Ferret Breeders - Are they ethical or just after your money?

There are a lot of ferret breeders around the world, but how do you know you are getting a ferret that comes from an ethical breeder?

We would all like to believe that all breeders are great, caring and loving people who have the ferret’s best intentions at heart...however...sadly, this is not always the case.

If you have decided not to adopt a ferret from a shelter and have chosen to go with a breeder instead, then here is a list of things to look for before you buy.

Good Ferret Breeders will:

  • Keep their ferrets clean and adopt a ferret from a shelter and have chosen to go with a breeder instead, then here is a list of things to look for before you buy. 
  • Good Ferret Breeders will: Keep their ferrets clean and healthy Keep their ferrets vaccinated with appropriate documentation to prove this 
  • Allow for you to inspect the animals, their water and quality of feed 
  • Will keep appropriate vet records and records of each litter which can be photocopied on request 
  • Will have testimonials from previous buyers 
  • Should have an open door policy for inspection, by any animal welfare governing body eg. RSPCA or the local ferret or animal welfare society 
  • Should make sure to introduce new ferrets to the breeding program to ensure a wide and healthy gene pool 
  • Allow you to play with your chosen ferret for a little while before sale so that you can make sure it is ok and see if its personality suits yours 
  • Must be happy to answer any of your questions in an educated and professional manner(before and after the sale) 
  • Should have spare cages to use as nursing cages and quarantine areas for sick ferrets 
  • Should provide a birth certificate with the kit which states the parents and date of birth for the new owners and for the breeders records 
  • Should want to be contacted if you have any health concerns for your ferret 
  • Should give an option to bring the ferret back (eg. cooling off period) if you decide not to keep it or can no longer care for it. Or provide an alternative option eg. local welfare society. 
  • Should not sell kits before they reach at least 8-10 weeks of age 
  • Should be well educated in regards to ferrets 
  • Should provide you with an information pack/sheet on caring for ferrets or should direct you to appropriate information sources eg. Ferret-World.com, your local ferret welfare society, Ferrets for dummies book etc. 

    Other things to look for before you purchase your ferret from ferret breeders:
  •  Clean cages Clean litter trays Clean water and food bowls
  • Hold the ferret and see if it has been handled – excessive aggressiveness could mean a lack of proper handling 
  • Check for fleas 
  •  Check to see if fur is soft and clean 
  • Check if ears are clean 
  • Check overall appearance of ferret – does it look healthy? 
  • Check for foot mange or footrot, check that the nails are hard and not soft – if they are soft it could mean that the ferret has been walking over ground that has excessive moisture (normally urine and faeces), which means that the cage was not cleaned regularly enough 
  •  Check that the toe nails are not too long 
  • Check that the eyes are clean and conjunctivitis free 
  • Check the ferret’s genitals to make sure they are clean and hygienic 
  • Check how the ferret walks to make sure it does not have any mobility problems 

    Always make sure that the breeder actually cares about the animals and not just your money. Print this page off before you go to a ferret breeder or a pet shop so that you can use it as a guideline and checklist of what you should look for to make the best choice. Hopefully in time with these high standards the breeders who are just in it for the money will go out of business, as all animals deserve to be treated with respect. 

    For more guidelines on how to choose ethical ferret breeders check out InFerret Groups - Breeders Code of Ethics

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