Intro to First-Aid

 

What is First-Aid?

First aid is the immediate care you should give to your ferret if they are suffering a sudden illness or injury. This immediate care can help preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening, and/or promote recovery until you can get your ferret to a vet. Knowing at least basic First-Aid is essential, especially for those who many not have emergency vets available in their location when the worst situation occurs. Seeing our ferrets in pain or suffering can cause each and every one of us such stress and such worry.

First-Aid is NOT a replacement for professional Veterinary Treatment, however it may help avoid any extensive veterinary care, such as surgeries, and in turn help save you money. But all cases are unique and in the end it’s all about saving a life, not worrying over costs. Any ferrets who even need to undergo immediate first aid should ideally still be taken to the vet for evaluation, especially when the cause of illness is unknown, snake bites, or blockages (even after they pass the blockage.) etc..

 

Why learn about First-Aid?

Having the skills and knowing the techniques involved with First-Aid care can mean the difference between life and death, temporary and permanent disability, rapid recovery and long term recuperation of the ferret and so on. This care can be life saving and every pet owner, not just ferret owners, should learn and understand at least the very basic first aid care measures in case of future emergencies.

Statistics have shown that preventable accidents are the leading cause of death in pre-senior pets. It is estimated that up to 60 percent of animal hospital visits are emergency in nature. Most situations can be avoided,  can be prevented as long as us as ferret owners take necessary precautions when it comes to ferret proofing our homes or ferret environments. Even the most OCD of ferret owners may have ferrets who succumb to some injury or disease so keep in mind that prevention does not equal 100% safe.  

Many ferret owners will spend spend thousands on veterinary bills, and will will undergo so much pain and suffering, disability and even personal tragedy by trying to save their beloved ferret from something that could have been preventable. The first step for prevention is knowing and understanding your ferret’s health. This will give you a better the chance of keeping a simple problem from becoming a big painful problem in future.


Minor Injuries or Illnesses

Not all situations require veterinary assistance and in fact, many minor issues can be treated at home as long as one is knowledgeable enough to do so. You should use your common sense and rational judgement to make the decision to vet or not for your ferret. Ferrets are well known for hiding illness and pain, but their bodies are also created for self healing and as long as the ferret is healthy, they tend to be quite resilient with many illnesses without the aid of conventional treatments. You should learn how to recognize when the ferret’s body is losing the battle to heal itself and in the chance that you cannot be sure if you’re really helping your ferret, discuss the situation with your veterinarian.

 

 

Five Elements for Optimal Ferret Health

In addition to learning pet first aid, we recommend that you adopt five essential elements for optimal ferret health and wellness. The five elements are the People+Pet Bond, Snout-To-Tail Assessment, Nutrition, Supplementation and Exercise.

Knowing the health of your ferret and tracking its health information is of the utmost importance and could potentially prevent serious issues by aiding early recognition and early preparation. Knowing your pet’s health and keeping good records, positions you as a responsible ferret owner and can also help you to help your veterinarian when an issue arises!

Key to a Long Healthy Life

Exercise, proper nutrition and supplementation will keep your ferret living a long and healthy life. Just like us humans, our ferrets may not get all the nutrients and vitamins they need from their food and so supplementation is ideal. When the ferret gets all the nutrients they need to function, their bodies can heal themselves and recover from illnesses or injuries at a much faster rate than those that are lacking. Lacking can encourage bad health and that is something that will cost us more money, and heartache in the future so always aim for a healthy life for your ferret.

Complement their diet with a high-quality, human grade nutritional supplements. Ideal ones would be an omega fatty acid blend of oil added to the diet at approx ½ tsp a week as an average. We also recommend a Whole Body Support supplement like that from Standard Process, especially if you have a sick or ill ferret, or a ferret recovering from an injury. Many Immune boosting supplements are available and can aid in the recovery of sick ferrets, examples, L-Lysine.

