Step 7: Making a Balanced Menu
Congratulations! Your ferret is now on a whole raw foods diet! Now it is time to ensure that your ferret is receiving a properly balanced and varied diet. Please note: an improperly balanced raw diet can be dangerous to your ferrets’ health by causing nutritional deficiencies or overload. It is very important to make sure your ferret has a diet that is balanced, and high in variety!
FOR BALANCING DIET PLEASE SEE:
BASIC FRANKENPREY MENU
For more in-depth info keep reading. If you prefer plain and simple, skip ahead to Variety.
For balance, a raw diet for a ferret should consist of the following ratios:
- 65-75% Non-Heart Muscle Meat (Ideally, gizzards should also be included in the muscle meat)
- 10% Heart (yes, heart is a muscle but the taurine content in heart is so vital that it is given its own category)
- 10% Organs (half of this should be liver, and half should consist of other organs such as kidney, spleen, brain, stomach, reproductive organs, etc. Read more about Organ Meat)
- 10-15% Edible Bone (please note the use of the word edible. Any bones left uneaten – such as large bones – cannot be included as part of the bone-content in the diet) – Note that dry, hard stools indicate they are getting too much bone and soft stools indicates they are not getting enough bone.
Many people find calculating percentages is overwhelming or confusing – especially when trying to figure out bones. For this reason, we have simplified the menu into a MEAL plan. Food should be switched out about every 12 hours. This means 2 meals a day: the am meal given at “breakfast” and kept available in their cage all day, and the pm meal is given at “dinner” and available all night. (Thus one “meal” is the amount of food they eat in 12 hours).
2 Meals per day = 14 meals a week. [10% is roughly 1.5 (one-and-a-half) meals].
Using this every week your ferret needs:
- 2-4 meals Muscle Meat (non-heart, boneless meat)
- 1.5 meals Heart*
- 1.5 meals Organs* (half of this should be liver, and half should consist of other organs. Read more about Organ Meat)
- (OR 3 meals of 50/50/25 Mix – see Frankenprey Menu for details)
- 7-9 meals of Edible Bone-In Meal
How Long Meals Can Be Left Out
Soups: 6-8 hours
Grinds: 8-12 hours
Chunks: 10-24 hours (depending on size eg. the bigger the chunks are, the longer they’ll last)
Bone-in Meats: 12-24 hours (again, depending on size)
Whole Prey: up to 48 hours
Shopping for Meat:
Read more in Shopping for Raw
See Raw and Whole Prey Providers
- Check Asian markets, Halal meat markets (African markets), other ethnic markets, and butchers. You can always ask if anyone can save scraps or special order for you.
- Look around too for a pet store that carries commercially ground raw meats. These are a GREAT way to add variety as they often have proteins that you won’t find in the store, and they usually have organ, heart, and bones ground into them (but not always so be sure to check). I can get commercial ground: pheasant, rabbit, chicken (Koda can’t eat this), turkey, beef (also a no-no for Koda), bison, quail, tripe.
- Also if you have trouble finding anything, there are other routes you can take. There are online providers where you can order commercially ground organ meat patties and other products. As a last resort, there are supplements that can help fill in the gaps temporarily. We recommend visiting our Facebook Group to ask for help if you are having trouble sourcing organs.