Awesome! Here is a little refresher for you, Today's lesson will be Variety and Balance.
Variety is extremely important for many reasons and can directly effect balance. Ferrets need mental stimulation and variety in food types, sizes, textures and temperature can help provide some of this stimulation for them. It is good to have them used to many different textures of food for that reason and to keep them used to softer foods such as grinds and easy to digest foods such as soup for when/if they become sick and need to have such textures. While we never cook their meals, warming
them can be helpful and occasionally is even their preferred way to eat.
What counts as a different protein you ask, well this is pretty easy to answer. Any genetically different animal counts as a different protein. Examples
, Chicken, Beef, Lamb, Goat, Rabbit, Mice, Rats, Guinea Pigs (Cavies), Frog, Salmon, Sardines, Tuna, Anchovies, Turkey, Quail, Cornish Game Hen, Venison, Elk, Buffalo, I could go on but I think you get the picture.
Now there is a little bit of a caveat here, Chicken and Cornish Game Hen are not different enough genetically
to really be considered a different protein for balancing of a diet purposes.
In order to provide the basic balanced meal plans, your menu should include at LEAST
three different proteins. We covered what counts as different now we need to cover why it needs to be different and that brings us to the balancing part of the lesson also.
Nutrients and micro-nutrients and macro-nutrients those are the reasons variety is important. Each and every different protein we give our little carnivores provide different amounts and types of these amazing and important things and each and every one of those amazing things helps nourish and develop different cells of the body and brain. Makes sense then if we can provide them with as many different types of these magical things that we will be giving them the best chance at being healthy, right?
Now there is another aspect to balancing that has nothing to do with nutrients or variety but is the muscle/organ/heart/bone balance. We use the model that resembles what they would eat in nature. Proportionally, their diet should be a minimum of 10% heart, 5% liver and 5% another organ like kidney, brain or pancreas, about 10%-15% bone (requirements can vary based on the individual ferret), with the remaining 60%-70% being muscle meat.
Here is an example menu for a week of a full frankenprey diet.
Monday am: edible bone in meat
Monday pm: edible bone in meat (or muscle)*
Tuesday am: edible bone in meat
Tuesday pm: muscle meat
Wednesday am: edible bone in meat
Wednesday pm: heart
Thursday am: edible bone in meat
Thursday pm: edible bone in meat (or muscle)*
Friday am: edible bone in meat
Friday pm: ½ heart + ¼ liver + ¼ other organ
Saturday am: edible bone in meat
Saturday pm: muscle meat
Sunday am: edible bone in meat
Sunday pm: ½ liver + ½ other organ
Basically, per week this works out to:
9 meals bone-in meat
2 meals muscle meat
1.5 meals of heart
1.5 meals of liver and another organ
You may wonder why we do not
recommend that you feed a balanced meal of bones,muscles,heart and organs for each meal, the answer is that in households with multiple ferrets it is impossible to tell if they are all eating the variety they need or if one or two are eating all the hearts or organs.
Looking forward to any questions you may have about this!
I'd like to see you do a mock menu for a week please