Despite popular misconception, ferrets do not instinctively know what food is good for them and what is bad. They will eat anything they can get a hold of. Fortunately, there are many fine commercially made ferret food and treats available. But some human foods can be used as treats or as part of a balanced ferret diet.
Good human foods are easy for the ferret to digest. These include raw or cooked refrigerated poultry, lamb, fish, beef and cooked eggs. Chicken, pork and beef organs are also good. Some ferrets do not like the taste the taste of fish. Only give raw meat if it is sure to be unspoilt. If not, be sure to boil, broil or bake it to kill any bacteria. Chicken baby food is also good for ferrets.
Ferrets love sweets and sugary foods, but it can get them very sick and hurt their teeth. Particularly dangerous to ferrets are chocolate, syrup, alcoholic beverages and anything with caffeine or coffee. Dairy products and raw eggs can also get a ferret sick. Raw hard fruits like apples can cause intestinal blockages. Ferrets will eat seeds and nuts, but they lack the ability to digest them. Crisps or other salty snacks are also harmful to ferrets, even though ferrets will eat them.
Ferrets have short digestive tracts and can only tolerate a very small amount of fruits and vegetables as a treat. Good fruits include raisins, melon, apple and papaya. Vegetables need to be cooked until they are soft or mashed. According to Everything Ferret.com, hard pieces of raw vegetables or hard fruits can cause an intestinal obstruction. Ferrets like green pepper, broccoli and carrots. Low sugar cereals like Kix or Cheerios also make a nice treat.
Since ferrets have such a high metabolism, they need to eat about every three hours. Human food alone is not healthy for a ferret. They need hard food to help with their teeth and ferret chow can provide this. Young ferrets or ferrets with tooth trouble may need to have their chow watered down. The ferret also needs constant access to clean water.
According to "Ferrets For Dummies" (Kim Schilling, 2000), eating a lot of a new food can give a ferret digestive troubles such as diarrhoea. When introducing a new human food, only give a little bit at first so the ferret's digestive system can get used to it. Mixing the new food in with the old food can help a picky ferret eat a new food.