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Raising Ferrets as Pets
2 years ago



Source of Photograph.....

http://media.oregonlive.com/pets_impact/photo/ferretbyfaithjpg-5f0e2a4d5af6112e.jpg



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2 years ago

Domestic ferrets make fascinating pets. These are just a few of the 60 ferrets Laura Wendling has raised.

2 years ago

MOTHER'S CHILDREN: A young author shares her experiences raising ferrets as family pets. 

2 years ago

Raising Ferrets as Pets

2 years ago

MATT AND LAURA WERE JUST TWO months old when Dad brought them from the fur farm. 

2 years ago

The two ferrets were soon put to work keeping rats out of our barn, but we liked them so much that they've become pets, as well.

2 years ago

Matt and Laura may seem like strange names for ferrets, but my dad thought the names suited them just right. He named them after my brother and me, because they squabbled all the way home in the car, just like the two of us.

2 years ago

It's been four years since Matt and Laura came to live with us. 

2 years ago

Now we also have two of their children.

2 years ago

We've learned a lot about raising ferrets and have grown very fond of the curious little animals. 


2 years ago

Domestic ferrets are related to the endangered black-footed ferrets found in Wyoming, but they are not wild animals.

2 years ago

In fact, some people believe that the ancient Egyptians kept tame ferrets to catch mice long before cats were used for the job.

2 years ago

Farmers often kept several pairs in their barns and granaries to catch mice and rats. 


2 years ago

And ships' captains used to let as many as two dozen ferrets loose in the holds of their ships to catch rats. 


2 years ago

Being small and weasel-shaped, ferrets can go right into rat holes after their prey. 


2 years ago

They are ferocious hunters and sometimes kill more than they need to eat.


2 years ago

Rats had tunneled into our own barn to eat the feed our chickens scattered.

2 years ago

Dad didn't want to put poison out because he was afraid owls and snakes might eat poisoned rats and die. 

2 years ago

And the intelligent pests were difficult to catch in traps. 

2 years ago

So when Matt and Laura arrived, Dad let them run through the barn's rat holes to leave their scent in them. 

2 years ago

Then he put them in a cage in the barn.

2 years ago

Just their being in the barn scares rats away—we haven't seen one in years.

2 years ago

Life is not all work and no play for our furry pets. 

2 years ago

Whenever we want to have fun with them, they're ready and willing. 

2 years ago

We play outdoors when the weather's nice. 

2 years ago

The ferrets hop forward, backward and sideways, with their backs humped up in an inverted U shape, all the while chattering at us. 

2 years ago

They like to dig in the grass and look for holes to crawl into. 

1 year ago

Once Laura crawled up my pants leg and got stuck at my knee.

1 year ago

Her whiskers tickled me so much I could barely keep still to let her back out. 

1 year ago

 She also likes to crawl into my coat pocket and peek out the top while I take her for a bike ride.

1 year ago

When it's cold outside, we play together in the house. 

1 year ago

We make a ferret playground in the basement out of carpet scraps, boxes, bags and large plastic tubes.

1 year ago

Matt crawls through the obstacle course and flops the carpet pieces up with his back. 

1 year ago

When I hold him on my lap and stroke his chin, he stretches his head back and yawns to show he likes the attention.

1 year ago

Our ferrets live in pairs in all-wire rabbit cages.

1 year ago

Inside its cage, each pair has a wooden box measuring 10 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches, with a four inch-round entrance hole.

1 year ago

 I pack straw bedding in these "giant birdhouses" when the weather is cold.

1 year ago

I give them fresh food (dry cat food with raw hamburger or cooked chicken gizzards for treats) and water twice a day. 

1 year ago

They come out of their houses and wait for me at feeding time. 

1 year ago

 If I don't pick them up, they try to crawl up my pants into my arms. 

1 year ago

They are affectionate animals and want to be petted and played with.

1 year ago

 Laura always checks my pockets to see if I've brought her a treat.

1 year ago

Although you can let an indoors ferret have the run of the house, it's best if it has a cage to rest in. 

1 year ago

They sleep about half the day and prefer resting in dark, secluded places. 

1 year ago

(Watch out that your dad doesn't squish your pet when he sits down in the easy chair with the evening paper.) 

1 year ago

Ferrets also like to slip out the door when you open it. 

1 year ago

One of my friend's ferrets snuck out the door one afternoon and turned up the next morning-in her next-door neighbor's bed!

1 year ago

Ferrets are tidy animals. 

1 year ago

 Put a litter box in the corner they habitually use for their toilet (with a sample of their droppings in it), and they'll soon learn to use it.

1 year ago

They are also quiet. 

1 year ago

A ferret doesn't ordinarily make any noise, but if you step on it or close its tail in a door, you will discover that it does have a voice! 

1 year ago

Your ferret may also chatter happily when you're playing with it.

1 year ago

Still, a ferret may not be the right pet for you. 

1 year ago

They have to be properly cared for, just like any other pet. 

1 year ago

They also produce a strong musky smell to attract mates.

1 year ago

Other ferrets may enjoy this odor, but most people don't. 

1 year ago

So you either need to bathe a house ferret regularly or have a veterinarian surgically remove its musk glands.

1 year ago

Unneutered female ferrets need to be bred during their mating season, or they may become sick and even die. 

1 year ago

Since we bought a male and a female, we became ferret raisers. 

1 year ago

Females generally have one litter a year, with anywhere from five to 10 kits (babies).

1 year ago

Young ferrets play rough and bite each other. 

1 year ago

They may nip you, too, until you teach them not to (tweak their noses and say "No" firmly).

1 year ago

A few young ferrets nip a lot and need to be handled with gloves until they outgrow their nipping stage and are comfortable being handled.

1 year ago

I have raised about 60 young ferrets and sold them as pets when they were eight to 10 weeks old. 

1 year ago

You can purchase them as pets from a fur farm, pet store or small breeder, such as myself.

1 year ago

Be sure to get a healthy one with bright eyes, soft (not rough and broken) fur and an active, playful personality.

11 months ago

And learn all you can about them by reading a good book, such as Wendy Winsted's Ferrets (T.F.H. Publications).

11 months ago

I'm really glad we have ferrets in our family.

10 months ago

They do a good job of scaring rats out of our barn, so we don't have to use rat poison. 

10 months ago

And, on top of that, they're the best pets I've ever had.


http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/raising-ferrets-zmaz88ndzgoe.aspx

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