Ferrets are one of the most adorable pets one can have. Whether it is cuddling with them or simply watching them play, they can always brighten up your mood. Like all pets, mating is an important aspect of a ferret’s life and something that any ferret owner has to be very wary of.
In this regard, it is not as easy as it might sound. Getting ferrets to mate is not as simple as putting a male and female ferret together in a ferret cage. If you want your ferrets and their babies to be healthy, it is important to know how to go about it.
Here, we will be explaining just that.
How Do Ferrets Mate
let’s walk you through the process step-by-step.
Step 1: Selecting Ferrets for Mating
Not all ferrets are suitable for mating. Those that have a physical or behavioral illness can pass on these undesirable traits to their offspring.
You must also avoid mating ferrets that are closely related. This can lead to complications such as blindness in the offspring, issues during pregnancy for the mother, and others.
It is advised to visit a vet and have both your male and female checked. The vet can then give you an informed opinion if these would be suitable partners.
Step 2: Knowing If the Ferrets Are Ready for Mating
A ferret is normally ready for mating on the first spring after his or her birth. A useful guideline is male ones are ready for mating at 6-8 months after birth, while females are ready at 4 months.
Ferrets that are ready for mating can have a pungent smell, and their skin can feel greasy to touch. Females usually develop an enlargement of their vulva while males have similar growth in their testicles. Both of which can be easily noticeable.
There will also be other behavioral patterns associated with mating, such as urinating to mark one’s territory.
Step 3: The Mating
Once you are certain your ferrets are suitable for mating, and it is the right time, you can put them in together. It is advisable for the owner to keep an eye on his pets as they settle in with one another. The mating act can get quite aggressive.
The male may forcefully bite the female and push her around their living area. Now, the biting may look harsh but is, in fact, a necessary step. Female hormones in ferrets are often triggered by external stimulation such as this.
It is important you don’t get overly concerned and separate your ferrets during the mating process. During the sexual act, their bodies are physically locked with one another, and trying to separate them may be harmful.
Step 4: Caring for the Mother Until She Gives Birth
By two weeks, you should be able to tell if the mating was successful. The female ferret will have gained significant weight, and you may consult a vet to be sure. A pregnancy normally lasts 42 weeks for ferrets.
During this time, the food and calorie intake will increase for the mother as she must provide nutrition for herself and the baby.
It is OK to let her be with her mating partner during this time.
Two weeks before giving birth, you should move her to a separate cage that has paper bedding along with shavings from pine trees. She will use these to prepare a nest for her new-born.
Step 5: Caring for the Mother After She Gives Birth
After birth, you must let your ferret spend time alone with her children, or as they are called, kits. It is important to keep contact to a minimum, as ferrets can even eat their own offspring if they detect a threat.
Be careful when providing food to them.
Do it as quietly and subtly as possible. You should continue to provide extra amounts of high-calorie food, as she is now nursing herself back to health.
Do, however, give a quick look to assess how the mother and her babies are doing. Ferrets can develop mammary gland inflammation and can have a relatively high infant mortality rate.
Now that you know how ferrets mate, it’s time to put your knowledge into action. Let me know if you need any further help.