Ferret Diet

Ferrets are Obligate Carnivores & a balanced Raw Meat Diet is best although Most people feed a mix of raw & kibble. There are some good complete ferret kibbles available Such as Dr Johns Merlin, James wellbeloved, Vitalin & Science select being the better ones available in the UK. Alpha ferret feast is also popular but a bit low in protien & I find they eat & poop a lot more on it than the higher grade foods, with kibble you get what you pay for

Wet or dry Cat or dog food is not suitable for ferrets as far too low in fats & protiens & far too high in cereals etc & often cause things like  IBD Insulinoma, rectal prolapse & other health problems especially in young ferrets

Any meat fed should be fresh especially raw chicken, Stale or out of date meat can cause serious tummy upsets, We cook our meat which deals with any bacteria etc, They eat theirs raw & If it isn't good enough for humans to eat freshness wise Don't feed it to your ferrets, They have delicate tummies & if they eat something that causes upsets they won't eat it again & you could either have a Dead ferret or a Very large vets bill.

Any fresh meat is fine especially heart, mince, or diced muscle meat, a good proportion of bone is good & not only provides calcium but also keeps teeth clean & in good order, whole chopped chicken, Breast of lamb & bone in belly pork are good, Fresh game such as rabbit, pheasant, partridge etc are fine but expect a bit of a mess, If they are not used to whole game feed in portions or chunks at first. Any bone fed Must be raw, cooked bones can cause gut punctures & peritonitis which can be fatal. Defrosted Day old chicks are a good snack twice a week also defrosted mice & rats are a good whole prey diet, These can be purchased at most good pet shops.In warm weather it is best to feed raw I find best a small portion very early in the morning & late in the evening to prevent flies laying eggs on it or going off, especially poultry or pork

Please don't feed processed/cured meat such as bacon sausages or ham etc, they contain way too much salt & can cause kidney failure 

I recommend Kibble should be freely available 24/7 with a good supply of fresh drinking water Bowls are better than bottles for water but I usually use both.

 Sometimes ferrets especially the younger ones like to dig, paddle or snorkle in their water/kibble bowls & make a mess so putting water/kibble bowls in a small clean litter tray is advisable as it saves an awful lot of mess & waste, 

Always a good idea to check houses & bed boxes/bedding etc for hidden meat caches as ferrets like to hide their meat any not eaten overnight remove & feed a little less next time. In the summer forgotten meat will go off very quickly, will stink, encourage flies & maggots are not pleasant to clean out, I have found a clean watering can, large plant pot or concrete planter etc on it's side in a corner which can be easily cleaned helps solve this problem 

Ferrets cannot digest fruits, vegetables or Cereals, Bread Biscuits, pastry etc & should not be given as they can cause a gut blockage or serious tummy problems, Raisins & Grapes are also Toxic to ferrets

Sweets of any sort are a big No, especially Chocolate, even small amounts are toxic to ferrets 

Ferrets are lactose intolerant & should not be given milk (& Never Bread & Milk) this includes lacto free 

 Young kits just away from mum can be given small amounts of cat or kitten milk or kitten milk replacer such as Cimicat but only around 10-20ml per serving or it will give them the runs, 

Raw beaten egg is good, about 1/2 an egg per ferret once a week as a treat but not if being fed day old chicks

 for nail clipping & ear cleaning a bit of FerretOil on the tummy makes this an easy task


So You find a Tick. Best thing to use is an O'tom tick twister tool, If many ticks also use a spot on treatment such as Beahpar small animal spot on or Xeno 450 spot on, Xeno 200 spray or Frontline spray from vets as well as tick twister.

Do Not cover the tick with vaseline, nail varnish etc as those will cause tick to regurgitate into bloodstream & can cause diseases like Lymmes disease.  Also pulling off with fingers & tweasers etc can leave mouth parts attatched which often leads to nasty abcesses forming needing antibiotic treatment. A proper tick removal tool is cheap & should be part of everyones first aid kit


Ferrets Need plenty of space to play, Most of ours live in specially built 8'x 4' or bigger houses meaning they can run & play & have multiple bedrooms & also get out to play in the garden or if bad weather in the play shed. Out of house play time is important & keeps the little guys fit & happy as they are very active when awake.

