The general rule is: ferrets tolerate cold better than heat. In principle, leaving the ferrets outside in winter is wonderful for the animals. However, they need some time to grow their plush, warm winter fur and the opportunity to put on some winter bacon.
Plan to keep ferrets outside in good time in winter
In order for the ferrets to grow their winter fur, they must gradually get used to the falling temperatures. If you only put the animals outside in late autumn, your body will not be able to react to the cold in good time, your coat will be too thin and you will feel cold. They can get sick, for example, catch a cold or pneumonia.
So if you want to keep ferrets outdoors in winter, you should put them in the enclosure in spring or summer. You can then keep them outdoors all year round. Exceptions apply to sick and weakened animals; they are in better hands with housekeeping, because this way you can keep an eye on them and look after them more thoroughly.
How to protect ferrets from the cold in winter
In winter, ferrets need at least a well-insulated dormitory, where they can retreat in the cold and at night. It must be large enough for all residents and allow air circulation despite the cold and draft protection. Otherwise, moisture can collect in the house and form mold. An extra house for water and feed is also useful, as the food will not freeze as quickly. Warmable bowls or bowl pads are nevertheless recommended so that the martens do not have to lick ice.
Dormitories and feeding houses, like the entire enclosure, must also be easy to clean. Make sure that straw and bedding are dry and clean and change them less than once more than once. Keep in mind that you should check on your ferrets more often in winter to make sure they are fine and not too cold.
Special features in winter for ferret nutrition
Ferrets are small predators and carnivores, they generally need enough animal proteins to stay healthy. In winter, their energy requirements increase and they eat up a small fat reserve as a protective layer. To make this winter bacon, you need an extra portion of meat on your menu from autumn. Males gain around 500 grams in winter, females around 300 grams.
In connection with the winter fur, your ferrets look particularly plush and plump in winter - as long as they are still lively and do not sit lazily in the corner, there is no need to worry. In spring, they gradually get their summer dress again and eat less again, so that the winter bacon dissolves again.