{NIP TRAINING YOUR FERRETS}

 

        Kits can be quite the challenge if you are new to ferrets, they can be quite daunting too! Kits are young animals that are new to the world and just want to play and explore. Young ferrets do this with their mouths much like puppies. Ferrets have small teeth as youngsters and as they grow older these small teeth will drop out to be replaced by big strong adult teeth. It is vital to get nip training done as nipping with those adult teeth can be a bit painful!

 

        Here at the ferretry we handle our kits daily, getting them used to being handled, being played with by humans, and being checked over for any routine maintenance. This constant handling is the very beginning of their training as they will learn that humans are nothing to be feared. Ferrets are naturally curious animals and will come right to you in order to investigate what you are. A young kit will often pinch at your skin with their teeth to invite you to play, this pinching is nipping and is a natural way for ferrets to instigate play together. Ferrets have a very tough skin, much tougher than ours, so a little nip to a ferret is nothing more than a poke, but a nip to a human can hurt! We need to teach the babies that we are different and the way we do this is with a short, sharp, high pitched noise like "OUCH" or "EEP", then we pull away and stop all play.

 

        Naturally a kit wants to play, but will soon learn that nipping their human means play will stop. It is crucial that a kit has another ferret (preferable of similar age) to play with and take most of his/her boisterous behaviour out on. It is also crucial that a kit is fed lots of raw meat meals such as diced chicken and beef mince. Raw meat keeps a kits' tummy full much more than kibble will and makes them a lot less inclined to nip at you when they have a tummy full of meat!

 

            Consistency is key to keeping up the nip training and many kits stop quite quickly by the time they are 10 weeks. However as your kit ages they hit their "teenage stage" by about 16 to 20 weeks, here they will try to test you again with the new adult teeth they have. Start the training again from scratch and they tend to stop testing you again after a few days. Don't forget, as your ferret kits mature to adults they will very probably become nippy again due to hormones, get them neutered asap to stop this nipping in adults.