You could also wet a small about of her kibble to leave out 24/7 so that she can eat that if she gets hungry but please remember to change it on a daily basis as it wouldn’t be good to just leave soggy kibble out for days ๐Ÿ™
    Another thing which you might want to think of is giving her a daily smoothie. Put some no lactose milk (about 150ml) in a jug, add an egg yolk (not the white) and a couple of drops of Astaxanthin (easiest way is to get a thumb tack and stick it through a piece of cardboard so you can prick the gel capsule – once you’ve put the drops in the smoothie, take the supplement yourself as it’s a great antioxidant), then mix really well before serving it to her.
    I’ve had my guys on this supplement for a couple of years now and I reckon it does keep them well.
    We haven’t been able to get Carnivore Care in Western Australia so I’ve never been able to give my sick babies that. What my vet used to give my guys was Hills A/D Feline so if you can’t find Carnivore Care, think about getting that to give to Rosey.

    http://www.hillspet.com/en/us/products/pd-canine-feline-ad-canned

    I hope that’s been of some help to you and that your Rosey stays with you for many more years!
    Hugs to your old girl from her new friends down under ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  61. Hello ๐Ÿ˜Š I got my boy ozzie last year and he was in bad shape. But now he had all his fur back and is a happy boy ๐Ÿ˜Š the only problem is that I can’t get him to gain weight. He is on cat food since that’s what he was raised on and is a very picky eater. Is there something I can make him from home?

  62. Hi Nina
    I honestly don’t know what you can make from home for Ozzie – my guys have always rejected any homemade food so I’ve had to buy special foods if they needed bulking up.
    When I had a sick ferret, my vet recommended Hills A/D Feline to ensure they had a lot of goodness in their diet.

    http://www.hillspet.com/en/us/products/pd-canine-feline-ad-canned

    Another product which most vets rave about for sick ferrets is Carnivore Care โ€ฆ

    http://www.oxbowanimalhealth.com/products/type/detail?object=1609

    You can read about the product and how to give it to Ozzie on that website. I’m sure it’d help to put weight back on your little man and make him feel better.
    Another thing which you might want to think of is giving him a daily smoothie.
    Put some no lactose milk (about 150ml) in a jug, add an egg yolk (not the white) and a couple of drops of Astaxanthin (easiest way is to get a thumb tack and stick it through a piece of cardboard so you can prick the gel capsule โ€“ once youโ€™ve put the drops in the smoothie, take the supplement yourself as itโ€™s a great antioxidant), then mix really well before serving it to him.
    Iโ€™ve had my guys on this supplement for a couple of years now and I reckon it does keep them well.
    Duck soup is supposed to be good and is something you can make yourself, so here is a list of recipes you might want to take a look at …

    http://kristenmcdonald.com/portfolio/web/ferretfacts/www.ferretfacts.com/duck-soup-recipes.html

    I hope some of these ideas will help you with Ozzie.
    Hugs to your little man from his new friends down under ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers
    Nona

  63. Hello. I think your smoothie recipe is great- it sounds familiar-am interested in the substitute ingredients and thought it sounded good.Peanutbutter is also good(it should be with oil so you mix it together)I found flax beneficial for an elderly ferret.Thanks for your time.

  64. Thanks so much for that, Laura ๐Ÿ™‚
    I did give my guys flaxseed oil a few years ago and they seemed to do well on it but I never heard of peanut butter! Is that to be used as a supplement or a treat? Obviously it would be smooth peanut butter rather than crunchy, yes?
    I’ve tried a few other supplements over the course of the years, like MSM, Australian Zeolite, Cordyceps, PolyMVA and Transfer Factor Plus. They’ve all been helpful but the ones I’m using ATM seem to be especially beneficial to my guys ๐Ÿ˜€
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  65. Hi. I have a ferret that is a little over 4 months old now. We got her when she was 10 weeks. When we first got her, I would take her out every day and play with her and let her run around. A week and a half later, after taking her out every day, I went to take her out of her cage and she bit me and wouldn’t let go. I was told that handling her would make her more docile and she shouldn’t be bitting as long as I was handling her every day. Which I was. I’m not sure what to do with her now. I’ve tried some techniques that I found online, but none of them have worked. I don’t want to get rid of her, as she was my kids Easter present and she cost a lot. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to help her get out of this bitting phase? Thanks.

