Ferret Food FAQ:
The short answer is:
Why Does Everyone Recommend Feeding a Mix of 2 or More Foods?
it's mostly a safety net to protect against picky ferrets.
The long answer is:
Ferrets are very prone to becoming picky eaters. If they are given the same brand of kibble for a long time, they often get too accustomed to it and won't be willing to try anything new or different- Even to the point where they'd rather starve and die than try a new brand.
That might not sound like a huge issue when your food is always in stock at the local pet store (or online store), but there's a world
of things that can go wrong and prevent you from getting the food that your ferret wants.
Things That Are Out of Your Control That Can Keep You From Getting the Food That You Need
The example: Let's say you have a ferret named Bandit, who will only eat Zupreem ferret food, which you buy from your local Petsmart.
Something happens at the company:
Zupreem goes out of business
Zupreem decides to discontinue the flavour that Bandit eats
Zupreem is experiencing a temporary shortage (It happens for many reasons: high demand, a shortage of raw materials from their suppliers, changing their manufacturing plant, changing their packaging, etc.)
Zupreem can no longer ship to your country due to border regulations on some of its ingredients
Something happens with the food:
Zupreem changes its formula, and Bandit doesn't like the taste of the new formula
Zupreem changes its kibble shape, and Bandit doesn't like the different size or texture
Zupreem changes its formula, and the new formula no longer meets your standards for quality
The latest bag of Zupreem you bought is from a batch that was cooked just slightly longer or shorter than usual, and Bandit doesn't want it because the taste is a bit different
The latest bag of Zupreem you bought is an "off batch". Something is wrong with it and it makes Bandit sick.
Zupreem has to issue a recall for their foods due to contamination, salmonella, etc, and you can't buy it anywhere for a few weeks or months
Something happens with the store:
Petsmart HQ decides to stop carrying Zupreem
Just your local Petsmart branch decides to stop carrying Zupreem ferret food because it isn't selling well
Your local Petsmart goes out of business and closes, and none of the other stores in town sell Zupreem
Your local Petsmart is sold out of Zupreem at the moment and won't restock before you run out of food
You move to another city, and there aren't any stores there that sell Zupreem
The solution? Mix or rotate 2 or more foods.
If you can't get one of them, then you have another to fall back on that your ferret already likes. Plus, if you give your ferret enough kibble variety (different flavours, shapes, smells, and textures), they're much less likely to get really picky in the first place. Their taste will be more varied and they'll be more likely to accept new brands or formula changes in the future.
Other reasons to give a mix include:
The variety could potentially have nutritional benefits, especially if the foods have different main ingredients.
Many ferrets aren't picky, but almost every ferret's digestive system is sensitive. If you're forced to change foods (see above table), switching brands overnight could give them an upset stomach and/or diarrhea. If that lasts long enough, it can lead to a prolapsed rectum as well.
Variety is fun! It just feels nice to give your ferrets more than one flavour, especially when they're eating the same thing every day.