Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney have now emerged as first choice under David Moyes, but Ferdinand insists that Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez will be needed too.
"The delight the manager has got is that you have people like Chicarito [Hernandez] and Danny Welbeck waiting in the wings, who deserve time on the pitch as well because their ability demands that," he told The Sun.
"That's been the whole point of this club, all the time since the manager has been bringing in four strikers at the club, like Teddy, Ole, Dwight and Coley - it's been the staple of the club since then.
"Time will tell if it [Van Persie and Rooney] will be the one of the great partnerships. But I think nowadays you have to share the load between four."
Despite a summer of constant speculation about Rooney's future, which saw United reject bids from Chelsea, Ferdinand believes he is currently at the peak of his powers.
"He's playing well and long may it continue," he said.
"It's important to have him back, he's a fantastic footballer and everyone knows that it's not in doubt.
"When you have players capable of doing what he's doing, you want them in tip-top condition."
Ferdinand believes that Rooney, who now has 200 goals for the club, can eclipse the club record of 249 which is held by Sir Bobby Charlton.
"He's got a chance to go on and make history now. It's up to him to do that," he added.