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Ferret Fun House
Ferrets are fun pets
I love ferrets. We have 6 right now, and they are a blast to play with. We seem to have become a ferret rescue right now. We had our two, then a woman called and said she needed to find a home for her ferret fast. We had no idea why. The woman died about a week later.
A few weeks later. there was someone at my daughters work who asked her about ferrets, and said that they bought one at Petco and regretted it. If they didn't find someone to take it they were going to have it put to sleep. So then we got that one.
We were at the animal shelter the other day, and they said they had a ferret that was a problem. She liked to bite. So now we have 5.... She is learning not to bite,and it is now eating right.
Then the shelter called again and said a big male ferret had been found wandering the streets.
So we now have 3 females and 3 males. They have a blast playing. We have set them up with their own 2 rooms in the house, and it is ferret mayhem whenever they are awake!
WHAT TO FEED YOUR FERRET
Ferrets are carnivores, and they have very specific nutritional needs. Do not feed your ferret "grocery store-bought" cat or kitten foods such as MEOW MIX or CAT CHOW or the higher priced foods such and IAMS or EUKANUBA; these are nutritionally incomplete diets and can cause medical problems and a shorter lifespan for your ferret. They may be great for cats, but ferrets are not like a cat.
This is very important. Ferrets that get bad nutrition tend to develop adrenal disease easily.
Ferrets have very specific nutritional needs. They must have a diet that is high in meat-based (not vegetable) proteins, and high in fat. They are obligate carnivores, so they require a primarily meat based food. Examine the label of any food that you feed your ferrets. In the ingredients section, look at the first five ingredients. The first ingredient should be some kind of meat, such as chicken, chicken meal or chicken byproducts. You want to find a diet that also contains at least two other meat derivatives in these first five ingredients. Avoid corn, corn meal, corn gleuten meal, or anything similar. If your food does contain a corn product, it should not be listed in the first few ingredients. The farther down the list, the better.
Now look at the nutritional analysis. The protein content of the food you are feeding should be a minimum of 34%, with 36% - 40% being optimal. The fat content should be no less than 19%, with 22% being optimal for young and adult ferrets. Older ferrets can have a lower fat content than young ferrets, but should still not be below 19%.
So what foods are good to feed your ferret? Some shelters use and recommend the following foods: Totally Ferret,Zupreem Ferret Food,8 in 1 Ultimate Diet. (Please note: the company 8-in-1 makes several kinds of ferret food. The only one that is recommend is the Ultimate Diet; two other products, Ultra-Blend and Premium Diet, are not complete foods). Most pet stores will also carry one or more of these foods.
While cat or kitten food is usually not recommended for ferrets, the following are two good foods that are used and recommended if good ferret food ca nnot be found (check their labels!):
* Eukanuba Kitten Food (NOT THE CAT FOOD)
* Innova Feline Diet
It is also recommend that you feed a blend of foods to your ferret rather than one single food. First, it helps to give some variety in your ferret's diet. Secondly, if your food is ever unavailable for any reason, you won't have to deal with trying to introduce a new food to your ferret. There are a number of other higher-quality cat and ferret foods that you can use in your mix that are not on their own a nutritionally complete diet. As long as the primary ingredient in your mix is one of the foods listed above, you can also offer any of the following in your mix for variety: Pro Plan Kitten food; Purina ONE Kitten; Nutrition Maxx Kitten; most ferret foods on the market, such as Mazuri,KayTee Forti-Diet, and 8-in-1 Ultra Blend, just to name a few.
You should always feed a kibble (solid) food to your ferret, never a moist canned diet, unless your ferret is ill and you need to hand-feed.
Also, ferrets have short digestive systems - complete digestion takes place in about three hours. For this reason, you should always have food available to your ferret. Do not feed only once or twice a day, unless recommended by your veterinarian for a medical reason.
Ferret playing with a lion
Ferret Fun House
Is your ferret legal??
Make sure that you are aware of the legal status of ferret ownership in the area. So far, ferrets are still illegal in the entire state of California, Hawaii and there are still a few localities in other states (e.g. New York City and Texas and Missouri) that prohibit ferret ownership.
Taking Ferrets Outdoors
Many people like to take their ferrets outdoors with them. With some common sense precautions, taking ferrets outside can be very good for them, and they will be very happy. However, there are some special considerations that you must be aware of when it comes to taking your ferret on an outing.
Always keep your ferret on a leash when going outside. There are some very good harnesses on the market for ferrets; purchase the flat nylon H-style ones that have a place to attach the leash between the shoulders. There are some "ferret harnesses" sold in many pet stores that are not good choices, though; the ones that are called "figure eight" harness/leashes that are sold on a cardboard ferret are in many cases worthless. They are little more than a piece of string that encircles the ferret's neck and body. Ferrets are very squirmy and they can very easily slip out of these products. This is from personal experience. I bought one like that and it was a waste of money.
Even if you are in a confined/secluded area outdoors, don't let your ferret off of his/her leash. If anything should interest or frighten your ferret, he or she can dart off in an instant you should always if you are outside with your ferret you should have something You can put your ferret in to keep it safer if the need should come up. Ferrets can run very quickly, and if they find cracks, animal holes, or other dangerous places to get into you may not be able to protect or retrieve your ferret.
Be very careful about the temperature when you take your ferret out. Ferrets cannot handle high temperatures or direct sunlight.
Temperatures above 80 F can be life threatening to ferrets.
Ferrets should never be taken in a car without air conditioning; if you must cool your car by having your windows down, place frozen 1 liter water bottles (wrapped in a sock) in the cage/carrier so your ferret can lay against it and stay cool.
Make sure the cage/carrier is not in direct sunlight. You can never leave a ferret in a hot car, even just to dash into the bank.
Ferrets are very small and it literally only takes minutes before your ferret goes into heat shock. If you take your ferret to the park in the summer, always take a good supply of water, offer it to your ferret frequently, and make sure that your ferret spends more time in the shade than in the sun. Bringing frozen water bottles along in the carrier/cage is also a good idea.
Don't make your outing an all-day affair if you cannot get your ferret into cool surroundings periodically; in these cases, leave your ferret at home.
Ferrets do not sweat and they have no way of tolerating heat. If your ferret begins to pant, this is a sure sign that the temperature is too much for him to handle.
If this happens, immedately get your ferret out of the heat. If you have no place to go, take a towel, dampened with water, and slowly begin cooling your ferret.
Don't drench your ferret with cold water, because this can cool your ferret's temperature too quickly and cause the animal more stress.
If you do not cool your ferret once he begins to go into distress, he will then faint or pass out and can die.
If this happens, cool your ferret immediately, and immediately see a vet.
Ferrets who seem to recover from heat stroke can still be in a life-threatening state due to the stress that their bodies have been through. Ferrets who have experienced heat stroke in the afternoon, and seem to recover, have been known to die hours after returning home as a result of heat stroke.
Be careful when allowing strangers to handle your ferret.
It is excellent exposure for ferrets to take your pet to a public place and allow people unfamiliar with ferrets to learn about them, but there's also a danger to your ferret.
Small children can be to rough on your ferret, and they can do harm.
Always be cautious about other pets in the area where your ferret is; dogs that have never been around a ferret could attack and kill your ferret before you could intervene.
There is also a danger that your ferret could nip the wrong person, even if your ferret has never nipped in the past, and there could be consequences if this should happen.
NEVER take your ferret outdoors if he/she is not current on distemper vaccines as this disease is fatal in ferrets.