Pregnancy And Childbirth In Ferrets
Ferret owners are often involved in their breeding right at home. often the reason for this time-consuming activity is making a profit. In order to bring out healthy offspring, it is necessary to understand the content of these animals, be able to take care of a pregnant female and born puppies (small ferrets), to know exactly how the birth takes place. For breeding you will need enough space in the house. You need to understand how much effort, time and material costs are required to keep the ferrets. You need to truly love these animals and be prepared for the fact that you will have to make a lot of effort before and after childbirth.
Ferret requires special care during pregnancy and after childbirth
Ferrets successfully breed even at home. The main thing is to provide proper care, to organize comfortable conditions for the maintenance of a pregnant female and her offspring.
Both ferrets must be breeding and vaccinated. Mating between relatives should not be allowed. It is necessary to know the origin of individuals and take into account their experience in mating. Males mature at the age of seven to twelve months and are ready for mating within 5 years. Indoor females begin to walk at 6-7 months, but it is better to knit them by 10 months. They breed about 3-4 years. Females give up to two offspring per year.
How long does the breeding season last? It begins at the end of winter and ends in mid-summer. In ferrets, the testes significantly increase, they begin to behave provocatively. Their partners have estrus and the labia swell. Mating is carried out a couple of weeks after increasing the loop in the female. It is best to knit ferrets on the fourth day of estrus. If the female is not ready, she will be indignant, showing resistance. It is good if the mating occurs after both ferrets are fully prepared for this. This will provide more babies.
Two ferrets are left together for a couple or three days. The copulation process can last up to three hours. Later, the female is placed in a separate equipped cage. Sometimes after mating, which looks like a fight between individuals, the female may have bites and wounds. This is quite normal.
Both future parents must be in excellent health
Miscarriages in ferrets are not common. In the first half of pregnancy, it is difficult to determine its presence.
Signs of successful fertilization:
- The expectant mother is becoming calmer. The female walks sleepy and pacified.
- The mammary glands are swollen, colostrum is secreted, the body is preparing for childbirth.
- The abdomen has increased in size.
- The female sheds much before the birth, goes to insulate the nest with wool.
- Weight gain.
There is a false pregnancy, which is the cause of tumors of the internal and external organs of the ferret. Sometimes the female has to be sterilized. It seems that she walks pregnant, but in fact fertilization did not occur. A false pregnancy in ferrets, which is difficult to distinguish from the present, has the following symptoms:
- soft round belly, which does not increase over time;
- swollen mammary glands;
- the female ennobles the nest;
- maternal feelings are manifested;
- the female becomes calm, peaceful, avoids active games.
The causes of false pregnancy can be:
- improper nutrition of the female, lack of vitamins, the predominance of flour foods;
- stressful situations;
- decreased reproductive function due to age;
- the female has been sterilized earlier;
- if estrus was more than 30 days.
- frequent use of the female in reproduction, a short interval between births, and also the body did not have time to recover from the previous mating.
The female needs to be given rest periods between childbirth, otherwise she may get sick
Caring for a pregnant female
How much does a ferret female walk pregnant? This period lasts 42-44 days. During his life, the housewife needs special care and care. Adhering to some recommendations and tips, you can avoid complications:
- It is necessary to increase the amount of food by about two times. The diet should include foods rich in calcium, vitamins and protein. It is better to feed a pregnant female with purchased high-quality feeds. No additional additives are required.
- It is worth protecting the expectant mother from the common cold, as her immunity is weakened.
- You do not need to constantly keep a housemaid in a cage while she is walking pregnant. It can also be walked in fine weather.
- You need to bathe it very carefully, without using cosmetics, protecting it from hypothermia.
- The female should not be allowed to experience stress or anxiety.
- Before giving birth, it is better to provide the female with complete peace, less take her in her arms.
- It is necessary to prepare a nest for mother and cubs in advance and monitor its cleanliness. The house for the future offspring should be with a high exit, so that the puppies could not get out on their own and fall. It is better to build it from plywood or plastic. It is necessary to change the litter 2 weeks before giving birth, so that after this the female can cover the nest with wool. There should always be a water cup in the house. It is better if one person takes care of her.
