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Caring For a Ferret Baby
Back to where it all started:
It is important to know and fully familiarize yourself with the ferret cub and the circumstances of its birth. A pregnant ferret needs a lot more sleep and more food during pregnancy, which usually lasts up to 42 days. She needs to be bred until she is restless to nest.
Before the ferret pups are born, usually 2 weeks before giving birth, the pregnant female is moved to a secluded barn or room with fresh paper or pine shavings on the bed. She needs to pull out some fur in order to build her nest. Ensure that the ferret is kept warm, undisturbed and always provided with plenty of fresh food and water.
During birth, the mother and ferret baby must never be touched except when absolutely necessary. Once the ferret pup is born, the mother can eat the placenta because it produces milk. Always follow the mother with plenty of high caloric density food and fresh water to produce more milk.
Ferret mothers usually produce 7 or 8 ferret pups. The babies are blind, hairless, pink skinned and very small. Like all other babies, they need all the time to nurse and sleep to grow. Wait another 20 days and you will see the baby ferrets change color as their eyes begin to open. Wait another 4 months and the baby ferret will look the same for another 4 years.
Baby ferrets must be at least 8 weeks old to enter stores for sale. By this time, he must have had his first vaccination, spayed or neutered.
Feeding baby ferrets
At 6 weeks, ferret pups can stop milking from their mother as they now require adult food. You don’t need quality ferret food, just what adult ferrets eat. This is the stage when their skeletal structures grow rapidly.
Soak their food in warm water for 5 minutes before feeding. Gradual switching is very important, so it’s a good idea to talk to the breeder or groomer about which brand they use. Never feed them cat food. They need more fat than kittens and more protein but less carbohydrates. They have a short digestive tract and the transit of food from the stomach to the intestines is very fast, especially in growing ferrets. This type of food may cost you more than cat food, but ferrets eat small amounts, so make sure you buy something with 35% protein and 20% fat. They need real protein from animal sources and never soy or corn meal. If you do, they will grow faster and healthier. The best sources are eggs and poultry. Always serve clean water from bottles and not from bowls. Never feed them milk and ice cream and anything with sugar as it will cause diarrhoea.
Just like adults, growing baby ferrets need a cage that is spacious, safe and easy to clean. If the ferret can push through any part of the cage, it is in danger.
Keep it under control: the cage must have a large, wide door, but do not get a multi-story cage for growing ferrets. Make sure the cage has a solid bottom. Give him a break from the cage by letting him play outside no more than twice a day. Bedding must be cleaned regularly. An old towel can do, but make sure that their nails wood is not tangled. Hammocks and sleeping bags are good, but you can always sew an old shirt or rag.
This is the time to toilet train your growing ferrets. Start with a litter box and fill it with clean, non-clumping paper. By putting a small amount of trash in the trash can, you help remind them where to throw their trash.
Be careful with toys
A toy can be anything for a young ferret, although special precautions must be taken. Don’t use small parts that could choke them or anything with chewing gum. Remember that their teeth are very sharp and make sure they are supervised when playing. Never leave toys inside the cage when they are young, as they will later chew on them and may suffocate, requiring surgery. Never use foam or rubber toys unless you want them to suffocate.
Spayed, spayed or neutered?
There are cases where their anal glands will need to be removed. This applies to spaying or neutering at 7 weeks of age. The incisions from these procedures are small and barely significant. If so, do a daily check and clean them with a little peroxide with a little infection. Females have incisions in the center of the abdomen and under the tail, while males will have them near the testicle area.
This procedure in the early stages is considered controversial because abnormalities may develop. But without timely neutering, females will have dangerous estrogen toxicity and males will be abandoned because of their wild odor.
Vaccinations and exams
Check that their first distemper vaccinations have been given. Check their health records or try asking the breeder. The second dose should be given 3 weeks after the first and the third dose should be given 3 weeks after that. This will be followed by annual vaccines. Distemper is a very dangerous disease for ferrets and cat vaccines should never be given to ferrets. Also check for fleas, ear mites, parasites, diarrhea or any other defect. Be warned as soon as they spill into liquid green feces. Use the antibiotics recommended by your vet and also follow the special care instructions.
Also be warned about the virus in baby ferrets. Make sure everyone has good hygiene. Growing ferrets are the only animals that can contract colds, flu and pneumonia, so warn your family never to touch them if they are affected by these diseases. Symptoms include constant sneezing and nasal discharge with rapid breathing and lethargy. Use oral antibiotics as directed.
Also check your growing ferrets for other defects. Are they deaf, have an overbite, have cataracts or some kind of heart defect? Try doing a sound evaluation from a ferret. Once they ignore these rattling distractions, it can be very problematic.
Socialization of ferrets
Teach them to socialize in the first month. They may not see very well yet, but right now they are most receptive to love, learning, and affection. Maintain physical contact with the baby ferret 6 times a day, no less, for 5 to 10 minutes. If you don’t, expect them to prolong their “sniping phase”, which is bad. When he tries to bite, pet him gently and say NO clearly. Never punish them or physically harm them. Children at home must always be supervised when handling ferret babies.
Never ignore them, as ferrets need a lot of petting and touching as they grow into adulthood. Most baby ferrets sleep often as they should, so never worry if they have been sleeping all day.
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