Ferret Care

Ferrets are very social, and they are happiest in pairs or in small groups.  They are inquisitive, playful and mischievous.

Housing Options

A. Cage

They can be kept in a cage inside or outside, but must be protected form the weather.  A veranda or balcony is suitable.

A simple metal frame with a minimum size of 2m square or larger with wire mesh (1.75cm square).  The cage requires a solid weatherproof overhanging roof.  This size will house two ferrets comfortably.

The cage is best divided into levels using a shade cloth and flexible pipes.  A sleeping box is best made from plastic or wood with clean, dry bedding, eg: towels, blankets etc.  Wood shavings and sawdust are not recommended.  Feeding area should have a solid floor, with heavy bowls. A water bottle is best so that it can be kept up and away from the food and the litter.  Like cats, ferrets use a litter tray, so a level area is best for this.

B. Living free in your home

If ferrets are to live free in your home, you will need to ferret-proof your house.  You will need to block off any holes or entries into appliances and walls, and move all fragile or precious items.  Ferrets will get into almost anything.  You will also need to provide a sleeping area, feeding area and a litter tray area.

Toys

Variety is the key with toys.  The toys need to withstand chewing; vinyl and rubber balls are OK.  Ferrets love, and have most fun with, tunnels.

Diet

A ferret’s main diet is good quality dry cat food (at least 32% protein eg: Hills Science Diet).  Ferrets under the age of 3-4 years should be fed kitten dry food.  Over 4 years old, they need adult formula.  Fresh water daily is a must.

Treats:

  • chicken wings
  • fruit
  • nuts
  • puppy milk

Never give:

  • dairy products
  • chocolate
  • fish based biscuits
  • cooked bones
  • salt
  • dried coconut
  • dogs leather hide chews
  • sausage mince

Grooming

Bath no more frequently than fortnightly, and use a gentle pet shampoo.  Regularly clip nails, and clean ears with cat or dog ear cleaner.

Health Care

Vaccinations are needed annually; distemper vaccination is essential.

Worming every 3 months.

Flea treatment monthly with a puppy or kitten product.

Desexing females is essential. This is because unmated females are in danger of dying from anaemia.  Entire males are more aggressive, and also have a very strong smell.

IMPORTANT FACT:  Flu is transferable from ferret to human and vice verse.  If exposed to flu or suspect flu, seek veterinary assistance.

For further information:  NSW Ferret Welfare Society Inc, Information officer: 02 9638 5021

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