Can ferrets eat baby food

What do ferrets eat? The best food for your ferret and the worst

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Jump to: What do ferrets eat? | Ferret diet | What do ferrets eat in the wild? | What do you feed a baby ferret? | How often should I feed my adult ferret? | Tap water | Can a ferret eat dog food? | Can you feed a ferret eggs? | Can a ferret eat cat food? | Can a ferret eat fish? | Do ferrets eat nuts? | Do ferrets eat rabbits?

What do ferrets eat?

Ferrets are obligate carnivores, which means they must eat meat. 

Raw meat is the best option, including whole prey.  Ferrets can also eat kitten food, as it has a high meat protein content, baby food that's high in meat protein, and dried ferret food, that's high in meat protein. 

As an occasional treat, your ferret can also eat eggs.

A ferret's diet should consist of 32 – 38% protein and 15 – 20% fat.

Ferrets can eat the following raw meat:

  • Chicken wings and stripped carcasses
  • Turkey necks
  • Rabbit
  • Game birds
  • Pigeons
  • Minced beef
  • Lamb
  • Offal
  • Lambs heart
  • Raw animal bones for calcium and for cleaning your ferrets teeth
  • Chicken
  • Lamb

Source: The British Ferret Club, Feeding Adult Ferrets

Ferrets can also eat whole prey including:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Chicks

Source: Susan Brown, DVM, Rethinking the Ferret Diet.

Although you may not like the idea of feeding raw food to your ferret, it replicates her natural diet, meeting her nutritional needs.

Make sure you buy good quality meat, and buy any rodents from reputable retailers. Don’t be tempted to try and catch any rodents yourself, as they could contain parasites.

You should therefore be aware that your ferret might also try to hide some food for later on. This could be dangerous, as raw meat could go off, and cause food poisoning.

Your ferret is part of your family but make sure she eats the right food for her.

Ferret diet

Ferrets have a short intestinal tract and absorb nutrients inefficiently, which is one of the reasons their diet needs to be high in meat based protein and fat. Their bodies digest these easily, and they provide lots of energy.

You should minimise the amount of fruit or vegetables that you give your ferret. These contain complex carbohydrates which are high in fibre. Ferrets can't digest fibre, meaning they have a low nutritional value.

A diet high in carbohydrates can also lead to disease in ferrets, as can vegetable protein that's also found in fruit and vegetables. Find out more about foods that ferrets can't eat and why.

Due to their short intestinal tract and high metabolic rate, ferrets must also eat little and often.

You may like to read this: Looking after and caring for a ferret

What do ferrets eat in the wild?

In the wild a ferret would eat every part of the animal including its bones, and this action would not only benefit her health, but offer stimulation and exercise her jaw.

Kristen's ferret was very poorly in 2016. Her ferret was unable to walk and lost a third of his body weight in three weeks. She was covered by ferret insurance - read her review.

What dried ferret food can you buy?

You can buy Burgess ferret food; Chudleys; Optima and James Wellbeloved ferret food.

When buying dried ferret food ensure it contains more meat protein than any other product. If it's high in carbohydrate and fibre then you should avoid it.

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Food that ferrets can’t eat

Ferrets shouldn't eat fruit or vegetables as a main part of their diet.

Ferrets shouldn’t be fed food containing complex carbohydrates as a main part of their diet as these contain fibre. Ferrets can't digest fibre, which means the foods have a low nutritional value.

The reason they can’t digest these is because they have no cecum – this forms part of the digestive tract in many animals, and can produce bacteria that digests complex carbohydrates.

In addition a diet high in carbohydrate can lead to an excess of glucose in your ferret's blood. This could cause insulinoma - cancer of the beta cells in the Pancreas according to Susan Brown, DVM.

Vegetables can also contain vegetable protein, which your ferret can't digest very well. If she eats too much then it can lead to disease, such as bladder stones, ulcerations of the skin, gastroenteritis, reduced reproduction ability and her kits could suffer with poor growth.

Try and avoid the foods listed below, as they're high in complex carbohydrates and fibre: 

Fruit and vegetables you shouldn't feed your ferret

  • Apple
  • Blackberries
  • Lentils
  • Lima Beans
  • Pears
  • Pigeon beans
  • Pink beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Raspberries
  • Spinach
  • Small white beans
  • Winged beans
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Green Beans
  • Guavas
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Onions
  • Oranges
  • Split peas
  • Dried plums
  • Sweet potato
  • Peanut butter
  • Raisins
  • Rice
  • Bananas
  • Salt
  • Chocolate

Source: Fruit and Veggies - More Matters & The American Ferret Association

Your ferrets diet should be primarily meat and fat as in the wild.   She will gain her energy from those foods, and not carbohydrates.

