Mr Johnson’s small animal foods

Petcare: Ferrets

Ferrets facts:

  • The name ferret is derived from the latin furonem, which means "thief."
  • An unspayed female ferret is called a Jill while a spayed female is a sprite.
  • A baby ferrets called a kit.
  • All ferret kits have white fur at birth.
  • A newborn ferret is so small that it can fit into a teaspoon.
  • A group of ferrets is a "business of ferrets."
  • Ferrets have scent glands similar to skunk scent glands, and they will release (not spray) the contents if threatened.
  • Ferrets come from the same family ("Mustelidae") as badgers, wolverines, otters, mink, weasels, black footed ferrets and polecats.
  • Ferret owners have a variety of fun nicknames for ferrets: ferts, fuzzies, carpet sharks, fur-balls

Feeding your ferret:

Ferrets, like most animals have their own specific dietary requirements.
They are carnivores and their good health depends on the quality of their diet. They have such a rapid metabolism and wake up to eat about every four hours. Fresh water and food should always be readily available for them.
Ferrets require a concentrated diet to receive all the calories and nutrients they need to stay fit and healthy as they never eat huge amounts in one go.
A ferret’s diet should be high in protein from a good quality meat source to provide them with energy, and be low in fibre.
It is important to feed your ferret correctly from an early age.


Feeding a high quality dry ferret food is ideal for keeping teeth clean and can make their faeces less smelly. Oil content in feed is essential for healthy skin and a shiny coat, along with calcium and phosphorous to ensure healthy gums and teeth. Advance ferret food offers all this plus more as it has Verm x herb blend added to ensure the intestinal health of ferrets is also not left to chance.

Ferrets enjoy fruit and sweet vegetables such as grapes, bananas, apple, melon,   carrots, and cucumber as a dietary complement.
Remove skins that are tougher than a grape peel and slice stringy items like celery into thin slices rather than sticks to avoid intestinal blockages.

 

Dairy products and dried fruits should be fed sparingly as ferrets are somewhat lactose intolerant and dried fruit is difficult to digest. Avoid nuts and grain products, as they cannot digest these.

Introducing your ferret to new foods:

Your ferret diet should never be changed suddenly. Abrupt changes in their diet could trigger digestive upsets, especially in kits or ferrets that are stressed (for example if they have moved to a new home). If you want to change their diet, it is recommended that this change takes place gradually over a 10 day period. This can be done by mixing small quantities of the new food in with their existing food, while reducing their existing food proportionally until the food is fully changed over.

Housing & bedding:


Ferrets need to be kept in the correct living environment. They can live inside or outside as long as their housing is suitable.
It is important that any housing you may purchase for your ferret is escape proof, easy to clean, has a separate sleeping area, and enough room for your ferret to exercise.


They need a place to go to the toilet. A litter tray is ideal for keeping the cage clean and hygienic but should be regularly emptied to prevent odour building up and stop your ferret becoming dirty and smelly.

Nice warm sleeping quarters are a must for ferrets, they come in all shapes and sizes from hammocks to baskets with soft fleecy blankets to ferret sized nesting boxes and sleeping bags or pouches. Ferrets love to curl up together in one sleeping place.
Ferrets can stand cold weather, high winds, rain and snow provided they have a warm and dry sleeping area with plenty of warm bedding.
If a ferret becomes very hot though they can suffer from heat exhaustion and subsequently die as they are not very good at regulating their temperature.

 

Handling & grooming:

With young ferrets they need handling regularly so they build up a bond with you and once you have built up that trust and they are relaxed most ferrets will lay in the crook of the arm and will even fall asleep on your lap.
When handling your ferret it is important to make your ferret feel comfortable and secure. It is best to hold them under their front legs. It is important to remember that ferrets are natural diggers, curious, and great escape artists they are artful and can quickly learn to open doors if they are not closed properly.
Regular brushing is a great way to keep the coat in good condition and is especially useful when ferrets are shedding to minimize the amount of hair ingested by ferrets, thus preventing hairballs. Many ferrets are not keen on staying still long enough for brushing, so get in the habit of doing a very quick brushing frequently, rather than trying to get your ferret to sit still for a prolonged grooming session. Use a soft, short-bristled brush meant for cats or kittens.
It is also important to check your ferrets’ claws, the front claws grow very quickly because they are used for digging. Your ferret will probably not get much chance to wear them down by digging so it is up to you to clip their claws.

Ferrets ears should be checked regularly and need a small amount of maintenance because of they are prone to wax building up. This can occasionally lead to ear mite infections.
It is important you spend time to socialise and interact with your ferret. You should ensure they have things to play with to entertain them – they will love playing with balls, climbing through tubes all these give them essential exercise and stimulation to prevent boredom.
You can buy harnesses for ferret and take them for a walk a great way for them to explore in safety.

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