The care that working ferrets need comes in two forms, physical and mental. As very intelligent animals, they need a secure place to live and lots of mental and physical activity to stop them from getting bored.
Ferrets are exceptionally clean animals which means their living quarters should be cleaned regularly. Because of their tendency to dig, their cage, hutch or court should be kept as secure as possible too.
Living quarters – Inside or outside?
Ferrets are happy both inside and outside. Keeping them inside is a great way to build a bond, especially if you have a lone working ferret. However, if you have multiple ferrets, an outside hutch or purpose-built court with a concrete floor might be the best way to ensure your ferrets can’t escape, or get places they shouldn’t. If building your own court, it should be high enough for you to stand up in.
Feeding and nutrition
Ferrets, like most animals have their own specific dietary requirements. They are obligate carnivores and their good health depends on the quality of their diet. They have such a rapid metabolism and wake up to eat about every four hours. Fresh water and food should always be readily available for them.
Ferrets require a concentrated diet to receive all the calories and nutrients they need to stay fit and healthy as they never eat huge amounts in one go. A ferret’s diet should be high in protein and energy, and low in fibre.
Exercise and play
Putting a short length of drain pipe in the hutch is a good idea to encourage ferrets to go into dark holes. Remember to never force them in, or they may develop a fear.
Ferrets need plenty of variety and stimulation to prevent them from getting bored. They love playing with small balls and tubes that can be used as tunnels too. There are many accessories out on the market but, if you are creative, you can make your own versions using household items or items from the shed.
Handling and care
When handling your ferret it is important to make sure they feel comfortable and secure. It is best to hold them under their front legs. It is also important to check your ferrets’ claws regularly as the front claws grow very quickly. Your ferret will probably not get much chance to wear them down by digging, so it is up to you to clip their claws.