So, you want to breed ferrets. Before you actually decide to jump into the ferret breeding business, there are many things that you need to consider first. Breeding ferrets is not for everyone, and in some areas, it is even illegal!
If you really think that you want to breed ferrets, the first thing to consider is that there isnt much money in it. You arent going to get rich from it. It is true that you can sell ferrets anywhere from $50 to $400 each, but when you consider the setup required, and the healthcare requirements of the ferrets in your possession as well as basic care requirements, you will find out that it actually costs money to breed ferrets unless you are set up for a really big operation.
Outside of the United States, it is illegal to breed ferrets in Australia, Iceland, and New Zealand. In the United States, it is illegal to breed ferrets in the states of Hawaii and California, and some major cities, such as Washington D.C and New York City. It is also illegal to breed ferrets in other US cities and towns, but you will need to contact your local Fish and Game department to find out if it is legal in your particular area or not.
Note that breeding ferrets requires a huge commitment on your part. You will not want to keep your breeding male in your home the odor is simply unbearable during mating season. Most breeders are set up for the ferrets to live outdoors. This helps them stick to a more natural breeding schedule, and of course negates the problem of the males odor.
Females are sexually mature at six months of age, and are in heat during the months of March, April, May, June, July, and August. Males, on the other hand, are not sexually mature until they are between six and eight months old, and will typically mate with any female ferret that they can find during those same months.
Breeding ferrets should not be housed together until breeding season. The female will have a swollen vulva when she is ready to mate, as well as a discharge. The male will have fully extended testicles when he is ready to mate.
When the male mates with the female, it may appear that he is fighting with her. He will bite her on the neck, but this is his attempt to get her aroused, and it also aids in making her passive. The breeding male and female should remain housed together for approximately three days. Once the female has conceived, you will notice that her vulva has been reduced to its normal size.
Six weeks after conception, the female will give birth to the kits. Kits arrive with very little fur, and their eyes will be closed. Kits are weaned at six weeks of age, but should be handled by humans when they are about three weeks old. Before then, it is best to leave them alone, as the mother ferret may not appreciate her babies being handled.