Also see: Random FAQ’s by Jason

How much does it cost to feed raw?

The cost of feeding raw can vary greatly, depending on how many ferrets you own, what types of meats you are feeding, and where you live.

Freeze dried commercial raw food is the most expensive, followed by whole prey, grinds, and then “frankenprey”.

Why would “Ferret” kibble be bad for ferrets? It says it is made with their health in mind!

Marketing Gurus say many things to get us to buy items. Just because it has a ferret on the package doesn’t mean it’s actually good for them. Many ferret specific foods are chock full of bad ingredients such as corn & peas, which are completely indigestible by the ferret. A ferret that is given a steady diet of these foods is essentially starving to death a little bit each day.

Why would my ferret eat something that is bad for them?

Ferrets imprint on what we give them to eat as youngsters. If kibble is what they know, that’s what they’ll eat. They also seem to gravitate toward sweet items. There are also some weirdos that like the odd item such as broccoli, but while they may “like” it or eat it, that doesn’t mean it is good for them. It is up to us to make sure they always have plenty of healthy food and fresh water available and to restrict access to inappropriate food and treat options.

I am a vegetarian and I don’t like handling meat…how do I deal with this?

We do understand that some people don’t like to handle raw meat. If you are squeamish, that’s okay. There are several options to help you work around this. First, there are many varieties of commercial raw meats (in many forms) that can reduce or eliminate the need for preparing meals and directly handling the meat. Commercial ground raw for example is similar in consistency to feeding wet cat food, and you can always wear gloves when serving food or cleaning. A second option to consider is Freeze Dried Raw. Freeze dried raw offers almost all of the benefits of fresh raw meat, but the convenience of kibble. The only downer? The price! Places like Casey’s Hidden Pantry sell FD raw at low costs, but it will still cost more than fresh raw. FD raw meat comes in many brands, flavors, and forms so your ferret can still get the nutrition and variety it needs without you having to handle fresh raw meat. We do encourage you to wear gloves and try it out though, you might surprise yourself, and you will find that you become used to handling meat in a rather short time.  [See Raw and Whole Prey Providers for places to find commercial and freeze dried raw].

If your obligations are moral in nature consider this…the meat products in your kibble still came from cute animals, but those were raised in a the mass meat market, typically in poor living conditions, fed a poor diet, and processed in poorly regulated facilities. By feeding raw, you can control where your meat comes from an source humanely raised and properly handled meat products!

Come visit our Forum and Facebook pages – we have many vegan and vegetarian members who have overcome their squeamishness to feed raw who are happy to lend their emotional support and practical suggestions!

Photo: Shawnda

How much does a raw-fed ferret eat?

Note that the amount of food a ferret will eat each day will vary from ferret to ferret, season to season, and day to day. Ferrets typically eat significantly more during the fall/winter, and less in the spring/summer. Males typically eat more than females. Kits and young ferrets eat significantly more than adults.

  • On AVERAGE adult females will eat 1-3oz per day, and adult males will eat 2-4oz per day.

Raw fed ferrets very rarely over-eat; they are great at self-regulating. Unless you have a ferret who is overweight, they should be offered as much food as they will eat. A good rule of thumb is to always offer enough that there are a few bites leftover by the next meal. This ensures that they get enough food, while minimizing waste.

To determine how much your ferret needs each meal, we recommend weighing the amount of food offered each meal, and then weighing the leftovers before the next meal. (Subtract the two to see how much they ate). Do this for several days to get an idea of how much your ferret eats per meal in order to determine how much food you should prepare. You may want to do this in the winter and again in summer to get a feel for your ferret’s seasonal variations.

How often does a raw-fed ferret eat?

It depends. Most raw feeders give meals about every 12 hours. Ferrets with certain medical conditions may need smaller, more frequent feedings. Others give one larger meal one time per day and let the ferrets graze for 24 hours before the next meal.

What kinds of meat can ferrets eat?

Any raw, unprocessed meat. 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 (watch out for grinds with high veggie content though), freeze dried raw, whole prey, butcher scraps etc.

Read more on these pages:


Raw and Whole Prey Providers

Do I have to feed mice and whole prey?

No. While a whole prey diet is hands down the best thing you can offer your little carnivores, it is also unrealistic for most people to feed strictly whole prey. Most people cannot afford a whole prey diet, and many cannot find the sources for adequate variety (the 3-4 protein minimum rule still applies to a whole prey diet). Most people feed a Frankenprey diet, consisting of a balanced menu of “grocery store” meats. Many still like to offer whole prey items as a part of the diet (see Balancing Frankenprey with Alternative Meals), but this is not required. If you are ready to feed raw but too squeamish for whole prey – don’t worry! Your ferret will still get infinitely better nutrition from a balanced raw diet than kibble, even without whole prey.

Can I feed my ferrets live prey?

Again, it depends. In some areas, live feeding is prohibited by law. In others, it’s perfectly legal, but your desire to provide enrichment to your ferret must not be greater than your desire to see the prey dispatched humanely. Should your ferret not do the job quickly and cleanly, you must be prepared to step in and do the deed. The most common way to dispatch small prey (which is the ONLY type recommended for ferrets) is by cervical dislocation. If you can’t handle watching the video, then please do not attempt live feeding. Rats and larger prey can seriously injure a ferret, so anything larger than mice or African soft furred rats (ASFs) should be pre-killed.

Can ferrets eat bugs?

Yes. Bugs are great for a healthy snack, and hunting live bugs is fantastic mental enrichment for your ferrets. However, they should not be fed in large quantities as the high chitin content of the insects’ exoskeleton can cause constipation when fed in excess. Also, some ferrets have difficulties with bugs such as crickets and may vomit if they eat too many at once.

Help! My ferret stashed some meat and then ate it, but it was covered in maggots!

Ew, yeah…in the parts of the world where most of us live, we avoid maggots. That said, your ferrets will be fine. Think of it as added protein.