Whole prey is, by far, the best food you can offer your ferrets. Whole prey is precisely what ferrets are designed to eat, and each prey item is a completely balanced meal. Unfortunately, most ferret owners cannot afford to feed a diet of exclusively whole prey, but that’s okay – that is exactly why the Frakenprey Menu exists, to offer a well-balanced diet that mimics the proportions of a prey diet. If you can afford to however, it is wonderful both nutritionally and for mental stimulation to offer your ferrets whole prey when you can – whether as the occasional special treat, or a regular part of their diet.
If you want to offer prey regularly, check out our page on Balancing Frankenprey with Alternative Meals to see how you will need to adjust your menu to keep it appropriately balanced.
If you can afford to feed your ferrets a diet of exclusively whole prey, keep in mind that variety is still crucial – you will need to ensure your ferrets are offered a minimum of 3-4 different protein items (e.g. mouse, rat, whole-quail, guinea pig, rabbit).
Please note that young/immature prey are NOT nutritionally balanced despite being whole prey. If these are offered it should be as a treat only and NOT a regular part of their diet. Young/Immature Whole Prey includes: pinkies, fuzzies, hoppers, pup rats, rabbit kits, day old chicks (“DOCs”), and any infant/very young prey item with an immature skeletal system (generally under 2 months old for rodents).
Where to Find Whole Prey
- Online retailers. Check out our page on Raw and Whole Prep Providers for a list of retailers.
- Local Reptile Expos
- Pet stores sell frozen rodents for snakes (typically found in the freezer near the fish aisle)
- Home Raised
Raising Your Own Prey
Many individuals choose to raise their own whole prey. Doing this takes extra work, but can be a great way to offer whole prey while reducing your costs!
- Natural Rodent Forum (inactive forum, but good stickied threads)
- Raising Your Own Prey
Many individuals choose to offer their ferrets live prey. Done properly, this can be fantastic mental and physical stimulation and offers an outlet for their natural predator instincts. There are specific guidelines one should follow when choosing to offer live prey to ensure that it is done in a safe and humane way. Additionally, feeding life prey is not legal in all areas so be sure to check your local laws. Please keep in mind that live feeding is a very controversial subject and not something that everyone feels comfortable with. We support live feeding when done correctly, but also respect those who do not feel like they can offer live prey themselves.
Please note that Facebook prohibits videos of Live Hunts, as such while we do support feeding Life Prey when done humanely, we do not permit the sharing of videos on Facebook. You may post videos on the Forum’s Live Feeding Board (linked below) or PM an admin if you have questions regarding a ferret’s hunt.
- Live Feeding Board
- How to Perform Proper Cervical Dislocation (video)
- How to Perform Cervical Dislocation Videos:
- The Proper Way to Euthanize Rodents for Snake Food (Carbon Monoxide Euthanasia Video)
- What a Live Kill Should Be (vide0): video demonstrating a good example of how a live hunt should be. Kenai is in and done with a clean kill in 8 seconds.
We get many questions along the lines of “my ferret caught a mouse in my house, can he eat it?” The short answer is NO. We do not recommend feeding wild caught prey items due to the risk that the rodent may have ingested poison left out by neighbors, and the risk of parasites. Even if you live very rurally and are absolutely certain that there is no risk of recent/prior poison ingestion by the rodent, parasites are still a risk to consider.
If you are comfortable dispatching the prey yourself (see video links above) you can freeze the rodent for several weeks (no less than 3-4 weeks) which will kill most parasites. However, even freezing is not a guarantee, particularly if you live in a colder climate where many parasites are becoming resistant to freezing.