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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm looking into maybe one day adopting a Ferret. It wont be any day soon, I spend months buying cages, litter, food, etc before I buy any animal! :) I just wondered if any of you know a good forum I could join to learn the most I can or if any of your have Ferrets yourself and your experiences with them? I do own 6 soon to be 8 rats and 2 cats currently. We WAS looking into maybe adopting a dog but with the hours my OH works ATM it'd be doing all the care and walks (which, during the dark winter, is NOT an option ha!).

Any info would be fab guys :)
 

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I am pretty sure they are best kept in groups of 2 or more. My aunt had ferrets wheni was growing up, my rats cage is actually a handme down from her! The most she had at one time was 7. My cousins, sister, and i used to love playing with them. We would play house, dress up, raced them, etc. They were friendly critters. The males, anyway. She had 2 different (spayed) females and both of them were the "moodiest". Her males were also neutered and descented but man did they still smell. Im sure 2 or 3 would be more manageable but she had maybe 10 ferrets over 10 or 15 years and the cage still smells in places.
 

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See it's the smell thats bothering me the most. I can smell rat ALWAYS. I can clean the cage and still smell it, it doesn't bother me over the amounts but I don't know if I can deal with another stink in the house (never mind the cat litter trays too!!).
 

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The shelter kids lived in a converted triple car garage. I had 8 personal ferrets during that time who lived in my home. Everyone always was amazed that we had no animal odor.

Personal opinion on body smell-way less than a dog, more than a cat. It should be a very light musty smell.

Clean litter box regularly-like daily. Their poo is less smelly if on a good diet than a dogs typically, but it's still not pleasant. Urine should not be smelly. I used wood pellets for litter.

Descenting is a complete myth. It has nothing to do with their body smell. don't do it unless one has an impacted gland. They only use em for defense, and it smells...chemical. Not like a skunks..but a bad chemically smelling fart which dissipates fairly quickly. Most of mine never used their guns. :)

Unfixed ferrets smell very strongly of musk. Neutering males fixes this, plus boys go into rut once a year-you don't really want to deal with this from your pet. Girls must be spayed. They go into heat about once a year, if not bred they will stay in heat and become anemic and most likely will die.

I used fleece bedding/hammocks. Change often, for one maybe once a week-more often for more ferrets.

Diet is the biggest on smell factor. Though fish is good for them it tends to make a stronger body odor. I avoided fish, because I had way to many ferrets to deal with added smell. Occasionally I got away with a little fish-but I kept it really minimal. If feeding dry food-find something almost pure meat, which nowadays can be found-sometimes easier to find a dog or cat food with the requirements however. Avoid grains, and keep other vegetable matter to extreme minimums. Things like raw carrots, celery and such can cause blockages in ferrets-they are incapable of digesting plant foods.

If you really only want one ferret, I would suggest finding a rescue and seeing if they have someone who loves people and does not like other ferrets. Otherwise it's really not fair to them to be alone. they bond strongly. It's common if something happens to one, the other will get ulcers or other stress related issues. Although they may not always seem super affectionate in a needy way like dogs do, they tend to bond to their owners strongly as well. Again, ulcers are common among ferrets who lose their loved ones. I'm a strong believer in really making sure you want and are willing to keep your ferrets throughout their lifetime. Rehoming can be very hard on some of them. I cannot tell you how many had to be on meds and hand fed for a long time when being turned into the shelter. Ferrets tend to stop eating when depressed.

Many are also very difficult to switch diets on-unlike are rats they will not eat when hungry -they just won't recognize it as food and will starve. Once you start hand feeding, say baby chicken food to a ferret not eating-it can a pain to stop. I've had my share who just refused to eat unless they were wrapped in a blanket, held like a baby and eating warmed baby food from a spoon in your lap. And yes..they wanted all of those things to happen lol. An extreme example was one I got from a pet store (they called me and gave him to me because he was just bones and skin) that was literally dying of starvation. Had to stay at the vets on iv for a few days; given sub q's and meds because some of his organs were starting to shut down. Once we got him steady, from hand feeding our homemade chicken soup we NEVER got him to eat on his own. He ended up going to one of my favorite adopters who's mother fell in love with and carried the little devil with her everywhere like he was a child and hand fed him from a baby spoon for the rest of his life. He otherwise recovered and did great-but he never ate on his own.
 

