Ferret Care And Features
Caring for a ferret is not an easy task. Of course, the animal is not as demanding as the dog, but it requires strength and time from the owner. Before you get this predatory animal, it is worth considering how much attention you are ready to devote to it. It is required to learn as much as possible about domestic ferrets, their lifestyle, habits, nutrition. This article will help you understand many issues, understand all the pros and cons of content.
Ferrets were domesticated for a long time, according to some sources, earlier than cats. They were first used as rodent hunters. Then they started to breed like ordinary pets. All domestic ferrets from the wild forest come. Some breeds are obtained by crossing with minks.
A ferret is a small animal with a long body and short legs. He has a magnificent tail, which is equal in length to the hull. Coat colors can be anything from white to black. Animals are predators, in the wild they lead a mainly nocturnal lifestyle, so owners should not be surprised that the pet sleeps all day and becomes active in the evening. The advantages of this behavior are especially evident for busy people who are not at home all day.
Many future owners are worried about smells as disadvantages. In fact, they are not so strong. Wool emits a faint aroma of musk with honey notes. A strong smell appears only if the ferret is scared. He secretes fetid liquid from the anal glands to scare away the “enemy." This rarely happens with ferrets at home, but it’s better to remove the gland surgically.
The discharge of males in the mating season smells unpleasant. If breeding is not planned, it is better to castrate the boy.
The ferret content at home can be cellular or free. Many breeders recommend first placing the animal in a cage so that it gets used to the new environment. Only after complete taming can an animal be released for a long time. Each method, how to keep a ferret in the house, has its own characteristics, pros and cons.
The ferret cage should be large and tall. The optimal area is 2 square meters. m, and a height of 1.1 m. The walls should be made of metal (construction) mesh so that the animal could not stick its paw into them. Ordinary rods, he will begin to nibble and break his teeth. The internal space is divided by partitions on 2-3 floors, the floors are connected with thick wooden sticks.
So that the ferret does not get bored in the cage, they put cardboard boxes, climbing pipes, a large running ring there. In one of the corners equip a tray. It is better to attach a bottle of water to the wall of the cage or make a vacuum drinker. The feeder can be placed on the ground floor next to a drinker or bottle. As a litter, it is best to use sawdust or a special granular filler. Even with the cellular content, the animal must be released daily for 2-3 hours to walk around the room.
The free keeping of a domestic ferret is also an acceptable option. He can live in an apartment, like a cat or a dog. But the requirements for the territory are more stringent. Ferrets are burrowing animals; they like to bury themselves in secluded places. In addition, they are always ready to try on a tooth any object that they can reach. They are able to climb anywhere, because in nature animals climb trees.
In the apartment where the ferret lives, there should not be visible small objects. Inaccessible corners should be closed up or blocked, otherwise the animal cannot be pulled out of them. It is worth closing the entrance to the kitchen so that the ferret accidentally does not jump onto the stove, and does not carry food from the table. In different places of the apartment they put several trays. You can equip a "bedroom" in a secluded place or put an open cage with a stove bench.
How can I keep a dawn? An intermediate option is keeping a small ferret at home in an aviary. It is made from building mesh. A piece of a room of 3 square meters is fenced off. m. In the enclosure put boxes, feeders, drinking bowls. On the floor you can lay a rug. A small deck or stick is also useful, on which the ferret can climb. The aviary is covered with a roof made of mesh, plastic or plywood.
Walk the ferret
With any method of keeping the ferret, you can take it to the street. Walking for him is not necessary, but desirable. Before walking, the animal needs to be vaccinated. The animals walk on the harness, and the ferret needs to be trained on it. To protect against fleas, wear a special collar. Ferrets that regularly walk are given anthelmintic drugs once a month.
Basically, caring for a ferret at home comes down to maintaining cleanliness in a cage or sleeping place. You need to clean the cage at least once a week. If an unpleasant odor accumulates in the apartment, do it 2-3 times a week, the tray is cleaned daily. If the ferret lives free, it is enough to clean his sleeping place every 7-10 days, but you need to clean the house regularly, the animals do not always go regularly to the tray.
Ferrets can be bathed, but not very often. After water procedures, the sebaceous glands begin to work more actively, an unpleasant odor appears. The optimal frequency of bathing is once a month or a month and a half. Use baby or cat shampoos, although it is better to find a special remedy for ferrets. It is best to bathe the animal in a bowl or bath, rather than in the shower. Immediately after water procedures, it is wiped with a bath towel and put in a cardboard box.
