Black-footed ferret (BFF) kits grow very fast. At birth they can weigh as little as 5 grams, the same weight of a US nickel! The nest box is cleaned once at 4 days old and then a daily cleaning of the nest box resumes when the kits are 9 days old. The dams are very reluctant to leave their kits, so we usually clean them right before feeding time. The meat ball sometimes entices the dam to go to the upper enclosure long enough to close the shift slider of the nest box. We quickly clean the latrine side of the nest box. Take a quick peek at the kits on the nest side and then let the dams back to their kits. This allows us the opportunity to check on the kits and make sure they are looking good.
Bunting’s litter at 4 days of age.
Bunting’s litter at 9 days of age.
Bunting’s kits have reached the 21 day mark. This is when we determine the sex of the kits and begin to weigh them weekly. All 4 of them are BOYS! Their weights range from 124-130 grams which is above average for 21 day old males. At 23 days of age they are introduced to small carnivore meat. Their eyes are still not opened, but they do have deciduous “baby” teeth. They often do not eat the first few days, but are observed smelling the meat.
Bunting’s kits being introduced
to meat at 23 days of age.