Housing is a topic we all had to look into before purchasing at a ferret at some stage. For those who are completely new to ferrets, how you house your ferret is a very important subject. In this article we will discuss a few topics that relate to this and hopefully it can help you to get a better understanding on ‘why,’ ‘what,’ and ‘how’ you would house your ferret.
The type of housing required, including the overall size and other needs, is determined by the reason for confinement.
Ferrets can be housed for a number of reasons that may include:
⇒ Confinement (long or short term)
⇒ Surgery / Veterinary reasons (short term usually)
⇒ Observation (Eg. Isolation and quarantine)
⇒ Boarding (Long or short term)
For example, many ferret owners choose to house their ferrets in a cage or enclosure long term, this will often require more substantial building materials or other materials needed according to the ferrets needs. Unless you’re housing in a large enclosure, you may be required to bring the ferrets out daily for socialization and play. Out of cage time is absolutely essential for any confined animal let alone a ferret, as it will aid in providing your ferret with adequate enrichment and stimulation.
What is Housing?
Housing is basically anywhere that you desire to keep your ferret, and there is no right or wrong way of housing a ferret. Unless of course there are specific rules and regulations according to your country in terms of how the animal should be kept and/or there is a risk against the health and safety of the animal or handler.
In some countries, even the popular US cage called ferret nation wouldn’t be considered adequate for the ferret’s needs when you consider how many hours the species in general would naturally be required to have, whereas those in the US may not necessarily think that is the case as long as the animal gets many hours outside of the cage itself on a daily basis.
How should I house my ferret?
How one houses their ferret is entirely up to them as long as they follow the guidelines of their local council or country, if there are any and fulfill the ferrets biological needs & requirements in order to live a happy, healthy and long life free from harm or unnecessary stress. So as the care taker of this animal, It is your responsibility to look into your country guidelines for exotic or caged animals to be absolutely sure you are meeting it’s needs and abide by the law.
It is also essential to keep in mind that not all veterinarians, breeders, or owners, full know or understand appropriate husbandry practices so any information received should be done so with caution and when in doubt, use common sense.
Examples of housing for ferrets:
⇒ Free roam living (entirely or partially) inside the house – Often they have the entire house to roam, or a partial closed off section with an open cage or sleeping quarters;
⇒ Enclosures (walk in cages of various sizes depending on where you have it. Many build large enclosures in backyards, even some people have used modified chicken coops)- Extra care should be taken as the ferret does enjoy burrowing and digging as well as climbing;
⇒ Cages (various sizes and types) – Minimum dimensions for 1-2 ferrets is around 91cmL/63cmW/96cmH, remember bigger is better;
⇒ Bungalows or caravans (trust me I’ve seen people convert those into ferret rooms!);
⇒ Veterinary clinic locker cages or small cage or carriers – Only short time confinement or travel!
Cage design in general should take into consideration the following points:
⇒ Must provide warmth in winter and keep cool in summer,
⇒ Must have good ventilation.
⇒ Weatherproof – needs to be able to protect the ferret from the elements (wind, rain, sun even)
⇒ Provide security – not only should it be secure for keeping the animal in, the animal should also feel safe inside it.
⇒ Ease of cleaning – You should be able to easily be able to clean it or access for cleaning.
⇒Ease of access to the animals – and for cleaning purposes.
⇒ If under observation, Animals need to be clearly visible (Eg. Isolation and quarantine cages)
⇒ Safety – no jagged edges or anything that can cause injury.
⇒ Size should be suitable for the ferret, the number of ferrets within it and the purpose of confining + length of confinement.
For more information on housing and husbandry, please see our other articles within the husbandry section of The Natural Ferret. Any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.