How to Make Homemade Ferret Food and Treats

Updated May 4, 2022
Pet ferret eating from the hand of its owner

While commercially made ferret kibble and treats are readily available in pet stores and online, some owners concerned about their pet's health may prefer to make homemade ferret food. It's not hard to make your ferret's diet, as long as you account for their regular nutritional needs in your recipes.

Ferret Diet and Nutrition

Ferrets are obligate carnivores with a digestive system that is not designed to process grains and plants. Their diet should be mostly made up of proteins from animals, some fat, and a minimal amount of carbohydrates and fiber. One of the reasons some ferret owners are keen on making their own meals rather than buying commercial foods is to avoid the chance their ferret will get insulinomas. This is a type of cancer that may be linked to the presence of carbohydrates in a ferret's diet.

What Should a Ferret Eat?

A good diet for a ferret should consist of the following:

  • Quality meats, which can include poultry, lamb, beef, and eggs.
  • Their food can be raw or cooked, although raw feeders believe cooking alters the nutritional benefits of the food.
  • A ferret should never get any foods that contain sugar or dairy products, and no vegetables or fruit.
  • They can also benefit from fatty acid supplements like olive and fish oil.

How Much Should a Ferret Eat?

With homemade ferret diets, it's important to make sure you're feeding the right amount of food so your ferret can maintain a healthy weight. Underfeeding could lead to unhealthy weight loss and nutrient deficiencies, whereas overfeeding can result in obesity.

A ferret should eat approximately 5 to 7 percent of their weight each day, which means 25 to 35 grams of food per pound of body weight. However, young, growing ferrets need more.

Ferret Food Recipes

Ferret licking his nose

Before you begin making your own ferret recipes, it's important to talk to your veterinarian about your diet plans. A veterinarian experienced with ferrets can give you pointers on maintaining balanced nutrition for your pet.

Ferret Puree Mix

Since ferrets don't eat carbohydrates, you don't need much more than a base recipe for your ferret. You can vary the types of meat and oils you use each time to add variety to your ferret's diet. This is a simple recipe that can be made in bulk and frozen for future meals.

Ingredients and Supplies

  • 2 pounds of the protein and cut of your choice, such as chicken, turkey, beef, or rabbit; you can also add organs to the mix, such as liver, hearts, and chicken gizzards

  • Water or low-sodium chicken broth

  • Blender or food processor

  • Five whole eggs

  • Fish or olive oil

  • Ferret vitamin supplement like Marshall Uncle Jim's Original Duk Soup Mix

  • Large saucepan or Dutch oven

  • Storage containers for freezing

Instructions

  1. Cut up the protein into small pieces. You also have the option of using ground versions of the meat, in which case you do not need to cut it before the next step.

  2. Put the meat into the blender or food processor.

  3. Add in the water or broth so it comes to the top of the meat and no higher.

  4. Blend the meat on a puree setting for about 60 to 90 seconds until pureed.

  5. Crack the five eggs and add them into the meat. You will add the entire egg, including the shell.

  6. Add about a tablespoon of the oil into the mixture.

  7. Add 3 teaspoons of the vitamin mix into the mixture.

  8. Mix the food again on the puree setting for one to two minutes until the meat and egg shells are fully broken down.

  9. Scoop the mix into your saucepan or dutch oven and cook on the stove for about 30 minutes. If the meat doesn't look completely cooked, you can cook it for an additional five to 10 minutes.

  10. Allow the mixture to cool, then scoop into your storage containers. Seal tightly and freeze.

A domestic ferret eating

Ferret Soup

This is a simple soup basic recipe that you can vary with different proteins. Make this one in bulk and freeze the extras for future meals.

Ingredients and Supplies

  • 2 cups of low sodium chicken broth

  • 6 cups of water

  • 1 pound of chopped meat, such as beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, or rabbit; use cheaper cuts of meat or even leftover trimmings from your own meals

  • ½ pound of chopped chicken gizzards

  • 2 tablespoons of eggshell powder such as Eggshellent Calcium

  • 2 tablespoons of ferret vitamin supplement powder

  • 1 tablespoon of olive or fish oil

  • A large soup pot or Dutch oven

  • Storage containers for freezing

Instructions

  1. Put the water and broth in the pot and bring to a full boil.

  2. Add in the chopped meat, gizzards, and oil and mix well with a spoon.

  3. Allow to continue boiling covered for about 20 to 30 minutes.

  4. Add eggshell powder and vitamin powder and stir well. Continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes.

  5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before serving to your ferret.

  6. Add the mixture to the storage containers and freeze.

Ferret Egg Treats

You can make an easy ferret treat with eggs.

  1. Hard boil an egg.
  2. Chop the cooked and cooled egg into small, bite-sized pieces you can give to your ferret.
  3. It helps to make a bunch at a time and then refrigerator or freeze the extras so you always have them handy.

Ferret Jerky Treats

Jerky treats are popular for use with dogs, and pet ferrets love them, as well. These are easy to make, and you can use your oven if you don't have a dehydrator. It will tie up your oven for several hours, though, so if you intend to make this often, it's a good idea to invest in a dehydrator.

Ingredients and Supplies

  • Meat for jerky; you can choose any protein you like, and cheaper meats and cuts work well for jerky. Some good options are flank steak and top round. Do not thaw the meat, as it's easier to cut the meat if it's somewhat still frozen.

  • Dehydrator or an oven

  • A sharp knife capable of slicing meat well

  • Parchment paper if you are using an oven

  • Cookie sheets if using an oven, or use a metal rack in the sheets

Instructions

  1. If you are going to use an oven, set it to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and move the racks so they are closest to the top of the oven.

  2. Take your choice of meat and cut it into thin slices. The thicker they are, the longer they will take to cook. Aim for a size of about ¼-inch thick.

  3. If you are using a cookie sheet with a metal rack inside, place the strips of meat on the rack. If you are not using racks, line the bottoms of the sheets with parchment paper and put the meat slices on the paper.

  4. Make sure the meat slices are not touching each other, as you need air to circulate around them on all sides for better cooking.

  5. If you are using parchment paper, place a sheet on top of the meat slices once they are in place.

  6. Put them in the oven and cook for several hours. You should begin to check them after four hours to see how well they have cooked. If they still are not dried out, continue cooking and check every 30 to 60 minutes. It can take up to 10 hours for them to be done.

  7. If you are using a dehydrator, place in the dehydrator and cook for four hours. Check them to see if they are fully dry and continue cooking if not, checking once an hour.

  8. You will know the jerky is done when the meat is completely dry and you do not detect any traces of moisture. Let the jerky cool off and store them in a sealed container or storage bag.

Making Homemade Meals for Your Ferret

Because ferrets don't have a need for carbohydrates, you can focus on mixing up their proteins to provide them with a varied diet. Don't forget to include supplements like calcium, vitamins, and oils. Always watch your ferret's health when you begin feeding them homemade meals, and contact your veterinarian if you notice signs of stomach upset, illness, or diarrhea.

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How to Make Homemade Ferret Food and Treats