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I REALLY wanted ferrets for a long time. But then I bought a ferret nation from someone who had housed ferrets in it. A 15 minute car ride with that cage in my car was enough to change my mind. They're really cute little boogers and so playful (when they're not sleeping) but I just can't do smells that you just can't get rid of. I know this probably isn't what you want to hear, but it's best to know what you're getting yourself into!
 

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Holistic ferret forum is best. Try it out.

They require a raw diet, so don't consider them if you can't handle the meat.
 

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I have my 6 male ratties and just adopted my male ferret Ferngulley from a rescue a few weeks ago. He gets aggressive with other ferrets but he did come to the rescue with another ferret Annabelle. I have done a trial foster with her to see how they get along. So far, so good.they had a few scuffles at the initial greeting but otherwise is getting along. Looks like I will be adopting Annabelle as well. :p I have discovered I love ferrets!!! I am currently on a few ferret forums but not sure about the experience yet, but will probably join them all. Im still looking for good ones as well. Trying to find one that is as good as this one :) ps: honestly they dont smell any worse than a smelly rat cage in my opinion
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have my 6 male ratties and just adopted my male ferret Ferngulley from a rescue a few weeks ago. He gets aggressive with other ferrets but he did come to the rescue with another ferret Annabelle. I have done a trial foster with her to see how they get along. So far, so good.they had a few scuffles at the initial greeting but otherwise is getting along. Looks like I will be adopting Annabelle as well. :p I have discovered I love ferrets!!! I am currently on a few ferret forums but not sure about the experience yet, but will probably join them all. Im still looking for good ones as well. Trying to find one that is as good as this one :) ps: honestly they dont smell any worse than a smelly rat cage in my opinion
Awww so sweet!! I just need to know how people slit their time with their ferrets and rats. I have 6 rats and 2 cats. So thats my main worry really.. having the time! I work 9-5pm so I only really have the evening to spend with my fur babies and my OH. I might try fostering... See how we get on with it all because I'm not tied in then.
 

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You could also see if any shelters could use volunteers! I know not all shelters are the same, but I loved loved loved my volunteers and foster parents. To be honest though, I only fostered my old, hard to place ferrets in ferret savy homes.
 

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We don't have any shelters close enough by us and I don't drive :( My friend has a Ferret so I might just start spending a couple evenings a week at hers to see what I can learn. My OH will get the ratties out whilst I'm out so they'll be happy terrorising her haha!
 

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Well this has been very informative! All ferrets I find here are descented and fixed, I thought that was just normal standard practice. Does anyone know if the UK and the US have different ways of fixing ferrets? I had a friend who's ferret lost her hair and died rather quickly and the info she was given was that it was due to the age she was fixed. That it had been done the "american" way and that ferrets fixed that way die younger. I have never even seen an unfixed ferret before granted most I've seen are in pet stores.
 

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Lita, fixing ferrets early is thought to be part of the cause of adrenal disease. Most obvious symptom is loss of hair. However, even ferrets fixed later can get adrenal disease. It's probably not something that has an easy answer. My guess is it's probably a mix of reasons-firstly all of us die of something. We may call things old age-but ultimately it's cancer, heart something that we all, being us humans and animals, that cause are death. Ferrets are prone to adrenal disease. I think early spay/neutering, unnatural lighting and stress probably cause the problem to start at earlier ages. It's unfortunate that your friend's ferret died very quickly. There are many things from surgery, medications and homeopathic remedies that can greatly reduce the symptoms of adrenal disease and extend the life of the ferret.

Unless you plan on breeding, you want to make sure the ferret is fixed, preferably prior to, if female, going into heat. Ideally, not so young as some of the larger mills practices, which is before their eyes are even open. If you don't mind smell, the males don't necessarily need to be neutered-but they will be very very strong odored, especially while in rut. You would also have to deal with them while in rut, which can make some become master escape artists in their search of a female, as well as some not eating well because..well a ferret in rutt is pretty single minded.

I could be wrong, but I believe in the UK descenting is not an accepted practice. I think it's considered an unneeded surgery and cruel.

With that said, if you are in the US, it's very likely you are going to have a very hard time finding a ferret that is not from one of the larger mills. Thought I'm not for encouraging the mills or purchasing pet store ferrets, there are many mill ferrets in rescues that are great companions that need homes. Yes, they have already been neutered too young, but you can help them by feeding a great diet, giving them good blackout locations to go to get out of artificial lighting and making their home as unstressful as possible.
 
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