Pet shop Gloucester top tips for keeping ferrets straight from the breeder.
We have kept ferrets in the family for over fifty years. We have worked and bred our own ferrets all this period. Currently George breeds his own ferrets and helps look after his housemates breeding colony in Malvern. All these ferrets are from good working lines. George’s housemate Simon has also been keeping and breeding ferrets for a number of years. The accumulated knowledge between us is available to the customers of our pet shop Gloucester at any time but we thought we would put down our top five tips for keeping ferrets here for anyone thinking about taking on one of these active, inquisitive, playful and rather naughty animals.
One of our pet shop Gloucester ferrets
- Be confident. I don’t think animals have a “sense” that picks up when you are nervous but they do seem to get nervous when you are. They are probably alerted to hesitant, jerky movement and this seems to make them feel insecure. An insecure animal is the one that is going to bite. All our pet shop Gloucester ferrets are hand tame (using traditional and humane techniques), they know not to bite so if you just pick them up and handle them in a confident manner they will feel confident as well and not get spooked. If you are unsure about picking them up they will be unsure about being picked up. To boost your confidence always ask the pet shop Gloucester staff to pick up the animal and show it to you first. If they don’t want to, don’t buy the ferret, you can’t be sure it’s tame.
- Keep them occupied. They are very inquisitive animals, always getting into places they shouldn’t, on the look out for food or just mischief. It is always best to have more than one ferret. That way, when you are out they can entertain each other. If for any reason you only have one then you will need to give it plenty of play time with you. They love exploring, so give them plenty of space and toys that encourage this behaviour. Tubes and tunnels are a favourite and they seem to also like anything they can grab and pull, like a rope toy. We have used pipes and flexi tunnels, ramps, cones and tyres etc at our pet shop Gloucester. It’s best to alternate the toys every few weeks to keep up the interest.
- Our pet shop Gloucester advice is to have your ferret neutered. A male in breeding condition is smelly, very smelly, very very smelly. They exude a waxy substance onto their skin as well as musking. Neutering stops this smell. Female ferrets will come into season every year. If they come into season and are not taken out they will become very ill and could die. They can be taken out of season by mating (obviously you then have half a dozen plus babies to deal with), with a jill jab (a hormone injection) which you will need to have twice a year or by mating with a vasectomised male. It is easier, cheaper and better for the ferret to have it neutered. Have it done early, our pet shop Gloucester vet prefers to do the operation before there is too much of a fat layer to cut through.
- Feed a quality food. There are a lot of complete foods on the market. We prefer to use APL. We have found the condition of the coat is far superior on this food than even on a raw meat diet. Ferrets need meat or a good complete food. Do not feed bread and milk (people used to and I still hear this vaunted as “ferret food”).
- Think seriously about vaccination. Ferrets can suffer from canine distemper. If you also have a dog, chances are you will be having that vaccinated. The ferret has the same vaccine. Dogs and foxes can carry the disease as can other mustelids. If your ferret is indoors and there is no chance of it coming into contact with any other animal then maybe it’s not necessary but if it is outdoors than our pet shop Gloucester advice would be to have the vaccination. If you have more than one ferret our pet shop Gloucester vet still charges the same price for up to three ferrets. This is because they use dog distemper vaccine and the vial contains enough for three ferrets. If you have only one done then the rest of the vial is thrown away.
So there you go. 5 top tips straight from the breeders on how to look after ferrets. Obviously there is a lot more to it than that. For instance ferrets can be litter trained to reduce the amount of cleaning out you have to do. If you want to know the details, come in to our pet shop Gloucester to see us and talk it through before you invest in one of these playful (it’s like having a kitten that never grows up), naughty (they like to steal things), very loving little pets.
The Angell Pets Team