Three words come to mind when we think of baby ferrets — adorable, energetic, and nippy.
Ask most ferret owners, and they’ll pretty much unanimously agree that a baby ferret is just as cute as they are a handful to care for!
Just check this little guy out:
Getting him back into his cage won’t be a walk in the park!
But don’t get us wrong; we’re not saying you shouldn’t bring a baby ferret home… we’re just saying that owning ferrets of the petite kind should come with a disclaimer:
Extremely fun but time-consuming and only suited to dedicated, patient owners.
Still interested in these adorable pint-sized devils?
Good news; glad we haven’t scared you away.
Now keep reading and enjoy finding out the answers to 16 of the most commonly asked questions we hear about ferret babies and breeding ferrets.
It’s going to be quite a ride, so buckle up! 😈
What Are Baby Ferrets Called?
Baby ferrets are called “kits,” and they’re born weighing only 0.35 to 0.42 ounces (10 to 12 grams).
These tiny cutie pies are also born with both their eyes and their ears closed, and they’re entirely reliant on their mom for survival.
Their fur only starts to develop when they’re one or two days old (the famous “peach fuzz), and it takes until they’re 4 or 5 weeks of age to see a full coat of baby hair.
When Do Ferrets Start Reproducing?
Female ferrets usually start breeding when they’re around 6 to 8 months of age, and they go through roughly two breeding seasons per year.
You’ll notice it’s time when they start to show extreme levels of interest in male ferrets.
A word of warning:
Female ferrets can suffer from potentially life-threatening hyperestrogenemia (estrogen poisoning) if they aren’t bred once they go into heat.
So keep a close eye on your intact ferrets and make sure they aren’t suffering from this disease.
How Big Are Ferret Litters?
A ferret litter is usually made up of 4 to 8 super-cute kits.
However, it can range from anywhere between 1 and 18 babies.
The gestation period (the amount of time a female ferret is pregnant) sits between 39 and 42 days, so you really won’t have much time on your hands to prepare for the arrival of up to 18 bundles of joy.
If your jill (an intact female ferret) gives birth to a small litter of only one or two kits, you need to pay close attention to whether or not the little ones are enough to stimulate milk production. If not, you have to find a foster jill or hand feed the babies with a bottle.
How Long Do Baby Ferrets Nurse?
You should expect your ferret kits to nurse for about 6 to 7 weeks of age.
During this period, kits stay close to their moms for food, warmth, and loads of cuddles.
After weaning, they should be able to move to their new home and enjoy high-quality soft food — things like strictly meat-only baby food and kitten food.
And speaking of food…
What Do Ferret Kits Eat?
Ferrets are obligate carnivores.
And this fancy expression means that they ONLY eat meat and other animal tissues like bones, organs, and fat.
No potatoes, no veggies, no cereal.
And until they’re 10 weeks of age, you should only feed them soft foods. But after that, their adult teeth set in, and you’re free to give them raw meat, raw organs, whole prey animals, or kibble (like Wysong Ferret Epigen 90 Digestive Support).
Curious to learn more about the ferret diet? Then click here and deep dive into the topic.
How Do You Pick a Healthy Baby Ferret?
When you’re in the process of choosing a kit to be your furry friend, you should look for the following signs of a healthy ferret:
- Bright, shiny eyes (without any discharge)
- Clean ears (without brown wax, indicative of ear mites)
- White teeth
- Acceptable breath (remember it’s a ferret 😃)
- Long whiskers
- Soft fur (without any bald spots or irritations)
- Pink paws (without dry, flakey skin)
- High energy levels
- No signs of a limp or a wobble
If a baby ferret ticks off all these points, then you can be sure you’re looking at a healthy kit.
It might seem like a long list, and you surely want to take home the first ferret to steal your heart. Still, it’s important to remember that many ferrets are bred in poorly run breeding facilities, and being diligent in the beginning will save you from costly health issues in the long run.
Try to purchase a ferret from a private breeder rather than in a pet store — you’ll get a healthier animal with fewer health problems, and you’ll have full access to their genetic history.
How Much Does a Pet Ferret Cost?
Can you really put a price on a face this cute and playful?
It’s hard, but we have to because breeding ferrets isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap. And you want it done right.
A baby ferret, purchased from a store like Petco, can vary between $60 and $200. However, if you choose to visit a private breeder, you should expect a number more in the $150 to $500 range.
If that sounds like too much, you can always head over to your local ferret shelters and see if you can adopt adult ferrets (that have already been vaccinated and desexed) for a much lower donation.
How Many Ferrets Should You Adopt?
Should you go for one baby ferret, two baby ferrets, three baby ferrets, or…. ten baby ferrets?
It’s 100% up to you.
Cat snakes are incredibly social creatures, and they thrive on frequent interaction, both with humans and other ferrets.
Our recommendation is you start with one ferret if you’re a new owner and dedicate loads of time (think four to five hours a day) to training and bonding with them.
Then, once you feel comfortable around ferrets and you run out of time off work, you can add one or two more pets, so they can keep each other company when you’re away from home.
Just be sure not to wait until your ferret is too old to accept a new roommate — it’s something older ferrets tend to struggle with.
How Do Baby Ferrets Develop Physically?
You already know that ferrets are born blind and deaf, and they’re tiny pink animals fully dependent on their mom for survival.
But what happens next and how do they become the furry noodles we all know and love?
