1ST TIME FERRET OWNER LOOKING FOR ADVICE AND TIPS

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Chic-n-farmer, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. Chic-n-farmer

    Chic-n-farmer Showers of Blessings

    I found a 'used' [​IMG] ferret on Craigslist last week. I took the kids to meet her and it was love at first sight. The first thing I noticed was the smell... not too bad, just not the best of aromas.'

    Okay, so now 'Possum' the ferret is in my living room. I've done some googling and have a order of ferret supplies on the way, but nothing beats talking to other owners!

    So fire away, tell me the do's and don'ts, please.

    Here is one problem. Possum's cage she came with has two extra levels, a ramp and a hammock (99.98% of her time is spent there when in her cage). When we got her the entire floor of the cage was filled with 'Care fresh' bedding and there was some type of ferret litter in her box. She does not seem to use her litter box, ever. Basically the whole bottom of the cage was a litter box.

    I cleaned her cage and just filled the litter box with litter and the bedding she was using. Now she just uses the bare part of the cage floor or the lower shelf. I'm thinking of filling the bottom of the cage with litter and removing the shelf she is using a toilet. Is that a good/bad idea?

    She's a year old (I was told) is it too late to train her? Suggestions, please.

    She is a lovely little animal, but I don't do well with 'stink'. [​IMG] I have ordered some of the drops to put in her water that are supposed to reduce the smell. Do they?

    What kind of supplements does she need?
    How often should I bathe her?
    Is Marshall ferret food best for her?

    Thanks for all the help!
     
  2. hypnofrogstevie

    hypnofrogstevie chick magnet

    Jul 12, 2007
    Newton NJ
    Make sure she is supervised at all times. The can get into any small hole. Bitter apple spray will come in handy for your legs if she tries to play bite your ankles.You can get rid of the smell as we have tried multiple times. Don't know about the drops. Also hide your socks or they will hide them for you [​IMG]. We used to have ferrets but sold them when we moved. I miss them.
     
  3. Quail_Antwerp

    Quail_Antwerp [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Mrs

    Aug 16, 2008
    Ohio
    I feed mine 8-in-1 Ultimate. I know of a great ferret site that is loaded with information. I will post it here, but not sure if links are allowed, so if a moderator deletes it...

    anyway, the site is http:/www.lovingferrets.com/index.php

    Lots of super friendly people on there with lots of advice!!

    ETA: Mine don't stink, but I don't use any bedding other than blankies and hammocks which are washed frequently and I use wood stove pellets for their litter. Cheaper than ferret litter at $4.96 for 40 pounds!
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  4. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    Yay! A ferret! I've had ferrets as pets for almost 20 years now. They are a blast and you will be so entertained!
    Some thoughts for you:
    -Google "ferret mailing list" and sign up for the FML. It's been around forever and has thousands of subscribers/contributers. I've been reading it for a couple of decades now and learn something new every day. Plus the people are fun and funny and great help.

    -It is rare the ferret that is ever completely litter trained. I have never had one and I've loved a total of 9 over the years. It's much easier to figure out where THEY want to potty and just adjust to that. I did pine pellets for years and finally changed out to plain ol' newspaper. I have a similar cage setup and I just cover the entire bottom floor with newspaper. Change it out daily or twice daily depending on the amount of poop and you are good to go. Plus there is usually newspaper laying around the house, so it cuts down your costs. If you are letting your fuzzbutt have a ferret-proofed room to run around in, make sure every accessible corner has newspaper in it for a while until you figure out which one(s) is the favorite. Thankfully they pretty much always go find a corner to do their business. [​IMG]

    - Ferrets have a distinctive odor. Dogs smell. Cats smell. Small children smell. Chickens smell. It's just part of who they are. You can help manage the odor by keeping litter areas clean and fresh bedding in place, but the ferret will always smell like a ferret. Clearly I kinda like it, but lots of people (like my mother) never adjust to the smell. Truthfully, mine have always had distinctive smells and I have always loved it, but I'm weird that way. [​IMG] (I had a little girl that smelled like grape Nehi and a chunky butt boy that smelled like corn chips. Weird, eh?)
    It is totally possible to bath a ferret. Oddly enough, the more you bath them the stinkier they get. Something to do with oil production and all that. I bath mine when they get into something and get icky dirty or if I have company coming over. Other than that we just have Eau de Ferret scented ferrets. [​IMG]