Coops can be good but most are very badly designed for cleaning out, Especially the pretty ridged roof ones. They don't come with floors or bases & will need a solid base, either 18mm/3/4" ply on 2 x 2 timber to create a "raft" above ground level or put on to concrete paving slabs, 2 main reasons, 1, if on soft ground ferrets will dig their way out in minutes. 2 they will get soaked through from rain water if on say a patio etc & need raising above ground level at least 2"/6cm to prevent this.  On a couple of our small coops I have put catches on the sides of the run part so they come into 2 pieces for ease of cleaning out instead of building as an entire structure & groveling trying to clean out of far corners through doors you cant actually get into while an enthusiastic ferret is climbing on your head or bouncing round knocking over the poop bin or nicking the poopy scoop etc (Yep been there done that lol) This cuts cleaning time down by at least 1/2 hour a go. the alternative is to move the entire thing several times a week to get the poop out which is very time consuming & not easy to do on your own & pretty certain No One wants to have to move a whole house & spend an hour to clean it out properly in cold wet winter weather instead of having fun playing with your lovely ferrets.

Sheds & childrens play/wendy houses are a good things to convert to ferret housing, far easier to clean out & in bad weather better than getting soaked on hands & knees like cleaning a coop or hutch. Tongue & groove is the best thing as overlap tends to warp & ends up with gaps ferrets have no trouble wriggling through within a few months & it is far more expensive to panel out to make safe than buying a good one in the first instance. 

Ventilation & plenty of windows or replacing a side or part side wall with a weld mesh panel is an essential, & a weld meshed inner door so outer doors can be left open in hot weather is a good idea too, Ferrets suffer heat stroke very easily & need shelter from hot sun. Many ferrets die every year from unsuitable housing placed in full sun without shade

Minimum for a pair of ferrets should be a 5' long 2' deep 4' high double storey hutch with a min 4'x6' run for play times or a safe ferret proof garden to play in

 Indoor cages need to be spacious, A good cage should be around 3' long 2' deep & 5' high with several full floors plenty of beds & toys, The more space the better, Sadly again most cages tho nice to look at in the first instance are very badly designed, a nightmare to clean & really need quite a bit of adapting to be a perfect ferret home. Not many have doors which open right out for easy access & twiddling a poop scoop round corners without it ending up all over bedding or the carpets is a real skill & again needing to take the whole thing apart to clean properly is just annoying, time consuming & takes time away from enjoying your delightful ferrets who Will inspect what you are doing to their home & try to "help" you by knocking everything over. 

Ferrets will also need several hours out of cage playtime a day 

A Hamster, Rat or indoor rabbit/guinea pig cage is Not suitable for a ferret to live in full time 

tho indoor rabbit cages are good for temp hospital cage, emergency situations or for a day out at a show etc.

Chicken or Rabbit wire will Not keep a ferret in, they can bite through it easily,  1/2"x1/2" weldmesh is best for ferrets. Ferrets are very good at digging so a solid floor is another essential, Stirling board will be dug through in about 2-3 weeks unless covered in lino that goes about 6" up walls & securely fixed in place with batons or simmular, Solid plywood or paving slabs are good but needs to be above ground/rainwater level or will be soaked every time it rains

Handy Tips

Water bottles get dirty & Algae makes them go green fast especially in Summer. 

To clean them out I put about 2cm of rice & about 4cm of water in then put hand over top & shake with a swirling motion, empty rinse & sparkling clean bottle, If more than one bottle is to be done transfer rice & water into next bottle with a funnel. The inside of the lids get pretty nasty too Those I run under tap & use a 1/2" aprox 1.5cm paint brush to clean the inside & down into the nozzle rinse & again lovely & clean.

Ferret can be destructive & housing often needs emergency repair. 

A tacking stapler (with staples) is a very useful thing to staple back loose weldmesh & a spare bit of weldmesh, It is better to have a small roll in the garage or storage cupboard & a pair of normal wire cutters for emergency use than lose your ferrets or indeed wonder where to put them at 1 am whilst repairing. I got called out to fix a friends fuzzy house very late at night once Thankfully all escaped ferrets caught quickly. 

Weldmesh needs checking very regularly especially in poopy corners as it does tend to corrode & usually needs replacing every now & then unless very expensive high gauge. Ferrets often dig at the front of wire doors & simply screwing strips of door lining wood will extend door life or work as a repair over damaged areas

Lino is great on floors for ferrets. 

Easy to clean & looks nice But it won't last long unless securely fastened down. I cut to size & leave about 1"/3cm each side over cut small square from each corner then batten down with door lining wood on all sides usually use screws but good panel pins are ok then trim any excess of with a craft/utility knife. This means lino lasts years rather than a few days or a week & as lino is up the sides of baton urine etc does not go into the floor & cause rot. treating the wood strips with wood preserver/shed/fence paint (water based pet safe) or varnish will help keep baton wood from rotting & easier to clean too