Q: Can I feed raw chicken or cooked chicken to my ferrets as part of their diet? Is chicken meat even healthy?
A: Chicken is the healthiest meat to feed ferrets, as it contains taurine, which is essential to their health. Chicken guts and organs of all kinds should be okay, but double check with your vet first.
But the ONLY (raw) chicken bones that they should eat are the neck bones. Beef, lamb, and poultry bones are good as well! For your ferret’s health, steer clear of things with sugar in them and also avoid fruits and vegetables.
Here’s a decent chicken “soup” recipe for ferrets. You are going to want:
- 1 lb chicken drums (stripped of the bone) or boneless, skin-on chicken thighs.
- Half cup of ferret kibble, or other binder, like protein powder
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil.
- 2 tablespoons plain pumpkin filling, or ferretone, for easier digestion.
Note: you can also use chicken baby food from a jar instead of “real” chicken – it just matters that you have some chicken in there as the main ingredient, above all else.
- Put oil and ferret kibble (if used) in food processor, and blend into a fine powder.
- Cook chicken until “falling apart” tender – usually 30 minutes.
- Remove any remaining bones from the chicken, and blend or process the chicken into a mince.
- Stir into a bowl to remove any remaining lumps from the chicken.
- Add your kibble or protein powder, and mix together with the chicken.
- Add water as needed while blending, so that the soup reaches a creamy consistency.
- Add to ice cube trays, and freeze.
- Once frozen, remove from trays, and add to a separate bag in the freezer, for convenient reheatable servings.
You can experiment with the recipe, adding more baby food for a creamier consistency, or just add more water. You can add different oils, like salmon or flax seed oil, to give them a healthy, shinier coat.
How Long Does Ferret Chicken Soup Last in the Fridge?
These individual servings of soup should last in the freezer for several months. I’ve kept some for up to 2 years (not that I recommend this – I just put them in the back and forgot about them, but reheated, they seemed just as good as ever!) If your ferret doesn’t like it at first, don’t despair, just keep trying it out, and reusing your frozen stock.
What If My Ferret Doesn’t Like Chicken Soup?
If your ferret doesn’t seem to like his chicken soup at first, try this:
- Place some on the palm of your hand. My ferrets just love being babied, and they start lapping it up every time!
- Blend it with other special treats that you know your ferret likes, or slowly mix it in with their old favorite foods.
- If they won’t take it at all, you can do a stuff and scruff. This involves scruffing your ferret, taking some of the mix on your finger, and rubbing it on their gums. You can also use an eye dropper, and squirt it directly on the tongue.
Once they’ve got the taste for it, most ferrets will go wild for the soup!
But when getting them used to the soup, remember: patience and persistence are key. Ferrets imprint on foods at an early age, so it may take several months to a year for them to begin liking it. Don’t give up – you’re doing a great thing for your ferrets’ health!
Since this soup is closer to their natural diet (high protein with no carbs), it is healthier for their system. Benefits include less smelly poos, and stabilized blood sugar (it won’t treat insul in ferrets that are already sick, but it can stabilize the blood glucose of ferrets that are on the borderline.)
Should I Feed Ferrets a Whole Chicken?
Remember that ferrets in the wild utilize the whole prey – organs, bones, feathers, fur, skin, fat, and everything. It’s all very beneficial for their health.
If possible, they should eat to closely mimic their wild fair, which means whole, raw bone-in pieces of chicken, day old chicks, mice, rats, and even crickets from a reptile store. If you’re just feeding scraps of chicken meat from your lunch, your ferret won’t get all the necessary nutrients. Unless you’re following a whole prey diet, keep the kibble out for your ferret’s health.
Can I Feed Chicken Liver/Organs/Bones?
Yes! Ferrets will live longer, and produce less smelly waste when fed an entirely raw diet. You should feed them muscle meat, large amounts of organs (like liver), bones or calcium powder, and skin or feathers, to keep a correct, healthy balance of nutrients.
It’s important to feed liver often, because the liver is the largest organ in the body, and ferrets would be eating a lot of it if they were out hunting on their own.
Health Risks of Feeding Raw Chicken
The ends of chicken wings tend to have little, fragile bones, that may possibly cut when fractured and can hurt your fuzzy’s gizzards.
My darlings adore chicken necks (the bones tend be very much softer there and easier to mush up before swallowing) and chicken drummettes, which are just chicken wings without having the end bits ( there’s one huge bone from shoulder to elbow – once you cut the little bit past the elbow off, it looks a tad like a small drumstick!). These bones are too large for ferrets to crunch and get hurt so they are rather nice!
Health Benefits of Raw Chicken
Ferrets generally love uncooked meat (specifically chicken), and it is proven that an uncooked meat diet increases their lifespan around 4 years!
And, not surprisingly, the bones are great for ferret dental treatment. Unless the bones are minor and can separate into little, damaging pieces (like those in wings), don’t take out the bones. Eating bones is a great dental cleaning for ferrets!
Can Ferrets Eat Chicken Skin?
Chicken skin is fine for ferrets, and the fat gives them the necessary energy to play. Just don’t go overboard, and fry it in trans fats! Raw or cooked, left on the chicken or removed, chicken skin is great for ferrets, and makes their coat healthy and shiny.