Having Multiple Ferrets

If you already have a ferret and are adding another, or if you are adopting two ferrets at one time, it is very important the two ferrets are of similar age, temperament and activity level. If you have a four year old ferret and want to add a younger ferret, like say two years old, the younger ferret is usually going to be a lot more active. This can be frustrating to both ferrets because the young one wants a playmate and the older one wants to play less and rest more. Frustration leads to stress, which can lead to stress related illnesses like an ulcer, bacterial infections, inflammatory bowel disorder, etc. It can also cause one of the ferrets, usually the older one, to lash out at the other ferret.

Also, not all ferrets get along. It is important the ferrets be allowed to interact to be sure they are a good match. When someone wants to adopt from this rescue, they must bring their ferret with them so that we can see which ones get along with it. The ferret always gets to choose the new ferret, not the human. Taking a ferret home without letting it meet your existing ferret can mean fights and a lot of stress and tension. This can cause the same medical issues listed above.

The ferret you already have is going to be nervous about the new ferret and vice versa. They have to learn to trust each other. The house is the territory of your ferret. It will now have to deal with another animal bringing in all sorts of new scents. The new ferret will have to deal with entering a home with already established scents.

Suggestions: Wash and clean anything and everything that belongs to your ferret, so that less of its scent is all over the house. Give them separate food and water dishes / bottles in different places, so they don’t have to compete or aggravate each other when eating or drinking. Praise both ferrets often, so don’t feel like the other is getting more attention. Consider letting them have separate time out in the house for a little while. The less threatened they each feel, the shorter time it will take for them to accept each other.

If one ferret snaps or starts a fight with another ferret, pick up the ferret tell it no, then let it go a distance away from the attacked ferret. If it happens again, do the same thing. If it happens again, put it in a cage or carrier as a time out, but only for about 15 seconds. (Any longer than 30 – 60 seconds and they don’t remember why they’re in the cage.) If it happens again, put the ferret in the cage or carrier for 30 seconds. The next time for a minute. They get the picture pretty fast that there will be repercussions for fighting. However, sometimes that just doesn’t make a difference.