    -Marshal food will make her stinkier. It makes them smell foul!!! Try Iams kitten mixed with Totally Ferret or some other high end ferret chow. By mixing in Iams you are guaranteed to have something easily accessible for the little picky eater should you run out of the ferret food. Mine love the Iams and do very well on it. The ferret food has a higher protein content, so ultimately it is better. Totally Ferret is my favorite brand so far as health and smell. It's pricy, but good stuff. I actually order mine in from a place called Jeffers Pet. They ship all over the US and have good prices.

    - Supplements are good as treats. Be careful about giving too much. It is possible to overdose them in the long run. I had a chunky boy once that LOVED Ferretone. I gave him a good swig of it everytime he came begging. Over the years he built up bad levels of some of the vitamins and ended up at the vet. Sad to say he went off the Ferretone cold turkey, much to his displeasure. Treats are good in moderation.

    -They can indeed get through the tiniest holes. You will be surprised. Get down on the floor and look around under cabinets and such. I had one get under the washing machine once. She had a fine time! When I finally coaxed her out she was covered with motor grease and a lifetime's supply of dust bunnies. Ferrets are also GREAT climbers! They can get all kinds of places you wouldn't think they can reach. It's like having a maniac 2 year old running around the house. You have to stay one step ahead of them in your thinking and planning.

    - You might consider getting a second ferret to keep Possum company. They are much happier in sets of two. Plus they tend to entertain each other and it keeps them from being so destructive. A single ferret is a bored ferret is a destructive ferret. Two ferrets are no more work than a single ferret. They share food and water bowls, hammocks, toys, litter areas ,etc. Plus the fun level jumps exponentially. A big pile of ferrets is a blast to have running around.
    Oddly enough, your life most likely will be easier if your ferret has a pal to play with. Strange, but true.

    PM me if you have questions. I am certainly no expert, but I do have tons of experience with the little fuzzbutts. Post us a pic of the new kid!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Chic-n-farmer

    Chic-n-farmer Showers of Blessings

    Thanks to everbody for all the great advice. Possum is doing really well. I think we even have her litter trained!
     
  6. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

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    Jan 18, 2008
    Newman Lake, WA
    Make sure she is spayed. I hope you are aware that if not spayed, when they come into heat and are not bred they can die.
     
  7. Chic-n-farmer

    Chic-n-farmer Showers of Blessings

    I did not know that. Thank you.
    She has been spayed.
     
  8. maplesky7

    maplesky7 Flock Mistress

    Jun 14, 2008
    N. IL.
    I've had 4 ferrets in my lifetime.

    I would say a second ferret is so very vital. They're lives are greatly improved. I love when they snuggle in the same hammock...and the mock battles and the doot doot doot sound they make...

    I agree with the poster about mixing the cat food with the ferret food. I never gave them special treats per say...they never liked the feretone...but they had a hay day on thier visits out of the cage and would go steal a dog food morsel and run away with it.

    I had one ferret that was quite the thief...and an organized one at that...I cleaned out under my bed and there was a pile of balls including my hacky sack that he'd hiss at me if I took it away, a pile of stuffed animals, a pile of my dogs squeaky toys, and a pile of dog food...each in their own pile.

    Mine were never completely litter trained. They prefered reg. clay cat litter in their corner pan and I used newspapers in corners...I tried putting corner pans in their sought out corners and they pushed them away so they could dooky in the corner.

    They always have some sort of scent. I was unusual too then I guess, because I liked it.

    I never bathed them either unless they got into something. The yard flooded a couple of times and I put them on harnesses with leashes and they swam a bit and wrestled each other and rubbed and frolicked in the grass...I did it for fun on occasion in the bathtub too...but not alot.

    You will find out about ferret proofing an area of play soon enough.

    I will also warn you that 3 of my ferrets died of cancers as these little guys/girls tend to do.

    I had 2 to start with and my male died in an accident involving a window at a new apt.

    My female got fairly old for a ferret and so I felt she had a full life and she went peacefully. At the end I did have to hand feed her turkey/rice baby food for calories. They do like baby food as a treat.

