Ferrets are one of the many natural predators of birds. They’re obligate carnivores, which means they thrive on mice, rabbits, birds, possums, and other similar creatures in the wilderness. If you plan on having both a ferret and a bird as a pet, you should be 100% sure you can keep them completely separated at all times. More specifically, on different levels of your home.
In this article, we’ll talk about ferrets and birds and whether it’s a good idea to have both as pets or not.
Do birds and ferrets get along?
You’ll never manage to make your ferret accept your bird as a housemate no matter how hard you may try. This is simply because ferrets hunt birds in the wild very often. The only way your ferret might not attack your bird is if it never goes hungry and is quite old, which makes climbing to the cage a bit more difficult. But it’s still not a good idea to keep them in the same room.
When it comes to house ferrets, even the smell of a bird can wake their hunting instinct up. This may even cause them to stop eating and continuously start looking around for the bird. No matter how good the kibble is, a live prey will always be a ferret’s favorite. More than that, a determined ferret might find their way out of its cage and inside the bird’s cage.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t have both of them as pets in the same household. You just have to have a very big house that can be separated in two. Every family member needs to always keep the doors between the two sides closed at all times and make sure the sneaky fury pet won’t get past them. Keeping them on different floors is always recommended.
There’s a bigger chance for a house cat to get used to your bird than your ferret. A house cat might not have had the chance to hunt a bird yet. But if it’s roaming free outside, keeping a bird when you have a cat is a bad idea as well.
Can a ferret kill a bird?
Ferrets are definitely strong enough to kill a bird, and a cage might not be a big issue for them. More than that, a ferret can kill birds as small as a sparrow or as big and heavy as an adult chicken. They might look very adorable and they may love getting lots and lots of kisses from you, but they are still predators that can kill all of your small pets if they get to them while you’re away. This includes rodents, birds, and even cats.
Ferrets are great hunters as they have an amazing sense of smell, great low-light vision, and they can move very fast. More than that, they live in business (a group of ferrets is called a “business”). This makes taking down bigger birds a lot easier for wild ferrets. They’re also strong enough to carry their prey quite far away.
If the inevitable happens and you get home one day to an empty and trashed cage, look where the ferret usually hoards its extra snacks. You might have what remains of the bird there. And if this happens, there is no point in scolding the ferret as it did what it was naturally built to do. By scolding and punishing the ferret, all you do is make them think you don’t want them to eat, and they’ll hate you for it.
Are birds part of a typical ferret diet?
Birds are a big part of a ferret’s diet regardless if the ferret is wild or in captivity. In the wilderness, ferrets can hunt birds of various sizes, which is also why they are considered vermin by farmers. They can also destroy the natural balance of an ecosystem if released in the wild in the wrong areas.
But more than that, birds are the main food of pet ferrets as well. It doesn’t matter if owners feed their ferret raw or cooked meat, there’s a very big chance all the meat comes from birds. Chicken is very popular as ferret food and it can be offered both cooked plainly and raw.
And raw diets include various parts of a chicken. More than that, many owners freeze whole small chicks and thaw them right before a meal. Besides birds, mice, rabbits, possums, and other small creatures are also common in a ferret’s diet.
Should you introduce ferrets to birds? (Not a good idea)
You should never introduce a ferret to a bird unless you’re trying to let your ferret exercise its hunting instincts. But if you have a pet bird, be it a large parrot that seems much bigger to be overpowered by a ferret, it’s highly recommended to make sure neither knows of the existence of the other.
If your ferret smells a bird in the house, its natural hunting instincts will kick in and it will start looking for that bird every chance it has. And if you’re keeping the bird in a specific room, you will quickly notice the ferret scratching the door and trying to get in every time you let it out for playtime.
It just won’t be able to relax and play when it knows you have a bird in the other room. Ferrets are very smart and they know that you’re the one keeping them away from the bird, which might lead to some tantrums.
On the other hand, if the bird knows there’s a ferret nearby, it will suffer from a lot of anxiety and you will quickly notice that it’s not even sleeping well. The bird might try to stay awake at all times to not be caught off-guard. And if the ferret gets to the bird’s cage but not the bird itself, the bird will simply live in tremendous fear until the threat is removed.
For both creatures, it’s much better to keep them very far away from each other and never introduce them to one another.