Recently it has become very fashionable to start a ferret as a pet. These cute and active animals cannot even sit still for a minute. But before you start a ferret, you should familiarize yourself with the diet of this animal.
Ferret nutrition in nature
Ferrets by nature are lone hunters. In the wild, these animal predators feed on rodents. The diet of ferrets is made up of hamsters, ground squirrels, rabbits, field mice, rats, gerbils. Ferrets easily catch lizards, frogs, hunt poisonous snakes.
In these animals, the ability to creep up silently, ferrets attack grouse, ruin the nests of birds on the ground to eat chicks and eggs. The ferret's favorite treat is hedgehogs, their spines do not frighten the ferrets at all, they eat hedgehogs with great pleasure.
How often to feed a ferret?
Ferrets are motile animals with an intense metabolism, which is why they constantly need a lot of energy. To obtain it, wild ferrets eat often, but their portions are small.
In captivity, breeders follow similar principles and observe the following feeding regimen for their pets:
- monthly animals are fed 4-5 times a day;
- feed young animals 3-4 times a day;
- adult pets are given 2 times.
Ferret Nutrition Scheme
When keeping ferrets, special attention should be paid to nutrition. After all, an improperly selected diet negatively affects health. Due to the wide variety of options, each breeder can choose for himself a suitable power scheme.
From natural products, ferrets are given meat - chicken or turkey, in raw form, with cartilage and bones, with the exception of tubular, and other offal. Breeders add dairy products to the diet, in addition to milk, because these animals have lactose intolerance.
Be careful with the fish. Not every type of fish is suitable for ferrets, animals are allowed to give shrimp, squid, red fish - salmon, trout, but in small quantities.
Natural food should not be boiled; food is given raw or thawed.
Food for ferrets, the ingredients of which include poultry meat that contains easily digestible protein of non-plant origin - these are snacks. Currently, the market offers dry food, the composition of which was developed by specialists specifically for ferrets. The protein content in dry feed is 32-36%, carbohydrates, fats - not more than 20%, up to 5% of plant fibers.
In the absence of special food, you can purchase premium food for kittens and pregnant cats. Dog food is absolutely not suitable.
When eating a dry feed, the ferret drinks a lot of liquid, so you need to constantly monitor that the drinker is always filled with water.
Eating live food gives ferrets great pleasure. After all, having chosen such a scheme, breeders are as close as possible to the natural nutrition of these animals in nature.
As live feed, which is sold in veterinary pharmacies, are suitable:
- flour worms;
- marble cockroaches.
At times, ferrets are given various goodies. Ferrets with appetite will eat cheese, cottage cheese, baby kefir and quail eggs, which may be present in the diet once a week. Of the delicacies, pieces of fruit are allowed, because ferrets are very fond of apples, bananas, pears.
Reasonably pick up delicacies to ferrets, you should not please treats from the table, so you only do much harm. Indeed, in nature, plant food enters the body of these animals only if it is inside the caught prey.
Vitamins and Supplements
For proper development and growth, ferrets must be given vitamins and minerals. They are part of the finished additives, which are of two types:
- vitamin pastes;
- vitamin complexes.
Pastes and complexes can be given to ferrets separately or added to food.
Vitamin paste helps animals recover faster, recover and regain strength after surgery. Vitamin complexes are given to ferrets all year round, the dosage varies depending on the season, and the age of the animal is also taken into account.
Vitamins and minerals included in supplements are important during molting, lactation and estrus. The additives contain:
- minerals - calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron;
- A, E, D and other vitamins;
- Brewer's yeast.
Before choosing a vitamin supplement, be sure to consult a specialist.
Minced meat recipes
Minced meat is a mixture that is often used to feed ferrets. It may contain several ingredients.
Recipe number 1
Designed for young puppies and younger individuals. The stuffing composition includes:
- chicken stomachs - 1 kg;
- chicken necks - 2 kg;
- rice or buckwheat - 400 g.
The breeder recipe was introduced by the breeder in his video below:
Preparing the minced meat is very simple:
- Grind the cereals into flour, then cook until completely boiled.
- Grind offal into minced meat, which mix with the finished porridge.
- Add the right amount of vitamins to the minced meat.
Recipe number 2
This recipe is prepared for adult animals. Forcemeat consists of the following components:
- cottage cheese - 60 g;
- fish - 150 g;
- beef heart - 100 g;
- chicken meat - 0.5 kg;
- rice - 100 g;
- bird fat - 10 g.
