Ferrets?

Discussion in 'Cat and Pet Forum' started by Juicy, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. Juicy

    Juicy New Member

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    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? :p



    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! :)
     
  2. Picklepaige

    Picklepaige Active Member

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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.
     
  3. FoxyWench

    FoxyWench Salty Sea Dog

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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!
     
  4. Gempress

    Gempress Walks into Mordor

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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.
     
  5. FoxyWench

    FoxyWench Salty Sea Dog

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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...
     
  6. PoodleMommy

    PoodleMommy Yorkie Love

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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!
     
  7. Gempress

    Gempress Walks into Mordor

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2009
  8. PoodleMommy

    PoodleMommy Yorkie Love

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    very interesting! Thanks for the detailed response.
     
  9. skKi

    skKi woop

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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.
     
  10. Gempress

    Gempress Walks into Mordor

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    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.
     
  11. skKi

    skKi woop

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    Oh neat! That's very interesting. I'll probably never get a ferret, but it's good to know anyhow. :p
     
  12. Brattina88

    Brattina88 Active Member

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    I've been researching ferrets as well ;)

    Vaccinations are as controversial with ferrets as they are with dogs - many people think that they are over-vaccinated, and/or vaccinated for things that they really don't need to be. I plan on getting a fert (when I'm good and ready) and sticking as close to I can to holistic as possible. Raw fed, natural flea remedies, limited vaccinations, etc.
    From what I've red, raw feed helps a lot with their smell as opposed to certain dry foods with not-so-good ingredients. And if your bf is willing, try to encourage him to rescue! There are lots of ferrets in need of homes! :)

    I've been lurking on some great ferret forums ;) You can PM me if you want the links!
     
  13. Labyrinth

    Labyrinth New Member

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    As for vaccinations, I'd at least be sure to get distemper. I don't have my ferrets vaccinated for rabies since I won't allow them near any animals I don't know are safe and do not allow anyone aside from my husband, myself, and my vet to handle any of them.

    Ferrets are a lot of fun, but they are also a lot of work and heartache. Most everything has been covered in the other posts, but one thing I didn't see mentioned was the medical costs of keeping ferrets. These little buggers get expensive. They are prone to tumors, and have short life spans (5-7ish years). Aside from any vet bills you may rack up from their suicidal tendencies, you are almost guaranteed to encounter a medical disaster or two per ferret over it's lifetime.

    Sasha (RIP) was adrenal and required monthly shots ($45 a month). Then she got a hairball in her stomach she couldn't pass on her own and needed it surgically removed for about $400 (they can't cough up hairballs like cats can). Then she was diagnosed with insulinoma and required medication every 12 hours for the remainder of her life (this medication wasn't expensive, but the schedule was tedious). My husband and I had to cut our trip to visit my family for xmas short because we had to get back home to give Sasha her meds. Munky is now in the same position with both adrenal and insulinoma. Pipsqueak was just diagnosed as adrenal as well.

    Also, some days I have to force myself to set up their play area and let them out to play. They don't have a dedicated room, so that means vacuuming, setting up all the toys and boxes they love to play with, and locking the dogs out of the room until they settle down. Then after playtime is up everything needs to be cleaned up, as well as the poop and urine NEXT to the litter box (they do use the boxes put out sometimes, but many times they'll choose to just potty next to it for some reason).

    Don't get me wrong, I adore my ferrets and wouldn't give them up for anything. But they are a HUGE responsibility and will change your life, so I wouldn't recommend getting one until you've researched all the ups and downs.
     
  14. Juicy

    Juicy New Member

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    TY everyone, this has been very helpful!! Learned alot I didn't know!!

    Princess isn't as cat aggressive as I thought. She has killed a kitten before, and well her breed isn't one too be so trusthworthy with smaller animals. But today I let her come close while I held the leash to the apartment cat and she didn't act at all to her, but she was somewhat skittish of her! She barked at the cat and the cat showed some claws and she backed down and didn't bother with the cat at all. But still gotta take a lot into consideration before jumping into owning a ferret.
     
  15. Gempress

    Gempress Walks into Mordor

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    That is 100% spot-on. :hail:

    Ferrets are highly prone to cancer, adrenal disease and Green Slime disease. Be sure to research all three before getting a ferret. I had three ferrets. I lost Krillin at age 3 to leukemia, Goku at age 5 to a severe case of green slime, and Trunks at age 8 or 9 (can't remember exactly) to a combination of old age and adrenal disease.

    Adrenal disease is treatable or even curable with surgery, but can be costly to take care of. Cancer is bad for ferrets: they don't have the same quality of cancer treatment for ferrets as they do for dogs and cats. Green slime (named for the odd greenish tint it gives to the ferret poo) is kind of like the ferret version of the flu. Most get over it quickly and without an issue. But for some few ferrets, it can cause complications including paralysis, which is what happened to Goku.

    But they are happy, joyful little buggers to have. I would love to have another someday. I have never seen a ferret in a bad mood--they have a joie de vive that I haven't seen in any other animal. Just be aware that they come with a cost.
     
  16. Labyrinth

    Labyrinth New Member

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    If you do decide to get a ferret, make sure you never leave it unattended with your dog. This really goes for any dog regardless of whether they show aggression towards small animals or not. Abby absolutely loves the ferrets. So much that she wants to take her 42 pound body and pounce on their little 3 pound bodies in play. She means well, she just doesn't understand her size. You may be able to let her sniff them, but you'd have to take her out of the room or crate her if she got overly excited. I've heard too many horror stories of ferrets being killed because they were left alone with the gentlest of dogs for even just a minute.

    Another thing to add, is that the ferrets will antagonize the dog. They love to play, and they'll pretty much attack anything to try to get it to play. It's pretty amusing when a 3 pound ferret tackles a 56 pound dog, but that just shows you how fearless they can be. They won't be wary of your dog at all, so that's just another reason to never leave them alone with a dog.
     
  17. MericoX

    MericoX Roos, Poos, & a Wog!

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    I would also make sure they are legal in your state as well, and that you don't need an exotics license.
     
  18. Juicy

    Juicy New Member

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    Thanks. I've been working with Princess with the cats outside. I get them two feet close, no issues, they just look at each other and I give them treats after.

    They sell ferrets here in pet stores, so I'm pretty sure they're legal. Heck its South Florida, you can get a ring-tail lemur in a pet store with just a class two permit I think.
     
  19. AllieMackie

    AllieMackie Wookie Collie

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    Good responses! Sorry I didn't find this thread earlier.

    Juicy, regarding the ferret smell, the biggest thing you can do to reduce the smell is wash the ferrets' bedding every week. The oils in the skin that Foxywench mentioned get rubbed off onto the bedding, and then the bedding smells more than the ferrets. :p

    I have two ferrets, and I wash their bedding once a week. They've been bathed twice since I got them in September, and that's only because they got poop on them (it was a gross long story). I wash their bedding weekly, and use a dry bath conditioner once every two weeks. The dry bath helps keep their fur clean, shiny and odorless while maintaining the natural oils in the skin.

    I get lots of comments from friends about how surprised they are that my ferrets don't smell, so I think my advice works. :p

    Hope that helps!

    They're quite handy if you need holes dug in your garden, too.
    [​IMG]
     
  20. skittledoo

    skittledoo Crazy naked dog lady

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    I absolutely LOVE them. I have never owned one because they were illegal in CA when I lived there and when I moved to NM I couldn't because my mom does not like them... I almost rescued a bonded pair a couple years ago, but my fiance and I ended up breaking up before I signed the paperwork and I had to move in with my Grandma who said absolutely no pets. I will get a few eventually... maybe not now... but one day...
     

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