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Keep ferrets as pets

Ferret take up a lot of space, cause unpleasant smells and mean long-term responsibility. If ferrets are held incorrectly, they can develop serious behavior disorders such as biting. Appropriate ferret husbandry also comes with a number of costs. Read here how onespecies-appropriate ferret husbandry should look like and whether a Ferrets really are the right pet is for you.

Why do ferrets smell?

Ferrets stink - that's not a prejudice. Anyone who decides to keep ferrets shouldn't have a sensitive nose. The anal glands, which secrete a smelly secretion, are responsible for the smell, especially when ferrets are exposed to stressful situations. Male ferrets stink even more when they are in the satchel.

After a castration ferrets stink less. Nevertheless, ferrets are still liable intense smell.

Bathing ferrets does not help against the animals odor. By bathing, they only expose the animals to a stressful situation and thus cause ferrets to empty their anal glands and stink even more.

Danger: Removing the anal glands or neutering males to prevent ferrets from stinking is prohibited by the Animal Welfare Act!

Keeping ferrets alone or in pairs?

Ferrets should never kept alone become! Are ferrets Pack animalsKeeping ferrets individually is therefore taboo.

Even if you have a lot of time for your ferret, there is no way you can replace a conspecific. A solitary ferret will feel lonely and develop behavioral disorders. So you have to at least two ferrets hold.

Tip: It is advisable to keep a pair of ferrets. If males are neutered in good time, there will be no unwanted offspring. Two female ferrets also get along well. Keeping two males is not recommended, they would fight often.

Keep ferrets in cages or in the outdoor enclosure?

If you decide to keep at least two ferrets, you need to consider where you want the Tier4e to live. In general, you have two options: cage indoors or outdoors.

1. Keep ferrets in cages

Ferret in the cage keeping it is okay as long as the ferret cage is designed appropriately and you allow your ferret to run free for several hours a day. We have put together tips for the optimal ferret cage and the cage setup for you here.

Cage size and setup:

  • Minimum dimensions: 120 x 60 x 60 cm per animal (recommendation by the European Animal and Nature Conservation Association)
  • Large door for easy cleaning
  • Two to three floors with connection by stairs, pipes or the like.
  • Several sleeping places, e.g. sleeping houses with cuddly towels, cat baskets with cozy blankets, hammocks, etc.
  • Numerous hiding places, e.g. cardboard boxes filled with rustling paper, rustling bags for cats, etc.
  • One toilet per floor, e.g. B. Litter boxes with clumping litter
  • Stable, easy-to-clean bowls for water and feed
  • Toys for employment, e.g. cat toys

The more interesting and varied you make the ferret cage, the more comfortable your ferrets will feel there.

2. Keep ferrets in the outdoor enclosure

I recommend one combined posture indoors and outdoors. The tips for setting up cages also apply to the design of an outdoor enclosure for your ferrets. However, there are some special features to be taken into account in an outdoor enclosure for ferrets.

Additional special features of the outdoor enclosure for:

  • Dimensions: The dimensions should be significantly larger than the recommended dimensions for the cage in the apartment
  • Location: No direct sunlight, but cool and shady. Attach sun protection and rain protection!
  • Safety: Ferrets dig deep. Secure the outdoor enclosure at the bottom too!
  • Equipment: Set up a well-insulated, combined sleep-feed box!

The same applies to the ferret outdoor enclosure: the more varied it is, the more comfortable the ferrets feel in the outdoor enclosure.

Read more tips on equipment and accessories for ferrets now!

Which food for ferrets?

The demands that ferrets place on their food can be understood if one takes a sideways glance at the diet of its wild relative, the polecat. You can then draw conclusions about the species-appropriate Feeding ferrets pull.

Feed plan for ferrets

  • Fresh meat: Should be the main part of the diet! E.g. raw chicken and turkey hearts, lean meat from beef, game, horse and poultry
  • Wet food: Just for snacking! E.g. special wet food for ferrets from pet shops, alternatively high-quality wet food for cats without added sugar, wet dog food is by no means suitable
  • Dried animal food: Should be available all day! E.g. high-quality feed mixes especially for ferrets from pet shops, alternatively dry feed for cats with a high protein and fat content
  • Fruit and vegetables: Better not do it! Can cause diarrhea
  • Water games: Fresh water should always be available!
Tip: Feed your ferrets several times a day. Dry food should always be available. This prevents the bunker behavior.

Ferrets are not allowed to eat:

Ferrets are not allowed to eat the following foods. Painful digestive problems up to poisoning would be the result:

  • raw pork
  • Sweet and salty
  • chocolate
  • sulfurized raisins
  • Bananas
  • Milk and products containing milk

Read more tips on how to feed ferrets appropriately and find out what is toxic to ferrets!