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Throughout our First-Aid section of The Natural Ferret, we will cover all of these elements for your convenience. We will also cover various topics mentioned such as the five elements in better detail shortly. So please look forward to that and if you found this information helpful as an introduction, please share it around so that other ferret owners may also benefit from it.

Murphy

Ferret Name: Murphy
Birthdate: 4th November 2015
Gender: Male
Coat Colour: cinnamon/sable

Quirks:

He LOVES playing with my German Shepard

Favourite Toys:

Balls

Favourite Foods:

Rabbit

Back Story:

Mr Murphy was left at my front gate with his mummy and his 10 brothers and sisters. On the 5th of November 2015 my dog was going absolutely ballistic barking, I was up at my grandparents house, so I ran home to see what he was barking at.

IMG_0188When I got home I found a box with holes in the sides but it was all taped up. I took it inside and heard rustling. Opened it up and looking at me was a gorgeous (but very skinny) Mumma, and her 10 pink little meepers!!

Cut a long story short! One day when they where 4 weeks old I walked out to find one of the bubs gasping for breath, gave him cpr for 45 mins and he passed in my hands. That arvo another boy started doing it, he last 12 hours before he passed. The next morning a little girl was doing it, so shipped them all to the vet to find out why! Turns out all 10 had rickets, the 3 that passed had what the vet called flat chests (their chests didn’t form enough to give their lungs room).

Murphy was the runt, he was starting to look like he was the next to go, the vet told me to add calcium to their diet and swim them, so I did, I held Murphy every night hoping he would pull through, he couldn’t move, couldn’t get to the food dish, if he was on his back he couldn’t roll over, it was terrifying to see. But I wasn’t giving up hope, each day he got better and better, lots of tears where shed, then can the happy tears and screaming to his daddy “oh my god Murphy is walking!” And “look look Murphy is swimming on his own!!” He still couldn’t climb or play BUT he was moving around. Then came the playing and RUNNING!

The day I walked out and saw him in a hammock that he would have had to climb to get into was the happiest day of my life. I sat for HOURS waiting to see how he did it, I cried, called their grandma (my mum) called their daddy. And from that day forward there was no stopping him!!!

Today he’s almost 2, and other then his “seal” legs, he’s a perfectly healthy happy baby!!!


This wonderful real life story was shared to TNF by Sarah.R.
Thank you for sharing!

Nipple

18740775_10209903076068735_9184220069871623913_nFerret Name: Nipple
Birthdate: Sept 12, 2012
Gender: Female
Coat Colour: Sable
Eye Colour: Black

 

Quirks:

She’s a loner, an alpha, sticks to my side and sleeps in my bed by my legs. She also scratches and bites my feet!

 

Favourite Toys:

My feet!

Favourite Foods:

Her wysong and orijen kibble and pickle juice. Recently she’s just taken to soups!

 

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Nipple is on the Right.

Back Story:

I bought her on a whim. I came back from my psychiatrist appointment, feeling really down but wanted to cheer myself up. I decided I wanted another ferret after 4 years without them. I went to a pet store and she was the only one. She was tiny and had an attitude. I knew she was what I wanted. She was nippy when I brought her home, especially my feet. The people at the pet store said she knew she was special and was happy I, a previous ferret owner, was taking her home.

 

Why is she so special to you?

She sticks to my side more than being with the other ferrets. She sleeps with me frequently. She always wants me to play with her and scratches and bites my feet. She is sweet, yet naughty in her sneaky behavior. I have a special bond with her that I don’t have with the others.


Anything else?

I wanted to name her Nipsy because she was so nippy at my feet but I thought Nipple was funnier!


This wonderful real life story was shared to TNF by Julie.A.
Thank you for sharing!

Samus

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Ferret Name: Samus
Birthdate: April 2nd 2011
Gender: Female
Coat Colour: Sable Mask
Eye Colour: brown/green

11145126_1240139176013078_738021563016419723_nQuirks:

She loves chewing on Velcro.
She is also a Runt.

