If I am understanding things correctly anything labeled for cats is ok to give to your ferret as a complete diet as long as the package states that is is a complete diet per AAFCO? I do realize when feeding raw you should rotate proteins (I currently feed a 100lb Ambull raw).
Has anyone fed Answers Raw Cat?
What are some other commercially prepared raw products that people use? I have a store on my way to work that has a few freezers full of different brands.
No, that's not quite correct. Not all cat foods, even raw, are always fully balanced, and some contain ingredients that are best avoided when it comes to ferrets, and some have unbalanced ratios of muscle, heart, organ and bone-in.
As for Answers Raw Cat, I can see Goat Milk and Sea Salt in the ingredients, so I wouldn't give something like that to my ferrets. Ferrets should not get milk of any kind. And you are best to avoid things like salt and spices as well.
I feed a mixed diet of Frankenprey, rehydrated FDR and Commercial Frozen Raw to my ferrets. So for my FDR and Commercial, I tend to use Stella & Chewys (though personally I avoid the feline forumla now because of the new added synthetic vitamin K, and feed the canine instead with extra supplement of hearts to make up for the lack of sufficient Taurine in the product). There are others you can use as well, see this list for some ideas: holisticferretforum.com/natural-diet/raw-and-whole-prey-providers/
EDIT TO ADD: If you plan on only doing a commercial raw product as your method of raw feeding, just be aware that you will need to brush your ferret's teeth several times a week, as they will not get the teeth-cleaning benefit they would when eating actual bone-in meals (frankenprey/whole prey).
Thanks for the reply Linda! I was reading on Stellas site and am having trouble finding the fake vitamin K. I even googled some of the other names it goes under. This is the ingredients for the chicken version for cats
I realize that when you guys suggest a freeze dried/dehydrated/or raw commercially prepared product you are looking at the vegetable content. However, short term (up to a year), while trying to transition to frankenpray raw would it not be a better option than kibble? Keep in mind these are all Cat versions unless otherwise stated.
I've found a few I'd like some opinions on Primal(Freeze Dried) - Has 97% Meat and 7% Produce
Honest Kitchen(Dehydrated) - Well, I've fed this to my dog and it literally came out the way it went in but I like their company and perhaps their cat version would be a bit different. It seems to have a good amount of meat. It says it has 70% meat.
Stella & Chewy's Freeze dried is obviously off the menu due to the synthetic vit k but is their Stella & Chewy's frozen morsels seem promising.
Nature's Variety Instinct(Freeze Dried) - Is rosemary a big deal at the very bottom? It says it's made with 90% Meat and 10% Veggies. I see it recommended here but I believe that to be just the frozen raw version.
Then of course there is Wysong Archetype for cats (although there is sea salt) and then Wysong Archetype for ferrets.
However I guess I am not quite sure how far some of these would go since I am unsure how much a ferret actually eats. I've read kits can eat 3x-4x an adult. So if an adult male ferret can throw back 4oz in the winter does that mean a kit can eat up to 16oz? I find that hard to believe but honestly have no clue. If this is so, some of these bags won't get very far!
With FDR or commercial frozen you want to stick to 95% or greater of meat. 10% veg matter is way too high. Ideally there should be nothing BUT meat/bone/organ, but getting that in a commercial product is difficult.
Ferrets: Contessa Kitties: Watson, Oskar DIP Sinnead, Vincent, Boris, Zeus and Athena, Willow, Mr. Frodo, Indie, Lucrezia, Judge, Odin, Miss Emily, Suki, Cody, Aristotle, Butterscotch, Frankenfurter. RIP Herne, Ligeia, and Mr. Stubbs
Definitely stick to the 95%+ range for the amount of meat in the product.
As for the brands you listed, I have heard of some people giving their ferrets Primal Raw, only the Feline products though since they do a range of 93%-97% meat, the Canine ones are way, way too low usually around 70%+ range, so please avoid getting the Canine one.
Honest Kitchen is way too low in raw and has way too many veggies & fruits, the pictures on the boxes alone already dictate that without even looking at the ingredient lists.
Stella & Chewy's Feline FDR all have the Synthetic Vitamin K, "Menadione Sodium Bisulfate Complex (Source Of Vitamin K)." But it does seem like their Feline Frozen does not. Though I have honestly never been able to get a hold of the Feline Frozen in any of the holistic pet supply stores I buy my FDR & Frozen from. You may have some troubles getting that one locally, and even some hassles ordering it online, but it's worth a shot.
I'm not used to NV Instinct being around 90%, I recall them being at 95% raw with 5% filler/veggies, for both their frozen raw and freeze-dried, Feline and Canine Products. The general issue there was that again, only the Feline products were balanced when it comes to level of Taurine, and the Canine products being much lower in Taurine, thus needing Heart (Taurine) supplementing. I've used their Feline Commercial Frozen Raw before and their Freeze-Dried Rawboost Mixers as treats for my ferrets before a good while ago, but the packages I had were all saying 95% raw. I believe you must be referring to the new NV Instinct RawMarket Freeze-Dried nuggets, those are 90% raw and too many veggies. The NV Instinct we recommend on here would be just the Feline Frozen Raw (Rabbit and Chicken): www.instinctpetfood.com/instinct-raw-for-cats
As for Wysong, I've only ever used some of their kibble myself back when I still fed kibble. Their products in general used to be rather good, but have undergone a lot of formula changes since then. The Archetype products now all contain Chia Seeds, and I've read somewhere on here that some ferret owners have reported their ferrets having diarrhea (pretty common in most of their products now other than the Digestive Support kibble, which was one of the old formulas) and extra itchiness.
Yes, kits can eat a surprising amount, the younger they are, the more they tend to eat. Their little bodies need all that food to fuel their growing process to become strong and agile little ferrets.
Freeze-Dried Raw and Commercial Frozen Raw products are by far the most expensive route to go in raw feeding. I only do those as a part of my weekly menu for my guys, as I also feed Frankenprey, but my cost for the FDR & Commercial Raw is easily around $300 a month (I own four ferrets, a 2yr old boy, a 10mo old girl, and two 8mo boys).
If you are planning on getting or already own a kit, you don't need to do any of this for the switch. You start them off on raw the very first day they pop into your home. Young kits have not imprinted (up to like 8 months old I think) on foods yet, so they will easily accept what you offer them. So if you get a kit, just start from raw and bypass all the other hassles, especially something more stressful like a double switch. Older ferrets can be a bit trickier to switch, even more so ones that have health issues, but it can most certainly be done, as long as you are patient and persistent. If you are at all concerned about a switch, or would like someone to help guide you through it step by step and help keep an eye on you during the switch, as well as impart very valuable information concerning a balanced raw diet, you can sign up for a mentor here: holisticferret60.proboards.com/thread/61/sign-mentoring-program
Rosemary has been debated and the consensus is that it is fine. As Sherry and Linda mentioned look for 95% or higher meat content for commercial raw. I do feed the Stella and Chewys feline FDR to my two older rescues. You can feed a canine formula as mentioned as long as you make sure to feed an extra heart meal or mix 10% heart to the daily feedings. My cost for 2 ferrets that eat half Stella and Chewys and half whole grinds is $140/month on the Stella and Chewys alone.