It is possible to feed ferrets raw whole meat with bones, however you need to keep a natural balance of bones versus muscle and organ meat. Ferrets need specific amounts of fat, bone, sinew, organs, and muscles in their diet – just like they’d get from eating raw prey.
I raw feed my ferrets mice, rats, lizards, poultry, and the occasional rabbit, with the fur, bones, feathers, skin, and all. If you don’t feed your pet ferret the bones, particularly, they’re not going to get enough calcium.
Some owners do a raw feeding of organ meats one day with bones mixed in, chicken necks the next day, and raw whole prey the day after that. Make sure you feed a balance of about:
- 80% meat,
- 10% bone,
- 10% organ meat, half of which needs to be liver.
Cow or liver is usually cheap and readily available, and can be easily minced together with other beneficial organs, like lungs, spleen, and chicken gizards or hearts. This can be mixed in small amounts with minced muscle meat from cows, chickens (I wouldn’t recommend pork, because it has too many parasites). You can also add small amounts of boneless fish proteins – but be warned, it can make their poos very smelly.
From the folks at the ferret forums: “Decent foods are Necks, wings, thighs, breast along with bone-in, drumsticks, ribs, liver, kidneys, brain, heart, etc; from quail, rabbit, chicken, turkey (also include beef, mutton and also pork at times for variety). Include the bone whenever feasible, and also keep items WHOLE and LARGE (golfball size), to ensure the ferret has to rip and tear the prey (this cleans their teeth.) In case small prey is not available (mice, chicks, etc), edible bone from different sources has to be provided, like rabbit, chicken bones (in manageable pieces), or quail and meaty bone tissues.”
Should I Cook Bones When Feeding My Ferret?
Never cook bones before giving them to a ferret. While fresh, meaty bones break apart in a way that’s beneficial and cleans their teeth, cooked bones often splinter, and cause fatal puncture wounds to a ferret’s mouth, throat, stomach, or intestines.
All meat that is uncooked and still on the bone SHOULD remain uncooked. Cooked bones are brittle and also can splinter causing lethal injury. You can give them large cooked bones that don’t fit in their mouths, like cow legs, as long it’s not overcooked, and completely dry, as pieces may break off. In the event that you do give them either uncooked or cooked bones look for little bone fragments to avoid choking or intestinal damage.
They also don’t have the strength to crush the bones in an effort to get at the goodness within.
Best Ferret Diet
If possible, your ferrets should be on a raw diet, consisting of raw muscle meat, organs of all kinds, skin, fat, fur, feathers, and of course, calcium-filled bones.
The following are benefits of feeding a raw diet to ferrets (including bones and organs):
- The calcium in the bones happens is necessary in a ferret’s diet, so if you are going with a completely raw diet, there’s all the goodness associated with the innards, combined with the calcium from bones and muscle meat.
- The ferret gets everything it needs and would eat in the wild (bone tissue, fur, down, meat, fat, skin, organs.)
- Whenever they eat uncooked bones, you don’t need to brush their teeth. If can get her to nibble on it, raw meaty bone tissues thoroughly cleans their teeth of plaque.
- It’s all natural. In wild domestic Ferrets (Mustela putorius furo), would eat whole prey, uncooked bones and all.