Favourite Toys:

Her bed lol.

Favourite Foods:

Duck sticks.

 

Back Story:

I met her when I first came over to my boyfriends house, he had her for about 5 years already. I had always wanted a ferret but my parents always said “No they stink”.  (let me now tell you they do not, they have their own special scent<3)

As soon as I laid eyes on her I fell in love!

10432462_1293938047299857_1239954815892524649_nThe best moment was when my boyfriend saw how I interacted with her and how much I just loved her, he knew at that moment that I was the one for him.

We have been together now for 4 years and she is still with us kicking strong! She is the one that has always brought great memories between us and kept such a strong bond between my boyfriend and I. She is very special to us ❤

 

 

 


This wonderful real life story was shared to TNF by Julie.M.
Thank you for sharing!

Paddy & Murphy

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Ferret(s) Name: Paddy & Murphy
Birthdate: 18th April 2011
Gender: Male, Brothers
Coat Colour: Polecat
Eye Colour: Black

 


Quirks:

Murphy: Slept with his tongue stickling out, and snored
Paddy: Would steal my underwear from the clotheshorse.


Favourite Toys:

Both were obsessed with plastic carrier bags, crisp packets and sponges.


Favourite Foods:

Murphy loved peanut butter.
Paddy often stole mango juice from my cup.

 

Back Story:

My two boys were from a Ferret rescue centre in Fife. They were handed in after their family moved away and couldn’t take them along. They were 18 months when I got them and drove from Aberdeen to pick them up.

They tested the boundaries at first and I’ve got a few scars to prove it.
But they settled in and became my world.

 

Why are they so special to you?:

I suffer from clinical depression and anxiety, and take daily medication.

I found that the company of my boys made a huge difference to how I felt and how I coped with day to day activities…They were one of the very few things able to still make me laugh. I’ve never seen anyone so happy to just have a plastic bag, or kitchen sponge.

It wasn’t unusual to find pieces of sausage stashed behind the sofa, or a rubber glove under the bed…Paddy took great delight in running around the house carrying my pants, especially when I had guests.

We often went out to the park to make new friends, and play in the leaves. Snow was good fun. The boys had their own wendy house (not just any old shed)…and it had their beds, hammocks, toy boxes, sand pits and tunnels that ran round all the walls etc

Murphy developed a lump on his face last year that required surgery…expensive surgery! Paddy then started to lose the hair on his tail, and became skinnier over time. His tail became completely bald and it started on his legs. But the vet diagnosed them with Adrenal Gland Disease and that I would have to decide when it “was time”…as treatment for them both would be expensive, my partner had been made redundant, and I was still paying off Murphy’s surgery from 6 months before.

About 4 months later, in February this year, I bathed them one day and it became clear just how skinny Paddy had become…and I found multiple tumours around Murphy’s neck.

It was time…So the two of them went off to heaven together, which made it easier…It would have been awful had one been left behind. They went peacefully at the vets, and we had them cremated, which we then sprinkled at the park.

 

Anything else?

We had decided against getting more ferrets, however it became clear just how much impact they had on me. I wasn’t myself anymore…I went back to struggling with daily activities and had no laughter to boost me when I came home from work.

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I then came across a woman locally, who had an accidental litter…and I had to have one. So I brought little Luna home at 8 weeks old, and she has brightened my world. She comes along to work with me and she’s a bundle of total joy.

 

 
—–

This wonderful real life story was shared to TNF by Kelsey.A.
Thank you for sharing!

Heart Ferrets

Welcome to our wonderful Heart Ferret section! Here you will find many Real Life Stories about ferrets who have greatly impacted their human’s lives. Each and every one of these ferrets are incredibly unique, all have their own quirks, likes and dislikes. You can read about these ferrets and learn about how every single one has helped a human in some way.