Your baby ferret's eating habits are shaped while they're young.

What do baby ferrets eat?

You can feed your baby ferret a combination of fresh meat, goats or low lactose milk and water.

You can feed your baby ferret around four times a day using the following plan:

  • Breakfast: Water and fresh meat chucks
  • Lunch: Fresh meat
  • Dinnertime: Fresh meat
  • Suppertime: Meat on the bone followed by goats milk or a low lactose milk

(Thanks to The British Ferret Club for their Kit dietary advice)

Ferrets tend to bond with their food as Kits, and once they’re older it’s harder to change their eating habits.

You should encourage them to try lots of different foods when they’re young, to avoid problems later on in life.

It’s also a good idea to give them soft foods occasionally, such as baby food (high in meat protein), or dried food soaked in water occasionally.

This is so they don’t reject softer foods when they’re ill, and unable to normally.

How often should I feed my adult ferret?

Opinions vary on how often, so be guided by your pet – just remember not to overwhelm her with food, as she won’t be able to eat it all.

She may then resort to hoarding it for later. If it’s a meat product this could have obvious consequences in that it could go off before she eats it.

If you work during the day, then try leaving some ferret kibble out for her to eat when she’s hungry. Alternate ferret kibble and fresh meat when you’re at home.

With all this food, you also need to make sure that your ferret gets plenty of exercise in order to prevent her from getting fat.

Can I give my ferret tap water?

Yes, tap water is fine for your ferret.

If your ferret turns her nose up at, it may be because she can smell the chlorine. Try filtering it to see if that helps.

It’s really important to provide your ferret with lots of fresh water daily to avoid dehydration. Ferrets can get thirsty, particularly if they’re eating a dried ferret food, or if it’s the summer.

Can a ferret eat dog food?

No, it’s not advised to feed your ferret dog food. This is because it’s not high enough in protein and fat for your ferret.

Dog food also contains vegetable protein and fibre which cannot be digested by ferrets, and can cause disease.

Can you feed a ferret eggs?

Yes, you can feed your ferret cooked or raw eggs as a treat.

Limit them to once or twice a week, as more than this could cause constipation.

Can a ferret eat cat or kitten food?

Yes, your ferret can eat kitten food, as it has a high meat protein content. Cat food doesn’t contain the same protein levels, so isn’t as beneficial for your ferret.

Can ferrets eat fish?

Ferrets can eat fish, however it’s not naturally part of their diet. Some pre-prepared ferret foods do contain fish, which may not be to every ferrets’ taste.

It’s probably better to pick a pre-prepared food that contains meat rather than fish.

What treats can you give ferrets?

You can give your ferret meat or eggs (one to two a week).

You can also feed baby food with a high meat content. Any treats should be high in meat protein. Sweet, complex carbohydrate or dairy products can be harmful.

Treats should also be in small quantities to avoid filling her up too much, due to her small intestinal tract.

If you want to give your ferret specifically designed ferret treats, make sure that they don’t contain complex carbohydrates. Some products sadly do, which can be harmful for ferrets.

Do ferrets eat nuts?

No, ferrets shouldn’t eat nuts, they contain complex carbohydrates which can cause illness in ferrets.

We can cover ferrets for up to £2,000 in vet fees. Cover can be per pet or per policy. Why not find out more?

Do ferrets eat rabbits?

Yes, it's likely that if provide your ferret with rabbit, she'll eat it.

If you own a pet rabbit, keep them away from each other.

Ferrets are naturally hunters of prey, and will chase down wild (and domesticated) animals that her ancestors would normally eat in the wild.

Urinary tract stones in ferrets

Calcium oxolate is the compound in stones that can form in a ferrets urinary tract. They’re very painful for ferrets, and are caused by eating plant based proteins, dog food and poor quality cat food.

The stones are most common in ferrets aged three to seven years.

And finally....

We really hope that you've found this article helpful. Ferrets are such cute pets, and it can be so tempting to give them foods that they seem to enjoy. However, their little bodies might not.

