How do ferrets mate

How to Breed a Pet Ferret

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How do ferrets mate

Ferrets are entertaining creatures to have as pets. They’re gregarious and will most likely try to climb all over you if given the opportunity! Breeding ferrets, on the other hand, is more complicated than just coupling a male with a female. If you want a pet ferret, you’ll need to learn about the breeding process and put in the time (and money) to make sure the parents and offspring are healthy.

1. Pet Ferret Breeding

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Choose which ferrets will be bred

1. Choose which ferrets will be bred. Breeding ferrets is a difficult undertaking. Breeding related ferrets or ferrets with behavioral and/or physical health issues may bring unwanted features into the ferret population. Breeding closely related ferrets, for example, might result in health issues in the offspring (e.g., blindness, deafness) or pregnancy-associated issues for the mother (e.g., small litters, premature death of babies).

  • If you already have a male and female ferret, you should get them genetically tested to ensure that they are not related. Discuss genetic testing possibilities with your veterinarian.
  • Take your ferrets to the vet before breeding to ensure they are healthy.
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Keep an eye out for signals that the ferrets are ready to mate

2. Keep an eye out for signals that the ferrets are ready to mate. Ferrets achieve sexual maturity in the spring after their birth. This will be between four and eight months of age for females (‘jills’) and six to eight months of age for males (‘hobs’). The mating season for ferrets begins in the spring, so start looking for signals that your ferrets are ready to procreate when the days lengthen and the temperature rises.

  • When a jill is in heat, her vulva, which is part of her external genitalia, swells and enlarges. A pink and watery fluid will be seen flowing from her vaginal region.
  • His testicles will descend (hang lower from his body) and become bigger on your hob.
  • A ‘rut’ is the hob equivalent of being in heat.
  • When your hob is ready to breed, his personal hygiene will suffer. To mark his territory, he would pee and even drag his stomach through the urine. He would also smuggle oil into his domain to signify his territory.
  • Both male and female ferrets that are ready to reproduce grow oily skin and become fairly stinky.
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Insert the jill into the hob’s cage

2. Insert the jill into the hob’s cage. When you’ve assembled the ferrets, sit back and wait for the mating ceremony to commence. Be advised that the mating behavior of ferrets is far from romantic—the male may bite the female’s neck and even drag her around the cage. You could even hear the woman scream.

  • The biting may seem unsettling, but it has a purpose: biting the jill’s neck releases hormones in her body that encourage ovulation (egg production). Jills are induced ovulators, which means they must be bred to begin egg production.
  • The mating procedure may last anywhere from several hours to many days and might take place in several sessions.
  • You may wish to separate the ferrets due to their harsh mating ritual. Don’t do it! The male ferret’s penis is curled and ‘locks’ the female in place until mating is complete. Separating them will do more damage than good.
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Examine the jill after she has mated

3. Examine the jill after she has mated. Return the jill to her cage after mating. She will gain weight and begin nesting if the mating was successful. She will also begin to pluck hair from her tail and torso.

  • When Jills are pregnant, they produce clucking sounds as well. About two weeks after a successful mating, you may detect whether the jill is pregnant. You might also have your veterinarian do an abdominal ultrasound on the jill, however this would be costly.
  • Jills may have phantom pregnancies, which means they act pregnant when they are not.
  • Hormone imbalances may cause your jill to grow swollen and seem pregnant.
  • Keep in mind that your jill will need to consume more as her pregnancy progresses in order to meet the energy needs of giving birth and breastfeeding.
  • If the first attempt at mating was unsuccessful, try again. Jills stay in heat until bred, which may result in major health problems such as pyometra (infected uterus), bladder infections, and anemia. If your female ferret is in heat, she must be bred or spayed.
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2. Taking Care of Pregnant Jill

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Increase the amount of food your pregnant jill consumes

1. Increase the amount of food your pregnant jill consumes. A jill’s pregnancy usually lasts 42 days. [24] Pregnancy and childbirth may be taxing on your pregnant jill’s health. To fulfill her increased energy needs, she will need to consume more calories and protein.

  • Giving your jill additional dry food will help provide her with the extra protein she will need while breastfeeding.
  • Feed her the best ferret food you can get to ensure she is in good health before giving birth.
  • A pregnant jill’s diet should consist of at least 35% fat and 22% fat.
  • Supplement her food with cooked meat (e.g., chicken) and liver to offer her even more protein.
  • A pregnant jill that does not eat enough in late pregnancy might develop pregnancy toxemia, a potentially fatal illness. To preserve your ferret’s life, your veterinarian will need to perform a Cesarean section.
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Fill your pregnant jill’s cage with additional water

2. Fill your pregnant jill’s cage with additional water. To prepare for delivery and breastfeeding, your pregnant jill will need to drink a lot more fresh, clean water, just like she did before. Increase her water consumption to two to three times her regular level. Instead of a water bottle, place her water in a dish; she would most likely drink more water from the dish.

  • She will not eat enough if she does not drink enough water. Your pregnant jill would be unable to make enough milk for her offspring if she did not consume enough food or water.
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Make a special cage for the pregnant jill

3. Make a special cage for the pregnant jill. Your jill will be able to remain with the hob throughout the most of her pregnancy. You should relocate her to her own cage around two weeks before the conclusion of her pregnancy. Fill this cage with new paper bedding or pine shavings.