If you would like to contribute to this section, Fill out the following form and email it to us! You can include external links to youtube videos, or even supply some images. This is the perfect way to treasure your special one and to share your story with others! Ferrets can be past or present. 

Email: thenaturalferret@gmail.com
Alternatively, you can send a message with the form to this page! 🙂

———————–
Subject: HEART FERRETS FORM.
Ferret Name:
Ferret Birthdate: (if known,you can round it up or guess.)
Gender: (Male/Female.)
Coat Colour:(Optional)
Eye Colour: (Optional)
Any quirks? (a peculiar behaviours or character.)
Favourite Toys?
Favourite Foods?
Back Story: (How did you come to meet this ferret? Was he/she from a breeder?, did you see them in a pet store? Maybe a rescue? Tell us what you know about the ferret’s history before you, if known.)
Why is He/She so special to you?
(Did the ferret have any large scale impact to your life in any way?)
Anything else? (If you would like to add anything else, please do! This page is for your ferret!

HomeoPet For Ferrets

Anxiety-1HomeoPet is a US based company that provides natural and homeopathic remedies for pets. The products were designed by Vets in the USA for use in ALL animals. The company itself was established in 1994 to meet the increasing demand for alternative “chemical free” treatments for common conditions, while not life-threatening, cause suffering in animals.

They are registered with FDA-CVM (U.S), APVMA (Australia), NZFS (New Zealand), VMD (UK) and the IMB (Ireland) with plans to further expand registrations for the UK and Irish markets underway.

Due to some strict regulations in Australia and potentially other countries, they don’t specifically market for Ferrets, HOWEVER, they are 100% safe for use in ferrets and other exotics, including birds! They are similar to the Bach Rescue Remedy but you will find that this brand has more variety available.

For more information on the products, ingredients and so on, I recommend you have a look at the website, and/or seek further advise on use from a Holistic Veterinarian.

USA: https://www.homeopet.com/
AUS: https://www.homeopet.com.au

USING HOMEOPET FOR FERRETS

feline_digestive_upsets_1There are a variety of products in the HomeoPet line which can be used for ferrets. Homeopet not only have all natural homeopathic products for General Anxiety, Travel Anxiety and Storm Phobia, but they also have some for Skin & Coat, Digestive Plus, Joint Plus, & Urinary Incontinence. Each formula is rapid acting, non-drowsy with no side effects.

Dose is dependent on weight for small animals.

Here is the dosing for animals based on weights: 2-10kgs = 5 drops; 10-40kgs = 10 drops; 40kgs & over = 15 drops.

ADMINISTRATION:

HomeoPet recommend that any animal under 2kg should have 2 drops. The products contain an alcohol solution, but you can dilute it in water, bone broth or food.

All products ARE safe!

I recommend diluting 1 drop per 1 ml of water, or bone broth, or other oral rehydration fluid and then given orally through syringe. Please take care to avoid aspiration of the fluid into the respiratory tract by the patient!

Skin-Coat.jpgOptimally, the liquid preparation should be dropped directly into the mucous membrane of the mouth including lips. This is where it is most easily absorbed into the blood stream. If your giving orally by syringe you can gently squirt a bit near the gum/cheek area. I do not recommend scruffing the ferret for this. You’re trying to reduce anxiety and stress, not create more so please keep scruffing to the absolute minimum.

If you find the ferret is becoming distressed or you’re not feeling comfortable with giving the treatment orally, you can put the treatment in the food. Preferably, use a TSP worth of food, raw soup is ideal, and place two drops. Allow your ferret to lap it up themselves and try not to force the food onto them.

In acute cases (those with sudden onset), the doses can be given every 15 minutes, up to 4 doses. For cases that are not acute (chronic, long term problems), one dose 3 times daily; this is often best started 5-7 days before any situation causing anxious behaviour, e.g. before traveling or introducing a new ferret, or change in environment etc. Once a response is seen, administration should be reduced to 2 times daily and eventually once daily. If reduction causes symptoms to worsen, original dosing may be continued a little longer before reducing. If a remedy is working well and dosing is not reduced, an aggravation of symptoms from overuse may occur. Stopping the remedy for 3 days will reverse the symptoms, and then treatment can begin as if using for the first time, weaning down as mentioned above.

