Baby ferrets are called ‘kits’. In the wild, ferrets mate between March and April, with a gestation period (pregnancy) of 35-45 days. A litter of kits (baby ferrets) usually consists of 1-6 ferrets.
Ferret babies (kits) weigh 6-14 grams at birth. They are around 2-2.5 inches long when they are born.
Ferret kits are born white and develop their fur color as they age.
How Do You Pick a Baby Ferret?
When selecting a baby ferret kit, you need to determine that your ferret is healthy from the start. Make sure to check their eyes (are they bright and shiny, without discharge?). How do the baby ferret’s ears look (is there a lot of brown wax which could indicate ear mites?)? How do the baby ferret’s teeth look (are they white, does their breath smell okay?)? Do their whiskers look long and healthy?
Your baby ferret should have soft fur, without any bald or irritated patches. Look at your baby ferret’s paws -are they pink and healthy or dry and flakey?
Look at how your baby ferret behaves. Is he or she overly lethargic (sleepy)? Does your baby ferret limp or wobble when it walks?
Sadly, many ferrets come from poorly run breeding facilities, so it is your job to assess a kit’s health before taking it home.
Ferrets that come from private breeders are usually much healthier than ferrets than come from pet stores. They cost more initially, but you will avoid many costly health problems in the long run.
How Much Do Baby Ferrets Cost?
Great question! Baby ferrets from places like Petco can range in price from $60-200. Ferrets from private breeders can cost between $150-500. Keep in mind that the price of a baby ferret does not include all the food and supplies you will need.
What Should You Feed a Baby Ferret?
Ferrets are obligate carnivores. This means that ferrets need to eat a diet consisting of animal material in order to thrive (muscle, fat, bone, organs). They cannot digest fruits, vegetables or grains.
Many mainstream diets available at places like Petco and Petsmart are not suitable foods for baby ferrets. Though you may be encouraged to feed a certain food sold at the pet store where you got your baby ferret, we strongly suggest you do your own research to find a better food.
We feed a combination of Wysong DS Epigen 90 and Wysong Freeze Dried Raw Rabbit.
Before starting this informational wesbite, we spoke to ferret owners for over 35 hours. Their biggest regret? Not feeding a healthier ferret food FIRST. Don’t make the same mistake they did!
Should I Vaccinate My Baby Ferret?
If a baby ferret is from Marshall Ferret (ferrets sold in Petco are all Marshall Ferrets) they have already received a canine distemper vaccination. It is recommended that ferrets also get rabies vaccinations after 12 weeks of age, and then annually thereafter.
If your ferret is from a private breeder, make sure to ask what vaccinations they have received prior to adoption, and what vaccines they recommend after you take your baby ferret home.
Should I Neuter or Fix My Baby Ferret?
If your baby ferret is from Marshall Ferret, then it will be neutered/fixed. You can tell your ferret is neutered because he or she will have two tattooed dots on their right ear.
If your baby ferret is from a private breeder, they will most likely have you agree to neuter/fix your ferret during its first year.
What Should You Buy for Your Baby Ferret?
- Nutritionally Accurate Food
- Water Dish (NOT a water dripper bottle)
- Large Cage
- First Aid Kit
- Travel Carrier
The best thing you can do for your baby ferret is set them up for a long, healthy life. Proper nutrition is your number one priority. I wish we had known earlier what baby ferrets need to thrive, and most ferret owners we have spoken to say the same.
Contrary to what you see at Petco, ferrets should NOT use water dripper bottles. This causes damage to their teeth. Instead, buy a water bowl.
Even though ferrets are NOT caged animals (they need to free-roam like cats), it is common for owners to put their ferrets into a cage while they are at work or asleep. Because of this, we recommend you buy the largest cage possible for your baby ferret. They need space to explore and exercise to avoid boredom and depression while you are away.
We cannot recommend a first aid kit enough -this could be the difference between life and death for your ferret. Here is an in-depth explanation of what we keep on hand at all times in our home.
We also recommend you get some kind of travel carrier to take your ferret to the vet and on adventures. If you are like us and like to be a little discreet when you take your ferret certain places, use a ferret backpack like this.
How Should You Care for a Baby Ferret?