    Her friend I acquired later, had seizures and would start wobbling as she walked and I would have to give her a shot of honey to give her a quick fix of sugar. She was also on prednisone. She died in my arms and she was scared and it was awful. I gave her a good life though from the life she had in a cage in a garage that I rescued her from.

    I had a fat boy that was added to the 2 older females and he died young. All 3 died within months of each other. The boy died so suddenly after the last female, I realized it was him that had been throwing up occasionally and not the female. He was so depressed without his girls. I didn't even know he was sick.

    I miss them all terribly so. They were such fun.

    My first boy would nap on my pillow with me.

    They like a blanket thrown on the floor or bed and to tunnel under it.

    and i'd always rub thier bellys fast and get them all wound up and let them go and they'd hop sideways and get all rowdy.

    to settle them down, i'd hold them like a baby and rub under their chins and ears and they'd yawn and yawn and close their eyes...

    and that's all I can remember for now.

    Enjoy your funny lil ferret.

    Me,
    g
     
  9. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    We raised ferrets for years but chose to stop once we had children. Since our ferrets always had run of the house (when we were there to supervise) and often little children and ferrets don't mix - we chose to not take any chances of either getting hurt by the other.

    Our youngest boys are almost old enough that we've been talking about getting a couple of ferrets again. We really, really miss them. They are the most fun, entertaining animal I've ever had. They get into everything!!! They get under, on, through, on top of, in between and whereever else they can.

    We learned to thoroughly check the dishwasher, washer, dryer and frig before ever shutting the door. They love to get up into furniture, so you want to make sure you don't sit on one and crush it in the springs of your couch or chair, etc. They love to get under throw rugs, so if there is a lump - check for a ferret before stepping. Household planters are great fun to dig in and throw dirt everywhere. We cut screen to fit our potted plants so they couldn't dig the plants out and we could still water them. Make sure they can't get into furnace vents or they will have great fun running under the floors in your house.

    Our male got out of his cage once and we found him happily swinging back and forth with his teeth in the cold water line behind the washing machine. We had 2 inches of water on the floor and it was spraying everywhere from all the little teeth holes up and down the cold water line. He was laughing hysterically and absolutely thrilled with himself.

    Our ferrets were descented when babies (before we got them) and we never noticed any smell from our females. Intact males do have a strong musky smell, we never minded it but many people would.

    Listening to a ferret laugh while they are jumping around playing is one of those relaxing, happy things that make life great.

    I totally agree that you need to have at least two ferrets. They will keep each other company. A single ferret is a bored ferret who will not be as happy and look for ways to entertain itself.
     
  10. maplesky7

    maplesky7 Flock Mistress

    Jun 14, 2008
    N. IL.
    Chirpy's ferret story: " Our male got out of his cage once and we found him happily swinging back and forth with his teeth in the cold water line behind the washing machine. We had 2 inches of water on the floor and it was spraying everywhere from all the little teeth holes up and down the cold water line. He was laughing hysterically and absolutely thrilled with himself."

    ha ha ha! Such a typical ferret story.


    I always threw mine up in the air so they'd land on the bed and then they'd jump at each other and then one would crawl under the covers and drive the other one mad.

    Then the other one would get under the covers and you could sometimes hear if one got a little out of hand and the lil noise they make but for the most part the other one recognizes this means, "uncle, uncle" and would let go.

    I called them my "under cover" lovers.

    My 1st male was named Squish...and the vet asked me why I named him Squish and I bent him in half and said, "cuz he's squishy" and the vet laughed. He was light colored sable.

    My 1st female was named wittle wittle...cuz she was wittle. She was the climber. She was a very dark sable. She dug my carpet up under the "ferret proof" room and escaped out from underneath the door...only for me to hear shriek shreik...she was in the next bedroom and had cornered a mouse--it was the mouse shrieking and not her. She was my hunter.

    My 2nd female was named Spazzy Mazzy...aka spazzmatrazz. She was the lightest colored sable i've seen. Named after the singer, Mazzy Star.

    My 2nd male was named Fat Boy and he was he cutest fatest biggest baby in the whole wide world. And he was a dark sable but had a cute white band around his nose. I'd make him dance to music and say, "Fat Boyz in duh house."

    and by the way...i think possum is a funny name.

    me,
    g
     

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