Hello, My name is Morgan and this is my new ferret Kai, She’s only a few months old, She’s VERY playful, Nippy too, She’s my first ferret ever, And I was wondering if I could get a few tips on owning a ferret. Also if there’s any way to calm her down a bit? I mean I know she’s only a few months old and all, Will she calm down when she gets a bit older? There’s nothing wrong with her being playful and all, It’s just that I also want to have her with me so I can just pet her. Also, How do I teach her that biting is bad? I know ferrets bite, But, I’d just like a way to teach her not to as much as she does. What kind of toys are best for them? I have two small Neopet plushes in her cage now, Like the ones you’d get from Mcdonalds, She plays with them and all, But what else? Also, What are good treats and food? I just need some help, Since being a first time ferret owner! Thank you! (Not really sure what to tag this, Hope what I did is okay)
I shall reply to your questions here! :3
1. Calm her down: Since she’s just a kit, this will come with age. She’ll probably reach her adult size by 6-7 months of age, but most ferrets retain their kit-like joy and energy until they get old. If you want a ferret to be calm and cuddly, well, sorry. Those types of ferrets are few and far between! They’re not lap pets! (There are a few exceptions, like Cannonball. Usually males are more cuddly.) If you do want to have some calm cuddle time, try to pick her up slowly when she’s just waking up. Usually ferrets are the most cuddly at this time. Once they get to know you more, they might even fall asleep in your arms. :)
2. Biting problem: Kits are born with the knowledge that biting = playing. Biting is how they show they want to play with another ferret. You have to teach them that you’re the boss and you do not like biting. Every time she bites, just get up and walk off. Stop what you’re doing and don’t give her the satisfaction of getting a reaction out of you. Don’t say anything, don’t jerk your hand back, just stop, remove your hand, and ignore them. If she starts biting WAY too hard, almost breaking the skin, gently grab the back of her neck (the scruff) and say firmly, “NO”. Scruffing is how alpha ferrets show they’re the boss. Don’t be too rough with her, though. Just grab her scruff enough to get her to yawn. When they yawn, that’s sort of like them saying, “Yeah, okay, I get it, mom…”
3. Toys: I’ll just tell you what my ferrets have. At Petco, they love the little 2-for-$5 plush squeaky toys. Anything plush with the crinkly sound is also good. They like tennis balls, but I’ve had to take the fuzzy skin off it so they don’t ingest it. They love feathery cat teasers, durable rubbery dog toys, smooth plastic jingly balls for cats, mylar balls, and stuffed animals. I, too, have some old Neopets stuffed animals from Limited Too (oh god why) and those are holding up very well. Avoid toys that have hard eyes or noses, beans (beanie babies), small bits of rubber (those really cheap, flimsy rubber dog toys, or anything else that could be potentially small and ingest-able. It’s usually $500-$600 to surgically remove a blockage in a ferret.
4. Treats and food: Ferrets are obligate carnivores. This means they evolved to eat meat exclusively. Anything that isn’t the flesh of another creature in their stomach, sits there and isn’t digested. The more plant-matter, dairy, and sugars in their diet, the more unhealthy the ferret. In all likelihood, a ferret on a poor diet is likely to develop insulinoma, cancers, organ problems, adrenal disease, and tooth rot/infection. You have two options for feeding your ferret.
-Kibble. Kibble is the popular bagged food they sell at popular pet stores like Petco and Petsmart. If I’m inferring correctly, you bought your ferret at a Petco, and has probably been raised on Marshall kibble. Stay away from that kibble. It’s full of corn and nasty stuff. Here are some good kibbles: Wysong, Evo, ZuPreem (grain free). Some cat foods are okay as well, but I’m not terribly versed in which ones, so I won’t go there. (Except ZiwiPeak is awesome.) Basically, ferrets need a high protein, high fat, and taurine-rich diet. In the wild, their polecat ancestors were eating rabbits, mice, rats, voles, insects, eggs, and any other small creature they could catch. That leads me to option 2:
-Raw and whole prey diet. This is by far the best diet in imitating a ferret’s natural one. It’s better for their digestive and dental health tenfold. If you’re interested in a raw diet, I recommend checking out the holistic ferret forum. There’s a lot to the raw diet. The only disadvantage to it is that there’s a lot to learn and you have to be at home a lot. You can’t just leave food out for the ferret like you would with kibble. It requires a bit more dedication and tenacity, but in my opinion, it’s worth it. On a raw/whole prey diet, there are lots of advantages. The ferret smells less offensively, their coat is softer and nicer, their teeth need less brushing (and sometimes no brushing at all), and it keeps them from developing bad-kibble-related illnesses in the future, like stomach ulcers.
As an example of a ferret diet, here’s what I feed mine. This is by no means the absolute best, but it works for me and is the best I can offer them at this time.
They get a full bowl of ZiwiPeak venison and lamb every other day as their main staple. ZiwiPeak is an odd sort of food, being somewhat in-between raw and kibble. It’s air-dried to preserve protein content and looks like little pieces of beef jerky! They will ocassionally get N-Bonez and chicken jerky as treats on these days.
Every other day, they get a big heaping bowl of Nature’s Variety raw formula. (It’s a frozen food marketed for dogs and cats, but it’s something like 98% protein: muscles, organs, bones.) I mush the NV up with ground chicken, turkey, and beef, depending on what I happened to get at the store. Sometimes they get a raw egg beaten in a bowl, and every once in a blue moon they get a frozen thawed fuzzy mouse (but I usually save those for my snakes).
Eventually, I plan on feeding them whole mice, chicken wings and legs, and other raw things. I’m transitioning them, currently. It takes a while to get ferrets used to kibble on a raw diet, they have to re-learn that meat = food.
That’s all I got for now.
I recommend joining the ferret forum, holistic ferret forum, and picking up a copy of Ferrets for Dummies ed. 2. These things will teach you so much about ferrets! And as always, I’m here to answer questions and help. There’s a lot of other good ferret blogs here on Tumblr, too, like Farrah, Cannonball, F-YeahFerrets, Life of my Ferrets, etc.
Resources. You now have them. lol
Most of all HAVE FUN WITH YOUR FUZZY! Play with them all the time and they’ll love you forever. :D