Day 1/2 — ferrets start to develop their short, fuzzy fur
4 or 5 weeks old — they grow a full coat of baby hair, and they weigh roughly 8 ounces (200 grams)
5 or 6 weeks old — they first open their eyes and ears and start exploring like crazy
6 to 7 weeks old — they finish weaning and start eating food (and nipping your hand)
8 to 10 weeks old — their adult teeth set in
8 months old — they transition into adults
From 8 months old to 2 years old — they’re in their physical prime, and from time to time, they act like a total baby ferret:
Do Ferret Babies Nip and Chew?
Expect your kits to bite and nip at you during the first couple of months of their lives.
It’s perfectly normal behavior, and it stems from all the time they spend wrestling and roughhousing with their brothers and sisters.
You need to train them not to bite humans because, well, our skin is way too soft for ferret teeth.
But luckily, ferrets are intelligent animals, and it’s pretty easy to teach them how to stop biting. Just follow this simple technique:
- Stop playing as soon as your baby ferret bites you
- Sit very still
- Your ferret will learn to associate the bite with the end of playtime (and that’s no fun at all)
- If your kit nips again, say “no biting” in a firm voice and gently scruff them (never hit your ferret)
- If your baby ferret still doesn’t take the hint, place them on a three-minute timeout in the corner of the room (don’t use their cages as you don’t want them to connect their homes with being punished)
How Can You Baby Ferret Proof Your House?
Take the following six precautions:
- Block off any hard-to-reach locations (i.e., the back of closets) that your ferret could get stuck in
- Make it very challenging to reach high places (i.e., the top of a bookshelf)
- Think about all the potential tunnels in your home and make sure your ferret doesn’t have access to any dangerous ones (i.e., vents and ducts)
- Cover up any holes larger than a golf ball (or else your ferret will squeeze themselves into them)
- Keep all dangerous items out of your ferret’s reach and check their “stash” or “hidey hole” (where they store all the things they’ve stolen) for dangerous objects
- Don’t bring other small animals (like guinea pigs) into their habitat, as your ferret might strike
And one more thing — don’t forget to get them the best ferret cage you can afford, plus a comfy hammock, a vast collection of toys, and a litter box filled with absorbent bedding.
These items will make it a bit easier to care for ferrets and keep their endless energy under control.
How Should You Bond With Your Baby Ferrets?
By giving them constant attention and stimulation!
A baby ferret really thrives when they’re the center of attention, and they’ll grow to love you and consider you as an integral part of their business (the hilariously accurate name for a group of ferrets) if you spend enough time playing and horsing around with them.
But remember to let them get their beauty sleep (at least 14-18 hours a day), or else you’ll have a grumpy, tired ferret on your hands! Their body language will be a clear sign of when they’re ready to go to sleep.
Another great trick for bonding with your ferret is familiarizing your pet with your smell. Throw a dirty shirt in their cage and watch them use it as a blanket. Before you know it, their excellent ferret sense of smell will build a solid connection between the odor of their owner and safety.
P.S. Don’t forget to give your ferret an awesome name as you play and bond!
Should You Neuter or Spay Your Baby Ferret?
Yes, it’s good practice to neuter or spay your ferrets if you don’t plan on breeding them.
This practice has a host of health benefits and helps to reduce ferret smell in male ferrets.
However, you need to pay close attention to where you got your ferret from.
If your ferret is a Marshall ferret, or you purchased them in a pet store, it’s likely they’ve already been neutered or spayed before you brought them home, so you don’t need to worry about it.
However, if your pet is from a private breeder, you should be sure to find out whether or not the ferret has been desexed. And if not, you should commit to neutering or spaying your pets during their first year of life (ideally at 6 to 12 months of age).
Should You Vaccinate Your Baby Ferret?
Similar to the question of neutering your ferret, vaccinations depend on where you bought your pet ferret from.
If you own Marshall ferrets (or ferrets purchased in pet stores), they should have already received a canine distemper vaccination. You only need to worry about giving them rabies vaccinations once a year.
However, if you’ve picked up your lovely cat snake from a private breeder, you need to ask what vaccinations they have received (if any), and then it’s up to you to take care of everything.
Do Kits Require Veterinary Care?
Absolutely, baby ferrets, adult ferrets, and older ferrets all need veterinary care.
The only difference is that older ferrets tend to suffer from more issues.
We highly suggest you find a trusted exotic pet veterinarian in your area, and then you schedule regular visits for your ferret (at least once a year, but twice if you want to be safe).
What Are the Dangers of Breeding Baby Ferrets?
Breeding isn’t for everyone.
Actually, it’s for very few, very experienced ferret owners.
You need to be committed and on the ball 100% of the time.
Intact ferrets aren’t the easiest pets to deal with:
- Males get aggressive, and they often attack cage mates or their partners
- Males also produce a much more pungent odor when they’re in heat
- Female ferrets can suffer from potentially life-threatening hyperestrogenemia if they aren’t bred after going into heat
And top of the animals’ behavioral issues, finding the right ferret owners for your babies is also tricky and time-consuming.
So only consider breeding if you’re motivated, patient, and have plenty of cage space for all your furry friends!
A kit is definitely up there with a puppy, a kitten, and a baby bunny as one of the world’s cutest baby animals.
And baby ferrets are a joy to own if you have enough time, passion, and resources to devote to raising them and building solid bonds.
It’s the experience of a lifetime for an animal enthusiast. 🥰
Just remember to put everything you’ve learned today into practice and take good care of your kits — you’ll be rewarded with healthy ferrets that live for up to 10 years and love you dearly.