Just like humans, a ferret needs exercise to stay healthy. Regular exercising will build up their strength (Stitch loves doing pull ups on the radiator) and keeps their weight down (I’m looking at you Nibbler).
Ferret exercise is basically the same as ferret play time. As soon as they’re let out of their cage, they will start running and jumping around. This is why it’s so important to let them out for several hours a day. About 3 hours a day is a good average. And feasible for most households. Mine romp around for 30 to 45 minutes before I head off to work. In the evening they decide how long they run around, I just leave their cage open a couple of hours so they can do as they please.
Most fuzzies are pretty good at giving themselves a good workout. But if they need some help, the easiest way to get your fuzzies to take some action, is to work with their natural behavior and instincts.
Ferrets love to hunt, explore, dig, hide.
Figure out what your ferrets favorite toy is, then throw it around so he runs after it. Just rinse and repeat until you feel he’s had enough exercise.
Try swooping a broom around quickly in front of it. Ferrets love fast moving objects, their instinct seems to take over and they will chase whatever is moving. Actually, dragging any kind of pole with something fluffy attached to it around, should work.
Role him around with your hand to play wrestle.
Chase your ferret around, or have him chase you.
Play hide and seek with a towel/blanket.
Not sure whether it’s common ferret behavior, but my little bandits love running up and down stairs.
Giving them toys will also increase their exercise levels. These don’t have to be expensive ferret toys though. A cardboard box, an empty cereal box, some left over PVC piping, paper or plastic bags (plastic bags obviously only under supervision), an old backpack, a box filled with rice/sand/packaging peanuts,…
Rotate the toys regularly. Just like little kids, if little ferrets have too many toys lying around, they don’t want to play with any of them.
I also rotate access to other rooms. They always have access to the living room and kitchen. Some days I let them play in the laundry room (make sure you don’t accidently put a fuzzy in the washer) or the garden.
Your ferret needs new sights and sounds on a regular basis to prevent him from getting bored and lazy. Ferret exercise is necessary to keep your fuzzy in good physical and mental condition.