Homemade Ferret Treat Recipes: A Ferret Thanksgiving
By Mary R. Shefferman & Eric Shefferman
and Modern Ferret magazine readers
This article appeared in Issue #25 of
Modern Ferret Magazine.
Excerpted with permission.
Cauliflower Goes Shopping
Now that you've stuffed away all the turkey and dressing, it's time to treat your ferrets to a little food celebration. Of course, these homemade ferret treats are yummy all year long, but it's always nice to do something special for the fuzzy family members around this time of year.
These homemade treat recipes are an excerpt from the article "Hey good looking! Whatcha got cooking?" in Modern Ferret magazine Issue #25. You can get a copy of Modern Ferret Issue #25 (and the rest of the treat recipes) in a Super Monster Pack. The recipes were sent in by Modern Ferret readers. The article was run back when we had a whole pile of ferrets.
Most of the recipes are very simple to make. We tried making the recipes that we could and asked our ferrets to sample the treats. Please remember that these are treats — they should not be used as a substitute for a balanced diet. If your ferret doesn’t like a particular treat, you can keep trying to offer the treat (he may decide to try it) or you can dab a little on his nose. Luckily, ferrets don’t require treats, so if your ferret doesn’t like any of these treats, that’s okay. You can always hand-feed him his regular food one piece at a time; your attention is what makes the treat special.
Some points to bear in mind:
Ferrets imprint on what is food when they are very young. Offering them some variety while they are young will help them be more accepting of different foods (this can be important if your ferret’s favorite food stops being manufactured, you are traveling with your ferret and can’t find a store with your brand, etc.).
Ferrets are carnivores. They are built to eat meat and gain their nutrients from meat. While they may like the taste of non-meat foods as treats, it is important to remember that these foods should not be their primary diet.
These recipes are not set in stone. Feel free to change ingredients and experiment to suit your ferret’s taste.
Ferrets seem to really enjoy being fed from a spoon — apparently the more expensive the spoon, the more they enjoy it. It probably just makes them feel more like one of the “grown-ups.”
Enjoy the treats!
******************* ******************* *******************
From Kathy Goodhart
Chicken (sliced thin like bacon)
Butter or chicken broth
Slice chicken in the same form as bacon (the butcher counter at a grocery store can do this for you). Fry chicken to well in butter or chicken broth (it should be the consistency of somewhere between beef jerky and the pig ears given to dogs). Let cool and serve. Better to make a new slice each time, as ferrets do not appear to like leftovers. Don’t let the wuzzles eat this on carpets, as the juices will stain.
Cauliflower and Knuks loved these (they both liked any kind of chicken).
A neat trick to get your ferret to try a new food is to dab a little Ferretone (or something else you know he likes) on it.
Birthday Ferret Cakes
From Alicia Drakiotes, New Hampshire
Birthdays and special days require a “special” treat. Since parties and ferret celebrations are extra special, I devised a way to give a yummy yet nutritious treat to the ferretlings that reside with us.
Carmel-flavored popcorn cakes (Quaker brand has no hulls)
Nutrical (as frosting)
Take a popcorn cake and, right before serving, apply a thin layer of Nutrical. Of course, be careful not to leave the bag where they can retrieve it or they may decide to indulge in consuming the unfrosted contents in their secret corner!
Recipe for Quick Duck Soup
From Capt. Dan Franck, Florida
1/4 can Heinz pureed turkey (we used Gerber’s stage 1 turkey baby food)
2 droppers-full Linatone (Ferretone or similar)
1 dribble molasses
Warm water to fill bowl
Mix ingredients and serve warm. By giving this as an occasional treat, the ferrets take duck soup more readily if they become ill and need it. Plus — lots of protein.
For more information on “Duck Soup” and nursing an ill ferret back to health, see FerretNews #84, “Help Your Ferret Make a Great Recovery From Surgery.”
Whenever you are heating foods to give to your ferret, remember to check the temperature (usually by sticking your finger into the food) to make sure it isn’t too hot. Microwaves can sometimes heat foods unevenly, so make sure there are no hot spots in the food before you give it to your ferret. Remember that ferrets do not have a lifetime of experience of burning their mouths on hot pizza, so they really aren’t expecting it to happen.
Bob’s Egg-Drop Chicken Soup for Ferrets
From Bob Church, Missouri
1/4 pound chicken parts, diced small
1 low-salt bullion cube dissolved in just enough water to dissolve it (sort of like a paste)
2 – 3 eggs
Add chicken to the bullion paste. Cook chicken in a hot wok/skillet until done. Put cooked chicken in a bowl, add eggs, and whip. In a small saucepan, boil approximately 1 inch of water. Put chicken and egg mixture into boiling water. Allow to cool.
Cauliflower loved it! He lapped it up happily.
Bob’s Tip — The Foot Dip
Ferrets imprint on their food when they are very young and often are reluctant to try new foods when they are older. This can really cause problems when you are trying to give them something that is good for them which they are not accustomed to. Bob suggests that you try dipping their paws in the gravy. Ferrets do not like to have dirty paws, and they will lick the food off in order to clean their paws. Eventually this can help them get used to the flavor so that they can learn to enjoy it.
NOTE: If your ferret has a long-term illness such as insulinoma, avoid sugary or high-carbohydrate treats. Stick to meat-based foods only. If you have any concerns about giving your ferret a particular treat, check with your veterinarian.
For more homemade ferret treat recipes, get the whole article in Modern Ferret magazine #25, part of the Super Monster Pack of Modern Ferret back issues. Plus you'll find many articles on teaching tricks (to give you another reason to give your little fuzz balls a treat).
To read more about treats online, see these past FerretNews newsletters:
#39 (Appropriate Treats)
#82 (Did You Know That... [good treats/bad treats])
We hope you and your ferrets enjoy these treats. Next newsletter will have some answers to FerretNews Readers' questions.
After the holidays, we'll be putting together a bunch of ferret basics articles, such as ear cleaning, tooth brushing, nail clipping, housing, feeding and all the other ferret necessities.
If you know any new ferret owners, let them know about www.FerretNews.com.
-- Mary, Eric & Gabby (the lone Modern Ferret)