Hi. Sometimes people shouldn’t get ferrets. Sometimes life isn’t fair at all (ferretall).
Welcome to Stolen Our Hearts episode two, the podcast about ferrets and other exotic pets. Today’s episode is just a short episode about the kind of people who should or shouldn’t get pet ferrets, depending on your point of view. Like always, this is just my opinion. I will say here though, that there are often exceptions to what I’m saying. It’s not a definitive rule. There are always exceptions, but these are definitely things to consider before you get a ferret, and it’s also not a full list. I could go on about this for many episodes, and I will be expanding these in future episodes, but this is just for beginners. People who haven’t yet bought their first ferret, preferably, just to get us started in the series. I’d hate for you to be listening to like five episodes before you realize you shouldn’t be getting a ferret. The first thing to consider, and I’m sorry about my dog rolling around behind me. You might be able to hear her playing is that if you’re getting a ferret, you need to be okay with meat. I’m not saying vegans cannot do it. I know several vegans who have ferrets who are fed meat, but they need the nutrients from meat. So organs, muscles, bones, blood and from several different animals, not just one species. Their bodies aren’t made to get these nutrients any other way. They can’t get it from plant products or fruits and vegetables, and eating fruits and vegetables and plant matter does have an effect on their body. In the Ferreting world, this statement can be seen as a little bit controversial, but I do not feed Kibble to my ferrets. I feed a balanced raw meat diet. If you need to learn how to make a balanced raw meat diet, please go to Holistic Ferrets. It’s a forum and a Facebook group and you can find a mentor there who will help you get the right proportions of the meat that you’re feeding to your ferret. I would hate for you to be listening to what I’m saying, hearing me say feed your ferrets meat and then just going and feeding them some minced meat beef or something like that because then they’re going to be malnourished. They don’t have the right balance of nutrients in just raw beef Mince. Feeding a balanced raw meat diet is really the best way to feed your ferret from my experience and understanding. But please don’t kill me raw feeding community for saying this. If you are unable to do that yet, or for whatever reason, and you choose to feed your ferret something that is not raw meat in a balanced diet. In Australia, you can get a vet and zookeeper approved supplement called Carnivite it’s recommended by my vet and I know not everyone is going to agree with me saying this. I’m very sorry, but it’s a supplement that is a powder and vet keepers. Vet keepers? ZOOkeepers in places like Monarto Zoo in South Australia use it on their carnivore animals meat so that they can not have to worry about a balanced raw diet. And so not in the wild. You can mix that with your raw mints to make sure that they get the nutrients that they need. Carnivite is from Wombaroo, which is the brand of native animal and baby animal food that is available in Australia. So they are, from my observation, a reliable company that is doing the best that they can for the animals that they care for. And I wouldn’t recommend or even think about recommending any other supplements. You can’t just chop, I don’t know, calcium powder into mince and expect that that is good enough because it’s not. There are just so many other nutrients that affect its needs. just a quick edit to make sure it’s 100% clear when I’m talking about supplements, it’s not as good as a raw diet. It’s just a stop gap to go between. If you cannot yet do raw feeding, I still totally recommend raw feeding, just a Disclaimer. And if you absolutely insist on feeding a ferret Kibble, make sure it is one with an extremely high meat percentage in it. Lots of them have grains or peas or something like that listed on the ingredients as the first ingredient. That means it’s the highest proportion. If it’s listed first, it needs to be good meat filled Kibble if you’re going to do that. Some kibbles that even have a picture of a ferret on the front are basically extremely bad for your ferrets. They will give them kidney stones, malnutrition, bladder stones, an increased likelihood of various cancers and organ failures. Unfortunately, from the evidence I have seen with ferret experts and very experienced Ferret owners, any Kibble that has any peas or grains in it or fruits and vegetables do have an effect on the ferret. So that is something you need to weigh up yourself. I want to make it clear that by mentioning kibbles and supplements, I’m not saying that that is my first choice in what to feed a ferret. I’m not saying that should be your first choice in what to feed a ferret. I’m just saying that there are different circumstances and I would like your ferrets to get the absolute best that you can provide under your current circumstances. So again, holistic ferrets, go and check it out. Another disadvantage for feeding your ferret’s Kibble is that they tend to poop a lot more. The poop smells a lot more, and also their fur is coarser, less soft, and also they smell a lot more. So that is a very convincing argument, even just from that. So yes, that’s my controversial comments for the day. Just please be aware of what you’re feeding your ferrets and do your research. And don’t just believe what the Kibble companies tell you. So it’s up to you. But I really recommend that you look at the downsides and up sides of your diet that you’re feeding the ferrets. If you’re not willing to get up in that, at least in a small way, then I really wouldn’t be getting a ferret if I were you. The second thing is, you need to have comparable… You need to have compatible, not comparable… pets. I wouldn’t be getting a ferret if I had rats or mice, for example, unless they were kept in a private room all by themselves without any access to the ferrets. It’s just not fair for the rats or mice. They’ll be scared the whole time that they’re going to get killed by a predator in a similar way. You might not