Message Number: YG239 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Pam Sessoms
Date: 2001-02-26 03:39:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Live Mice?

Wading in with a couple of comments I haven't seen yet... With my
personal rant about my guys and insulinoma at the bottom. :)

On Mon, 26 Feb 2001, FurTulsa wrote:
> 1. Nutritional value. I have trouble believing a mouse has sufficent
> meat protein and fat levels for a ferret, nor do I know of any
> mutelids whose "natural" diet is mice. IF you were going to feed
> live/fresh prey... wouldn't animals like chickens or rabbits be more
> beneficial nutritionaly speaking and closer to a "natural" food
> source?

The "felinefuture" website that Sidsel sent along did indeed give the
values for mice (and rats and chicks and crickets), and mice were listed
as 19.8% protein and 8.8% fat. Low. I'm kinda confused about it, and I
know this isn't about gravy, but Bob C said that he formulated his gravy
recipe to be a simulated mouse, and the gravy seems to have much more
protein/fat than that... I dunno, maybe it has to do with the water
content? (this calculation stuff goes over my head quickly!!!). The chart
is at:

There's also some more of this sort of info at:

As to mustelids whose natural diet is mice, European polecats, the
probable ancestor of our guys, do have a diet including them, but it's
just one part of a varied diet of bugs, frogs and amphibians, rodents,
birds (esp babies), rabbits, etc.

> 2. Does the Domestic Ferret *really* need the "thrill of the hunt" to
> be stimulated and/or psychologically satisfied?

Here my personal opinion is that they don't need the thrill of the
hunt. If I ever fed mice to my guys, it would be a prekilled, thawed,
from a frozen source mouse. Probably. I'm sure it wouldn't be live.

Anyway, it's mostly idle chatter on my part. My guys are all old and it
was a battle just getting them to eat Bob's gravy and chicken baby food.
But if I ever start over with young ferrets, they will get a more varied
diet than my current crew did. I raised them on the standard "a variety
of premium ferret and kitten kibbles". No sugary treats besides the very
occasional raisin. And EVERY SINGLE ONE of them has insulinoma. At this
point, I hate insulinoma and almost feel like I shouldn't have ferrets
until I can figure out what's behind it. I know they're old and they have
to die from something, but it strikes me as very odd. Reading Bob's
insulinoma posts and a few lines from Dr. Purcell's (awesome) book set my
wheels in motion on this insulinoma/kibble diet thing. But some folks do
the same and their fuzzies don't get insulinoma, so who knows?!


-Pam S.