Ferret puppies are incredibly cute and watching them grow up is a special experience. Many lovers of these animals may therefore at some point wish to have their own little gang of little rascals.
Raising young ferrets is extremely difficult. It costs a lot of money and even more time. A ferret (the name for a female ferret) gives birth to up to 14 puppies. If you can’t keep them, you need to find enough prospects in advance. Even if you have buyers, they can change their minds again before the animals are handed over. Do you still have enough space to keep the little ones who could not be placed? Once the offspring have arrived, you have to take care of the mother and her children intensively in the first few weeks. Of course, ten ferrets are far more work than two. The costs should not be underestimated either. Delivery may require a cesarean section, and sometimes the woman’s uterus must be removed afterward if she has not been able to shed all of the afterbirths. The puppies are very susceptible to diseases at first. Veterinary costs can also arise here. You also have to finance the basic vaccination of all young animals. Of course, a whole family of ferrets also needs a lot of food. The little ones often switch to solid food in the third week of life. If you want to breed, you also need several enclosures. The male must be separated from the female after mating, and the puppies also need their own home if separated from their mother. If you have enough time, money, and space, raising young ferrets is exciting, and at the latest when the little rascals turn their whole apartment upside down, you will be rewarded for their efforts.
Male and female approach each other
Ferrets become sexually mature between the ages of nine and twelve months. However, the females should only be mated when they are at least twelve months old so that they are not overwhelmed with the offspring. In the wild, it would be fatal for puppies born in winter. That is why the ancestors of ferrets were only ready to mate in spring and summer. Even the pets are still based on this internal clock. The time when the animals are ready to mate is called Ranz. The females’ vulva swells during this time and they slide across the ground on their stomach to leave scented marks for the male dog. In males, the testicles enlarge during the mating season, also known as heat. Unless your male and female are already living amicably in a cage, you should never just place the male with the female to mate. The female would drive it out of her territory in an instant. The match should therefore definitely take place on neutral ground. The male will normally approach the female immediately and draw attention to himself loudly. If the female replies with a grumbling “Göög, göög”, raises her chin and slides back and forth on the ground with her legs spread, she finds the male attractive and likable. The male then grabs his partner by the neck and clasps her with his front legs. Mating takes place lying on their side and often lasts over an hour. After that, you should immediately separate male and female dogs.
Two become many
If the mating was successful, the ferret home turns into a madhouse after 40 to 42 days. The puppies are born naked, blind, and helpless. At first, it is important that you disturb the little family as little as possible. A few hours after birth, check for dead babies among the litter and remove them if found. However, you should leave the nest alone for the next three weeks. The female mostly keeps it clean by eating her offspring’s feces and urine and can become aggressive if disturbed. In the first three weeks, the puppies feed exclusively on mother’s milk. If the female has given birth to a particularly large number of offspring, you may need to support her by feeding the dwarf’s cat rearing milk. The mother must also be given particularly nutritious food as long as she is nursing. After three weeks, the ferrets’ coat colors are already apparent and their eyes are slowly opening. Now you should start feeding them chopped or pureed meat and vitamin supplements. The little house also has to be cleaned now because the mother no longer eats the feces. The spirit of discovery is slowly awakening in the puppies. They will explore the cage on shaky legs. Always under the watchful eyes of her mother, of course. Now you can carefully begin to get the little ones used to your hand. At four to five weeks, the eyes are fully open and the little rascals can already eat solid food. Now they are already full of energy and will turn the cage upside down. As soon as they are reasonably tame, they can make their first trips into the secured apartment. At the age of eight weeks, they are no longer suckled by their mother and can be separated from her. The first vaccination is now due. However, it is still too early to pass them on to the new owners. They should be allowed to stay with their siblings for another two weeks.
Offspring? No thank you!
To keep ferrets in a species-appropriate manner, they must live in a group of at least two animals. Males and females get along best. If you want to be safe from unwanted offspring, castration can help. The right time for this intervention is when the male has reached sexual maturity. If they start marking their territory, you should make an appointment with the vet. Once the male has been castrated, he usually lives peacefully with his partner without harassing her. Castration can also sometimes be useful for females. Flies that are not mated can lead to a permanent ranch. This is a blood clotting disorder caused by excess estrogen, develops gradually, and can be fatal.