  • Your jill will build a nest out of the bedding or shavings.
  • Place her cage in a warm, quiet area of your house so she can keep warm and prepare for delivery.
  • When you relocate her to this separate cage, increase her food and water consumption.
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3. After-Birth Care for Jill

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Allow the jill some space

1. Allow the jill some space. Jills are usually pregnant for 42 days. Allow your jill at least a week alone with her offspring (‘kits’) after she gives birth. Jills may devour their kits when they are terrified or threatened – this is something you do not want your jill to do!

  • During this quiet period, you will need to feed her. When she is preoccupied, drop food and water into her cage as quietly as possible. Because jills may have mastitis (inflammation of the mammary gland) and some kits can die after birth,[40] you should take a short glance at the mom and her offspring when you place food and water in the cage.
  • If the jill doesn’t seem to be in good health, or if you notice any dead kits that should be removed, contact your veterinarian.
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Feed your jill in the same way you did while she was pregnant

2. Feed your jill in the same way you did while she was pregnant. Your jill will need just as much energy now that she is nursing as she did when she was preparing to give birth. Continue to feed her twice as much as she normally does.

  • Keep in mind that if she has a big litter (more than 10 kits), she will lose weight regardless of how much you feed her. With such a huge litter, the caloric and energy requirements will always overwhelm her ability to consume.
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Reduce the number of bedding changes

3. Reduce the number of bedding changes. Your jill’s cage will undoubtedly stink once she gives birth. However, you should just replace the bedding to look for neglected or abandoned kittens. Be as discrete while changing the bedding as you are when putting food and water in the cage.

  • If you keep the cage in a confined space, the odor may become intolerable. By leaving a door open, you may improve air circulation in the room.

4. Taking Care of the Kits

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Take care of the kits

1. Take care of the kits. The kits are just two inches long when they are born and are fully reliant on their mother. Their eyes and ears are closed, and they have just a smidgeon of pink fur on their bodies. You may begin handling them at one week old, bearing in mind their entire reliance on their mother.

  • You may have to wait more than a week if the jill isn’t delighted to have you near the cage while she tends for her offspring. You don’t want her to be terrified and consume any of her kids because you were too eager to hold them.
  • Kits are so little when they are born that you can possibly grasp one in each hand.
  • As the kits grow in size, you would gently grab them between their neck and shoulders with one hand while supporting their rear legs with the other.
  • Hold the kits for a few seconds before returning them to their enclosure.
  • Hold the kits for a longer period of time (a few minutes) and talk gently to them when they are around a month old.
  • Feeding should not be interrupted to hold the kits.
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Feed the rabbits

2.Feed the rabbits. When the kits are approximately three weeks old, begin exposing them to solid ferret chow. At this stage, they will still be breastfeeding. Because they will still have baby teeth, you should soak solid food in water before giving it to them. It may be beneficial to place the softened food in the refrigerator to allow it to soften even further.

  • You might also try feeding the kits baby food.
  • Because ferrets may be fussy eaters, you may need to add some kitten milk replacer to the kibble to make it more appealing.
  • The ferret diet should be rich in protein and low in carbs, according to the label. Meat, such as chicken, should be used as a protein source.
  • Cat foods are often not suitable for feeding ferrets because they lack sufficient fat to fulfill the nutritional requirements of a ferret.
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Wean the pups

3. Wean the pups. The kits, which are around six weeks old, should be weaned. By this age, their adult teeth will have grown in, so you may begin soaking their food in less and less water until you can give them fully dry food.

  • A kit will have all of its adult teeth by the age of nine months.
  • Keep in mind that kits should remain with their mother until they are 12 weeks old.
  • Although they should be able to consume solid food and be more comfortable with human handling by six weeks of age, they should remain in the care of their mother for a little longer.
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Take the kits to the veterinary clinic

4. Take the kits to the veterinary clinic. Each kit should be examined by your veterinarian to ensure that it is healthy and developing properly. The medical inspections included in the kits will include tests for parasites, ear mites, fleas, and birth abnormalities. Based on the findings of the physical examination, your veterinarian will give treatment suggestions.

  • The kits will also need multiple immunizations, including a canine distemper vaccine at two and three months, as well as a rabies vaccine at three and four months.
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Train the kits to go potty

5. Train the kits to go potty. Before you put the kits up for adoption, you need teach them in a few areas, including as toilet training and avoiding biting. A basic method for potty training the kits is to first observe where they generally go to the restroom. Install a litter box in that place and encourage them to use it.

  • Giving them a little reward each time they use the litter box may help them link the litter box with something positive.
  • Dust is not present in ideal litters. Recycled paper pellets and fine softwood shavings are two examples. If the wood shavings include cedar, the quantity will most likely be little enough to induce toxicity in your kits.
  • Clumping litter is not suggested since the kits may make a mess of it and inhale it into their lungs.
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Stop biting inappropriately

6.Stop biting inappropriately. Kits explore their new surroundings using their jaws, which means they’ll probably want to bite or nip at everything. Kits establish hierarchy with their litter mates by biting and nipping. 

  • If the kit bites when you take it up, say a strong ‘No!’ to deter unwanted biting behavior. It may take some time for the kits to realize they shouldn’t bite you, but they will ultimately learn.
  • Cuddle the kittens just until they learn not to bite.
  • Discouragement of biting in kittens at an early age will aid in their socialization when they are old enough to be adopted.
  • Kits that have been well-trained and socialized will not bite or nip as much as adults. They will, however, most likely continue to nibble at their toys and other cage things for the rest of their life.
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