BUT what i noticed was in them was ....]chicken, rice, fruit, and vegatables
Watch the order
of the ingredients list. You'll see about 3 possible scenarios:
- If vegetables are in the first few ingredients, the company's just trying to make the food cheaply and you probably want to avoid it. The meat content of the food will probably be low. Usually this is done with corn, wheat, or rice.
- If you see one or two starchy vegetables near the start, but not in the first 3-ish ingredients, that is the unavoidable "main binder". It's used to hold the food together and can't really be avoided, so that's alright. In most cases, the further down in the ingredients list it is, the better the food is, but you need to verify that by looking at the protein and fat content of the food as well. In high-end foods, it'll usually be rice, potatoes, peas, tapioca, or some combination of those.
- If you see colourful vegetables and fruits later in the list (ie. after the first 6-10 ingredients), that's usually alright too. Those ones are there in teeny tiny quantities, just to balance out the food so that it passes tests for all the vitamins and minerals it needs to contain. Examples of these are carrots, berries, spinach, apples, pumpkin, tomatoes, etc.
(they cant digest rice? its not good for them i heard? as well as they have more allergies towards chicken?)
Rice is probably not any better or worse for them than any other starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, wheat, barley, etc). All of them are of unknown (but presumed poor) digestibility and biological value for ferrets, and likely have a bad effect on their blood sugar as well. In most cases I would worry more about the amount
of veggies than the type
for these, unless they are using a really cheap version (ie. brewer's rice is bits and pieces of rice leftover from human food/alcohol processing)
From what I understand, allergies in pets are most common in foods that they've been exposed to for a long time. Currently, chicken is very easily available and is probably the most popular named meat used in pet foods. That means more pets are exposed to chicken than other meats, so more pets are likely to develop chicken allergies than other kinds. It's not because chicken is bad per se, but more because it is popular. The same thing would probably happen with duck or venison if they somehow became the most common pet food flavor.
i understand foods need "binders" so to speak such as the fruit/veggie combo but ferrets cant digest that stuff are there any other kibbles without any of this?
The only brand of kibble that uses a non-vegetable binder is Wysong Epigen. Wysong figured out how to use gelatin as a binder instead of veggie starches, but it has not caught on with any other brands yet. They make a ferret formula called Wysong Epigen 90 Ferret. The downside is that it isn't easy to find in stores. In most cases you will have to have it ordered in specially, or order it yourself online.
You could also check out commercial raw or freeze-dried diets. They don't have the same consistancy as kibble, so they don't need a starchy vegetable binder to hold the food material together. The downside is that if the ferret is older and has been raised on kibble, you often need to put some work in to convince them to eat a food with a new texture.
Can i ask though; of course this provides variety and a supplement for the other food in what the other doesnt have etc, but does it actually make the lil fuzzballs more full so they eat less than need be or is it just merely a preference by owners?
The reasons for giving a mix (aside from variety and such) are mostly to have the ferret accustomed to more foods. Many ferrets become picky quite easily, especially when they are only fed one type of food. They'll then refuse anything other than the one food they're used to, even if they're starving. This becomes a problem if:
- the company changes the formula
- there is a recall of that food
- your local store or provider is out of stock
- your local store or provider chooses to stop carrying the food
That's why you want to have a backup food or two at your disposal.
Where do you guys get the nearly raw ferret medallions other than that one pantry/kitchen website?
Most raw medallions are designed for cats and/or dogs rather than ferrets. Ferret owners usually use the cat versions.
Nature's Variety Instinct is probably the easiest to find in-person at pet stores. That's the one I usually use, and I get it from local pet stores.
Their store locator is here http://www.naturesvariety.com/locator
(though you may want to call the store ahead to make sure they stock the raw stuff and not just Nature's Variety kibble and canned food)
Stella & Chewy's makes freeze-dried cat food medallions, and also seems to be big enough to be found in lots of stores. Their store locator is here http://www.stellaandchewys.com/store-locator/index.php
What kind of cat food is the best (ill read up on it too but id like some opinions) and what does cat food have that ferret food doesnt?
I'd say that wellness core, innova evo, nature's variety instinct, orijen, and go! fit +free are probably the best cat foods available.
Cat food is usually cheaper, and easier to find and buy than ferret food. Because there are more cats and cat owners out there, the cat food market is much bigger than the ferret food market. That means that there is a better variety of cat foods that are 'top tier' quality than ferret foods. Cat foods that are labelled as 'complete and balanced' also have to meet a long list of minimum and/or maximum levels of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids (called AAFCO nutrient profiles), while ferret foods don't (since there isn't enough research done for anyone to know exactly what a ferret's requirements are for these things).
As whisk also mentioned, More Dooks ferret food chart (http://moredooks.herobo.com/search.php?chart=ferret
) exists to help compare all the commonly used cat and ferret foods.
Hope that helps :)
<message edited by fuzzfuzzz on Thursday, March 22, 2012 8:35 PM>