My hubby purcased 3 Jills, they have been mated we think
(before we got them). I have noticed today that their
teats are starting to protude and they are taking
all the meat I give them into their nests. I am wondering
if this is a tell tale sign of how long before they
will give birth. Any help or advice you could give
me will be greatly appreciated.
Gestation is 42 days from mating, so
that should five you some idea of how far along they
are. Make sure they all have seperate nesting boxes
in a quiet, dark place. There boxes should have a lid
so you can look in to make sure that everything is
going okay during birth and also after, incase you
need to help untangle babies or remove dead ones. Best
look whilst moms are busy eating, give them pureed
cooked chicken, it will take longer to eat and give
you more time to look into nests.
Could you please tell me if the correct time to put the
jill with the hob for mating is 2 weeks after her
vulva is fully swollen or if it is 2 weeks from when
I first notice it starting to swell? I can not find
a clear answer on this so your help will be appreaciated.
As soon as it is fully swollen, which
should be about 2 weeks after you see it start to swell.
I’ve been going through your website and I’m
finding it very useful, thanks for all the information.
I’m about to breed my female ferret Nixi.
We’re all prepared, found a male, and will
be able to stay with her during the birthing.
My only question is, how will I clean the cage once
she has given birth? I know I shouldn’t handle
the kits in the first couple of weeks, and I know
that they have to be aided to empty their bowels,
but should I just leave it to the mother to keep
them clean and away from the mess, or should I clean
the cage as I usually do?
What country are you in and where do you keep your
ferrets, indoors or outside? What did you mean about
being there (fert or you) for the birthing?
The female ferret should be put in with male for
breeding only, after that she should be returned
to her own home. You do not need to do anything while
she is having the kits, but should provide a box
that can open from the top, to look in to make sure
that all is well. The mother will take care of her
young herself, you will not need to clean them or
do anything. Once you see them start coming out of
the box at about 2-3 weeks, you will know that they
can now use the bathroom without stimulus from mother
and they will head to the nearest corner to do their
If they are indoors, just provide a cardboard box,
make the hole in the front, so mama can climb out,
but babies cannot fall out, about 2-3" up from
bottom. Have flaps on top so you can open to see
in. The box should be large enough for mama to fit
comfortably with her babies, make sure she can stretch
out and care for them. Try to get 2 boxes the same,
so if one does get soiled you can change it without
her noticing too much.
I have a female ferret that is about a year and a half
old. This summer she come into heat and was taken
to a friends hob. After 42 days we found out she
had a false pregnancy. I'm wondering what are the
risks of her having a real pregnancy next year or
should I get her spayed? I note that ferrets are
rare pets her were I live and I'm aware of the usual
risks when breeding ferrets.
You can try to breed her next year, usually
it is only the first time that there can be problems.
Of course there is no guarantee that she will have
babies, but you need to make sure that you have homes
for the babies if she does and that the people know
how to care for them. If they take females they will
need to be spayed (if not breeding) and the males will
stink if not neutered. If you do not want to breed
her then get her spayed BEFORE she comes into season.
Just went through your web site and what a help! I have
a question and was wondering if you could help me.
I have 3 ferrets, 2 females and one male. Keyla and
Rex stay in one cage and Kike has her owe cage, since
she is a new member of the family. Rex is fine with
Kike, but Keyla is not to happy about having her
around. So I keep them apart for now. But my question
is: From what I been reading the time for breeding
did not start yet, but Rex and Keyla looks like they
started to mate. Is it the right time for them to
been mating yet? And if he mates with Keyla, could
he mate with Kike too? And how should it be done?
I am very new on it and would love to get your advice
You will know when the females are ready to mate,
when their vulvas are swollen, it would be best to
put the male and female together at that time, so
the male (who comes into heat earlier) will not keep
bothering the females. The male can be used to breed
with both the females, but you should wait until
their vulvas are really swollen, then put them one
at a time with the male and then mark the date of
mating on your calendar. Gestation is 42 days after.
You should prepare a quiet dark place for each female
to have their babies, make sure you have a box with
an opening at top, so you can look in to see that
mother and babies are fine. I do hope you have a
ferret knowledgeable vet to help out in case of need
and that you have homes for all these babies, if
not spaying the females will be necessary to keep
down unwanted ferrets.
