Pregnancy is a vital part of a ferret’s life cycle. In order to have a safe and healthy delivery of a pregnant ferret, there are important facts to know and steps to follow that every owner must understand. Below are some of the most crucial factors before, during and after a ferret’s pregnancy.
Pregnant Ferret Facts
Ferret’s pregnancy lasts about 40 to 50 days. During this time, the pregnant ferret needs more hours of sleep and more food to sustain the nutrition needed by her and the baby in her womb. It is very vital to ensure that the surrounding environment is always peaceful and calm so the pregnant ferret can easily take naps and have longer than usual sleeping hours. Nutritious foods that are protein rich specially red meat must also be given regularly to prepare the body for the delivery.
About two to three weeks before the estimated delivery day, the pregnant ferret must be moved to a secluded portion of the house where she can build her nest. Small pieces of shaved paper or pine trimming must be given as materials for her nest. She will also likely pluck a few feathers from her body and use as additional bedding materials for her nest.
Mother ferrets commonly deliver 7 to 10 babies, which are very small and pinkish in color. Aside from being hairless, these cute little ferrets are blind for the first couple of weeks so they must be kept near their mother while making sure that the surrounding area is free from predators. Around twenty days after the delivery, expect the babies to change its color while their eyes start to open. In addition, expect more activities as the babies will try to explore their surroundings more often.
During and a few days after the delivery, the mother and babies must never be touched or interrupted, unless it’s an emergency. During this stage, the babies still have weak immune system so any object or person that can be a potential bacteria and virus carrier must be avoided.
The mother ferret will also produce a nutritious placenta which she will probably eat to provide her body with more nutrition as she produces milk for the babies. Always make sure that all the babies get fair share of their mother’s milk. Furthermore, it is highly recommended to feed the mother foods that contain high calories so she can produce more milk. Aside from healthy food, she also needs constant supply of fresh and clean water.
Proper Care for Baby Ferrets
Like humans, baby ferrets need a lot of time to sleep for a healthy grow. For the first couple of weeks, they will be fully dependent on their mother for food and protection. During the first month, the babies are susceptible to many dangers in terms of health and outside factors. When not given proper nutrition, a baby ferret has more chances of dying than surviving. In addition, factors like weather and safety will play a great part on its chances of survival.
By the time they reach six weeks, the babies can stop milking from their mother. During this time, their body and skeletal structures are rapidly growing so proper ferret food must be given. Slowly introduce any food given to adult ferrets like meat, eggs, commercialized ferret food, kibbles, etc. In case the baby finds it difficult to chew or swallow, try to soak the food in clean water for about 5 minutes before serving. Doing so will soften the food and make it easily digested. Whatever food you give, make sure that it contains minimum of 30% protein and 20% fat, which are needed for energy and proper growth. As much as possible, do not give them cat food that contains too much calories and carbohydrates. Cat food can also cause medical conditions such as indigestion and intestinal problems.
At about 8 weeks, the baby ferrets will change its color from pale to its natural color. During this time, its eyesight has fully developed, as well as its other senses. The babies will naturally be more curious about their surrounding and will demand more interaction from their siblings and people in your household. By this time, required vaccinations must also be given to minimize the risks of various diseases.