Your ferret should regularly receive a bare minimum of 3-4 proteins. However, the more variety you can offer the better! Even mixing in new meats on occasion is better than never. Some meats are seasonal so we understand that you may not be able to feed everything in the menu year-round. A minimum of 3-4 proteins should be fed year-round (for example, pork, chicken, and beef), with other proteins added in whenever they are available. Ideally, at least one of the 3-4 minimum proteins should be a red meat (beef, goat, lamb, etc).
Most meats sold as fit for human consumption are okay to feed ferrets as long as they are NOT processed; ferrets should NEVER be fed meats that are seasoned/flavored, smoked, cured, or injected with saline to preserve freshness (read labels carefully). Also, some meats not “fit” for human consumption can be fed as well; these include meats such as commercial raw made just for pets, whole prey, butcher scraps etc.
Start trying to add in as many new meats as you can find. The more variety the better! Also, seeing as how it is unrealistic to keep an entire farm in your freezer, start trying to at least locate new/additional meats so that you have an idea of what you have access to, and where you can find what. When you find them, feel free to try them out!
Below is a list of food suggestions:
- beef (also veal)
- bison (buffalo)
- fish (mackerel, salmon, halibut, goldfish, etc – also, fish oil is very good for them)
- venison and other game meats
- rodents (mice, rats, african soft furred rats, guinea pigs, etc)
- cornish game hen
Some parts that are good to have of all of the above animals:
- heart (is a muscle meat but vital for taurine)
- liver and other organs
- tongue (a muscle meat; beef tongue specifically is extremely high in taurine)
- brain (VERY nutritious organ meat – high in omega fats, taurine, and other nutrients)
- lung (great source of iron and Vitamin B, feed as a minimal part of “other organs” Read More)
- gizzards (a muscle meat – great for cleaning teeth)
- chicken feet (good bone source, best fed with a boneless meat to avoid constipation from too much bone without meat to balance it – i.e. for a bone-in meal you could feed pork chunks with chicken feet)
- necks (also a good bone source, may need to be smashed up)
- ribs (pork ribs are NOT edible for most ferrets. If your ferret does not eat the bone, it does not count towards their bone content)
Fatty Meats: In general, fattier cuts of meat are preferred. Look around for some pork side, pork belly (not stomach, but the meat), or uncured bacon. It is all essentially the same thing – very fatty pieces of pork. Duck is also high in fat. In some places duck is seasonal, but many Asian markets carry it year round. Also, the thigh meat of poultry tends to be much fattier than breasts. Their natural diet should be pretty high in fat naturally, so unless you have a significantly overweight ferret or are feeding heavily fatty meats as their primary diet, you shouldn’t have to worry about them being too fattening. If anything, they make up for the leanness of chicken.
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).
- Also if you have trouble finding anything, there are other routes you can take. There are online raw and whole prey providers where you can order commercially ground organ meat patties, balanced grinds, assorted meat parts, freeze dried meats, whole prey, and other products. As a last resort, there are supplements that can help fill in the gaps temporarily. We recommend visiting the forum to ask for help if you are having trouble sourcing organs.