Like with dogs and chocolate - don't be tempted to give in because your ferret looks cutely at you. Because you want to keep her fit and healthy.

And with the right kind of food, and the love, care and attention you'll give her, hopefully your ferret will live a long and happy life.

Do you need insurance for your ferret? Get a quote for up to £2,000 of vet fee cover | Insure up to 3 pets per policy | We’ve been insuring exotic pets since 1996 | Check out our customer reviews on Feefo.


This article is intended for guidance only. Although we've done our best to ensure the facts are correct, we naturally cannot guarantee this, as we're not vets or nutritional experts. If you're unsure about what to feed your ferret, you should consult your vet.

Feeding Ferrets | VCA Animal Hospital

What do ferrets eat?

Ferrets are carnivores and cannot handle a diet containing more than 4% fiber. A good quality ferret diet should contain 32-40% protein and 10-15% fat. There are several good commercial dry foods for ferrets. While cat food has been suggested for use in ferrets in the past, diets specifically made for ferrets are more appropriate and highly recommended. Whole meat diets are an option, but they can be messy and, if not balanced properly, can lead to nutritional imbalances.

"Ferrets are carnivores and cannot handle a diet containing more than 4% fiber."

There are diets available to meet the unique needs of growing kits, pregnant or lactating females, and geriatric ferrets. Remember that your ferret "is what he/she eats", so try to feed him/her the best food possible. Consult your veterinarian for a proper diet.

How often should I feed my ferret?

Ferrets have a rapid gut transit time (from eating to defecating) of three to four hours, so they appear to eat and defecate constantly. As ferrets age, many develop tumors in their pancreas, causing the production of excess insulin. Because of this, ferrets can easily develop hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) without food and should be fed several small meals throughout the day. This is most easily accomplished by leaving food out 24 hours a day, allowing your ferret to graze as desired. Ferrets who spend excessive time eating may become obese and should be offered only limited food quantities.

"...ferrets can easily develop hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) without food and should be fed several small meals throughout the day."

Do I need to give my ferret vitamins?

Extra vitamins are unnecessary if your ferret is eating a high-quality, premium diet.

Can I offer my ferret treats?

Ferrets enjoy sweets, dairy products, raisins, fruits, and vegetables, but these foods should be avoided because they may produce diarrhea and erratic swings in blood sugar. A piece of cooked meat or some meat baby food is acceptable as an occasional treat. Supplementation with ‘Duck Soup’ is unnecessary for a healthy ferret and causes obesity in ferrets who consume it regularly. It is intended as a supplemental diet for sick ferrets needing extra calories.

"...ferrets can become overweight if fed an abundance of calorie-dense treats or foods."

Chocolate can be fatal to ferrets! Check with your veterinarian before you feed your ferret any people food, especially snack foods. Dietary changes can contribute to problems such as upset stomach, diarrhea, and pancreatic problems. In addition, ferrets can become overweight if fed an abundance of calorie-dense treats or foods.

What about water?

Fresh water should be available all the time. You can offer water from a sipper bottle or a heavy crockery bowl that will not easily tip over, as ferrets love to play with and spill their dishes.

Is it possible to give a ferret baby food?

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from russel , in the category: All about ferrets and more , 10 months ago

Can I give a ferret baby food?

3 answers



Olesya U.

from Olesya U. , 9 months ago

Nothing terrible will happen, and it is even useful sometimes to give your pet baby food, of course, it is better from chicken or veal meat. In nature, they do not receive such food, and therefore it is unusual for them, but if the animal suddenly gets sick, then it is this kind of food that will help him recover faster, and therefore you need to accustom him to it just in case. In any case, there will be no harm from it, only one benefit.




off Nicholas, 9 months ago

@russell I'll even go so far as to say that veterinarians recommend giving ferrets baby food. But of course give a little, let's say a few spoons. We had such that the daughter's wife cooked the broth and just fed a little ferret. Chicken and turkey broth is best. If the hamster is also sick, then they recover much faster.

If we talk specifically about baby food jars, then it is also possible, but mostly meat and always from a normal manufacturer. But don't feed too often. nine0003



Andrey Semenov

from Andrey Semenov, 8 months ago

By and large, there is nothing wrong with giving your ferret baby food. Naturally, this should be done occasionally and not make up your pet's diet exclusively from this food. But I would recommend feeding baby food to a ferret only if he is sick or old. In this case, this is really the best option for nutrition. Food is best warmed to a little warmer than room temperature and stirred

Qty per page

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Feeding sick ferrets | Club "Russian Ferret"

The Internet is replete with recipes for diet food for feeding sick ferrets. Most of these recipes are called "Duck Soup", based on human food recipes.