want to get a ferret if you have a very prey driven dog or cat. Third thing, you need to be OK with poop. It’s gross, but unfortunately ferrets. Most of them do not fully litter train, so you’re going to end up with poop on the floor or on your things or all over the cage. Depending on the ferret, you’re going to need to clean that up, and other people in your house might find that pretty gross. You also need to observe their poop. Poop is a good indicator for any illnesses or issues that the ferret is having, and if they’re not pooping, that is a very bad sign. So you need to look at and touch poop. Fourth thing, flooring. You need to consider the flooring that your housing or letting your ferrets live on. Some ferrets, like my Naughty Trixie, likes to dig at carpets, especially near the doorways. Ferrets often don’t like being locked out of the room, so they’ll dig it at thinking that they can convince you or maybe somehow magically dig through the floor. This means they might wreck the carpet. They might also poop on floors. If you’ve got hardwood floors or fancy soft carpeting, that’s something you need to consider, especially if you’re renting. You might not be able to rent a house and have a ferret unless you’re considering the flooring. This is an example of an exception I had. Landlords obviously do not like it when your ferrets wrecked their floor. But yeah, I was renting. We had three houses that had ferrets in. Sorry, four houses I had ferrets in, and unfortunately the ferrets did poop on the carpet. I managed to have it steam cleaned afterwards, so you just have to have preparation and good cleaning products and preferably tiled floors. Fifth thing, people who get ferrets should have access to a good ferret vet. This can be tricky if you’re in a small town, though I suppose in small towns the vets might have a wider experience and not just in dogs and cats, but in cities. Often vets will look at a ferret and honestly have no idea what they’re doing, so they’re often mistakes made. So before you get a ferret, try and find out if you can have a good ferret vet near you. Speaking of vets, vets cost a lot of money. They cost even more for ferrets, and it really depends on the kind of vet you’re seeing. In some of the less affluent areas of my city, vets can be less expensive than in the rich areas. But yeah, ferret surgeries and illnesses cost a lot of money. So one of the things you need as a new ferret owner is lots of money. I hate to say it, but it’s true. I suggest having at least a few thousand dollars in savings per ferret before you get the ferret. And keep adding to that savings, because if something horrible happens to your ferret, you want that money to be available as soon as possible. You don’t want to be going out and I don’t know, putting up go fund me when your ferret is in a critical condition. Also, I haven’t been able to find any pet insurance that covers ferrets, so that’s something to be aware of. 7th thing you need to consider how you’re going to de sex or otherwise make it so your ferret doesn’t have babies. I get my ferrets desexed and spayed. Some people get theirs implanted with a Suprelorin implant. This makes it so that they’re infertile. And it also brings the boys out of rut, which is so smelly. Like you really want to do something about your ferrets, your boy ferrets, and their desexing needs. Hobbs when they are in rut smear their disgusting things all over the place. And the smell, oh the smell, it’s so bad. And girls, as I mentioned on the previous podcast, they can actually die if they’re in heat for too long and nothing’s done about it. So dissecting or spaying or implanting for the boys. You can get them vasectomied, but that doesn’t necessarily make them infertile. Unfortunately, sometimes apparently it grows back or it’s just not done properly because I don’t know, the ferret vet wasn’t cutting the right thing. I’m not sure how it works. I have to ask someone about that, but I’ve definitely heard that story a few times lately and it doesn’t get rid of the smell, as I said. And girls, one option is not one that I would do unless I was an experienced ferret owner is to leave them intact and let them be mated by a vasectomied hob. I wouldn’t recommend breeding unless you’re an extremely experienced Ferret owner with lots of support systems around you. It’s extremely expensive, especially if something goes wrong. And there’s just so many things that can go wrong. It’s just so sad. You don’t want to lose your girl. It’s just not worth it. There are also just so many things that can go wrong with the kids, the babies, malnutrition and deformities, still births, deaths. It’s really horrific. So yes, very experienced to be a ferret breeder. And you need to have all sorts of policies and missions and a belief that you’re breeding to improve the species, not to make money. You’re not going to make money from ferret breeding. 8th thing, this one might be a bit controversial. I believe that before you get a ferret, you should make sure you have a way to keep your ferret at the right temperature. For me, that meant only moving to houses that had air conditioning. In two of the houses I was in, two or three of the houses I was in, it didn’t have good air conditioning, but we got portable air conditioners, not evaporative. No one was evaporative. One was a misting fan and one was a refrigerated air conditioner. So we got a portable air conditioner and we put them in different rooms of the house that the ferrets were in. Either that the cage was in or that they were playing in and we made sure that they stayed cool that way. In Australia, it’s just really not fair to leave them in potentially 40 degree heat. That also includes having your ferrets outside in a tin Avery, for example. Those things heat up. It’s like leaving a pet in a car. You just don’t do that. You have to think ahead about how you’re going to keep your pet cool. That might be a misting fan. It might be bringing them into your bedroom on hot days. Really think about it before you get the ferrets. It’s very serious. They will die from heat exhaustion. Personally, I don’t like to let my ferrets be in anything more than 28 degrees