When you consider breeding animals for wholeprey, you need to be 100% committed to those animals.
You’re taking lives into your care, you’re responsible for their health, well-being, enrichment and so on. You may need to cull animals for various reasons (sickness, runts, cutting litters down to bearable sizes for the females, culling out the biters or sickly animals etc etc). So if you cannot handle the unfortunate but sometimes necessary “killing “side of things, then please for the sake of any/all animals, don’t consider breeding. It is not all cute babies and happiness.
You need to have a good understanding of that specific animal husbandry. Research on the requirements, cage wise, food wise, about the gestation period and basic breeding practices. Please do things humanely as possible, feed your animals a good diet that can cater for growth and reproduction.
Respect your animals and know when to retire them from breeding. Know your options for retired breeders, you can choose to end the life or keep but end breeding or re-home. Which ever you decide that is your decision.
Over breeding (or back-to-back breeding) can cause stress on the females bodies over the long term and that in turn may affect breeding production. (You may see less babies, or more deaths.) You need to be prepared in advance as anything can happen with pregnancy. Females may encounter issues with labor or egg laying and may require vetting. Whether you vet is entirely up to you but if you need to be prepared to make the call to dispatch the suffering animal if worst comes to worse.
If you cannot take responsibility for the animals, they may have unnecessary suffering and that is not right by them. They provide our ferrets with food, it is our duty to provide them with some forms of love through care, enrichment and general good breeding practices. Do right by the animals, provide adequate food and water, good cage or enclosures, enrichment, all that and you will in return have good production for prey animals and you will be greatly rewarded.
Watching the animals from the moment they are born, through to adult hood is incredible and amazing. I can tell you right now, I learnt so much from my own breeding animals. I’ve seen their affection, the way each mother and sometimes father care for their young. It truly is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Bonding with the animals is a risk and there will be times where you may re-think “Can I do this…” so know the limit and be confident you can take charge. Remind yourself why you started and why you should continue, it is not for you, it is for your ferrets. Respect life for what it is, not for how long the animal may have here with us. Time is nothing for animals, they don’t think of the future or what ifs or what happens when they die.
I personally promised my animals that even though It hurts me to have to breed them and end their lives, that I will provide them with endless love, good nutrition, fun and good enrichment because they deserve that while they are in my care.
Before you leap into the breeding project, grab some books on the species you wish to breed, join some forums, learn as much as you can and be willing to spend a fair bit to get started as well as spend well for simple maintaining and upkeep.
Ferret lover and enthusiast from VIC, Australia. Machan currently has 5 ferrets who are fed a combination of raw frankenprey model diet and wholeprey. She is a major species appropriate diet for ferrets advocate, co-creator/admin/writer for The Natural Ferret. Machan loves writing and research, her favourite topics being toxicology, infectious diseases & holistic veterinary medicine.
View all posts by Machan