Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Few FAQ's About Ferrets

     I hope that everyone had a lovely weekend and is having at least a tolerable Monday! (Bleh, Mondays.) I have been super duper busy with school stuff and this weekend my hubby drove me every which way visiting and working and visiting the flea market, so today I have still been trying to catch my breath! I still have a few exams and quizzes to do this week, so it doesn't look like the pace is about to let up for me. We also just got a new baby ferret, so we are still acclimating her to our two boys. Because my fur-kids are such a big part of my life, I thought that today I would share a  a few FAQ's I get about them.

Loki and Odin, doing one of their favorite pass-times: napping! 

Q:Don't ferrets stink?
A: Nope! They usually have a slight musky smell that you can only notice if you hold one right up to your nose and inhale, but I find it pleasant. I recently brought them with me to a club meeting and a couple of the girls remarked that they smelled like baby powder. Modern ferrets are usually descented and spayed/ neutered before being sold, so that tends to nip any potential odor problems in the bud. 

Q: Are they related to rats? 
A: They are actually a member of the mustelid family, which includes otters, badgers, skunks, minks, stoats, sables, martens, and other weasels. They are carnivorous and must have a meat based diet, and they don't rock the "rodent teeth"- their teeth are quite sharp and resemble a cat's. They also don't have a naked tail or feet. 

Q: What do they eat?
A: Right now mine are eating a 1:1 blend of a commercially available ferret food and Blue Buffalo Wilderness Evolutionary Formula chicken cat food. I just found out that the ferret food had more corn in it than I thought, so I'm trying to find a replacement. We are also about to switch them to the BB Wilderness kitten formula, because of the new baby and because I think a higher fat content might be beneficial for the older boys, too (they are getting kinda sluggish this winter.) They also get Bandits ferret treats and the occasional turkey baby food.

Q: Do they make noise?
A: They will squeal when playing and one gets too rough, and will also chuckle and dook when having fun. It's a hard noise to describe, so I recommend youtubing it- it's such a funny and happy sound! 

Q: Since you have males and a female, won't they have babies? 
A: If you are buying a ferret at a pet store, chances are it is already spayed or neutered, like all of mine are. Breeding ferrets takes alot of knowledge and dedication. If females aren't bred when they come into heat, they will stay in heat and develop aplastic anemia from overexposure to estrogen. Right now there aren't many commercial breeders of ferrets- the largest is Marshall. Marshall ferrets are easily identified by the blue tattooed dots in their ear, which represent being fixed and descented. Our newest addition, Skadi, is from a smaller producer, Path Valley Farm. 

Q: Why did you get a ferret? 
A: My now- husband actually bought Loki for me as a surprise Valentine's Day gift last year! He came into where I worked, asked me if I liked ferrets, and said, "Good, because I've already paid the petshop for one in the next shipment." From then on out, it was love! These little creatures are so much fun just to watch, and ours are so affectionate! 

Skadi, our newest baby! She is an albino.