  66. Hi Kate
    It seems strange that your little girl would suddenly latch onto your hand after being handled regularly.
    Do you know if something happened to scare her before she bit you? Did she do it just the one time or is she now biting you every time you take her out of the cage?
    These two articles about biting are worth reading – see if you can work out why your ferret bit you …

    http://www.smallanimalchannel.com/ferrets/ferret-behavior/ferret-biting-behavior.aspx

    http://www.smallanimalchannel.com/ferrets/ferret-behavior/when-ferrets-bite.aspx

    I personally have found it good to make sure my ferrets knew they were doing something wrong when they bit me. My present albino girl, Mojo, was really naughty with her nipping so every time she did it, I’d scruff and hiss at her like an angry mother ferret. I’d then tell her “NO BITING”! It didn’t take long for her to realise what I meant so when she did her lick, lick, lick then prepared to bite, I’d shout “NO BITING” and she’d stop. I’d praise her and give her a little treat so that she knew it was so much better to listen to my command rather than be naughty! LOL! ๐Ÿ˜€
    She’s pushing 7 years old and even now she gets tempted to nip but stops immediately when I shout my command at her.
    You could also try putting Bitter Apple on your hand so that if she goes to bite you, she’ll be repulsed by the taste. Try to make sure that you say “No Biting” firmly before she does it, though, and if she pulls back, make sure you give her a lot of praise, kisses and a treat. Ferrets are smart little critters so it shouldn’t take her long to understand!
    I hope you find the right solution to fix the problem. It’s not nice to have a biting ferret but if you just leave her in her cage because you’re too frightened to take her out, it’ll just make the matter worse so you do have to nip it in the bud, so to speak ๐Ÿ™‚
    Just persevere with training her not to bite – don’t give up and please don’t dump her in a shelter!
    Hope the above has helped!
    Hugs to your little girl from her new buddies down under ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  67. I liked your article very much ๐Ÿ™‚ I think it’s a great idea to make those ferret smoothies. It seems nice to give them something liquidy to eat, that’s not bad for their health. I will try giving my ferrets that smoothie with some lactose-free milk

  68. Hi Im getting a ferret real soon and I had two questions. 1. Can ferrets have a kibble AND raw meat diet, like one day kibble and the next meat? 2. What kind of meat can you give your ferret and how fors it have to be prepared? Just curious and want the best for my future ferret.

  69. Hi Ally
    I have never given my guys a raw meat diet, mainly because they all live in the house and I didn’t want them stashing raw food around the place ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
    Also, from what I’ve read, it’s quite a challenge to get ferrets to eat raw and that needs a lot of persistence! Ferrets can be incredibly stubborn when it comes to having a different diet.
    You might find this site helpful …

    http://holisticferret60.proboards.com/board/18/natural-diet

    They seem to be very happy to help people who are thinking of giving their ferrets a raw diet so they’d be the ones to talk to if you’re planning to give her a raw diet ๐Ÿ˜€
    Back in the mid-90s I gave my gang chicken wing tips to chew on as I was told they were great for keeping ferrets’ teeth clean. I put one each in their bowls and the next morning the bowls were empty! I was so happy as I thought the ferrets had chewed and swallowed the tips.
    HAH!
    That morning I went to my chest of drawers and found all 6 wing tips stashed in my underwear drawers DesiSmileys.com
    I haven’t had any success with any of my subsequent ferrets either ๐Ÿ˜€
    My guys have kibble 24/7 available but at night I put them in our bathroom and I put a plate of turkey mince out for them which they like. I used to chop up fresh chicken thighs for them but it seems that they found it too much trouble to chew on pieces of chicken! Wouldn’t believe they were carnivores, would you! LOL!
    But if you do decide to feed your baby meat, just putting down a plate of chopped or ground beef wouldn’t be any good as a regular diet as it wouldn’t have the necessary nutrients in it to keep your ferret healthy. The whole prey people say that by giving your ferret day-old chicks or weiner mice means that the ferret will eat all the organs, etc, so will have a balanced diet that way.
    If you want to know which brand of kibble is the best for your ferret then check out this chart …

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/tUNWoTJPH8hIwW-FHeY-tqg/htmlview?pli=1

    As I said, please join the Holistic Ferret Forum to get more advice about feeding your ferret a raw diet as they’d been the best people to help you with that.
    Hope this has given you some ideas about what to feed your new friend ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  70. Thank you so much for this information! We are getting our first ferret today. She is about 6 months old. We named her Chloe.