Baby ferrets need lots of play time and lots of supervision! Ferrets are extremely curious creatures and they have a knack for getting into things they shouldn’t! Make sure to ferret-proof your home by removing all plastic and rubber items, and sealing off any ‘ferret-sized’ holes.
It’s also important that you begin to learn your baby ferret’s eating patterns, sleep patterns, and what their poops look like. These are the most important indicators if your ferret gets sick!
Should You Adopt One or Two Baby Ferrets?
Is this your first experience with ferrets? How much time do you have to dedicate to spending time with your ferret? Whether you should get one or two ferrets all depends on your unique situation.
We got one ferret at first and because we worked from home a lot of the time, so we had plenty of hours to bond with our ferret and train him properly.
Ferrets are extremely social creatures so if you do not have 6 hours per day to play with them and let them explore your home, we advise against adopting one!
Instead of thinking of ferrets like a turtle or a mouse (or something else that can do just fine in a cage), think of a ferret like a cat or a dog. They need constant enrichment and bonding.
How Can I Train My Baby Ferret?
When a ferret is a baby, it is the perfect opportunity to teach them their most important behaviors. First and foremost, make sure to teach your ferret how to use a litter box. Next, teach them not to nip (nipping is common with kits!). Finally, get yourself a training clicker and teach them to come when you call them and how to do a few fun tricks!
Ferrets are so smart. Use this training time to intellectually challenge your little Einstein!
Common Baby Ferret Illnesses?
- Prolapsed rectum
- Eye discharge
- Ear Mites
- Respiratory Infections
Unfortunately, baby ferrets sold at pet stores are not always healthy. The most common illnesses you will find with a baby ferret is a prolapsed rectum (anus is pooched out), discharge from the eye, ECE, ear mites, and respiratory infection.
ECE stands for Epizootic Catarrhal Enteritis. It is seriously dangerous! You can identify ECE by the green, slimy diarrhea. Your baby ferret will often vomit and be extremely lethargic (sleepy). ECE is highly contagious.
How to Stop Your Baby Ferret from Biting
Baby ferrets can be very nippy! This is extremely common because they spent the first two months of their life with other kits, and they spent a lot of that time wrestling and rough housing!
Ferrets are very smart little creatures and they can learn how to stop biting relatively quickly with the right training.
If your baby ferret likes to nip you during playtime, you need to communicate that it is not okay.
What has worked for us:
- As soon as your baby ferret bites, stop playing and get very still
- Your ferret will associate nipping with the end of play time
- If your baby ferret nips again, stop playing
- Lightly scruff them and say “no biting”
- NEVER hit your ferret. They will not understand.
How to Tell if Your Baby Ferret is Blind
Even healthy ferrets do not have great eyesight. They can see very well close up (12 inches) but from far away their eyesight is not great (they rely on smell and sound instead).
If your baby ferret is blind, there are some at-home ways to tell. Try rearranging your furniture after your baby ferret is used to your home layout and see if they have trouble navigating the new layout or if they bump into objects.
How to Tell if Your Baby Ferret is Deaf
Deafness is common in baby ferrets if they have a particular coat coloration, which signifies Waardenburg Syndrome. These colorations are:
- Dark eyed white
Ferrets with Waardenburg Syndrome have underdeveloped hearing mechanisms in the inner ear, which causes deafness.
If your baby ferret may be deaf, check by turning on something loud and gauging your ferret’s reaction. In our home, when we turn on the vacuum our sable ferret bolts for cover, while our two white ferrets do not seem to notice.
How to Bond with Your Baby Ferret
Ferrets have an excellent sense of smell. A crucial first step in the bonding process is getting a baby ferret familiar with your smell. When you bring your baby ferret home for the first time, put a dirty shirt in their cage to sleep in. This will tell them “safety smells like my new owner”.
In our experience, the more you handle and interact with your baby ferret, the more bonded they will become.
How would you bond with a new kitten or puppy? Ferrets are highly interactive and will respond the best to constant attention and stimulation.
NOTE: play time and bonding are important but make sure to let them sleep for 14-16 hours!
Baby ferrets are one of the most precious creatures on the entire planet. If you feel that you have the time, resources, and passion to devote to a baby ferret, we highly recommend it!