Ferret Care Guide: How To Raise A Happy Ferret

Ferrets are fascinating animals and can make great pets. By providing them with the right ferret care, you’ll be getting a loyal pet that would keep you forever entertained. In this article you’ll learn how to raise a ferret and what their needs are.

Factors To Consider

There is more than one factor to consider when it comes to ferret care. You must do a lot of research before deciding to get a ferret as a pet. You can buy a ferret from a store, a breeder or adopt.

If possible, visit your local shelter and enquire about adoption. It might take a lot of work and commitment to raise and care for a ferret, however they are hilarious animals and you’ll never be bored when you’re around them!

If you have decided to get a ferret as a pet, you should consider getting it a companion. It’s good if you already have another pet such as cat or a dog but the best option for your ferret is to have a companion of its own kind. Research points that is good to get a male and a female ferret.

Female ferrets are very energetic and hyper but loads of fun! On the other hand, males can also be a lot of fun but will calm down once they reach 3 years of age and will be your ultimate snuggle partner.

Are Ferrets Expensive

If you are planning on owning a ferret, you need to prepare to spend a good amount a money on your new pet. Some of those expenses are:

  • Cage
  • Hammock
  • Chew toys
  • Water bottles
  • Nail trimmers
  • Litter boxes
  • Cleaning products
  • Vet bills
  • High quality food

Read more about this topic here

Behaviours

If you get a ferret as a baby, you need to prepare yourself that it will require a lot of work, attention, and time. You need to teach them what behaviour is appropriate especially when it comes to biting and nipping.

Good tools to use for discipline include:

  • Scruffing
  • Bitter apple spray

You should never hit a ferret as that will just make them aggressive and make the biting worse. You need patience and love to care and raise a ferret or any pet in that matter.

Ferrets like to back into corners to go to the toilet. The good news is that they can be litter trained. You need to figure out what corner they go to and put a litter box there.

If you are keeping them in a cage, you’ll most likely need to use pads as their toilet but if you really want them to get used to using a litter box, you should put the same type of litter box in their cage.

Ferret Toys and Accessories

Ferrets sleep a lot, around 18 hours per day but they also require around 4 hours intensive playtime. You need to put some thought into how you are going to keep your ferret entertained. There are a lot of ferret toys available on the market. You should consider the following:

  • Tubes as that reminds them of their natural response of chasing prey underground
  • Crinkle sack as they enjoy the sound it makes and like to feel snuggled

Toys can be used to train your ferret. With the use of squeaky toys, you can teach your pet to come to the sound of it and then reward it with a treat. That way you can find your pet when they are hiding and avoid the ferret escaping into the wild which can be dangerous.

For their teeth and jaw, getting a Kong toy is a good investment.

Where Should My Ferret Sleep

To raise and care for your ferret successfully, you must provide them with the best sleeping and resting place. Ferrets like to sleep in dark places and like to feel snuggled and backed into something, that’s why when you leave them to roam around the house, they will crawl in between tight spaces and take naps there.

Ferrets should be kept in their cage if you’re not in the house with them for their own safety. You can purchase a harness for your ferret with a bell, so you know where they are, especially if you live in a big house/apartment. You must ferret-proof your house to prevent your pet hurting themselves.

What Should I Feed My Ferret

Ferrets are 100% carnivores and it’s essential that you understand the importance of feeding your ferret high quality food.

In their natural environment they will hunt small animals and their diet will consist of raw meat, bones, etc. Therefore, to raise a healthy and happy ferret, you must provide them with a high protein and fat diet that is low in carbohydrates and fibre.

Their metabolism is extremely quick, so be prepared to feed them often usually every 3-4 hours. As ferrets can be very picky, it’s good to train them from young to eat raw chunks of meat such as chicken, turkey etc.

The more you educate yourself about your ferret’s diet requirements, the better you can mix and match their food and keep them healthy. Pet foods, and even foods that are created especially for ferrets won’t always have the same balance of ingredients, so you need to be incredibly careful what you feed your ferret.

Always read the ingredients list on the packaging and even with the ingredients listed that can be misleading. The items listed first would usually make up most of the diet, but you wouldn’t know what proportions. To learn more on what is a good nutritional balance for your ferret’s diet, check out the chart below.

Nutritional Requirements

Protein: 32-38%; average of 35%
Fat: 18-25%; average of 20%
Fiber: Less than 3%, average of 2%
Carbs: Simple preferred, no sweets in the food
Starch: Well-cooked, extruded
Ash: less than 7%
Moisture: Less than 12%; average of 10%

Most important thing you need to remember from this chart, is that your ferret needs minimum of 35% protein, 20% fat and no more than 3% fibre in their diet.

Safe Foods For Ferrets

Meat

  • chicken
  • turkey
  • lamb
  • chicken meal
  • turkey meal
  • lamb meal
  • Whole eggs
  • Liver (liver meal)
  • Poultry meal
  • Bone meal

Fat

  • Chicken fat
  • Turkey fat
  • Poultry fat

Other

  • Beet pulp
  • Brewer’s Yeast, a good vitamin B supplement

When reading the label of the pre-packaged food you’re going to feed your ferret, you need to make sure that the first ingredient is always meat. Then, in the first three ingredients you want to be able to see Fat.
You never want to see in the first three ingredients any of the following:

  • Fish
  • Corn (no more than once)
  • Sot (no more than once)
  • Wheat (no more than once)

What Not To Feed Ferrets

Even though ferret’s metabolism and digestive system is very quick, and they can flush a lot through it, there is still a long list of foods that must be avoided. The ferret’s intestine is extremely small and if they can’t digest the food, It might stay there for a long period of time until it creates a problem such as organ and mouth damage.

You should never feed your ferret the following:

  • Nuts
  • Large or hard bones
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains (bread, cereal, seeds, etc)
  • Chocolate/ ice cream or other dairy products
  • Processed sweets and treats

What is safe for us, it’s likely to be dangerous for your pet ferret. Always think about their safety first and remember they like to sneak and hide objects, so it’s likely they’ll try to eat food that can harm them. If you feed them kitten food, you must select a brand that has round shaped biscuits as the ones with edges can hurt their mouth or get stuck in the airways.

Safe Treats For Ferrets

Ferrets love treats! Treats can be given also as rewards and a good training tool. What you need to know is what treats are safe for your ferret. As mentioned above, ferrets’ diet is strictly meat and fat based, so anything processed or sweet is out of the question.

Never give them chocolate or any sweet treats. They won’t be able to process the ingredients and you can seriously damage their health. You should always think what they would eat in their natural habitat and simply stick to the rule – meat, meat and only meat for my ferret!

Read more about what’s the best diet for your ferret and find out about reccommended ferret food brands by clicking here What Should I Feed My Ferret

Last Thoughts

To raise and care for a pet such as a ferret, above all you must be commited and have done plenty of research beforehand. Your ferret’s health and happiness should be your priority as they are not pets that can look after themselves. Therefore, you must remember ferrets are complex and fragile and we should always be looking out for their well-being!

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