Date: 2001-04-03 07:16:00 UTC
Subject: How ferrets are kept in Sweden
In Sweden, ferrets are usually spayed/neutered when they first come
into heat. For a ferret born in April that means it will be fixed
sometime February-Mars the next year, when it's 10-11 months old.
Many ferrets are bred once, or several times, before they are
spayed/neutered. Ferrets are not descented.
Most people keep their ferrets indoors, very few keep them outdoors
like I do. Most ferrets are fed dry kibble, typically some type of
kitten food such as IAMS Kitten. We have a few brands of ferret
kibble too, Ferrets Choice, Vitakraft Premium Menu, and Ferret
Complete. VERY FEW people feed their ferrets a natural diet like I do.
(I feed chickens, rabbits, mice, fish, insects etc as a sole diet to
some of my ferrets, the others are fed IAMS Kitten combined with
natural ingredients occasionally.)
Cage stress can be more or less ruled out in Sweden, because ferrets
kept for breeding purposes are not allowed to be housed in cages
smaller than 5 square metres. And practically all pet ferrets are
allowed to roam free indoors.
Various types of cancerous growths are a quite common cause of death
in older ferrets in Sweden. Insulinoma/adrenal/cardio are not common.
People with pet ferrets are usually very alert, and will rush to the
vet at the first sign of illness.
We have a small community of working ferrets, and I don't think their
owners are as prone to visit the vet. But the working ferrets appears
to be a bit healthier actually (most of them are kept outside and fed
natural). I know of some breeders (working ferrets) who have bred
wild ferrets into their lines. The Swedish wild ferrets I have seen
are much healthier, athletic and intelligent than the Swedish pet
ferrets. So there's a genetic difference between these two for sure.