How To Feed Ferrets
Having made the decision to acquire a ferret, you will receive a cute, cheerful creature at home, ready to constantly move, rush, play, jump. It is important to organize proper care and nutrition, affecting the general condition and life expectancy of the animal. Particular attention should be paid to how to feed the ferret. Deficiencies in the diet cause many diseases, significantly reducing the life of the animal.
Ferret feeding options
There are three main ways of eating, you need to consider different ones, choosing the best option. Most European breeders feed the trochees with high-quality, dry, full-feed, which keeps their teeth in good condition.
Type of food, eliminating significant material costs. A predator of the Kunih family will find food by gaining access to the street and leading a free lifestyle. As close as possible to the conditions of the natural environment, feeding your pet fresh carcasses of chickens, rodents, flour worms, cockroaches. This feeding option is suitable for owners, who often clean up the animal’s feeding place and clean up leftover food.
Feeding food prepared by the owner himself
The fully balanced high protein ferret menu includes:
various types of meat: chicken, turkey, beef, duck;
offal: liver, heart, stomachs, kidneys;
vegetable, animal fats;
cartilage (ferrets need to work with jaws, gnaw food);
a small amount of cereals (buckwheat, oatmeal, rice, millet), vegetables;
Frogs, earthworms are considered a treat. Mandatory courses of vitamin complexes several times a year for the prevention of hypovitaminosis during estrus, rutting, pregnancy, illness, shedding, active growth.
The meat of animals fully satisfies the need for basic minerals, with the exception of calcium, iron, phosphorus, necessary for pregnant women, lactating females, young animals. Vitamin supplements intended for humans, carnivorous animals are prohibited.
Feeding a ferret with one fish often gives an unpleasant smell to the feces, not all ferrets eat fish products. Frequent feeding of eggs and fish products causes a lack of thiamine, leading to anorexia, drowsiness. When feeding eggs, it is important to remember about salmonellosis, which causes digestive problems, diarrhea.
Use of prepared food
The manufacturers took into account the growing popularity of these animals by developing a line of special ready-made food – minced meat, which guarantees the receipt of the optimal amount of necessary nutrients. Feeding requires additional administration of vitamin-mineral supplements: brewers, fodder yeast, developed for cats or ferrets. This type of food will appeal to beginners who do not have the skills to independently compose a diet using separate products. Those who have little experience in calculating calorie content and the necessary ingredients, it is better to refuse to feed cereals, choosing dry full-fledged food for pets. When choosing finished products, it is important to take into account the required protein content – 30-40%, fats – 19-23%, 1-3% fiber. Energy value is taken at the rate of 250 kcal per kilogram of ferret weight.
Important gradually to translate a predator to dry food or a new diet. 10-15 days, the gastrointestinal tract of the animal gets used to the new menu. The correct change of feeding is an important point. Old food is mixed for a week, adding a larger volume of new product daily, increasing its content to 100%. At least a month during the transfer, changes in stool are observed. Good food may not be digested by the ferret, requiring the introduction of a new product.
It is important to select a premium brand of conscientious, reliable manufacturers with a good reputation, a long production practice, taking into account the characteristics of the digestive system of animals. Inexpensive food contains harmful dyes, artificial flavors, chemicals, preservatives, low-quality meat, food residues that create the risk of urolithiasis, the development of digestive tract diseases. The composition of high-quality dry food necessarily includes natural poultry, eggs, liver, and other offal. High vegetable content prohibited – The ferret is hard at digesting plant foods that are high in fiber.
Eating dry food by experienced breeders is recommended for preserving teeth, brushing away plaque, stone with solid food that the pet is cracking, and improving the condition of enamel. Dry hard granules can be soaked.
During the period of illness, recovery, postoperative time, veterinarians recommend using moist therapeutic feed, canned food, pieces of jelly. But you can’t feed the ferret all the time with soft food. This spoils the teeth, and the ferret needs to work with his jaws, gnaw food. The recovering animal is immediately provided with “drying.”
It is acceptable to feed cat food intended for kittens, pregnant cats, as their nutritional needs are similar. The composition of these products, the balance of professional feed does not differ from similar brands for ferrets, as verified by the long-standing practice of European breeders. Individual tolerance of the animal affects the choice of feed brands.
The combination of industrial and natural products is prohibited, although it still remains a common blunder made by ferret owners. In such cases, the nutritional balance is disturbed, the formation of stones by the genitourinary system is possible. It is more difficult to achieve an optimal diet with mixed feeding than with natural products. However, dry food saves owners a lot of time.
It is useful to add a little fish oil, vegetable oil to the feed in order to restore the fat layer that is washed off after bathing. Sometimes the owners give their pets some fruit: bananas, apples, pears or special yogurt treats intended for ferrets. Giving such treats is careful, because the body can tear off unusual food.
Ferrets are active, moving animals that spend a lot of energy, have an accelerated metabolism, requiring constant food in a bowl. Typically, ferrets with a fast metabolism digest food in 3 hours due to the lack of a special sac at the beginning of the large intestine. Animals eat 7-10 times a little during the day. Do not feed them like cats or dogs twice or thrice a day. Ferrets need access to food all the time so that they can eat as much as they want.
Be sure to wash the dishes for water and feed, constant replenishment of the feeder and drinking bowl. Water is needed fresh, at room temperature, of sufficient volume to prevent dehydration and provide thermal control. Ferrets can hardly tolerate a rise in temperature, often undergoing solar, thermal shock, so the constant presence of fluid is necessary.
Aging animals should cut back on their daily food intake, remembering that a significant limitation develops hypoglycemia.
What can not be fed
The ferret is a gourmet animal, he loves to have a meal often. It is important to be careful when feeding your pet.
dairy products: contain lactose, are poorly digested, cause vomiting, diarrhea. The exception is cottage cheese;
sweets, flour products, nuts, chocolate, fried, smoked foods, provoking diabetes, indigestion, upset stools, obesity;
coarse fiber vegetables; nuts cause intestinal obstruction, suffocation, allergic reactions, the ability to choke;
sweet foods of viscous, sticky consistency.
It is important to know: Ferrets need fast-digesting proteins found in poultry, sea fish (mackerel, salmon), beef, lamb, and eggs. Proteins of plant foods are absorbed worse.
The appearance of the pet will help determine the correct choice of feeding: a healthy animal is active, has smooth, shiny fur, clean eyes, skin, a normal color stool, and consistency. Proper nutrition will allow you to enjoy the company of a happy, cheerful, peppy ferret for many years.