Venison is often considered to be one of the most decadent, delightful meats humans can enjoy in fine dining environments. Served by top restauranteurs like Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White, it is often associated with high society, rich sauces, and luxurious European cooking.
Why then, would you give it to a ferret? And can ferrets eat deer meat?
Of all the wonderful qualities you can attribute to these fine furry friends, a particularly discerning palate would not usually be one of them.
However, you might well be wrong in that assumption. Ferrets have a very particular sense of taste, which means they do not adapt well to new or strange tastes.
These critters can, in fact, eat deer meat. In general, it is recommended to feed your ferret on a diet of specific raw meats, as this is much more nutritious for the obligate carnivores.
While processed ferret food or pellets are not necessarily toxic for the creatures, the proteins in those substances are not often derived directly from meat sources. This makes them a choice for ferret diet that is certainly easier, but not nearly as healthy.
If you have ever wondered if ferrets can eat deer meat, then look no further!
In this article we will give a comprehensive breakdown of the suitability of venison for these furry little friends.
The examination will range from if the meat is toxic for them, if ferrets like deer meat, and if there are any types of deer meat products that should be considered or avoided.
Is Deer Meat Poisonous to Ferrets?
First things first:
No, deer meat is not poisonous to ferrets. Ferrets are obligate carnivores, which means that in the natural world, they would feed themselves on a diet of entirely raw meat.
Normally that would consist of smaller rodents, tiny poultry or birds, and other such prey (this is also why ferrets and pet birds do not get along). Unsurprisingly, the ferret or weasel is not the natural predator of a deer in the wild.
This should not really matter, however. Any raw meat within reason will be perfect for a ferret, so unless you are taking it from a suspicious source, the deer meat will not at all be poisonous to your ferret.
Standard food safety precautions apply here, if you have cooked the deer meat and not refrigerated in the correct amount of time – you increase the risk of bacteria or viruses being in the meat.
If you source your meat from a sustainable and trusted butcher, switching your ferret to a raw meat diet can be a great idea, especially using deer meat!
Do Ferrets Like Deer Meat?
Now, here is the interesting part. If your ferret has not been raised on deer meet, it may not like the venison supplement to its diet at first.
Ferrets have very particular taste buds, so introducing a particularly flavorful raw meat like venison can often be overwhelming to the taste buds of the little animals.
If you give a ferret previously raised on processed ferret foods and pellets a hunk of raw venison – it will likely turn its nose up at the offering.
This is because without a proper, gentle introduction to an alien foodstuff, ferrets will simply not recognize the new product as something they can eat.
On the bright side, there are ways you can introduce deer meat to your ferret’s diet, and for it to eventually love the meat!
If you successfully switch your ferret to a raw deer meat diet, it can be much happier and healthier.
What type of Deer Meat Should You Give to Ferrets?
To introduce your ferret to raw deer meat as a foodstuff, do not give it the venison with too much texture.
Most recommend introducing venison in a “raw soup”. Blend the raw meat with water and some ferret oil and encourage your ferret to eat it off your finger or from a bowl. Some prefer this mixture heated, some will not, you will have to experiment.
After a few days, it is worth introducing some raw minced venison as part of this soup, keeping it as texturally simple as possible.
When you have accomplished this step, you can begin to reduce the amount of soup in this mixture, weaning the ferret onto minces and then eventually chunks of deer meat.