These recipes contain a large amount of additives such as brewer's yeast, olive oil and many others. The authors write that allegedly some supplements even contribute to the destruction of cancer. Many veterinarians advise treating sick animals with HILL's Food, the A/D Diet, a liquid diet food designed for cats and dogs. nine0003

Although there are many recipes for feeding sick ferrets, there are some general trends:

  1. They require a lot of time and money to prepare.
  2. Often they have little to no scientific basis for using the supplements they contain.
  3. They are usually fed by the owner with a syringe without a tip.
  4. Worst of all, trying to force weak or sick animals to take fluids with a syringe can lead to accidental inhalation (or injection) of the fluid into the lungs, which can lead to pneumonia, which can be much worse than the underlying disease. nine0083

There is another way to provide better nutrition for sick ferrets. This is a path that not only I use for my own ferrets, but has been prescribed for thousands of ferrets for many years.

Canned Chicken Baby Meal has proven to be a more than adequate replacement for normal meals for sick or elderly ferrets who cannot eat normal food. While I certainly do not approve of the use of chicken baby food as the main diet, in this case it is a well-preserved, convenient and affordable food. nine0003

Many people try to open a can of meat baby food and feed their ferret from there. Unfortunately, especially with sick ferrets, it's not that easy. But after a few tries, most ferrets will eat like champions.

Although ferrets can eat a variety of baby food, I only recommend one that is all chicken or chicken broth.

There are many other varieties of this food, for example with turkey, veal, pork, also with vegetables or fruits. But since ferrets are carnivores, not rodents, I do not recommend canned food containing vegetable fiber or fructose, or fruit or vegetable baby food. I strongly caution against using them as ferret food. nine0003

Baby food should be warmed to just above room temperature. You can warm it up in the microwave, then stir until the food is evenly warm and check the temperature with your finger.

For the first feeding, take some food on your finger. Gently open the ferret's mouth by spreading it with your index finger and thumb on the sides of the mouth, just behind the teeth. Then, holding the mouth of the ferret open, apply food to the upper palate behind the teeth with your finger with food. Your ferret may resist, but don't worry, this way of feeding is better and safer, your ferret will get enough food and it won't get into his lungs. nine0003

In terms of feeding volume, start with 1/6 jar every 4 hours, and then when the ferret is good at licking the food off your finger, you can feed her as much as she wants.

Typically, after one or two power-feeds, your ferret will begin to lick the food off your fingers on its own.

When a sick ferret enjoys eating from your hand, we recommend sticking to this finger-chest feeding pattern for at least a week or more. Later, you can move on to spoon feeding, and even later to pasta feeding for a few days or a week. If you are feeding microwaved pasta, stir it and make sure the pasta is heated evenly and there are no “hot spots”. nine0003

After your diseased ferret has been actively eating new food, give her as much as she wants every 4 hours. Always intersperse feedings with water from your finger. You can place your finger just below the surface of the water, giving the feeling of being watered from your finger.

As I said earlier, although baby food is a good alternative food for sick ferrets, this food does not contain vitamins, minerals and other compounds (including taurine) that ferrets need to maintain good health. I have kept ferrets on an exclusive baby food diet for up to 6 months (and experienced significant weight gain), but I would not recommend repeating this. Therefore, if you have to keep your ferret on this diet for more than 4 weeks, I recommend grinding your regular food in a coffee grinder and mixing it with baby food, which will allow the ferret to receive all the vitamins and minerals it needs. nine0003

Note to skeptics - I kept one of my ferrets with chronic inflammatory bowel disease on this mix for over three years. Now she is 7 and a half years old and she feels quite normal.

Mixing baby food with regular food is also a very good way to wean your ferret off baby food and transition to regular food. If your ferret has begun to show a clear predilection for baby food, you need to gradually add more and more crushed dry food. As your ferret becomes accustomed to the mixture of baby food with regular food, you can gradually mix in unground dry food into this mixture. You can even fake "hand feeding" by dipping your fingers into the food mixture. It is possible that you will have to resort to all sorts of tricks to return your ferret's love of normal food.

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