Keeping Ferrets

Hutches

Ferrets need a large weatherproof home that is raised off the ground. The more space they have the better, so buy or make the largest you can afford.

 
ACERThe hutch should be positioned out of direct sunlight and strong winds and in the winter they should be housed indoors (e.g in a shed or car-free garage – exhaust fumes can be fatal) as they are sensitive to extremes of temperature. Move the hutch to a shaded area if the weather gets very warm, and make sure they have shade in their exercise area. Heat stress can occur at temperatures over 30°C. They should be housed indoors (e.g. in a shed or car-free garage) during the winter months. If the weather gets very cold, give them extra bedding.

 
Bedding

The floor of the hutch should be lined with clean woodshavings or sawdust (not sand). The sleeping area should contain clean, dry hay, straw or shredded paper as bedding. Ideally, any material used should be dust-free.

 
Litter trays

ferret litter trayFerrets are very clean and usually choose one particular area to go to the toilet. If you provide them with a litter tray, especially if you put it in the area they were using anyway, they will usually use it as their toilet which will help you to clean them out.

 
Ferret litter trays are normally corner-shaped and have two high sides because ferrets pass soft faeces which they squirt upwards.

 
 
Cleaning out the hutch

ferrets heartThe hutch should be cleaned at least once a day, by removing any shavings or bedding that are wet and dirty, removing any uneaten fresh food and cleaning the food and water containers before refilling them. Their litter tray should be cleaned out daily. You also need to clean the hutch more thoroughly to keep it clean and hygienic – once a week is usually adequate.

 
From time-to-time the hutch should be completely stripped out and scrubbed using pet-safe disinfectant (available from pet shops), with your ferrets only being allowed back into the hutch when it is completely dry.

 
Exercise

ferret excercise areaFerrets should have a large exercise area, either indoors or out, where they can run around and play or they can develop problems such as obesity or osteoporosis (brittle bone disease). It should be out of direct sunlight and safe from young children and other pets (e.g. cats or dogs). In cold weather they need an exercise area indoors (e.g. in a shed or car-free garage). The exercise area needs to be secure so that they can’t escape, and should have wire mesh sunk in to the ground so that they can’t dig out.

 
The area should contain tubes (e.g. drainpipes) and toys. The floor area shouldn’t be less than 10 square metres.

 
 


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