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  #1  
Old 04-28-2009, 05:24 PM
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Juicy Juicy is offline
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Question Ferrets?

I think they're cute, but not a huge fan of them, because of the odor and litterboxes just aren't 'my' thing. But BF wants one, and he gave little dogs a try, so I'll give one a try. Also is there something similar to ferrets that we can get instead?



So what's good and bad about them?



How to introduce to a dog thats cat-aggressive?



Where to get one from?



How much do they cost and how much does to cost to own one (how much for a cage, toys, bedding, litter, food?)



What age is best to get them at?



Do they need vaccinates and is important to get them fix, even if you're only going to have one?



Is it best to have more than one?



What sort of attention, time, care, games for stilmulation do they need?



Whats best to feed them?



What sort of cage is best for them and what to put it in? Bedding, toys, ect..



What to do about the smell?



How often to feed and how much do they need to be fed?



How often can they be bathed?



Thanks!! Pics will be nice!
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Old 04-28-2009, 05:50 PM
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The only thing I really know is that if you get a female, she HAS to be fixed or she will get very ill and might even die.
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Old 04-28-2009, 08:58 PM
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FoxyWench FoxyWench is offline
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So what's good and bad about them?

good: there active fun little carpet sharks
bad: they have a natural mush and can be quite independant.

How to introduce to a dog thats cat-aggressive?

with mine and the dogs we let them greet though the cage first...
then dogs on leash ferrets loose and eventually supervised play.
Ruby isnt a fan of cats but LOVES ferrets!

Where to get one from?
a breeder or rescue are your best choices, but breeders are hard to find.
petstores should be you absolute last choice.

How much do they cost and how much does to cost to own one (how much for a cage, toys, bedding, litter, food?)

cage expect anything between $100-$300, bigger is better (look for the ferret nation)
ferret, $75-$250 (upper end is for fancies liek the angora)
bedding/toys deco...i made all my own from about $20 worth of fleece...i made enough to have one in the cage and one in the laundry...
and i bought a ton of the $1.00 cat balls (the ones with rattles and bells)
pvc pipe is fun for tunnels (and better than the realy expensive ferret tubes that tend to get torn up too easy...)
and many toys can be easily made.

What age is best to get them at?

they develop like puppies and kittens 10-12 weeks is best, most petstores carry marshals farms which sell as young as 6 weeks.

Do they need vaccinates and is important to get them fix, even if you're only going to have one?

MOST ferrets come spay/neutered and descented...
if yours doesnt it NEEDS to be done. ferrets are musk animals and have a scent gland which smells almost as strong as a skunk and they CAN spray (both males and females)
intact male ferretstend to be territorial and agressive and females once they go into heat do not come out unless bred so having an intact female when not a breeder can literally kill her.
in terms of vacinations we did distemper and rabies as babies and then rabies every 3 yrs from then on (mine didnt go outside our yard so no need for the additional) (esnetially same scedual and vac's as a kitten/cat.)

Is it best to have more than one?
YES!
ferrets are active social creatures and no matter how much time you spend with them you will never be able to tire them out wihtout the assistance of another ferret.
ferrets are also extreemly rough players, nipping wrestling scratching ect is all normal play for ferts...these activities of course should be dissuaded when playing with their people...but they need ot get out those more "agressive" playstyles somehow.
having 2 is MUCH better.

What sort of attention, time, care, games for stilmulation do they need?
as much as humanly possible, AT LEAST 3-4 hours out of cage time...MINIMUM
think of it as having a kitten crossed with a puppy crossed with a 2yr old child...they are demanding in terms of time out, but when out, parituclarly if they have a playmate there not all that demanding of YOUR time...

Whats best to feed them?
MEAT...
ferrets origioanlly woudl eat primarily rodents (mice, rats, Rabbits and the occasional chicken)
my suggestion is a high quality kitten food with rabbit or chicken as its base, and avoid corn...
many will tell you NO feed only ferret food...BUT when you look at most brand ferret food the main ingredient is Fish...fish as a main source of protein while natural for the pole cat and fisher is not natural for the ferret and they would very rarely if ever get a fish...
fish in the diet should be limited to only very occasionally as fish will make both their natural musk And their poop smell worse.

