This guide will be your step by step resource for transitioning your ferret to a species appropriate raw diet. If you follow this guide and familiarize yourself with our files and website (www.TheNutritionCode.info) you will have no problem transitioning. However, if you do find yourself in a sticky situation feel free to post in the group if you have any questions or concerns https://www.facebook.com/groups/1433569413365162/
A few things to remember before we start
A Prey Model Raw Diet is made up of meat, organs and bones in the following ratios Muscle Meat = 75-80% (containing 15% heart) Bones = 10-15% Liver = 5% Offal/Organs = 5%
2. Our ferret companions are obligate carnivores and do not need fruits, veggies or grains. As obligate carnivores, they are not designed to consume or utilize these foods. https://www.thenutritioncode.info/carbohydrates and https://www.thenutritioncode.info/carnivores are great articles to look at.
3. You will not need artificial vitamins and minerals. With variety and rotation of proteins your ferret companions will get everything they need from their food. Don’t believe us? Check out these charts https://www.thenutritioncode.info/no-need-to-supplement
4. Ferrets DO need taurine (this is the difference between cats/ferrets and dogs.) however this is easy to supply with hard working muscles meats (heart, thigh meat, shoulder meat etc.) https://www.thenutritioncode.info/taurine-and-cats
5. Slow and steady wins the race. Following the guide is important, but each ferret is different and may need a slower transition. Listen to your ferret and watch their poop. These are best indicators of how things are going. https://www.thenutritioncode.info/poop
Ferrets are high energy creatures that demand high fat requirements so while it’s important to feed a variety of proteins (at least 3-4), it’s important to include plenty of red meats
Examples of Red Meat:
Bones ideal for ferrets are similar to cats including:
Small whole prey (mice, day old chicks or quail etc.)
You are more than welcome to add Omega 3’s in the form of oily fish, raw egg (which can greatly aid with hairballs) as well as bone broth. Be mindful to introduce these slowly as they can be rich to a previously kibble fed companion.
There are three methods you can use you to transition. Just like cats, ferrets can be picky when it comes to transitioning to raw as they easy imprint on food:
Step One: Eliminate ALL kibble in the diet. Kibble and raw not only digest at different rates which can cause digestive upset but because of the carbohydrate load (fruits and veggies are carbs in addition to grain) the stomach acid is not strong enough to break down bone or neutralize bacteria which can leave your companion open to illness https://www.thenutritioncode.info/mixing-raw-and-kibble
Transitioning your ferrets can be easy or hard, it really depends on your individual companion. Keep in mind if your companion has been on a commercial diet especially one that is low quality, this time will be a period of detoxification. All that icky food will be leaving the body to welcome in the new and more nutritious food.
There are three methods you can use you to transition. Just like cats, ferrets can be picky when it comes to transitioning to raw as they easy imprint on food. Transitioning isn’t always as easy as it looks. Ferrets for example can be very resistant to change as well as older companions. While come companions will immediately relish raw food, some take much longer. The best you can do is be patient and not rush the process.
Method #1: Cold Turkey
Although yes you can feed cold turkey, this method involves stopping all commercial food including kibble and canned food and replacing with an almost balanced raw meal. In this method feed 85-90% muscle meat, 5% liver (note this is half the normal organ recommendation) and 5-10% bone for two weeks. Whatever amount you feed it needs to add up to 100%. This can help avoid stomach upset due to the richness of the organ meats. If there is no upset after 2 weeks you can feed the full organ recommendation.
Method #2: Transition with Canned
If you are transitioning an adult ferret especially one that has been fed a kibble diet most of its life and refuses to transition using the cold turkey method, using a high quality canned food is your best transitioning tool. It is recommended you transition over a 7-10 day period. If your companion eats a kibble based diet, now would be the time to transition to a canned food. Canned food is getting closer to raw feeding as it contains more meat, less carbohydrates, is full of moisture and easier to digest. Over this time period you will want to use 25% of the new food to 75% old food the first day, continue this for a bit, then move into 50% new and 50% old food. In a few days, transition to 75% new food, 25% old food. Then finally on the 7th to 10th day your companion should be consuming 100% raw.
The following is a list of good wet/canned cat foods to transition with if need be
Natural Planet Organics
Method #3 Ultra Slow Transition
Soup: Blend Bone broth with 95% muscle meat (15% of which is heart), 5% liver (note this is half the normal organ recommendation) and eggshell (This replaces bone but provides calcium for this phase. Mix in ½ tsp per lb of meat and organ mix). The consistency of this mixture should be a soupy mix.
After your ferret has accepted this food and has been eating it for a bit, introduce a ground bone into the mix so that you are now feeding 80-85% muscle meat (15% of which is heart), 5% liver and 10-15% ground bone
Pate/Grind: At this time, you want to move from a soupie mixture with ground bone, to a pate ground meal. This will consist of the same portions as above 80-85% muscle meat (15% of which is heart), 5% liver and 10-15% ground bone
Beginning to Introduce Chunks: At this time, you will begin feeding 75-80% muscle meat (15% of which is heart), 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs and 10-15% bone in small chunks. As your ferret continues to accept this method of preparation you can over time increase the size of meat chunks until they are about one inch in size
After they have completely accepted eating chunked meats start introducing whole bone like chicken necks and small whole prey.
Remember every ferret and kit is different. If you see loose stool or other things you may question take a step back and slow down.
*Note: DO NOT practice tough love with your ferret.
There are many factors that may affect transitioning your Ferret to raw. It heavily can come down to personal preference of your companion.
Adult ferrets should be fed 7-10% of their adult weight
Most people split this amount into at least two meals per day
Violet is a ferret and weighs 3 lbs.
Since our ferret is an adult we want to feed her 7-10% of her body weight per day.
7%-10% of 3 lbs or 3 x 0.07-0.1 is 3.4-4.8 oz per DAY.
Again, this is just a guideline. Ferrets that are more active or that need to stay warmer in the winter may need a higher percentage, while ferrets that are having trouble losing weight or have slow metabolisms may be need a lower percentage.
For kits, you should feed 20% of their predicted body weight
Most people split this amount into 4 or more meals a day.
NOTE: DO NOT PRACTICE TOUGH LOVE WITH YOUR FERRET!