I have 4 fixed ferrets and love them as my own children.
I have recently thought of breeding ferrets but am
having a hard time finding any that aren't fixed.
I live in Oklahoma do you know how to find any that
I can get?
Since running a shelter for 12 years and having
bred ferrets many years ago, I would not recommend
breeding, there are just too many ferrets in shelters
looking for homes! If you have homes for all your
expected kits, remember the females will need spaying
or they will die and the males do not make great
house pets, during breeding season they mark their
territory with their urine, plus the oils in their
fur make them stink! However you can put in a search
for Ferret Breeders, you will need a responsible
You might remember me from last year when I bred my ferrets
and had 10 babies. I have forgot when ferrets come
into season, could you please email me and let me
How are all the babies, did you find homes for
them? The male starts his season from Jan-July, the
female Mar-Sept, but of course this may vary slightly
with the individual ferrets.
I have a question about ferrets and hopefully you could email me back with the
answers! I understand your concerns about too many ferrets needing homes
that are currently in shelters. I visit shelters once a week to help out,
adopt, and do whatever I can to help. With this being said I have still decided
to breed ferrets but would be a beginner at it (breeding ferrets not owning
them). I live in the US. (southern NJ) and I would like to know where I could
buy two ferrets that would be best for breeding, if there is a certain time
of the year breeding is best or appropriate and how much they would be. Like
I said I am new at breeding, I understand it is very hard work, but would
love your advice on the questions I asked.
Male ferrets can start their breeding cycle in
January-July, the females usually begin in March-Sept.
However, you must remember that the female once in
heat MUST be bred or she will most
likely die from prolonged heat, of aplastic anemia.
She will not cycle in and out of heat as a cat and
dog but remain in heat until bred.
Male ferrets really do stink when in
heat and mark their territory with dribbles of urine,
so you will need a setup that is easy to clean. You
will need a vet very familiar with ferrets before you
need one to make sure he/she will be available incase
of trouble during pregnancy or birthing. If mother's
milk dries up you will have to feed babies every 2
hours, stimulating their bowels and keeping them warm
unless of course Mama can help.
The biggest responsibility for you, is
to make sure you have homes for all the babies before
they are born, there could be up to 13 babies. Remember
all the females will need spaying if there are no homes
for them and that is a large expense.
I'm going to be buying a minimum of two ferrets, and would like to breed them.
This would be the first time I have bred ferrets and if you don't mind I
have a couple of questions!
Can you breed ferrets related to each
other? e.g. brother and sister, as I will most probably
be getting them from the same litter? Are there any
things you must do to assist a female through pregnancy
and after birth? And must they be spayed/neutered after
the litter if you only intend to have one litter?
You cannot breed brother and sister, as with all
mammals you will end up with defective ferrets. You
do not have to assist a female, however you will need
a quiet dark habitat for her to birth and an opening
for you to peek in to make sure all is going well.
In the section of FERRET
SCHOOL there is an article about breeding
you might want to read.
Since you are in the UK I can put you
in touch with a friend who has years of experience
with ferrets. Also you must keep in mind that there
are hundreds of ferrets in SHELTERS all over the UK
and the US, there are already too many ferrets and
unless you have homes for them it is not a good idea
to breed them at all.
A male that is not neutered is 'extremely
stinky during breeding season' and does not make a
good house. The female will need to be spayed if not
bred as she will develop aplastic anemia only a couple
of weeks into her heat cycle and will die.
Mama is doing fine she is still feeding them but what
is worring me is she is so thin is that normal and
if there should be anything else we should give as
well as her normal food?
She needs lots of MEAT protein. If you
are feeding her kibble it takes a long time
for her body to break that down and of course
the babies are eating everything her body is
producing. Can you get her some jars of MEAT
BABYFOOD (MEAT ONLY) and give her 4-5 teaspoonsful
mixed with a teaspoon of water 2-3 times a
day? The babies will also start to eat a little
of this when they are old enough, which will
help mama and give her a rest.
You can cook some chicken with bones
and skin in water only. Once tender you can put in
a blender with some of the softer bones and when it
becomes puree put it through a sieve to remove any
sharp bones, it should look just like the babyfood.
