No, ferrets and birds do not get along. It is ill-advised to have both a pet ferret and a pet bird within the same living space. Ferrets are carnivores and natural predators whose wild diet can at times consist of small birds. For this reason, having both a ferret and bird can have devastating consequences for your bird and ferret alike.
Natural Diet and Predatory Instincts of Ferrets
Ferrets are natural carnivores, meaning that their diet is strictly meat-based. In fact, their digestive tract is unable to break down plant matter which can actually harm their digestive tract. Some plants like avocados are even poisonous to ferrets. As meat-eaters, they are excellent predators who have a keen sense of smell and acute hearing.
Birds Are Part Of A Ferret’s Wild Diet
In the wild, their diet mostly consists of small rodents such as voles, rats, and mice. However, it is not uncommon for them to prey on small birds and their eggs. With small birds being a natural part of their diet, ferret owners may at times choose to give their ferret raw meat.
Even a brief search will show that it is safe and nutritious for ferret owners to feed their ferret’s raw birds like:
Catering to Predatory Impulses
Some ferret owners may even be inclined to feed their furry companion whole chick’s, as well as mice and other small rodents, as a meal if they have a high predatory drive.
Larger Birds Are Not Any Safer
It is important to note that if your ferret does in fact have a high predatory drive, getting a larger type of bird is not a solution. Even though ferrets will more likely attack smaller sized birds, larger pet birds like parrots can also be an alluring prey for a ferret.
Keeping Birds And Ferrets Separate May Not be Enough
Ferrets have an excellent sense of smell as well as hearing. Even keeping them in separate rooms may not be enough security. Both the smell and sounds of a bird or ferret close by can trigger either of their natural impulses with one trying to flee and the other trying to attack.
If you choose to have both a pet ferret and a pet bird it is important to take extra precautions as birdcages are not designed to keep ferrets from breaking in. Although they are efficient at keeping your bird from getting out, ferrets can rather easily figure out how to squeeze themselves through the bars or open certain types of cages.
Given enough room, they can even squeeze under closed doors if they are determined to reach their prey.
Negative Impact on One Another’s Health
Not only could your ferret gaining access to your bird have a devastating and lethal outcome, but their exposure to one another can also cause harm to their health in other ways.
Ferrets And Birds Can Cause One Another to Stress
Even when adequately separated, the stress of their knowledge of one another’s presence can be harmful to their health. If your bird can see or hear a ferret, they may feel trapped and unable to flee if they feel that they are in danger.
On the other hand, your ferret’s inability to satisfy their predatory instinct by having unattainable prey in close proximity can cause them to become stressed and agitated. For both your bird and your ferret, the stress can make them more susceptible to illnesses and disease.
Bird Food is Harmful to Ferrets
Not only can your ferret want to prey on larger domesticated birds, but some birds like parrots will actually try to share their food. This is because of a parrot’s social nature, yet this friendly act is harmful to your ferret’s health. As they are unable to digest plant matter, which bird food consists of, this could compromise their health.
Keeping a Predator and its Prey
As with any animal, keeping a pet that is the prey of another pet has its hazards. With birds being natural prey to wild ferrets the ownership of both of them at the same time is ill-advised. With how notorious ferrets are for their ability to solve problems, even the best of precautions may not be enough.