Female ferrets are termed “seasonally polyestrus”. This means that they can come into season more than once during the breeding season, which usually starts in early spring. For those of you in the northern hemisphere that would be around March, while for us Antipodeans it means about October.
You really can’t miss noticing if your female is on heat, as her vagina swells up and out so that it looks like a chickpea (garbanzo) under her tail.
As stated earlier, she MUST be taken out of season otherwise she might die from aplastic anemia.
Full males usually come into rut a couple of months earlier. If you buy a full male, please understand that they can be incredibly smelly when they are in rut, and are also quite aggressive with other males.
I would suggest neutering when your boy reaches 6 months at the latest. You will be amazed at how affectionate and docile he will become afterwards, not to mention sweet smelling!
I would again stress that breeding ferrets is nothing like breeding dogs or cats. There is so much that can go wrong, for both the mother and the kits, so please don’t even entertain having a litter “just to see what it’s like”!
You can read more on Heat Periods in Ferrets here …
Lack of Sex in a Female Ferret Can Be Deadly! by Dr Susan Muller Esneault
Reproductive Medicine in Ferrets by Vladimir Jekl (Veterinary Clinic Jekl & Hauptman, Brno, Czech Republic)
Spay Ferret (Long Beach Animal Hospital – has pretty graphic photos of the actual operation)
If you don’t have a ferret savvy vet, this pdf might be good to print out and show him should you be concerned that your jill is suffering from being in heat for too long. Download it HERE.
For those of you who would like to read what scientists thought in 1904 of a jill’s estrous cycle, you can download the pdf HERE.
(Last updated November 2019)
DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this page is not meant to replace seeing a veterinarian if you think your ferret is ill. It’s only meant to supply general information on a particular illness which was obtained either from personal experience with my sick ferrets, or from books and/or the Internet.