Advanced search

ferrets anyone??

(23 Posts)
cbigs Fri 18-Mar-16 18:10:19

Hi does anyone have ferrets? Considering getting two for my ds 10 he wants a small pet but we have cats and dogs just cannot do the anxiety of gerbils hamsters etc and doors being closed so no one is getting maimed through the cage sad--been there too many times-- how labour intensive are they? What are they like as pets?
Tia smile

Coro Fri 18-Mar-16 22:08:00

I have 2 ferrets. My ds is 12 and they're perfect for him. They sleep most of the day but when they're awake they are amusing and interactive with an inquisitive nature. They have a large cage and are out before and after school although often choose to put themselves back to bed! They'll walk outside on a lead and love new experiences.
I know people who keep dogs, cats and ferrets quite happily. They're sturdy pets for their size and mine are litter trained which helps for their free time. I love them to bits, life wouldn't be the same without them.

cbigs Sun 20-Mar-16 21:09:05

Hi Coro thanks for that only just seen your post. That's really helpful and makes me feel more confident about it. Do you think a cage is ok in his bedroom? ( his room is big enough) I'm thinking smell, noise really...

Coro Mon 21-Mar-16 11:00:26

It depends on how lightly your ds sleeps. Our two's cage is in the living room but they tend to sleep a lot so I wouldn't worry too much. Many other people keep them in their bedroom. I find them quite clean animals, mine use a litter tray that gets cleaned morning and night. They use fleeces for bedding so they're easily washable. Hth.

cbigs Mon 21-Mar-16 18:29:15

Aww they sound adorable it really does help thanks. Are they hard to litter train? X

Coro Tue 22-Mar-16 10:39:30

My two haven't been difficult at all, they're smart creatures. That said, they're all different.

cbigs Tue 22-Mar-16 14:42:12

Thanks so much I'll defo be going ahead based on that. your pic is adorable smile

Coro Wed 23-Mar-16 06:35:55

You'll have to post pics when you get yours! :-) As a heads up, definitely get them from somewhere where they are well handled and not bred for working. It'll make it much easier to settle them in at home.

cbigs Wed 23-Mar-16 19:17:50

I'll totally post pics! Are they bred to order? That seemed to be what I found when I looked for baby ferrets? confused

cbigs Wed 23-Mar-16 19:29:05

I'll totally post pics! Are they bred to order? That seemed to be what I found when I looked for baby ferrets? confused

Seeyounearertime Wed 23-Mar-16 19:32:52

My ferret is currently bashing around a kinder egg thingy and making a right racket in her bedroom.

At one time i had lots of them, 12 to be precise. I only have one old girl left now and shes still playful and great.

The only thing i would say about young children and ferrets is to be extremely careful and make sure they are trained how to hold them properly.

A nip from a ferret for an adult is nothing, to a child it can be horrific and traumatising.

DramaAlpaca Wed 23-Mar-16 20:02:16

We have just one ferret now, an old boy who is almost 8. Sadly his litter brother and lifetime companion died just before Christmas. We also have cats and dogs, but we can't allow them to mix as the dogs would go for the ferrets and the ferrets chase the cats.

My advice would be to get two ferrets at least, as they keep each other company and play together. Also, get them young - at about 8 weeks - as it's much easier at that age to train them not to nip, and make sure they have been well handled. Ours were about 16 weeks when we got them and have always been a bit nippy. Ferrets have very sharp teeth and their bites can really hurt I have plenty of scars to prove it If they decide to fasten on to you with their teeth, persuading them to let go isn't always easy.

Ferrets are cute little creatures that behave like playful kittens who never grow up. They stay playful even into old age. They are very entertaining to watch, and they are very clever. DS often walks around with his ferret draped round his neck like a furry scarf, and sometimes takes him for a walk on a harness which it takes at least two people to get on

They do smell, there's no doubt about it. It's a sort of warm, musky smell that some people like but most people IME don't. Our boys are neutered, which reduces the smell somewhat, but no way could I have them living in the house even though I don't mind the smell personally.

Ours live in a very large outdoor hutch, built by DH & the DSes and known as Ferrety Towers. Plus they have a secure run in the garden that they can exercise in. Ferrets are extreme escape artists. Several times ours have dug their way out of the hutch and let themselves into the house through the cat flap! Or they've wandered off through the garden and taken up residence under the shed. Luckily they come back when called and seem to know their names.

They use a litter tray in their run, and when they come into the house for a play they always use the same corner of the kitchen as a toilet so we put newspaper down there.

They eat kibbled ferret food, but dry cat food is OK in an emergency, and use the same water bottles as rabbits & other small pets.

They need their claws clipping regularly and we found that if we put a drop of cod liver oil on their belly we could do it without being shredded.

Sorry for the essay, hope at least some of it is useful!

DramaAlpaca Wed 23-Mar-16 20:10:08

Here's a picture of our boy.

He climbed up the back of the freezer he's standing on - and slides off the front when he wants to get down grin

cbigs Wed 23-Mar-16 21:00:28

This is all so helpful thanks everyone. smile I love animals and we are an animal house four cats two dogs a gerbil etc. I have handled my friends ferrets once and just loved them. I think my ds is the right age and is more animal mad than my other two dc so ferrets sound like a good shout. Will def get two . In terms of handling them right when they are young is that just handling them a lot? I'd hate to have nippy ferrets that the school were nervous around. Have always been fine with smaller pets eg gerbils hamsters etc and had a rabbit and Guinea pig but they were both fairly unrewarding in terms of not wanting to be messed with ...

cbigs Wed 23-Mar-16 21:01:22

School? hmm *dc were nervous around

Seeyounearertime Wed 23-Mar-16 21:18:49

Things you will need:

A large cage, bedding, litter trays yadda yadda.

