Ferrets are strict meat-eaters. That means they need animal-based protein to survive. For a ferret to lead a healthy and happy life, they need to eat meat every day. They cannot survive on rabbit food, canned cat food, dog food, or any other animal-based protein for that matter.
A ferret that is not fed the correct type of protein will ultimately develop serious health problems and may die from malnutrition. Therefore, you must understand this before choosing a pet and diet for them so you can ensure their well-being.
So the answer to the question: “Can Ferrets Eat Rabbit Food?” is NO – Ferrets should not eat rabbit food!
Why No Rabbit Food for Ferrets?
Rabbit food contains no meat. Rabbits are herbivores that live on a diet of vegetables. It may seem okay to feed your ferret something a rabbit would eat, but it’s not the right kind of food for them.
What about Vegetables?
Ferrets need meat! They’re strict carnivores (meat-eaters), and they need a high amount of animal protein every day to live and stay healthy.
This is because their bodies are less efficient at digesting plant proteins than those found in meat. So, generally speaking, plants or vegetables hold no real value for a ferret.
Rabbits don’t eat meat because they’re herbivores. So rabbit food (which ferrets should not eat) is not animal-based and has little to no nutritional value for a ferret.
In fact, it can actually be harmful if fed regularly to your ferret.
What about Fruits?
Fruits are even worse. That is because of the sugar content. Therefore, they are not suitable for a ferret to eat. Remember, ferrets are meat-eaters.
In addition, the sugar may cause diabetes or, later on, cancer in the pancreatic cells of your furry friend. This condition is called insulinoma – and eventually will kill your ferret!
No Fruits, no vegetables, no plant-based food (like rabbit food) – Just meat!
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Ferrets & Diet
The fundamental truth about the ferret diet is that it needs animal protein to survive. However, there are different ways to achieve that. A ferret’s diet should be 32-38% protein and 15-20% fat.
Things to Avoid
Your ferret should not eat sugar, plants, dog food, grains, sweets, seasoned meat, food that contains artificial sweeteners!
Ferrets are strict carnivores and have no “appetite” for these types of foods. Oh yes – they will try to steal it from you if they have the chance to, but you should never feed it to your ferret.
Your ferret needs a meat diet (or ferret-approved kibble/wet food) to survive and stay healthy. So meat is the only thing you should be feeding it!
This is dry food in the form of pellets. Many larger pet stores feed kibble only. The reason for that is that kibble can be stored for a long time and does not have to be refrigerated. This makes it convenient for the pet store and allows them to sell food for more extended periods.
The downside is that this is not really what ferrets should eat. It’s not how they’re made to eat – at least it’s not the best way to feed them.
And while they do get everything they need to survive from kibble – wouldn’t it be nice to add some variety? I know that I sure would not like to eat crackers every day…
2.) Combination of Meat and Kibble
To add a variety to your ferrets’ dietary plan, you could add meat to their kibble. A piece of chicken breast (or some other meat) per day isn’t that hard to prepare.
Ferrets eat 6-8 times a day. So if you manage to give them a little bit of all those varieties each day, that would be awesome.
3.) Raw Diet
They eat animals that they catch. The downside of feeding a raw diet to ferrets is that it’s more time-consuming to prepare and more expensive. Plus, you would need to make sure that they get the proper nutrition.
Which meats can you feed?
- chicken wings
- turkey neck
- game birds
- tuna (sometimes)
- salmon (sometimes)
- eggs (raw or cooked)
- organs (ex. chicken liver)
- bones (never cooked!)
Basically, ferrets could eat any meat! But, of course, it has to be fresh and of high quality! Very often, you can read about a diet called “Frankenprey.”
The “Frankenprey” diet advocates that you feed a variety of meats, bones, organs to resemble the natural diet of a ferret. Therefore, 80/10/10 is the ratio you should aim at.
- 80% quality meat/fat
- 10% organs
- 10% bones
Ferret Diet – How Much Should They Eat?
It’s hard to say how much ferrets should eat each day because this depends on many factors: age, activity levels, health, and genetics. And if you feed them a homemade diet, this changes too.
Raw meat carries more energy than kibble, resulting in that your ferret may eat not so often as when eating a kibble-only diet.
A rule of thumb is that a ferret needs about 5-8% of its body weight in food per day. So stretched out over 6-8 meals per day.
Ferrets are strict meat-eaters. That means they need animal-based protein to survive. For a ferret to lead a healthy and happy life, they need to eat meat every day. They cannot survive on rabbit food, dog food, or any other foods containing high levels of grains, vegetables, starch, fillers, and so on.
A ferret that is not fed the correct type of protein will ultimately develop serious health problems and may die from malnutrition. Therefore, you need to understand this before choosing a pet and diet for them so you can ensure their well-being!
Rabbits don’t eat meat because they’re herbivores; therefore, rabbit food (which would even be harmful if given regularly) isn’t suitable.
Last update on 2021-07-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API