Posted: October 10, 2011, 6:10 p.m. EDT
There are many schools of thought on introducing a new food to your ferret. Success depends a great deal on the experience level of the ferret in question. If you have spent time introducing a variety of foods when your ferret was young, simply add the novel food or food item into the daily routine and your ferret should eat it without any problems. If your ferret is an adult and new to you or you are switching to a new brand of food, then this can be a more challenging process, but one of the following methods should work.
Ferret Food Introduction Method 1
Begin Day 1 by creating a mixture of 10 percent of the new food to 90 percent of the current food. After a few days, change this to a 20/80 mixture and gradually reduce the amount of current food over the course of several days. If you notice your ferret eating the new food as well as the old, then you can increase the speed at which you introduce the new food with the old food until you are at 100 percent of the new food. In general this process can take two to four weeks, and you may notice some runny stool as your ferret adjusts to the new food.
If your ferret is being finicky and picking the current food out of the mix of current and new food, try some of these tips.
1. Mix the foods together in a bag or a jar to make both foods smell the same.
2. Drizzle something tasty like FerreTone or gravy on the food.
3. Grind up both foods (in the ratios mentioned) so that your ferret can’t pick and choose a food item.
4. Use the new food as a training treat.
Ferret Food Introduction Method 2
Start as soon as possible to introduce new food items into your ferret’s diet so that it is more accepting of change. If you are raising kits (baby ferrets), as soon as they start to eat solid foods you can introduce as much food variety as possible. If you adopt a ferret, either a kit, a juvenile or an elder ferret, attempt to introduce new foods as soon as it settles into its new home.
No matter which method you try and which one eventually works for you, remember that it may take a day or it may take months to switch a ferret to a new food. It can also take time to teach a ferret to see a food item as food.
Learn how ferret-specific diets were created, click here>>