Feed the soft food warm, the ferrets do not like it
We have 6 kits only a few days old and was wondering
about feeding them when older. At what age will they
need more than mother milk and what do we feed them.
What are you feeding the mother? It would
not hurt to supplement her food with chicken
baby food as it is high in protein and very
quickly assimilated by the body. You could
mix 3-4 teaspoonfuls with 1 teaspoon of water
(or 1 teaspoonful of vanilla Ensure) and give
it to her twice a day. Once you see the kits
trying to eat kibble or mom's baby food then
you can make a bowl for them, PLUS soak some
kibble in a little water till soft and leave
it for them in the cage.
They will probably be nibbling at 4-5
weeks old depending on mothers milk supply, you will
know when! They do not cut molars until they are 8-9
weeks old so softer food should be provided along with
a dish of hard kibble until you are sure they are eating.
I was wondering if I could trouble you for some advice.
We recently got 2 ferrets they were actually dumped
on my brothers doorstep, and since we are a very
animal friendly home we decided to take them in..
They have been fine and we have created a ferret
heaven for them in the kids old shed. They have tunnels
and ramps and little houses to explore they love
it to bits. We had worked out that one ferret is
male and the other female. And have looked at getting
them. As I found out about this issue with the females
and being in season etc.
Anyway getting to the point. Today we
went out to do the usual feeding and clean up etc and
have spotted around 6 or 7 babies in the house. Its
up on one of the top shelves and the ferrets seem to
favor that place to sleep. I HAVEN'T GONE IN TO MOVE
THE BOX OR ANYTHNG I HAVE JUST LEFT AS IS. The female
was quite happy to come out when we went in with food
etc. so seem quite relaxed, However I am not sure what
to now do with the male. Do I leave him in there or
take him out ..? Will he attack the babies? etc. I'm
so new to this, I'm a bit out of my depth. I am looking
at all sites on the internet to try and find out what
to do my books don't really say all that much on whether
it's safe to leave the male or anything.
It would be best to remove the male, he
might possibly kill the babies, but also since
he is in heat he will be after the female and
she will not be able to attend to her duties.
Make sure she always has food available and
also add some extra meat protein to boost her
milk production. Not sure what your diet is
for them right now, but you can buy meat baby
food (chicken/turkey) which will supply the
needed protein quick and easy for her to eat.
Give her about 3-4 teaspoonfuls, as a supplement,
to her regular diet.
She will become very protective of the
babies and may give some nasty bites, so make sure
she is occupied when looking in on them. You will need
to make sure that she is feeding them, that none die
and also that her milk does not dry up. PLEASE TRY
TO MOVE THE BABIES (WITH THE HOUSE) TO A SAFER PLACE,
before they wiggle out and fall. Unless you can make
sure they will not go over the edge, remember they
will be blind for 4 weeks and once they start to move
around it could be dangerous!
I was wondering if you could help me with my breeding
problem. I've read tons on ferret breeding but never
seen it. For the last three days i've taken my Albino
(Jill) to my friends house who owns a Sable (Hob).
The Jill is from last years breeding season although
the Hob may not. The Hob was rescued from another
friend who knew hardly anything about ferrets. The
current owner of the Hob does not know the age etc.
Every time I've taken my Jill to the Hob she seems
fine. She doesn't seem to be afraid or even in pain.
I know that ferret breeding can be very rough and
at first I was scared my Jill would be hurt and was
reluctant to breed them.
However now I know she's fine and that
she's not in too much harm. The problem is I don't
know how long they should be left together and I don't
know if the Hob is actually getting anywhere with her.
Three times they've met and its been for about an hour
too an hour and a half each time. By the end of it
the Jill is still full of energy and the Hob seems
to just want to do other things. Every time the Hob
gets the Jill at the back of the neck, he has about
a minute of wrestling her before she breaks free and
escapes. Then the Hob spends some time trying to get
her again. Only about ten times has he held her still
and looked like he's getting somewhere, is this enough
time to get her pregnant?
I'm just wondering if you have any tips
or anything that can help. Another question I have
is, how long is it before the female roughly knows
she's pregnant, plus how long is it before we can tell
she is pregnant?
