Ferrets are carnivores. In the wild their ancestors are predators. Therefore ferrets need a high quality meat based diet. Here at Folly Bridge we feed our ferrets raw. (unprocessed raw meat and whole prey) this is sometimes referred to as BARF (Biologically appropriate raw food/feeding) Ferrets are obligate carnivores, meaning they are only designed to digest meat. Not grains or vegetables.
We create a balanced diet for them by including variety of different meats (duck, rabbit, turkey, venison, beef, pheasant, lamb, pork, quail) and include bone, offal and heart to ensure they get the correct combination of nutrients. We follow the 80/10/10 rule (80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 10% organ)
An example of a daily menu for our ferrets: 2.5kg of meat composing: 1 part rabbit (10% bone in chunky mince) 1 park duck (10% bone in chunky mince)1 part minced heart, 1 part minced offal, 1 part chicken and minced liver, 1 part venison (10% bone in chunky mince)
whole prey : 1 whole ungutted rabbit/1 whole ungutted duck per group
BARF feeding has many benefits if done properly, however you must ensure they are eating a fully balanced diet and it is important to do plenty of reserach on RAW feeding before you make the switch.
2 great sites to check out if you would like more info are:
If you don't feel you wish to feed 100% raw another option for feeding is to do a mixed diet with a high quality kibble base and meat alongside this. The best foods available are grain free cat/kitten food such as Carnilove, Orijen, Wysong, Applaws and Instinct Raw (among others)
You can buy ferret kibble online or from some pet stores, but generally these still contain a lot of grain filler to make them cheaper, which is of no benefit to your ferrets, so if you can a grain free high percentage meat kibble is the best option. If you do want to feed a ferret biscuit Vitalin and Alpha ferret foods are probably the better
Whatever you want to feed, we highly recommend a ferret's diet is at least supplemented with raw meat. Any uncooked unprocessed meat is great for them, you can purchase many from supermarkets (chicken wings, beef mince, turkey legs, pork belly) or butchers (whole prey such as pheasants and rabbit) or pet shops (chicks and mice)
This is particularly important when they are babies. The more raw meat you feed your baby ferret the healthier they will be and it will also reduce how nippy they are as a full bellied kit is less prone to bite you. Up until they are 6 months old a ferret should be fed raw meat every day. After that you can reduce the frequency if you want to but the more raw meat you can give your ferret the the healthier they will be.
We order our food from Cardiff raw pet supplies: www.rawpetsupplies.co.uk
OR Durham animal feeds: www.daf-petfood.co.uk