View Full Version : Feeding Egg to Ferrets:

07-04-2008, 07:42 PM
I add raw egg to there soupie once in a while but I was wondering how often should I or should I at all?

07-04-2008, 08:07 PM
I add egg sometimes, but only the yolk not the white because the white is not good for most animals too eat. I can't remember why but I took an animal science class and I heard not too feed animals egg whites there.

07-04-2008, 08:34 PM
RAW egg can be given if you just feed the yolk or the white but not together.
Cooked egg is fine.

07-04-2008, 09:10 PM
I've heard raw white isnt good but what if you gave the raw yoke shell and cook the white?

07-05-2008, 03:26 AM
This is what Bob Church says about feeding eggs.

Subject: Bob C: Q&A Eggs

EGGS: Eggs are considered to be among the most nutritional foods on
earth, which makes sense considering they contain all the energy and
nutrients required to grow an embryo to a living creature. Wild eggs
and eggs from free range chickens have been reported to be more
nutritious and bacterially safer than commercial eggs.

There are two basic negative issues regarding eggs: bacterial
contamination and the presence of avidin, a glycoprotein that binds
with biotin and prevents it from being properly absorbed. Since
cooking the egg negates both problems, feeding a ferret a cooked egg -- assuming they recognize it as food -- is safe. The important question is about raw egg.

There is little doubt that mass-produced chicken eggs in the USA have some contamination problems from a variety of bacteria. A great deal of effort has been taken to reduce the risks of bacteria, some of which are quite effective, but factory farming is a lot like hospital environments in that they help evolve superbacteria that can survive common disinfectants. This doesn't seem to be as much of a problem with free range animals, or those raised in small numbers by private individuals. Nonetheless, it is recommended by the USDA that all poultry eggs -- regardless of source or species -- be completely cooked before consuming.

Biotin is a B-complex vitamin that is an essential nutrient for
mammals. Without it, sufferers have dermatitis and hair loss, and loss of muscular coordination (among other things). Fortunately, biotin is a common nutrient in most foods that carnivores would consume, and in those animals that utilize bacterial flora, it is manufactured in the gut by symbiotic bacteria. Avidin, found in egg white, biochemically "loves" biotin so much that it will bind to it in an almost irreversible reaction, and both are eliminated via the gastrointestinal backdoor. Because biotin is highly conserved (a single molecule is used over and over again before loss), this process takes considerable time in adult animals, although in young animals or pregnant females, the process is faster. There is considerable research that shows a long-term diet rich in raw egg whites will result in biotin deficiency and death if not corrected.

POTENTIAL RISKS: For cooked eggs, there is no more risk than found in any food, including kibble. Of course, surplus uneaten food should be removed after a few hours and discarded. Otherwise, it is as safe or safer than kibble in regards to the risks of bacterial contamination.
Consider that a well-cooked egg has very little bacteria on it, while
kibble in a bowl could have a considerable amount of bacterial or
fungal contamination.

For raw eggs, the risk of biotin deficiency is actually quite small
if the ferret is consuming other foods at different times, or if the
raw egg is offered infrequently. In all the literature, the only
time avidin-mediated biotin loss was a health risk was when the diet contained a large amount of uncooked egg white for a long period of time. Since it is documented that polecats and feral ferrets routinely incorporate raw egg in their diet (when in season), we can be sure that as an occasional meal, it is safe as any other food.

The risks of bacterial contamination are somewhat different. According to the USDA, bacterial contamination can be on the outside of the eggshell, inside an cracked or uncracked eggshell, or within the yolk (more common) or white (less common). Because of this, most commercial eggs are sanitized to kill external contamination. Ferrets with immune problems, young kits, older ferrets, and those with long-term illnesses are hypothetically more at risk than youthful and healthy ferrets. The USDA recommends all eggs be cooked until the whites and yolks are completely firm. This recommendation is not applied to in-shell pasteurized eggs, or those irradiated to kill all bacteria. Currently, both are hard to find in some locations, and they usually cost a little more. Still, such eggs would be safe from bacterial infection and safe to feed raw.

