Here are some tips to help you adjust to your ferret’s special and sometimes unusual eating habits.
Nuggets, nuggets everywhere
If you are an experienced ferret owner, you expect to find your ferret’s food stashed away in the strangest places. Often our fuzzy friends carry any excess food to their dens or hide it in the cushions of a favorite chair. Many a ferret owner wakes up in the middle of the night to crunching sounds—just a ferret having a little midnight snack.
Open 24 hours a day
Dry food should be available to your ferret at all times, night or day. Be sure to leave your ferret’s cage door open even while he’s out playing. He may need access to his food and water. Because they have such a short intestinal transit time, ferrets can’t eat very much at one time and tend to eat many small meals a day, sometimes up to 10 meals. Moist food spoils after a few hours, especially in warm weather, so a dry diet is a better choice for most healthy ferrets.
Just digging around
Ferrets are curious creatures and like to dig their food out of the container to see what’s at the bottom, especially if the container is filled to the brim. Generally, adult female ferrets require only about a quarter of a cup of food a day, so there is no need to fill the container full. Check the feeding amounts on the diet you are feeding for exact quantities. Frustrated ferret owners can solve this messy problem by using a deep crockery bowl or plastic or nylon dishes clipped high enough on the side of the cage to prevent the ferret from “digging in.”
If you have a multiple ferret household, you will need to observe each of your ferrets frequently to determine who’s eating what. Make sure the food is being eaten and not just tossed around or stashed some place. A cage shared by two or more ferrets may need more than one food bowl. If you suspect that one of your ferrets is not eating, it may be best to temporarily move the ferret to a cage by himself for closer observation, as well as seeking advice from your veterinarian.
Fresh water at all times
Ferrets must have access to water at all times, even when they are playing outside their cages. They need about three times as much water volume per day as the amount of dry food eaten. Ferrets that don’t get enough water won’t eat. In warm weather, check your ferret’s water container several times a day, and make sure to completely change the water and wash the bowls with soap and water at least once a day.
What’s the best water container?
Although water bottles are a convenient way to keep your ferret’s water supply clean, most ferrets will drink more and seem to prefer drinking from a bowl or dish. Again, clip the bowl or dish to the side of the cage so it won’t rest on the floor of the cage where it can get tipped over, played in or become contaminated with food or litter. Experiment until you find the best system for you and your ferret.
Your ferret deserves fresh food
Proper food storage is important to the health of your ferret. ZuPreem® Ferret Diets are packaged so the nuggets are protected from moisture. After opening, make sure to seal the bag securely, or place the contents of an opened bag of food in a plastic bin with a snug lid. Never store opened food in a basement or garage where it may get damp or even moldy or become infested with pests. Mold will make the food taste bad and may produce toxins that can make your ferret very sick.