Neutering ferrets - yes or no?

Neutering ferrets is only partially compatible with animal welfare. However, veterinarians recommend that ferret keepers keep their Neutering ferrets allow. These are the reasons for a castration:

  • During the satchel, it can be in the ferret pack fierce ranking battles come with other males. Bite wounds and bleeding wounds are the result.
  • Males harass males even before they get into the satchel. It comes to Restlessness in the ferret pack up to bite wounds in the females.
  • If a female is not mated, it happens Hormonal imbalances. The result is the constant rage, which can be fatal for the female.
  • If a male cannot mate regularly, he can Behavior disorders develop

The best time to castrate the ferrets is when the ferrets are sexually mature at nine to twelve months of age.

Please also pay attention to our further information on castration of females.

If you are planning a pack of ferrets, find out beforehand about the mating, rearing and offspring of ferrets!

Why do ferrets bite?

If your Ferrets bite, it is important to find out why you are doing this. Study your ferret's behavior carefully, this is the only way to correctly interpret the behavior and identify causes of the biting.

  • Game: Ferrets tweak their conspecifics to encourage them to play. Your ferret will do the same for you.
  • Anxiety: If your ferret feels threatened, it will bite.
  • Pain: If the ferret is in pain, it can also express it by biting.
  • Neglect: If your ferret is not kept busy enough and is not busy enough, it can develop serious behavior disorders such as bitingness.

If you find that your ferrets are increasingly biting, reconsider the conditions in which you keep your ferrets. Only species-appropriate ferret husbandry guarantees completely satisfied ferrets that do not bite.

But be aware: That Ferret is a predator and has a corresponding set of teeth. Injuries can also occur while playing.

Important: If your ferret bites and you can't find an explanation for it, then be sure to see the vet!

Find out more about ferret behavior now!

How to deal with ferrets

Ferrets are extremely lively and intelligent animals. Failure to do enough and varied work can lead to behavioral disorders such as biting. There are numerous ways To deal with ferrets:

  • Catch games: z. B. with cat nails, cords, cardboard tubes, corners of towels
  • Ball games: z. B. Hide the ball with a hole for climbing in or the food in a small ball
  • Caves and Tunnels: z. B. Cardboard boxes filled with crackling material, tubes of all kinds, cat tunnels
  • Sounds and noises: Everything that crackles, rings, rattles and squeaks is interesting, e.g. B. Balls with bells, crackling paper, squeaky hard rubber toys
  • Dig: z. B. Box filled with earth
  • Carry around: Anything that is not too heavy and can slip out of your paws is suitable
  • Water features: z. B. shallow tub filled with water and toys
  • Cuddle: Ferrets are very fond of stomach scratching
  • Freewheel: Several hours a day!
Attention: Fun and games ensure great enthusiasm for your ferrets. They can get impetuous and pinch you from time to time.

Make the fun of the game varied and swap out the toy from time to time, otherwise ferrets get bored easily.

Find out more about more ferret games and things to do now!

Ferret care and accessories

If the conditions are right, ferrets are very easy to care for. Ferrets are very clean, they clean themselves diligently and keep themselves clean. In some cases your Caring for ferrets nevertheless your support. The following accessories will help:

  • Cotton swabs and vegetable oil for ear care
  • Claw pliers for shortening the claws
  • Tick ​​tongs when you keep the ferrets outside
  • Soft, short-haired brush for occasional grooming
  • Kitchen scales for regular weight control

Note: Don't bathe your ferrets with bubble baths! If necessary, the ferrets will wallow in their litter box to take on their own odor again.

Typical diseases in ferrets

Watch your ferret closely to see if the Ferret sick are. Because ferrets show clear symptoms of illness only very late. Typical diseases in ferrets are:

  • Mites and fleas: Ear mites, in particular, are common in ferrets and cause itching.
  • Diarrhea: The cause is usually a food intolerance or insufficient feed intake
  • Nausea and vomiting: This can be very dangerous, especially in combination with diarrhea.
  • To cough: Mainly in older ferrets, the cause may be a weak heart muscle.

See our extensive list of typical diseases in ferrets.

Regularly do the ferret health check to see if your ferrets are sick in good time!

Note: Prevent infectious diseases such as distemper and rabies with vaccinations!

When kept in a species-appropriate manner Ferrets have a long lifespan and live to be 8-10 years old. Keeping ferrets is therefore a long-term commitment.

Keeping ferrets and cats or dogs?

Keeping ferrets and cats or dogs is very possible under good conditions.