ADVERSE EFFECTS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS:

There are no adverse effects known, other than reversible effect of over dosage. Over dosage will result in a return of symptoms after the symptoms have initially disappeared. Where an increase or a return of symptoms occurs while on the medication, ceasing to use it will alleviate the effect. Patients who are hypersensitive to homeopathic preparations will show response to a single dose, which may not need to be repeated for some time. For this reason, therapy should always start with a single dose and should a major response be seen, therapy should not be recommenced until symptoms relapse, and then only a single dose given for maximum effect. Although there is no evidence that there are any safety issues, extra care should always be taken when dealing with pregnant animals.

Should a suspected adverse reaction be seen or advice needed, please contact HomeoPet.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

AUSTRALIA/ASIA
HomeoPet,
Tel +61 2 4443 9669
http://www.homeopet.com.au
E: info@homeopet.com.au

USA
HomeoPet LLC,
Tel +1 800 555 4461
Tel + 1 631 288 6883
http://www.homeopet.com

Always seek advice from a Holistic Veterinarian before attempting to treat using any remedy found online.

Carbohydrates

Screenshot 2017-05-15 at 2.02.21 AMWhat Are Carbohydrates?

A carbohydrate is a molecule consisting of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. It’s considered a macronutrient and is one of three ways a body can get energy, followed by Protein and Fats.

In many animals, they are primarily used as fast source for energy in cells. However In ferrets, excessive carbs in the diet is thought to be linked to a nutrition related disease called Insulinoma. (Though there is no actual scientific evidence at this stage to confirm or deny that statement.) Ferret intestinal flora differs from other mammals in having a less concentrated anaerobic flora due to their smaller large intestine and thus, can digest simple carbohydrates.  A majority of their energy requirements come from protein and fat, therefore carbs are not required as the sole energy source. Excessive carbohydrate intake is said to lead to a reduction in essential protein and fat and produce disease issues in the ferret.

 

Simple/Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are made up of three components: fiber, starch, and sugar. They are classified as simple or complex, depending on the chemical structure and how quickly the sugar is absorbed and digested.  Fiber and starch are considered complex carbohydrates, while the sugar is a simple carbohydrate. Simple carbs are more easily digested and absorbed compared to the complex carbs.  With complex carbohydrates, the sugar molecules are strung together to form longer, and more complex chains.

Ferrets can evidently digest some simple carbs, but they cannot efficiently digest and utilize complex carbs or fibre due to their shorter digestive tracts, lack of a cecum and a less diverse gut microbial flora.

Carbs in general should never be the entire, or a majority diet as they are true carnivores that need Protein and Fats for energy. It is best to avoid commercial foods high in carbs and choose one that has at least under 8–15% and between (or less than) 1-3% fibre.

Screenshot 2017-05-15 at 12.34.35 AMSimple carbohydrates may contain one or two sugars. Carbs containing single sugars are known as monosaccharides: Glucose, Fructose and Galactose.  Carbs containing two sugars are known as disaccharides: Sucrose, Lactose and Maltose. A disaccharide can be formed when two monosaccharides are joined by glycosidic linkage. Simple carbs are basically sugars and starches that have been refined and stripped of their natural fibre and nutrients. Imagine syrups, etc.  Glucose is the major kind of simple sugar and is the basic source of energy for all living things. It occurs naturally in some fruits and vegetables. It can also be produced in the body by breaking down other foods into glucose, for ferrets they do this through gluconeogenesis which takes place mainly in the liver.