  71. Hi Eva
    Chloe is a lovely name and I’m sure you’ll have many years of love and laughter with your new addition ๐Ÿ™‚
    I hope you’ll find all the information you need to help you with Chloe but please feel free to ask me if you have any specific questions. I’m always happy to help!
    Hugs to your little girl from her new friends down under ๐Ÿ˜€
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  72. Thank you so much for this article, very informative! I was curious if your smoothie can be refrigerated? I had two ferrets until very recently and now I only have one ๐Ÿ™ she’s getting pretty old, and I thought she might benefit from the smoothie.your recipe is for six ferrets, so I was hoping I could refrigerate the rest, and if so, how long do you think it would stay good for?

  73. Hi Lorna
    So sorry to hear you only have one ferret left ๐Ÿ™
    I would suggest you make a new smoothie daily as I wouldn’t want to hav the mixture sitting in the fridge for a couple of days.
    Just put less no lactose milk in the blender and add the egg yolk & supplements to it, whisk it up and see how your old girl goes with it ๐Ÿ™‚
    I would recommend Astaxanthin as a supplement as my old girls did so well when they were on it. Just make a whole in the capsule and squeeze 2 drops into the smoothie and whisk it up well. Don’t panic if you see that your girl’s poop is reddish the next day as it’ll be due to the Astaxanthin ๐Ÿ˜€
    Hugs to your old lady from her new buddies down under ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  74. Zupreem Grain Free Ferret Food does NOT have peas in it any longer. I’m not sure when they took them out but I have been feeding it for over 2 years with very good results. I have a ferret that was diagnosed with kidney failure at 12 weeks old by 2 veterinarians. He is now going to be 3 years old and has done very well on Zupreem Grain Free Ferret. He gets Marshall’s Uncle Duck 3 times a week as a treat. I am trying to find another grain free ferret food that does not contain peas with no success. He will not eat live prey, frozen prey, canned food, cooked meat or raw meat.

  75. Hi Teri
    Thanks so much for giving me the heads up about Zupreem Grain Free. Much appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’ve put your comment on my “What Do Ferrets Eat” page so that other ferret owners get to see it easily.
    Great news about your little man doing so well on Zupreem – I hope he lives to a very healthy old age DesiSmileys.com
    Cheers
    ~Nona

  76. Hey, this is just me asking for some help/advice on my new male pet ferret. My boyfriend and I bought him from petco a couple days ago and he is an absolute sweetie– but he won’t eat anything.he is free roam and always has food and water available but the only thing he seems to have put in his system is water, (from a bowl and he lapped the heck out of it) I’m needless to say, worried. And was hoping I could get some help/advice on what to do…

  77. Hi Alexis Rose
    Have you changed the brand of food for your boy when you brought him home from the store?
    Why I ask is because some ferrets get really attached to the brand of kibble they were given as kits and so are really resistant to change!
    I’ve been told that some pet stores really don’t bother to give their ferrets the best type of kibble so if you changed it to a better brand, good on you ๐Ÿ™‚
    I don’t think a ferret will starve but do keep an eye on your boy and if he refuses to eat for another few days, then please take him to a (ferret) vet as that would be a worry. Ferrets go downhill really quickly so they do have to eat regularly to stay well!
    If you need a good food chart to find the best food for your little man, then please check this one out …

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Ugt4k4JPUw8X-WDsxbbOIBUqIKkTubrkpyba4YsUeEg/edit

    I hope your ferret has started eating by now and that you don’t have to worry any more about him!
    Hugs to your new family member from his new friends down under ๐Ÿ˜€
    Cheers
    Nona

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