  • Ferret and dog have very different behaviors and must therefore approach each other cautiously. A meeting works best when the ferret and dog are still very young. But even an older, well-behaved dog will usually agree to the ferret very quickly.
  • Ferret and cat usually get along well. But ferrets and cats also have to be carefully accustomed to each other. They soon become playmates. If ferrets and cats want to have some peace from each other, they are usually best able to keep each other at bay.

Read more tips on keeping ferrets with cats or dogs and other pets!

Ferrets and children?

Ferrets and children and can become best friends. Since keeping ferrets is much more demanding than keeping rabbits and the like, you should carefully consider whether a ferret is actually the right pet if you have children. The following points must be taken into account when making a decision:

  • Age of children: From the age of 10, children can take responsibility for ferrets together with you. Small children and ferrets do not go well together. The small children are still too uncoordinated in their movements, the ferret could bite. NEVER leave infants and young children unattended!
  • Respect and sense of responsibility of the children: Only when children understand that animals have their own needs and behaviors and that they must respect them are they old enough to keep ferrets and pets in general. In addition, it must be clear to the children that a ferret is not a toy that can be put away unnoticed when the interest in it is lost. A ferret means long-term responsibility!

Note: It is your responsibility, not your child, to keep the ferrets in a species-appropriate manner and to care for them. Your child can only help you with this.

Please also pay attention to our further information on keeping ferrets and children!

How much does it cost to keep ferrets?

Ferret keeping costs possibly a lot of money. Ferrets can also be very expensive to buy. We have calculated for you the cost of keeping ferrets. This is how much ferret husbandry costs:

  • Purchase: Up to several hundred euros per animal
  • Cage and outdoor enclosure: Up to several hundred euros
  • Equipment and accessories: approx. 150 euros
  • Lining: approx. 40 euros per month for fresh meat and high-quality dry food for two adult ferrets
  • Vet: Castration male approx. 60 euros, castration female approx. 150 euros, vaccination approx. 50 euros, chipping approx. 30 euros, check-up approx. 30 euros

Danger: The list of costs is based on an estimate and may deviate from the actual costs. Depending on the state of health of your ferrets, you can also expect additional veterinary costs!

Buy ferrets

Where they Buy ferrets what you should consider when buying ferrets:

  • Pet shop: You cannot usually buy ferrets here. The umbrella association of pet shops (ZZF) prohibits its affiliated dealers from selling ferrets. Some pet stores still sell ferrets. We strongly advise against buying ferrets here.
  • Breeder: Buying ferrets from responsible breeders can be beneficial. Find out more about the breeder (there are black sheep) and take a close look at the (mother) animals before you decide to buy a ferret. You can inquire about the addresses of responsible breeders from animal welfare associations and veterinarians.
  • Private ferret aid and associations: Here you can buy ferrets at cost. You will also receive advice on how to keep ferrets in a species-appropriate manner.
  • Animal Welfare Associations: Many ferrets that were given up by their previous owners are waiting for a new home here. Give these ferrets a chance. In addition, these ferrets are usually already vaccinated, neutered and chipped.
  • Online marketplaces: We strongly advise against buying ferrets online. The risk of getting black sheep among the providers is too high. Should you still consider this, then talk to the provider in detail and take a very close look at the ferrets on offer.

One responsible ferret provider you can tell by the fact that he

  • She gives detailed advice on keeping ferrets
  • keeps his ferrets species-appropriate
  • only offers healthy and lively ferrets
  • Have you personally inspect the ferrets
  • You are contractually obliged to keep ferrets in a species-appropriate manner when you buy them
Note: Before you buy ferrets for a lot of money, please take a look around the animal shelters in your area. Many ferrets that have been dropped off by the previous owner are waiting there for a responsible home!

What types of ferrets are there?

Meanwhile there are numerous species of ferrets. Types of ferrets are differentiated based on the color and length of their fur. The most common ferret species and colors at a glance:

  • Albino: Top coat and undercoat pure white, red eyes
  • Siam or cinnamon: Top coat light brown, undercoat yellowish, brown eyes
  • Polecat: Pronounced face mask, top hair dark brown to black, undercoat white to yellowish
  • Harlequin: White chest and paws, outer hair dark brown to black, light undercoat
  • Panda: light fur with few dark outer hairs. Warning: animals can be deaf!
  • White (blackeye white): white fur, black eyes
  • Almost black (black self): Top coat deep black, undercoat dark, without face mask
  • Spotted: white fur with black spots
  • Long-haired or angora ferrets: very long fur. Caution: Females produce little or no breast milk and cannot feed their offspring!

Danger: Ferrets of the colors panda, white, almost black and spotted are special breeds. Hereditary diseases may be present. In addition, long-haired and angora ferrets are classified as torture breeds. You should definitely avoid these breeds. Only a lack of demand causes breeders to give up special breeds!