Mixed-Nuts-Deluxe.jpgComplex Carbohydrates may contain three or more sugars (e.g. starch, cellulose, or glycogen) and are known as polysaccharides.  These carbs are found in whole, unprocessed foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. These much harder for ferret bodies to process, break down and are the one which are the most concerning, especially if the diet is long term and has excessive amounts. These types are best kept to the absolute minimum in whole form and in excessive amounts. Starches can be found in: legumes, nuts, potatoes, corn, rice, wheat, grains. They may also be found in cereal products such: pasta, breakfast cereals, flour, polenta, couscous, quinoa, etc.  


Digestion

Carbs are digested by the enzyme called amylase. This enzyme can be produced in the salivary glands and pancreas. Most mammals, including humans, produce amylase in their salivary glands and it aids the pre-digestion of the food they ingest. Like dogs and cats, Ferrets lack saliva amylase. Ferrets tend to ingest their food relatively quickly so salivary enzymes do not play a significant role in the digestion of foods, however it does provide a good lubrication. Digestion of the carbohydrates happens in the small intestine, this is where the amylase is released after being produced by the pancreas. When the carbohydrate molecule is digested, they it’s broken down into simple ferret-digestive-tract.pngsugars (eg. glucose and fructose.) These are then absorbed into the bloodstream, travel to the liver and then are converted into glucose. The glucose is then carried through the bloodstream accompanied by insulin, converted and used as energy. Unused glucose can be stored for later use within the liver and skeletal muscles in the form of glycogen. If the storage of glycogen become full, carbs are then stored in the fat cells of the body.

 

 

Fibre

Fibre is the indigestible portion of food (usually those derived from plants.)  It is made up of several different carbohydrate compounds such as cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, lignin, and gums. It is considered essential to digestion and helps to promote healthy bowel movement. For ferrets fed a natural wholeprey diet,  fibre comes in forms of Hair, Fur, & Feathers. Feral Ferrets and Wild Polecats receive little fibre in forms of their prey.  In kibble and commercial pet foods, fibre comes primarily from the cell walls of plants and grains.  Ferrets appear to have little ability to utilize fibrous substrates as they lack a cecum and so in general, ferrets should be fed minimal fibre in the diet.  Fibre content should preferably never be over 2% in ferret foods as it may be possible that a high fibre diet of 3% or more may cause digestive upsets, stool issues, and potentially irritation of the bowel.

Common sources of fibre in commercial petfoods include ricpsyllium-husk-2e hulls, soybean hulls, beet pulp, bran, peanut hulls, and pectin. Even though ferrets should have minimal fibre, having some can be beneficial for the gastrointestinal tract. Ferrets fed home made raw may not be getting appropriate amounts of fibre, if any at all. Commercial petfoods may contain added fibre, example Rad Cat uses psyllium husk as a source of fibre.

The fibre isn’t known for having the best nutritional value and isn’t easily absorbed in the small intestines, however the fibre increases bulk and water content in the intestinal contents.

311229-pumpkin.jpgSome forms of fibre may be broken down in the intestines as fatty acids and will aid preventing overgrowth of harmful bacteria, as well as help colon cells recover from injury. Fibre is known to lengthen the intestinal transit time, (slow down the rate in which food moves through the digestive tract) in animals that have fast digestive tracts, and speed up those with slow digestive tracts. This makes fibre useful for treating both diarrhea and constipation. It will hold onto water which prevents constipation and absorb the extra water from diarrheic stools.  Ever wondered why pumpkin is used as a blockage protocol? Well now you do! Providing a small percentage of fibre as part of the diet is really recommend if you feed a homemade raw diet, preferably from an animal source such as a meal of whole prey weekly. Fibre can also be found in digestive support supplements.  For those feeding a commercial petfood, that should already provide adequate fibre and no supplementation is necessary.

Reference:

  • Fox, James G. Biology And Diseases Of The Ferret. 3rd ed. Ames, Iowa [u.a.]: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.
  • Lewington, John H. Ferret Husbandry, Medicine And Surgery. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Elsevier Saunders, 2008. Print.
  • Johnson-Delaney, