Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ferret Babies

A baby ferret is called a kit. They are born naked and pink with their eyes closed. They begin to grow fur and get their coloration at about 3-weeks old. Their eyes won’t open until about 34 days. They are blind and defenseless and depend on their mother completely.

The length of time before the ferret babies are born is the ferret gestation period and that ranges from 41 to 43 days and occasionally as early as 38 days. A ferret’s litter size is not typical, the numbers ranging from one to fifteen. Newborn kits do have a high mortality rate.

Ferrets are an obligate carnivore, they have a short digestive tract; much too short to have the ability to digest nutrients in plants. The ferret’s digestive system does not include the caecum which is needed to digest plant food/plant fiber. The caecum is a pouch in-between the large and small intestine, which harbors the good bacteria that assist in digesting the cellulose in plants. Animals that are plant eaters have enzymes that aid the animal to digest the plants. Ferrets lack many of these enzymes.

Because of the short digestive tract food stays in the tract only a short period of time (in an adult ferret about three hours) therefore, the food they eat must be high protein, highly digestible, and have healthy fat. They must eat frequently. A poor diet will starve the ferret to death.

The mother’s milk is very rich with protein and fat. When a ferret is weaned they must have a meat diet, real meat like ground chicken or turkey is great. If you must use a dry ferret kibble get the best. Do not use cat food it has only 30-33% protein, it’s full of corn and other plant matter that a ferret cannot digest. They also need healthy fat, vitamin E, Taurine, amino acids and a variety of other required nutrients.

Totally Ferret has a Totally Ferret Baby Ferret Formula with 92% animal protein is an excellent weaning food, Marshalls is a good choice, ZuPreem Premium Ferret Diet, and Mazuri.

Ferrets need to eat at least every four hours if not more often. I have food available to them at all times. They also become accustomed to their food, and can have digestive disturbances if their food is abruptly changed. If you must change their food do so gradually. Use the food they are use to, then add small amount of the new food. Gradually increase the new food until you get them changed over completely. This article continues as does the series on ferrets and all exotic pets Baby Ferrets

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Breeding Ferrets

How to breed ferrets. The best advice I can offer is don’t, leave it to the experts. For a huge variety of reasons breeding ferrets is not for the timid, or anyone that doesn’t like really gross smells, despicable looking ferrets, it is stressful and often deadly to the jill (female ferret) and the hob (male ferret), and the kits (baby ferrets) often suffer a high mortality rate.

Breeding ferrets is expensive. Unless you have grown children and all of them have been to veterinarian school, breeding ferrets is not even close to financially feasible. In my opinion, it just isn’t responsible to breed ferrets especially if you are doing so because the kits are cute.

An unneutered hob will go into rut (yes, just like a deer) usually about 30 days before the jill goes into heat. Then the jill usually isn’t receptive to the hob for about 15 days after she goes into heat. If you attempt to put the jill in with the hob any earlier the jill will be uninterested in the hob and that is going to make the hob very mad and could injure and even kill the jill.

There is NOTHING romantic about a ferret’s sex life, at least from a human perspective. Who knows how the ferrets view the matter.

Let discuss the Neanderthal hob with his club. They put off a very offensive odor that comes from scent glands and urine. This scent is of an oil base and is used to mark his territory and to attract a female. This vile oil is spread with the male’s underbelly, as he smears it around. The male in a very short period of time is covered in this slime and stinks to high heaven.

Read the rest of the article
Breeding Ferrets

This is only of part of a series on exotic pet ferrets.
This is part of the continuing series of the pet ferret.
Ferret Training
Pet Ferret
Ferret Supplies
Breeding Ferrets

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Training Ferrets

Some people don’t think training ferrets or polecats is even possible, I differ on that opinion, – and they are very willing to please you… Training ferrets is quite similar to training dogs or even training a whale.

The key to training any animal is patience, consistency, and most of all training in a positive manner, no punishments. For example, if you see the ferret using the litter box, praise him or her vocally and give him or her a tasty treat. If you catch the ferret or pole cat backing into a corner to do their duty, pick the ferret up, using a firm no, place the ferret in the litter box. At this point, if the ferret does their duty, use a praise and treat reinforcement.

It is a good idea to start a new ferret and/or baby ferret (kit) out in a confine space with a litter box in a corner. Ferrets will always use a corner or corner of an area to eliminate.

One pet ferret litter training mistake people make is cleaning the litter box completely. If there is no feces or urine odor the ferret will think it isn’t suppose to eliminate in the box. Always save a bit of feces and a small clump of urine soaked litter to place in the clean litter box.

Another reason ferrets don't use their litter box is because some people are to lazy to scoop the box on a daily basis. I wouldn't want to stand and have waste materials squishing between my toes either. Nor, would I want to stand there smelling the awful odor and neither does your ferret. It takes but a minute, keep the litter boxes clean.

Ferrets do have a tendency to forget occasionally. As they get better at using the litter box you can increase the size of the confined area. As their play area increases and you notice a corner they have started to use to eliminate, put in another litter box.

Sometimes they get in a big hurry. They will back up to their litter box, stop short of it and squat with their little behinds up in the air missing the litter box entirely. I bought plastic carpet protectors and placed a good size square under the litter box where a portion sticks out on all sides.

Ferrets nip each other in play, its natural behavior but it is an unwanted behavior when they are playing with their human family. If they nip or bite you do not punish them. Immediately stop playing with them, with a firm no, and walk away. They are such social, intelligent exotic pets; it doesn’t take long at all for them to realize nipping is an unwanted behavior. Hitting a ferret or flicking a ferret on the nose will only cause the ferret to fear you, you are reinforcing a bad behavior and that biting will continue and become worst.

One of the first things you will want to teach your ferret is to come when called. This is for ferret’s safety. At the beginning, if you have multiple ferrets, you are basically teaching all of them to come to you. Read the rest of my article, and series on the pet ferret! Training Ferrets

Sunday, February 6, 2011


This is the beginning of an extensive series on the pet ferret. Ferrets are the third most popular pet. Many people that have ferrets are unsure where ferrets originated. Are ferrets carnivore or an omnivore? Not knowing this and your pet may die or become seriously ill.

How do you train a ferret? Yes, ferrets are trainable! Ferret training will be part of this series. In addition too, many more important things related to taking care of and having ferrets as pets.

The origin of the domestic ferret, and they have been domesticated for more than 2000 years, is still a mystery. Ferrets are thought to have originated from the European Polecat.

Genetically, the European Polecat and the domestic ferret are near identical. While the Black-Footed ferret has 38 chromosomes, the domestic ferret, and the European Polecat have 30 chromosomes. Keeping in mind, the chimpanzee and human being are near 97% similar genetically. Wolves and dogs are 99% similar genetically. This puts the domestic ferret and the polecat right up there with the wolf and the dog. Unfortunately, this doesn’t prove a thing. Read the rest of this article! Ferrets