Ferrets have two main requirements for their home: lots of space and lots of variety. They want to climb, jump, sleep, romp, fight, cuddle – and that’s not possible on 60 cm².
Many different ferret cages are now available in pet shops. However, you should be careful when choosing. Not all can be described as species-appropriate. A cage measuring 80 x 75 x 161 cm is the only suitable home for the lively animals if they are allowed to roam free for most of the day. It is better to create an individual ferret paradise with a few simple steps. For example, you can convert a large bird aviary with several wooden panels and ladders, or with a little craftsmanship, you can build an enclosure out of wood and spot-welded, galvanized wire. The mesh size of the wire should be approx. 2 cm. Wood and wire can be found at any major hardware store. The self-made cage should be at least 1 x 1 x 2 m in size so that the animals have enough space. But even a cage of this size can in no way replace freewheeling. The whirlwinds must be allowed to go on a discovery tour for several hours a day!
There are some things that should not be missing in the ferret home. First of all, there are sleeping places. Although ferrets are extremely active, they sleep a lot and prefer to sleep in different places. The sleeping cottage should be at least 35 x 35 x 35 cm. Lined with clothes, old T-shirts, or similar, the little house becomes a real cuddly cave. Hay is unsuitable as a base since ferrets secrete moisture when they sleep and it can quickly become moldy as a result. In addition to the house, small cat baskets or hammocks are other popular places to sleep. The latter can be bought in pet shops, but you can also make them yourself from an old towel. But be careful, terry towels are not suitable, as the ferret’s claws can get tangled in the individual fibers.
In addition to the sleeping places, one or two litter boxes with litter should not be missing. It should be noted here that the bowls are not too high so that the animals can climb over them quickly and nothing goes wrong. Water is best offered to ferrets from a heavy bowl. The cheeky bullies can’t knock them down that easily. Many ferrets also enjoy drinking from a nipple drinker. The feeding bowl must also be stable. Dog and cat bowls work well.
In addition to this basic equipment, of course, a lot of play options should not be missing. Tubes, cardboard boxes, newspapers, and balls make a life for ferrets really exciting. By the way: Litter has no place in the ferret cage. The animals like to “spill” when eating and would then only get breaded meat with sawdust.
The perfect location
The room in which the ferret’s cage is to be placed must be light and airy. Regular ventilation ensures fresh air for the animals and prevents the inherent odor from settling too much in the room. Ferrets also like to lie down in the warm midday sun. Nevertheless, you should make sure that it doesn’t get hotter than 30° C in the room even in summer and that the animals can retreat to a shady spot. Otherwise, the little rascals can quickly get a heat stroke. Under no circumstances should the cage be exposed to drafts, otherwise the ferrets can quickly become ill. The lively goblins always like to be where the action is. Therefore, place the cage in a room where you spend a lot of time. In your bedroom, however, the smell and the wild and loud romping could disturb you.
The ferret room
If you have a particularly large apartment, you might even be able to give the ferrets an entire room. This would give the ferrets a lot more space and you would have plenty of opportunities to create a species-appropriate playground. The basic equipment can be accommodated in a large rabbit cage. You can then provide additional sleeping places in all variations throughout the room. Additional litter boxes should also be available in different corners of the room. Boards, tunnels, and tubes on the walls turn a simple room into a real adventure playground. Scratching posts are also ideal for the little whirlwinds. It is best to separate the room from the rest of the apartment with a barrier about 1 m high. Then the rascals can’t escape.
Keeping in the garden and on the balcony
Ferrets are similar to their ancestors in many ways. They also love nature and the fresh air. An enclosure in the garden is therefore ideal for ferrets. But there are a few points that must be considered. Unlike in the apartment, the little rascals in the garden are exposed to wind and weather. The enclosure must not be in the middle of the sun and must be protected from rain. For this purpose, you can line about half of the enclosure with corrugated plastic or wood and roofing felt.
Ferrets love to dig and are really good at it. They sometimes disappear more than a meter deep into the ground. To prevent the nimble little animals from escaping, you can bury a wire mesh under the enclosure or leave plates vertically in the ground at the edge. An insulated sleeping and feeding house must be available to the animals for the winter. It is best to combine the two houses. In this way, the feed is protected from freezing by the body heat of the animals.
Such a house is also practical for the summer. Food that is not lying around attracts fewer flies. Once the basic equipment is in the ferret home, you can add tunnels, boards, and caves as you wish. The enclosures on the balcony and also in the garden, if they are directly connected to the house, can be connected to the house with a cat flap. Then you can easily let the ferrets in to run free.