The cooking process is very simple:
- Cook rice for 2-3 hours, grind the rest of the ingredients into minced meat.
- Mix the minced meat with porridge, add the necessary vitamins.
- Divide the prepared minced meat into portions and send it to the freezer.
Features of feeding at different periods
Ferret nutrition becomes special during certain periods of life. The mandatory presence of minerals and vitamins remains common.
During breastfeeding, young ferrets get the nutrients they need for their body along with their mother's milk. Depriving of mother's milk, the gastrointestinal tract of ferrets becomes vulnerable to infections, which is why probiotics should always be kept in the breeder’s first-aid kit.
Ferrets are transferred to the “adult” feeding 3-4 weeks after birth. At this time, their baby teeth begin to erupt. In order for the kids to quickly get used to such a diet, liquid mincemeat is introduced into the diet, and cream with a low percentage of fat content or baby kefir is added to the mother's menu.
Do not forget about vitamins - ferrets are dripped on the tongue fish oil 3-4 drops. If more male furos were born in the litter, more calcium and phosphorus are added to the food, as males are more active.
Do not forget to give your pets vitamin pastes and supplements. Lack of nutrients negatively affects the growth and further development of ferrets.
Furos molt in early spring and autumn, with the exception of pregnant females that molt on the 20th day of pregnancy, and animals that have suffered hormonal failure. Shedding lasts 1-2 weeks and is accompanied by severe itching. In some parts of the body, hair is practically absent.
Ferrets are very clean, so they carefully lick themselves, as a result of which a lot of hair gets into the gastrointestinal tract and vomiting begins. To prevent this from happening, the animals are given wool-removing pastes. Pets are helped to cope with molting, comb out the hair with a brush or use a furminator.
During molting, ferrets need vitamin complexes containing sulfur, brewer's yeast and vitamins of group B. Thanks to which the new coat will be thick and shiny.
In order for the offspring to be born healthy for a pregnant female, an individual diet is made up.
The menu of a pregnant female necessarily contains:
- phosphorus, calcium for strong teeth and bones;
- vitamins A, E, D and group B - in an increased amount.
When feeding chorichi with natural food, meat and bone meal, calcined cottage cheese, fish oil are introduced into the menu. If a female eats dry snacks, she is given special food for pregnant women or a product intended for cats. You can not overfeed choricha - this leads to obesity, but to limit the female’s nutrition is also dangerous.
Before childbirth and in the first days after them, the appetite of the chorichi worsens. The menu of the ferret during lactation is identical to nutrition during pregnancy. The need for nutrients is still high.
How to choose dry food?
Before choosing a dry food, you must read what components are indicated in the composition. It is worth paying attention to the following points:
- In the first place should be indicated poultry meat, if this is premium food, then there can be two types of meat.
- The content of plant fibers should be no more than 3-5%, since furo hard to digest fiber.
- The percentage of ash should not exceed 7%, otherwise the pet runs the risk of getting urolithiasis.
- The composition of the feed should be an amino acid - taurine, which is useful for the heart and eyes.
- It is better to avoid feeds that contain cornmeal, especially if it is indicated in the first place.
What should not be given to ferrets?
There is a list of foods that should not be given to ferrets.
|Pork, lamb||These are fatty meats, hard to digest.|
|Pike, bream, pollock, herring, hake||These products contain trimethylamine oxide and thiaminase, which interfere with the absorption of vitamin B1.|
|Milk||This product is not digestible, loose stools are possible.|
|Citrus||Allergen, itching and rash are possible.|
|Nuts||It is difficult to digest and can cause a blockage in the stomach.|
Water in the diet
Ferrets often drink fluids, especially if they are fed dry snacks. With this nutrition, the number of approaches to the drinker reaches 7-12 times. It is important to keep drinkers with water in a clean form, and the water itself should be fresh, at room temperature. Filtered water is best suited for drinking, which is changed at least 2 times a day.
Ferrets should always have water, because it not only promotes thermoregulation, but also saves the animal from sunstroke in the summer.
The consequences of malnutrition ferret
The choice by the breeders of feeds high in fat and carbohydrates, as well as the feeding of delicacies in large quantities leads to the emergence of various kinds of diseases, including:
- hypovitaminosis H, D.
We recommend that you read our article on how ferrets get sick and how to treat them .
Having provided their ferret with proper nutrition, the breeders will receive a healthy and active pet. Therefore, it is so important to pay special attention to the diet and drinking regime of the ferret, which can change at different periods of life.