What sort of cage is best for them and what to put it in? Bedding, toys, ect..

ferret nation! best ferret cage ever...
in terms of deco, lots of tunnels, hammocks, blankies and simple toys, as well as a litter box for every other level in the cage (any less than that expect accidents.)
toys are easy, ferrets will play with anything, brown paper bags, cerial boxes and cat toys were favorties.
we also had 2 dig boxes, 1, a cardboard box filled with bi-degradable packing peanuts, they LOVED these and would dive through them, of course by the end there were peanuts everywhere but it was great to watch them
2: their dirt box, which was simply a big tupperware tub filled with sterile soil (potting soil washed with bleach, rinsed well and air dryed) this tub was used only in the bathroom and they got to play in that only once a month, Bath day! wed hide toys and cherios in the dirt and theyd have a blast finding them! dirt would go everywhere, they woudl be filthy...thats why it was only on bath day and only in the bathroom.

What to do about the smell?
step 1: make sure you have enough litter boxes (1 per ferret or every 2 levels...these boxes should be easy to get into and situated in the corners of the cage, ferrets naturally choose a corner to go to the bathroom in (and they back in)

step 2: use litter ONLY in the litter boxes, carefresh or yesterdays news work best...corn cob isnt bad either...
for the rest of the cage use lino/fleece blankets or leave with just the base plastic...
if you do this you wont have to worry as much about having to clean the rest of the cage.

step 3: have 2 sets of soft bedding...you want one for the cage 1 for the wash

daily: scoop the litter boxes, pees not too bad as their amonia isnt that strong...poop though needs to begone asap as it can get overwhelming quickly...
remove any accidents imediatly outside of the litter boxes.
if you fill all the corners which dont have litter boxes with toys, blankets and hammocks and keep those boxes scooped you shoudlnt have accidents, ferrets are usually very good about returning to the same corner every time...

weekly: empty litter boxes completly and wash well, i liked to soak in a 10:1 bleach solution, rinse well and air dry, but a vinegar solution or natural based cleaning solution would work just as well
whipe down all the shelves/hard surfaces in the cage with the same cleaning solution and let air dry.
throw all soft furnishings in the laundry, once cage is comepltky air dry replace bedding with clean...

monthly remove EVERYTHIGN, take cage outside and hose it down

a good cleaning routein will keep the odor to a minimum, there will alsways be a mild musky odor (which smells a little like fritos) which is not realy unpleasent if you feed a meat based diet and keep on a strict cleaning scedual you shoudlnt have a problem with smell.
i woudl have anything from 3-8 ferrets at a time (3 perminent the others would come and go in a foster type situation) and NOONE ever knew...when people found out they always said the same thing "but i thought ferrets smelled bad!"

How often to feed and how much do they need to be fed?
I free fed dry food and then whenever i was in the mood theyd get a chicken wing or soemthing as a treat...
ferrets are pretty good self feeding machines and do best when given the option to "graze"

How often can they be bathed?

contrary to popular belif bathing does NOT help with smell, infact the musky odor is WORSE if you bathe a ferret too much (after a bath the oil production goes into over drive to produce the natural skin oils, during this time they are stronger smelling than usual...the more you bathe them the more oil the skin secretes and the oil contains that natural musk...

once a month should be enough unless they are getting dirty (muddy)
Nails needto be done once a week though, they grow FAST!


ferrets are awesome!
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Old 04-29-2009, 09:03 AM
Gempress Gempress is offline
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Foxy's post was great. I do have a little more detail for you on some of those, though.


Do they need vaccinates and is important to get them fix, even if you're only going to have one?

Yes, ferrets absolutely need vaccinations. Many areas require that they get annual vaccinations, the same way as a dog or cat. Getting them fixed is also a requirement.

Is it best to have more than one?

YES! Ferrets are much, MUCH more social with their own kind than dogs are. They love having other ferrets around, strangers or not. And having multiples isn't really any more work than having one. You don't have to worry about the whole "slow introduction, please get along!" situation that you can have when introducing a new dog. I've never seen a FA (ferret-aggressive) ferret, LOL. I've literally just dropped my new ferret into the mix instantly, and have have never had a problem. They're usually playing and tumbling with the rest within 10 seconds.

