Basics of Ferret Breeding

Ferret breeding is not as simple as putting a pair to live together and letting them just multiply. Just like other pet animals, breeding them requires proper knowledge from expert pet owners and ferret veterinarian. Ferret breeding is quite complex and can be very expensive because you have to let your ferrets undergo some testing before you can decide whether the pair of ferret that you will breed is right for each other. Below are some of the things you need to consider before deciding to breed your ferret.

Things to Consider in Ferret Breeding

First of all and before anything else, you have to make sure that the ferret pair is genetically unrelated with each other. You cannot mate a female ferret with its son or a male ferret to its daughter. The pair of ferrets must not be in any way closely related to each other because it could cause serious health problems to the kits such as deformities, genetic diseases, and other fatal problems. If your ferrets’ history is unknown, it is better to have them undergo genetic testing to determine if they are family.

Female ferrets or the jill reach its sexual maturity by the age of 4 months while the male ferrets or hob reach sexual maturity at age 6 to 8 months.  The jill can come into heat on a bi-yearly basis. You will be able to determine if the ferret is ready to mate by observing some of their actions and physical changes.

The hob will come into a rutting period and will smell terrible as there are times when they will rub their body on their own urine and start marking their territories. Also, the testicle will look as if it’s hanging low from his body. As for the jill, their vulva will protrude and will look swollen. There will be pink discharge coming from their vagina. When these signs are present, this means they are ready to mate.

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Ferret Breeding Instructions:

  1. Put the jill inside the hob’s cage and allow the hob to smell the jill. Afterwards, you will see them like fighting and showing violent behavior towards each other which is just normal and part of their sexual process. The hob may bite the jill’s neck and may flip her around but the purpose of this is to stimulate the jill’s sex hormones needed for ovulation. You may sometimes hear the jill cry.
  1. Do not attempt to separate them during mating even if you see that the jill could be hurt because there is a point where their genitals are locked up with each other’s genitals. Separating them could cause potential harm for both ferrets.
  1. Once they are done mating or when their genitals are separated naturally, you can remove the jill and place it back in its own cage.

It would take a week or two to know if the mating is successful. The jill will show signs of pregnancy if it gains weight and shows nesting behavior. These behavior includes:

-pulling out of hair from her body
-clucking noises
-eating more than the usual food intake

  1. If the mating had failed and no signs of pregnancy are showing, you can put them back in a cage together. The jill will still remain in heat until it successfully breeds. (This is also one of the reasons why some pet owners prefer to spay their female ferrets.)
  1. When the jill becomes positive on pregnancy, you, as the caretaker, should attend to its needs in order to maintain a good health and strength needed for the delivery of the kits. The jill also needs to be healthy in order to properly nurse the newborn kits.
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Caring for pregnant jill requires that you offer her adequate supply of food. Pregnant ferrets demand high amount of protein and calories. Only feed her with high quality ferret food and cooked meat especially chicken and liver. Always make sure that fresh and clean water is available at all times.

It is important that you separate the pregnant jill from other ferrets as the jill will be more aggressive at this period. Also, the jill needs her own space to build her nest to prepare for her delivery. As much as possible, place her in a quiet, warm, and dimly lit cage. Help her build her nest by providing blankets and beddings.

When the breeding is successful and the jill delivers all her kits safely, make sure to give her privacy to avoid stress, but also make sure to check on her and her kits if they are feeding well and that the mother is properly nursing the her newborns.


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