Most important:
Room to play.

My ferret groups had a run in the garden and they lived in a connected shed.
My last one has a room to herself for play.
She comes out of her cage for a mi imum of 4 hours every day.

If you keep a ferret in a room you MUST ferret proof it.
Gaps under fires, getting into sofas and chairs, under fridges, freezers, cabinets. Some house plants are poisonous to ferrets too.

Rather grimly, any other small animals in the house will have to be secured, up high, safe. If a ferret can get to a gerbil cage it will move the cage, it might push it off, it will likely kill a gerbil, guinea pig or anything smaller than itself.

Also. If you get a Jill (female) it must be 'done'
If a female ferret comes into seson and isnt either bred or 'Jill Jabbed' they run the risk of dying.
Ring round, find a ferret vet that does Jill jabs, these range in price from £10ish up to £25.
Also ferret illnesses can be very expensive and run for years.
They have a lot of signs though that you'll have to learn.

Finally a massive warning, like in size 2000000 Font ARIAL BLACK!

Remove anything made of rubber, anything chewy plastic, no toys that have anything that can be bitten off.

A few years ago the general stats for the biggest killer amongst ferrets (Based on the many forums I cost) is blockages. Ferrets love to chew, grab, drag etc. This causes problems when they swallow small bit of 'stuff' they shouldn't swallow. It leads to a blockage, diarrhoea and death.

Anyway here's a few links to read:

Seeyounearertime Wed 23-Mar-16 21:24:05

As of that post wasn't long enough I will put one piece of advice I was given when I got my first ferret (20 years ago which is depressing)

"You see that ferret? Sitting in his cage? Bit like a rat? Gerbil? Hamster?"
"Don't be fooled. Ferrets are NOT cage animals. A cage should be where they sleep, a run is where they live. You can't keep a ferret in a cage 24/7, they need more exercise and interaction, boredom can and will kill a ferret"

So there you go, from a 83 year old breeder, to a something year old me, to whomever is reading this drivel.

cbigs Wed 23-Mar-16 21:32:41

Fabulous seeyou so helpful. They seem like lovely animals but I do hear you they are a real commitment . I have a big enough house for them but it's an old house so ferret proofing it or some of it will be a serious business ! We are also a busy messy household so keeping them away from stuff they can choke on will be a serious business too.
They sound like lovely sociable family pets too.

Seeyounearertime Wed 23-Mar-16 21:56:59

Theyre great, really they are, but they take more work than an average dog in a lot of ways.

Ferret proofing comes naturally to me now, the first few times I ferret proofed I missed things I'd never believe.

One of my girls suddenly appeared on a bookcase, a 9 foot tall bookcase.
She knocked off a picture and for the life of me I didn't know how she got up there, of she'd fallen she would have likely been very badly hurt.
Turns out the back of the bookcase had thin battons all the way up. She'd push her back up the wall and then use the battons as a ladder. Easy fix though, piece of vinyl flooring cut, stapled to rear of bookcase, no more grip and less gap. grin

In a lot of ways it's easier to buy mesh panels from eBay and build a run in the garden.

DramaAlpaca Wed 23-Mar-16 22:29:32

Yes, ferretty climbling adventures indoors were the reason we built our outdoor run, and also because as Seeyou says they need lots of space to play and can't be confined in a hutch. They are a real commitment, and thrive on human interaction.

Ferrets can get places you wouldn't believe, and they can open doors. We have to tie the kitchen cupboard doors closed when they are in, otherwise they open them. We've had a few disappearances down behind the sink, too. If they get down there & fall asleep you just have to wait it out until they decide to come out grin

One of our sofas has a hole in the base thanks to a cheeky ferret deciding it would be an interesting place to explore. They are also fearless and will throw themselves off things they've just climbed up, which is a bit scary to watch.

You need to handle them a lot when they are young, and make sure the breeder has done so as well. The more they are handled, the tamer they will be.

We were lucky in that ours were very healthy. Their only vet visit was for neutering. Agree with what Seeyou says about females. This was why we decided to get a couple of males, plus we'd read that they can be more friendly.

With ours living outdoors it was interesting to watch how they changed with the seasons. They would fatten up for winter and get very fluffy, but slim down in summer.

Seeyounearertime Wed 23-Mar-16 22:57:38

They would fatten up for winter and get very fluffy, but slim down in summer.

I love this part of fuzzies. I had a Boy, in the winter he was a huge lad that would bowl everyone over. He was like a four legged wrecking ball. grin
Come winter he turns into a scrawny little delicate thing.

Little begger figured out in summer he could get more places. like behind the kitchen kick boards and up behind the units the little bugger

I miss him terribly. sad

DramaAlpaca Wed 23-Mar-16 23:16:09

Aww, he sounds like he was a real character Seeyou.

cbigs Thu 24-Mar-16 18:55:28

A lot of this should be putting me off but they sound so ace!!! gringrin

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now