What to feed your ferrets

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Ferrets are strict carnivores and need a well-balanced, meat-based diet to stay fit and healthy. Ferrets can't be vegetarians. It's thought that ferrets can't digest large amounts of fibre or complex carbohydrates (starches), such as bread and cereals, so don't feed these to your ferrets.

A balanced diet

To keep your ferrets healthy and happy, they'll need a diet that's suitable for their age, health status, level of activity and whether they have young. The best thing to do is to ask your vet or another ferret expert about a complete, commercially available diet for your ferret.

You'll need to feed your ferrets throughout the day, as they have high metabolic rates that mean they need to eat little and often. Feeding little and often is better than only feeding once or twice a day, and they'll need to have food available at all times.

It's a good idea to feed your ferrets in several different ways to encourage them to forage and make them work for their food or treat, for example by hiding food or using food toys.

Make sure your ferret is eating the right amount

Check your ferrets' body condition regularly to make sure they're eating enough, especially when they're living with other ferrets. If ferrets eat more food than they need, they'll become overweight and may suffer.

The amount your ferrets need to eat depends on their age, body weight, level of activity, health and whether they have young. It also depends on the type of food you feed them. Remember:

  • Read and follow the feeding instructions for any ferret foods that you buy.
  • Only give your ferret treats in small amounts. Suitable ferret treats include pieces of meat and cat or ferret treats.
  • Make any changes to their diet gradually. Sudden changes may upset their digestive system.

Drinking water

Make sure your ferrets have constant access to clean drinking water, as they'll become seriously ill without it. Check their water supply twice a day and make sure it doesn't freeze if your ferret is outdoors in winter.

Talk to your vet if your ferrets' eating and drinking habits change, as it could be a sign that they're ill.

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