What sort of attention, time, care, games for stilmulation do they need?

Time out of the cage is important. Playtime and games are everything to a ferret. They are constant explorers, and endlessly curious and playful.

It's important to know that ferrets are purely domestic animals, not some exotic pet. They were domesticated long before cats were. Unlike cats and many dogs, ferrets seem to have absolutely no survival skills, LOL. They are so incredibly curious and absolutely fearless that it takes over their common sense. They will try to squeeze through holes and get stuck, or get into dangeous situations that any other domestic animal would have the sense to avoid. One of my ferrets jumped off my third-story balcony because he wanted to see what was down below. Thank God I had him on a leash! Be sure to keep that tendency in mind when you have them outside or running around your house. They WILL get themselves into trouble if you're not careful.

Whats best to feed them?

Ferrets are basically pure carnivores. Kitten chow or ferret food works great. Avoid fish-based foods. Check the ingredient list, and if any of the first five ingredients are fish, avoid that food.

How often to feed and how much do they need to be fed?
Ferrets are best free-fed. Just keep the food bowl full. Unlike cats and dogs, they have an insane metabolism. They need to eat frequently.
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Old 04-29-2009, 09:48 AM
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lol gemp, my freinds ferts are a perfect example...
saige loves plastic trasbags and has almsot suffocated multiple times, no sooner is she rescued from the bag o doom and the bags put back in the cabinate shes right back trying to get into the cupboard to get back to them or finding another plastic bag to climb in...

and Rose, she loves heights...she loves to climb to the top of the fridge (how were still not sure) and then she cant get down...youll hear her squeeking and you put ehr down and she bristles bounces around and 5 minutes later...shes stuck ont eh top of the fridge again...
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Old 04-29-2009, 09:50 AM
PoodleMommy PoodleMommy is offline
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Not to hijack... but... can someone explain how if having a female intact can kill her, more little ferrets are born... obviously intact females are needed for that, right?

Sorry, if it is a stupid question... but I have always been interested in ferrets, so I read through this thread and I didnt understand that part, thanks!
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:00 AM
Gempress Gempress is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoodleMommy View Post
Not to hijack... but... can someone explain how if having a female intact can kill her, more little ferrets are born... obviously intact females are needed for that, right?

Sorry, if it is a stupid question... but I have always been interested in ferrets, so I read through this thread and I didnt understand that part, thanks!
Not a stupid question at all! When dogs and cats go into heat, they will stay in that condition for a short time, then come out of it on their own whether they were bred or not. But once a female ferret goes into heat, she will stay in heat until she is bred. It won't just go away on its own. And being left in heat causes tremendous stress to the female's body. Over a period of time, the body's heightened, altered state will eventually kill her.

Ferret breeders will often keep a vasectomied male on hand, to use on those occassions when babies are not wanted. The male can safely "service" the intact female, which will bring her out of heat, yet it won't result in little ferrets.
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:01 AM
PoodleMommy PoodleMommy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gempress View Post
Not a stupid question at all! When dogs and cats go into heat, they will stay in that condition for a short time, then come out of it on their own whether they were bred or not. But once a female ferret goes into heat, she will stay in heat until she is bred. It won't just go away on its own. And being left in heat causes tremendous stress to the female's body. Over a period of time, the body's heightened, altered state will eventually kill her.

Ferret breeders will often keep a vasectomied male on hand. The male can safely "service" the female, which will bring her out of heat, yet won't result in pups.
very interesting! Thanks for the detailed response.
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:49 AM
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Can they eat a raw diet too since they are mostly carnivorous? I imagine they'd eat more bug-like creatures rather than beef and such, but maybe I'm wrong.
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skKi View Post
Can they eat a raw diet too since they are mostly carnivorous? I imagine they'd eat more bug-like creatures rather than beef and such, but maybe I'm wrong.
Yup, ferrets can eat raw. You can find online groups dedicated to raw-feeding ferrets. And you are wrong about the "bug-like" creatures. Ferrets were originally domesticated for hunting rabbits, although they also hunt mice and rats. They can basically eat the same kind of raw diet as a cat.
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