We’re coming to the end of picnic month now but there’s still one subject we want to tackle: ferret food and feeding sick ferrets.
What to feed sick ferrets
Let’s talk about sick ferrets and what you can feed them. Ferrets often lose their appetites when they’re under the weather, just as us hoomans do.
Recognising your fuzzies are sick is a whole other topic. If you’re in doubt, take your ferret to a vet immediately and have it examined. But this week we’re talking about what to feed them if they are unwell.
While your ferret is healthy, try them on lots of different bits and pieces to see what they like and encourage them to eat a varied diet of meat. Because once they become ill, it will make it easier to find something they’ll eat when their appetite is lacking, without introducing completely new foods to them.
Plain cooked chicken (boiled/roasted or cooked in something like rapeseed oil (not olive or soya oils) is great for ferrets. Cook it until it has just turned white (i.e. undercooked for us humans) because that way it’s easier on their tummies than raw chicken. It’s bland and easy to eat but is providing them with the nutrients and fat they’ll need to get better.
Royal Canning Convalescence used to be a god send for poorly ferrets – equivalent to something like Complan – sadly they aren’t available any more. We are currently trying out EmerAid which seems like a good substitute – although the packs are much bigger so once opened you can’t keep it as long. We are keeping the powder in the fridge for this reason.
We are making it into a consistency like single cream with water and then adding a generous squirt of our brilliant WD Grooming Oil which gives it more flavour. Our old man Red is enjoying it as an evening supper treat just to keep the weight on him!
Hill’s Restorative Care A/D
Hill’s Restorative Care A/D is meant for dogs and cats but it’s fine for ferrets. It’s a tinned pate but it’s a little bit too thick – just add a tiny bit of warm water, plus some WD Oil and it’s perfect for your fuzzies. Once they’re feeling a little better, mix a bit of raw chicken in with it to build them up.
If your fuzzy is too poorly even for that, try DUK soup. It’s a mix of cooked chicken and / or duck – it’s a broth using the bones and the meat (strained to take out the bones before blending) and is perfect if you add in some liver and kidney and an egg. Blend it together like a soup and feed it to your ferrets.
Or how about an offal smoothie? Yum! Similar to the soup but it’s raw. Include liver, heart, kidney, egg, rapeseed oil, WD oil and water with some raw chicken. Blend that all together and feed it as a puree to poorly worms.
Kitten milk is safe for ferrets. We don’t use it but it’s fine to be mixed in with food. But always have fresh, cool water available to your ferrets to make sure they stay hydrated.
How to feed poorly ferrets
Tempting poorly ferrets to eat can be tricky. I use a Tommy Tippee spoon to spoon-feed as it’s gentle on their mouths. I’ll hold the ferret in my arm with a towel over my shoulder and over the ferret and I’ll give them small spoonfuls of food for the ferret to lick off the spoon. Keep an eye on how much you’re feeding each ferret so that you can see if they’re improving or eating enough.
The next step for really sick ferrets is feeding by syringe. The offal smoothie is ideal for this as long as it’s been thoroughly blitzed. Place the end of the syringe (without the needle) between their teeth and push the food into their mouth slowly.
If you ferret is too sick to swallow or if you’re unsure, PLEASE TAKE IT TO THE VETS.