For the best health, ferrets need a high-quality food. This usually means it will be more expensive compared to some other foods. You might think you’re saving money by feeding less expensive food, but this isn’t true. The animal will eat more of the lower quality food and it will most likely have more (very expensive) health problems. So over the life of the ferret, it’s actually less expensive to feed them the better food.
Ferrets are strict carnivores — ALL their teeth are pointed. That means they should eat only meat. In fact, ferrets have a short digestive system (lacking the piece that digests cereals) and cannot even digest corn. So if a food has corn as the first ingredient, the manufacturer is counting the protein in the corn as part of the total protein, but the ferret won’t get any good out of it.
Soy is another grain that ferrets can’t digest, and it’s dubious how much good they get out of wheat and rice, beyond some carbohydrates (which should be kept to a minimum).
A good ferret food should have meat as the first ingredient. It?s even better if a meat source is listed more than once in the first 5 ingredients. Any food that lists corn first (or any other grain like wheat, barley, rice, etc.) is NOT a good food for a ferret. Protein should be at least 36% and fat at least 18%. More is better when it comes to protein, as long as it’s a meat-based protein.
I prefer to use foods that do not contain fish, as the fish will make the food, ferret and poop all smell stronger. It won’t hurt the ferret, though, and is a valid source of protein.
Speaking of poop, feeding high-quality food means less poop. The cheaper the food, the more they eat, and the more they poop. High-quality foods are digested more thoroughly, and therefore there is less left over to be pooped out.
— Barb Carlson