TRUE RISK: When you compare the numbers of eggs consumed raw (in various foods), the actual number of infections compared to consumption is quite small. For example, I have been feeding all my ferrets raw eggs (sometimes yolks only, other times white and yolk whipped together, sometimes with a splash of cream) 2 to 3 times a week for more than 10 years and I have never had a single problem. That doesn't mean you won't; I may be an anomaly. Many other ferret owners will report similar results, and I am sure there are those that can report eggs caused bacterial infections.

RARELY REPORTED CONCERNS: It has been reported that in those
individuals prone to food allergies, raw egg whites cause more allergic reactions than cooked egg whites. I know of no reports in peer-reviewed literature that documents this problem in ferrets. Yolks are fat-rich and some ferrets will get what I lovingly call "Runny Yolk Poo," which is often associated with high-energy eruptions capable of both distance and height. It could be a new ferret-show event, but I would recommend galoshes

Ferrets -- like humans -- have an aggressive immune system. This is in part because they are primary, obligate carnivores that consume 95% animal tissue for nutrients and energy. When you eat a lot of meat, especially carrion or cached dead animals, bacterial contamination is a constant problem. Nevertheless, there is little to no evidence polecats or feral ferrets (or any other highly carnivorous animal) suffers a lot of food-borne infections. HOWEVER, pet ferrets are not typically raised on these foods, nor do they drink mother's milk from animals that have developed immunities to common bacterial contaminants. Because of this, some unknown number of pet ferrets suddenly subjected to a change in
diet (cooked to raw) MIGHT hypothetically be more prone to bacterial infections. This probably would be self-limiting in healthy ferrets, but would be a risk for older or sick animals.

PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS: Some studies have suggested free-range chickens and wild birds (such as ranched quail or pheasant) have fewer bacterial contaminants than commercial layer chickens, reducing risk. In-shell pasteurization or irradiation is a great solution if the eggs are locally available. You can poach, soft boil, or microwave the egg to kill bacteria prior to feeding. Or you can simply live with a few lost nutrients and hard boil or cook the egg to USDA recommendations and completely resolve all concerns.

END WORD: Regardless of ANY recommendation posted here, individual ferrets have specific problems and needs that must be considered before giving ANY new food, even changes in kibble. I don't recommend fast or sudden changes, nor do I recommend old or sick ferrets be forced into any rapid dietary change. As with ANY food, kibble included, when making changes, if physical deterioration or stress is noted, new food introduction should be stopped and a vet visit should be considered.
If the ferret has obvious digestive upsets that persist, a vet visit
should be mandatory.

"Experts" on both sides of the "raw egg issue" are common and vocal and various publications are commonly used as trump cards to force the issue to a singular viewpoint. My personal recommendation is to trust your own instincts, with full awareness of possible problems and a readiness to rapidly address them. In other words, feed only what you are comfortable in feeding. If that means you want to cook the egg, then do it! Even a cooked egg is a better food than most kibble, and as an occasional food, it is fantastic. If you can accept the risks and take the proper precautions for a raw food, then do so, BUT, jump on ANY problem immediately!

My person opinion is that since eggs cannot be fed raw for any
appreciable time, nor raw as a major portion of the diet, the added
nutritional benefits for feeding raw are actually limited. Those
limitations -- in my view -- reduce the benefits of feeding raw to
such an extent that I wouldn't consider them to be better than feeding cooked eggs. I would lean to the raw egg side if I had a source of free-roam or wild eggs, or those that have been pasteurized or irradiated to kill bacteria.

Bob C talktobobc@yahoo.com

07-05-2008, 07:18 PM
MM,:) thanks for the Info.

07-07-2008, 12:26 AM
Yes thank you for the info MM:flowers:

07-07-2008, 06:34 AM
I use powder egg in my soup. My kids have never taken to eating cooked eggs, and I never tried raw.

07-07-2008, 07:18 AM
I have tryed egg yoke a couple times in their soups but then i stoped it cause 2 of the ferrets would throw their spoupies back up and they never thew up befor so i stoped it and havent had problems sence, i hear good about eggs and bad so i just dont relly know and thanks Deb for the info on the egg