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 WHAT FOOD IS THE BEST FOR A FERRET? Need help picking out a food asap
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koollovers

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WHAT FOOD IS THE BEST FOR A FERRET? Need help picking out a food asap - Thursday, March 15, 2012 9:56 PM
Hello everyone!   I need help picking out a good food for my ferret.... All the foods that i have researched that were top notch were EVo, orijen, blue buffalo, 8 in 1 basically BUT what  i noticed was in them was ....]chicken, rice, fruit, and vegatables. (they cant digest rice? its not good for them i heard? as well as they have more allergies towards chicken?) 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?...i mean itll go "in and out" of course so i dont see the big deal of it but still i want to  be safe and provide my ferret a healthy kibble. ( i know about the BARF diets, those are of course much better for ferrets but i cant stand seeign another animal being eaten and the after mess lest a lil mouse. just cant do it so i rather stick to kibble) id love to know what all of you feed your ferrets. singularily, or combos (such as kitty food plus ferret food etc) and treats included. id love to hear your thoughts. anything helps! my girl might have IBS so i want to get her healthier as quick i can! STAT!!!  thank you!!!
whiskandbowl

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Re:WHAT FOOD IS THE BEST FOR A FERRET? Need help picking out a food asap - Thursday, March 15, 2012 11:00 PM
koollovers


Hello everyone!   I need help picking out a good food for my ferret.... All the foods that i have researched that were top notch were EVo, orijen, blue buffalo, 8 in 1

These are all good foods. Make sure the 8in1 is the Ultimate Crunchy, not Ultra or Soft Moist.
 


basically BUT what  i noticed was in them was ....]chicken, rice, fruit, and vegatables. (they cant digest rice? its not good for them i heard? as well as they have more allergies towards chicken?) 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?...i mean itll go "in and out" of course so i dont see the big deal of it but still i want to  be safe and provide my ferret a healthy kibble.

 
Yep, you're right about the binder. Some lower quality brands use them as fillers and to hike the protein numbers. This is why it's important to read the ingredients. You can't have kibble without binders..
 


 ( i know about the BARF diets, those are of course much better for ferrets but i cant stand seeing another animal being eaten and the after mess lest a lil mouse. just cant do it so i rather stick to kibble)

Raw diets don't have to be whole prey...they can be store bought meat, bones and organs. If that still wigs you out, perhaps try a commercial raw diet. Natures Variety sells raw medallions and I know "Caseys Hidden Pantry" offers a bunch of different commerical raw diets.
 


 id love to know what all of you feed your ferrets. singularily, or combos (such as kitty food plus ferret food etc) and treats included. id love to hear your thoughts. anything helps! my girl might have IBS so i want to get her healthier as quick i can! STAT!!!  thank you!!!

 
Mine get a mix of Natures Variety Instinct Duck and Turkey, 8in1 Ultimate Crunchy, and Wellness core. I don't have a problem feeding cat foods and my boys have done quite well on them. I don't like the rice, raisin juice/banana puree in the 8in1 but I can get it locally, which I prefer to ordering online.
For treats, they get Ferretone (they love Ferretone!!) and half an N-Bone. Wesley doesn't like N-bones so he gets half a chicken Bandit treat. They get Ferretone about daily (a lick or two) and Bandits/N-bones sparingly, like once a week.
If I have chicken/turkey baby food they'll get some of that. Sometimes they'll get unseasoned meat scraps.

Ferrets: Wesley, Percy, Owen. -rip Bandit-
Fish: Kitty- female CT betta, Powerball- male CT betta, Timmy- male DeT betta
Bird: Kita- Sun Conure
xxLAYUPxx

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Re:WHAT FOOD IS THE BEST FOR A FERRET? Need help picking out a food asap - Friday, March 16, 2012 2:37 AM
I agree with whiskandbowl, those are good foods. And, like she mentioned, if you can get one of those good ones locally, then use that as a base food, if you plan to mix. That way *hopefully* you will always have food available for your little one to eat. :)

Our mix is:
ZuPreem Premium Diet (No Corn) as the base food 
Go! Natural Chicken, Turkey, Duck
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Duck or Chicken (depends if the Duck is on the store shelf when I need more food)

And maybe 3 months ago, I started adding maybe a cup of cat/kitten EVO and the same amount of Nature's Variety Instinct Rabbit. I like to spice up their diet. The same old, same old gets boring.

And just last week, I got food from Casey's Hidden Pantry that I had ordered. So now, I have added some Wysong's Ferret Epigen 90 and some pieces of Ziwipeak Lamb and their Venison & Fish too. So far, so good! Everyone's eating the new stuff and enjoying it. But these two foods I will have to order online as they are not available ANYWHERE near me. That's a bummer. And this is why I have what I feel is a good locally available mix.

I used to use the 8in1 Ultimate Crunchy, but it gets caught in the roofs of my little girls' mouths and they panic, which makes me panic... So I ground up the remainder of that bag and just add it to soupies. I'm still not sure if I'll buy any more of it.