A few days before giving birth, the female will have milk and the cork will go off, appetite may decrease. The cork discharge is characterized by brownish, sticky discharge from the loop. If the birth does not occur at the appointed time, you will need to promptly contact the veterinarian.
Walking in cloudy and cold weather for a pregnant ferret is unacceptable
If you know the date of mating, then to determine how much time will pass before the birth begins, it will not be difficult. It sometimes happens that a female ferret walks pregnant one to two days more than the allotted time. Many inexperienced breeders are interested in: "How long does the birth last?" This process takes a fairly long time and can last from 1 hour to 12 hours. During childbirth it is better not to interfere. The female usually tries to retire. She will take on all the main tasks. The help of a veterinarian is needed if:
- childbirth has begun, but there are no contractions;
- the puppy does not come out, stuck.
In the process of childbirth, the female begins to worry more and more with every minute, she finds no place for herself. During labor, the birth canal expands, and after the appearance of the puppy, within a few minutes, the placenta is excreted. These contractions are very painful. After giving birth, the female herself gnaws the umbilical cord and eats up the afterbirth. Then she licks the newborn and begins to feed them milk. It’s not worth touching the cubs with your hands; a hot lady can eat or abandon her offspring.
In the first time after childbirth, it is better to close the house with a new family so that the mother does not begin to carry puppies around the house.
Newborn ferrets must not be touched, otherwise the female may abandon them
How many puppies can be in the litter? From 1 to 12 pieces. About 8 calves usually appear during the first birth. They are born bald and blind, and weigh only about 10 grams. The first three weeks, babies eat only milk. Teeth appear in a couple of weeks. Puppies grow very quickly and by the age of four months already reach the weight of their parents. Three weeks later, their ear canals open, and after 45-50 days, the cubs are transplanted from their mother.
After successful delivery, the female will quickly return to normal. She will take care of the babies, feed, lick and warm them. You should not pay her much attention. If the female ignores the puppies, refuses them, artificially feeding them is extremely difficult. It is not necessary to use this female in the future for breeding. This also applies to the situation if a sick puppy is born among the babies. Individuals who do not plan to mate are castrated and sterilized.
It is necessary to provide a large corral for puppies, which will be in a bright place, not in a draft.
Do not use deep bowls with water so that the cubs do not accidentally choke.
If sick puppies are in the litter, the female is no longer allowed to breed
Proper and balanced nutrition should play a special role. During pregnancy and feeding babies, the need for vitamins, amino acids, and other nutrients increases. It is worth including more liquid food in the female’s diet: broth, milk, water. A poor diet can cause insufficient lactation, disturbances in the development of embryos. It is necessary to pay attention to the following signs, which may indicate poor and inadequate nutrition:
- the female loses weight;
- the onset of diarrhea during lactation, poor digestibility of food;
- puppies grow poorly, their temperature is lowered;
- decreased lactase, lack of milk;
- anemia in females and offspring, which is characterized by a decrease in fatness, weakness, rapid fatigue.
To prevent mastitis in the nursing female, you need to monitor her well-being, keep her in a dry and warm nest. The skin around the nipples can be coated with camphor oil.
Camphor oil is a good way to prevent mastitis in ferrets
Tips & Tricks
Useful tips and tricks:
- Certain experience and knowledge will be required in order not to harm the pregnant female, to be able to take birth and raise cubs. Better consult experienced breeders.
- You must make sure that the place and conditions of their detention.
- It is worth considering the low payback from breeding these animals.
- It is difficult for a novice breeder to grow healthy individuals. Puppies can be born sick, and the female can die at all. In 95 percent of cases during an unprepared pregnancy, complications begin.
- It is better to take a vacation while caring for a pregnant housewife and her offspring.
- For breeding, it is necessary to acquire breeding individuals. Ferrets with unknown origin cannot be propagated.
Therefore, before starting to breed ferrets, it is worth evaluating all possible costs and understanding how much effort is required. This is a responsible matter that not everyone can do.
Having shown a good attitude, affection and care, you can count on the devotion of these animals and get real pleasure from their breeding.