Celsius. If you live in England and some parts of the US, this might not be such a concern for you, but it’s just definitely something to consider. They’re much better at handling cold than the handling heat. 9th thing, you need to have plenty of time to play with your ferret. This doesn’t necessarily mean actively playing with your ferret for a full 4 hours a day, but it does mean letting them out to play and entertaining them and interacting with them at least some of that time. If you’re working full time and have children and I don’t know, lots of hobbies and things you have to go out of the house to do. I’d be reconsidering getting ferrets as a pet because they’re in a cage. They’re usually in a cage, so you can get them out when you want to, and you can get them out of any time of day of night. You do need to have some time set aside for them. My three are left out of the cage for quite a few hours every day, and they just sort of roam around free and interact with us. We’ve ferret proof the house, so they’re not really in any danger, though we still always supervise them. Some people, they put them into a play pen area to play in, and I think that’s pretty good. It means you don’t have to be actively there the whole time they’ve got their play time, but it’s definitely good to interact with them for a while every day. That’s one of the things that there’s definitely exceptions for. So don’t hear me and say oh or Nyree says that I can’t have a ferret because I’m working full time and I’ve got children. No, don’t hear that. Just think about it, please. Tenth Thing A ferret owner should be okay with the concept of being bitten. That’s a full episode in itself. Just be aware that ferrets might bite you. In fact, you almost definitely get bitten by a ferret at some point in your career as a ferret owner, especially when they’re new to you because they don’t know you. So if you have children, be very aware of that, that children’s skin is delicate and ferrets might bite them. So you have to learn how to hold a ferret, how to interact with a ferret, how to avoid being bitten. And you need to tame your ferret, not just in general, but for each person. Because they get picky about people when they’re babies. They do a lot of nipping. That’s just how they interact. It’s perfectly normal for a ferret to buy another ferret and they don’t realize that we’re different. They just see us as a friend and they don’t understand that our skin is lot thinner than theirs. And the kind of bite that they can bite their best friend or their sibling is not the same kind of bite they can bite your foot with. So you will need to do some nip training and you may even need to do some rehabilitation like I had to do with one of my ferrets who had been abused. I recommend getting not a Baby ferret for your first ferret. Baby ferrets are full on 11th thing, you need to be willing to do some research and maybe join a ferret community or continue listening to this podcast. I’ll be sharing all the information I possibly have over hopefully many episodes. New information comes out about ferrets every now and then. Also, best practices are to be learned on many different sites. I like Holistic ferrets, get involved with the ferret community and get learning. Twelve Thing you have to be okay with not having a perfectly smelling home even when you clean the ferret cage daily and air out the house. Ferrets do have a slight smell. Some people say a big smell. It depends on your own nose. I’ve sort of gone nose blind to it. Some people absolutely love the smell of ferrets. Some just absolutely cannot stand it, no matter how clean the cage is. So maybe try and get around a ferret before you get a ferret. See what you and your nose is like. You also really need to check if you’re allergic to ferrets before you get your ferret. So go to a meet up, go to a rescue, go to someone you know who’s got ferrets and give it a good sniff. And see if there’s any reaction. Also get anyone you’re living with to do the same thing because I hear so many stories about people who get ferrets and then whoops their daughter’s allergic to ferrets. 13th thing. It’s completely vital to find or make a ferret proof play area for your ferrets. You need to make sure they cannot get into dangerous areas or escape the house or get to other animals. Perhaps they also need to not have any access to anything that is dangerous to them. So yes, that’s my brief list of rules or guidelines rather about things that you should consider before getting a ferret. If some of this doesn’t sound acceptable to you, I suggest looking at another kind of pet. All sorts of different pets are fantastic as we’ll be discussing. So yes, please do consider what I’ve said. I do just want to add an official Disclaimer here that I’m not a farrot expert. I’m still learning and I am still asking lots of questions all the time, as you should be too. I just want to share what I’ve learned so far and share my love of ferrets. Not every episode of this podcast is going to be about ferrets, as I’m sure you know. I’m going to be interviewing people in the next few episodes about their pet rats and pet snakes and other things like that. So I hope you like me and interested in all sorts of different pets. Please stick around though. I’ve got a huge list of ferret topics to talk about and if you’d like to come in and talk with me about your ferrets or any other kind of pet you have that is not a dog or a cat at this point. Because I love dogs and cats, people know so much more about them, so I feel like they’re just so much a part of our lives that there wouldn’t be much of a podcast about them for me. I’m sure there are podcasts about dogs and cats, so if you’re interested in being interviewed, please contact me on stolenourhearts on Facebook or stolenahearts.com the new website or stolen our Hearts firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s my email address and I’d absolutely love to talk to you or read out your answers. You don’t actually have to come in and be interviewed. I am happy to read out your answers for you. Please subscribe and I hope that I hear from you rather than you hear from me next week.