In nature, ferrets dig holes with their front paws, grinding their claws. At home, the animals do not have such an opportunity, because the claws will have to be cut. Do it like this:
- take a nail clipper for cats or nail clippers;
- neatly hold the ferret by the foot;
- determine the vascular bundle on the claw (it is darker than the stratum corneum, is located in the center, closer to the small pillow);
- cut the tip of the claw at a right angle.
If the animal resists, do not hold it by force. It is better to let the pet go and cut his nails when he falls asleep. Over time, the ferret will get used to the procedure and begin to give paws. Claws should be trimmed once a month, more frequent care for the ferret’s claws is not needed.
Many owners ask if ferrets should be cleaned. The procedure is optional. The brown secret protects the ear from parasites and pathogens. When there is too much secret, it can be deleted. To do this, moisten a cotton swab in Vaseline oil and gently wipe the auricle with it. You do not need to climb into the passage so as not to damage the auricle. Alertness in the host should cause a change in color and smell of secretion. Black discharge with a putrid odor may indicate a bacterial infection. Dark dots on a brown background are a sign of an ear tick.
We dismantled the care and maintenance at home of the little ferret. Now let’s talk about feeding. The animals are predators, which means they need meat. over, the diet has its own characteristics and differs from the diet of cats and dogs. In natural conditions, ferrets feed on rodents, bugs, less often – birds. They should not be allowed to eat animal meat, which is much larger in size. This means that beef, lamb and, especially, pork to ferrets are contraindicated. The easiest way to feed pets is poultry: chicken, turkey. You can occasionally give fish.
The need for plant food in animals is minimal. Cereals and vegetables should occupy only 2-3% of the entire menu. If you give ferret porridge mixed with meat, his coat will improve, but his health will be undermined. Such food is practiced on fur farms. It is best to buy special food for ferrets for animals. If this is not possible, you can replace them with food for small kittens, it is best suited to the physiology of ferrets. With natural nutrition, the menu includes:
- a chicken;
- fish or minced chicken;
- testicles (chicken or quail) in raw and boiled form;
- occasionally, not more than once a week, cottage cheese;
- cheese as a treat;
- carrots, zucchini, cereals mixed with meat.
Ferrets are often eaten in small portions. They need to be fed 6-7 times a day. Dry food can be poured into a bowl for the whole day, the animal will eat as much as he needs.
Parenting a ferret
Under natural conditions, relations between animals of this species are built according to the type of dominant and subordinate individual. This is especially true for males. Ferrets also seek to establish a similar hierarchy at home. Only in this case they try to fight with the owner. So that there are no problems with the animal, you need to properly educate it and establish yourself as a leader. Education begins at the age of 2-3 months.
Training takes place with the use of rewards and punishments. For good deeds, the ferret can be stroked, treated to a treat. For poor behavior, punishment is used. It should not be cruel, but effective. The following types of punishment for ferrets are acceptable:
- Shake for a scruff. Thus, the mother educates her puppies, the ferret leader punishes the subordinate.
- Locking in a cage. The method does not work on everyone; it is used to punish free-living ferrets.
- Click on the nose. Most often, this is punished for a bite. The click should not be strong, it is best to do it not with your hand, but with another object.
- Water jet. The ferret is sprayed under the shower or from a syringe.
- Team "Fu." This command must be accompanied by every punishment. Over time, the ferret will begin to respond only to her, force will not have to be used.
It is important that the punishment is not too strong, and the animal does not become fearful. It is also impossible to forgive and caress him quickly, the punishment will not work. All ferrets have their own character, because the methods of education should be combined and selected individually.
A ferret in an apartment is always a joy. Animals are very active, curious and funny, but they do not tolerate loneliness and require attention to themselves. It is even advised to get two animals at once, then they will play with each other and a lot of attention from the owner will not be required. If there is no opportunity to hold two ferrets at once, he will have to replace a friend. It is not advised to start ferrets where there are very small children. Animals do not tolerate a rude attitude, they can even bite.
Breeding ferrets at home is not an easy task. Most owners prefer to sterilize animals so as not to have problems. Males after sterilization (preferably with a vasectomy of the anal glands) stop marking the territory. An unsterilized female who does not have the ability to mate and give birth to babies suffers from malignant anemia, which is very difficult to treat, because the operation in this case is the continuation of life and maintaining the health of the pet.
Those who decide to breed animals need to know more about its rules and the physiology of pets. Only healthy individuals are allowed to mate, without genetic pathologies and anomalies. They must have an appropriate passport and pedigree. All breeding animals must be vaccinated, regularly checked by a veterinarian.
Females are ready for mating in 9-11 months, males a little earlier, in 6-8 months. By 3-4 years, males become sterile, such a ferret at home continues to live, even mates, but there will be no offspring. Breeding for females should be completed in 4-5 years, they should not give birth more often than once a year.