It sounds as if breeding has taken place,
you will be able to tell by the size of the
female's vulva, each day it should shrink
a little. It should be obviously different
in 4-5 days. At that time if she is still
very swollen then you may introduce her to
the male again. If the swelling goes down
then you know it will be 42 days from your
You should make her a really comfortable
quiet place where she will not be interrupted during
birth, but you should be able to check on her just
in case there are any problems.You should be the only
one looking in, any stress from strangers will cause
problems for her and the kits.
I do hope you have lots of homes lined
up for these new babies.
Hi there, I'm thinking about breeding my female ferret
and any help you could give would be a huge help.
I've read a lot of your site but one thing I need
to be told direct is, will my ferret get hurt badly
during the mating? She's about 7 month old but compared
to the male she's going to be with she's so small.
I'm very attached to her and even though I want her
to breed I don't want her getting hurt.
When ferrets breed it is very rough! The
male will dig his teeth into the scuff of the
female so she will not run away. Even though
her skin is tough in that area, continual mating
can cause a lot of cuts and abrasions. This
means that you will need to separate the ferrets
once mating has taken place. Ferret breeding
is very noisy, with the female screaming and
the male chattering very excitedly, even angrily!
Hopefully you have homes for the babies that will
be produced, as there are already too many ferrets
needing homes all over the world! I am sending this
to my friend Chris in the UK who will be able to give
you much advice. Thank you so much for caring enough
to ask for help.
Just wanted to know if you can help us, as my wife and
I are becoming quite distressed. We have an albino
female and a masked male. The female is in heat,
this is evident from her screaming when he jumps
her (he's not gentle). As we would like them to mate
we are worried that they will not and she may die.
How do we tell if they have mated or if she is pregnant?
Have done some searching on the net but with no luck.
This has been going on for about two weeks now. We
want them to have one litter befor getting them fixed.
We bought the ferrets second hand and was told that
they have had one litter before. I am unsure of their
When ferrets mate, it is very rough,
the male holds her by the scuff with his
teeth which penetrate her skin, that's
why the female screams a lot. Have you
seem them actually mate, or are you seperating
them when you hear her scream?
If this has been going on for 2 weeks
then she most likely is pregnant, you can tell by looking
at her vulva, the swelling should have gone down some
by now. After the first mating you should have seperated
the two and you will need to keep them seperate, or
he will continue to mate with her.
If the mating is not succesful and her
vulva is still swollen, you will need to contacY a
vet and get her spayed before it is too late. Keeping
her in prolonged heat will cause her death.
At school my friend wants to breed her ferret. The ferret is 2 years old. Is
that to old to have kits?
A ferret can breed at 4 months and up, in fact if she isn't bred, she will
develop aplastic anemia and die! I doubt your friend's ferret is a breeding ferret
if she has never been bred before, where did she get her? Most ferrets in the
United States are already spayed/neutered, before you buy them, it is very unusual
to buy a breeding ferret. Another thing your friend might want to think about,
if she has a breeder, is whether she has homes for all the babies, the ferret
can have up to 13 kits? There are already thousands of ferrets sitting in shelters
waiting for homes, so breeding more is not really a good idea. You might want
to read my article---TO
BREED OR, NOT TO BREED--- in THE FERRET SCHOOL on my site.
My daughter is the owner of 3 ferrets, and I came to
your site to find some info so I am prepared. Here
are my questions. First, when ferrets breed, do they
get caught together like a dog? Second, how long
is a pregnancy for a ferret? My daughter has raised
these little critters since they were four weeks
old. She would be heartbroken if anything were to
happen. I sure hope you can help me. I must admit
that I am impressed with what good pets these little
guys make. Thank you in advance for your reply.
When ferrets breed it is quite rough. The male grabs
the female by the neck with his teeth that often
penetrate the skin and the ferret will scream very
loudly. It is a really noisy encounter and can last
for several hours! Please read my article in the FERRET
SCHOOL on BREEDING,
it will go into a few problems often encountered
with breeding ferrets.
One thing to consider, besides dangers
to the female, is also homes for the young kits! If
homes are not available, there is no point in breeding
ferrets, there are already thousands in shelters waiting
It is not not a good idea to pass along breeding ferrets
to others, unless they are responsible and are willing
to spend a lot of money on medical care, should the
female have problems and the ferrets need neutering/spaying
before they can sell them. Just a few points to consider.