Message Number: YG2517 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-04-13 04:37:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Raw meat = tartar and gingivitis???

Hi Ulrike,

I'm not sure why your ferrets have such bad teeth and gum, but I
would like to share how I feed my ferrets a natural diet.
This is what I currently feed my ferrets:

chicken with bones, organs, some skin, 3 meals/week

rabbit with bones, organs, blood, skin/fur, 4 meals/week

beef meat(minced and mixed with crushed egg shells), heart, liver and
tripe, once a week (beef organs are also served with other types of

whole, dead mice, 3 meals/week

whole fish, once a week

raw egg yolk, cooked egg white,
together with a meal twice a week

crickets and other insects, together with a meal twice a week

other types of meat such as lamb, frogs, rats etc,
fed when available

I serve them two meals per day, one in the morning
and the other in the evening. They eat a total of 12 meals/week.
Sunday is fasting day, and no food is served.
I have been feeding natural ingredients for 13 years now, but I've
had no ferret so far kept on only natural food throughout it's
entire lifetime. All ferrets have been fed kibble for long periods

This is how I prepare and serve the food:
Everything but the fish and the egg white is served raw. Few of my
ferrets like the taste of fish, but cooking it in the owen first (90C
for 10-15 min) seems to make it more palatable.
Meat from different animals are usually not mixed, but I serve beef
organs together with other types of meat. Organ meat is always served
in very small amounts.
I don't grind the meat and bones except for the beef meat. I grind
that to be able to mix it with crushed egg shells since the beef meat
doesn't contain any bones. The minced meat can also be useful if you
wish to add a vitamin/mineral supplement (I only do that with
pregnant/lactating jills, kits and sick ferrets. The others never get
any vitamin supplements).
The chicken/rabbit are cut in to meal-sized pieces, with some bones
included in each piece/meal. The meat is powdered with crushed egg
shells if there aren't enough bones in it.

And now something very important:
Ferrets are perfectly capable of chewing up meat and even large
chicken/rabbit bones, and enjoys very much to do so. It gives them
perfect, healthy teeth and gum, and also allows them to digest the
food properly.

When I first switch a ferret from kibble to natural diet 12 years ago
I was totally amazed to see the difference in teeth and gum. I never
clean the "natural" ferret's teeth. They have absolutely perfect
pearl-white teeth with firm, pink gum. Really, you have to see it to
believe it (maybe I could take a picture).
To get these perfect teeth you need to allow your ferret to chew both
bones and meat themselves. Constantly feeding ground up meat doesn't
provide any chewing action at all.

I also think you should try to add a little more variety to your
diet. If you feed a varied diet, more or less consisting of whole
prey, you won't have to add all that stuff (oils etc), and you will
have a more natural diet.