Since the bags of kibble are so big and I don't need all of it at once, I portion it out and freeze it in ziplock bags. I pull out what I need as I need it. :)

My ferrets also get Nature's Variety Instinct raw medallions in their soupies. The flavours we seem to like are lamb and chicken, and venison sometimes. I also use their kibble, ground to a powder, and chicken baby food as well. I usually blend it through the "Magic Bullet" (these things hold the perfect amount of soup for each feeding for my brats!) with some hot/warm water and then serve!

For treats, they get FerreTone when I do nails and ears. I offer N-Bones once or twice a week, and Dharma gets cage bored, so I'll put one of those Marshall chew thingamabobs in for her. That has, so far, stopped her from eating more of her bedding. *knock on wood* But no one else likes those. LOL The other treat we give out are PureBites: chicken, duck, beef and turkey. Now and then I'll grind some of those up to put in soupies too.
I love my little skunkers!
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” -Mahatma Ghandi

koollovers

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Re:WHAT FOOD IS THE BEST FOR A FERRET? Need help picking out a food asap - Thursday, March 22, 2012 1:01 AM
i appreciate all of your input guys! it helps a lot! I, of course, do as much reading as I can to get better educated on the tiniest of thing because i am starting to now see more so how complicated and expensive ferrets are etc.

 So if kibble is going to be the conclusive diet here than it is suggested to mix several kibbles right? 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?  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?

Where do you guys get the nearly raw ferret medallions other than that one pantry/kitchen website? (price comparisons)  as well feeding them kibble and the medallions as another treat and supplement etc, wouldnt that disturb or screw up their digestion a little bit? since i know introducing too much new stuff and all at once is not a good idea.  

thanks so much! id appreciate all of your help and knowledge whenever possible! cheers to you and your fuzzies!!
whiskandbowl

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Re:WHAT FOOD IS THE BEST FOR A FERRET? Need help picking out a food asap - Thursday, March 22, 2012 8:42 AM
koollovers


i appreciate all of your input guys! it helps a lot! I, of course, do as much reading as I can to get better educated on the tiniest of thing because i am starting to now see more so how complicated and expensive ferrets are etc.

So if kibble is going to be the conclusive diet here than it is suggested to mix several kibbles right? 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? 

 
It really is best to mix several kibbles. I have three in my mix. Mixing doesn't make them eat less, it's the quality of the food that determines that. Of course, if you have a mix of high quality foods, then yes, they will eat less.
 


 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?

 
A lot of people here use EVO cat. I listed the foods I feed up in my other post. I use the MoreDooks food chart to compare foods and help me pick (http://moredooks.herobo.com/search.php?chart=ferret)



Where do you guys get the nearly raw ferret medallions other than that tne pantry/kitchen website? (price comparisons)  as well feeding them kibble and the medallions as another treat and supplement etc, wouldnt that disturb or screw up their digestion a little bit? since i know introducing too much new stuff and all at once is not a good idea.  

I get mine at a local heath foods store. They are frozen raw medallions. I think NV also makes freeze dried raw. Natures Variety has a search function where you can find retailers in your area, and it lists what they carry. I don't know where you can get it online. It would probably be expensive to ship since they are frozen. You could make your own raw soupies too!
 
It could mess with their tummies a bit, especially if they aren't used to it. I have learned that you want to withold kibble about an hour before feeding soup because raw is digested faster than kibble and feeding it right after kibble isn't good.

thanks so much! id appreciate all of your help and knowledge whenever possible! cheers to you and your fuzzies!!

 
Good luck!


Ferrets: Wesley, Percy, Owen. -rip Bandit-
Fish: Kitty- female CT betta, Powerball- male CT betta, Timmy- male DeT betta
Bird: Kita- Sun Conure
fuzzfuzzz

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Re:WHAT FOOD IS THE BEST FOR A FERRET? Need help picking out a food asap - Thursday, March 22, 2012 8:31 PM

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>
Disclaimer: I'm aware that many people on this board do not advocate feeding kitten foods.  While I disagree with this, please take what I say with a grain of salt and do research to make your own informed decisions for your ferret
koollovers

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Re:WHAT FOOD IS THE BEST FOR A FERRET? Need help picking out a food asap - Sunday, March 25, 2012 8:38 PM

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” -Mahatma Ghandi



I hope everyone gets my message! but i wanted to thank all of you for your wonderful input and opinions, they did help indeed!!! so very much! im completely ecstatic to say out loud for Saffron to be on new food!!! I hope that is he MAIN problem at hand that will help with her strange sadness! lol.... cheers to all of you!!!!  tll next time!
xxLAYUPxx

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Re:WHAT FOOD IS THE BEST FOR A FERRET? Need help picking out a food asap - Sunday, March 25, 2012 8:41 PM
What did you decide to get for her? :)
I love my little skunkers!
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” -Mahatma Ghandi


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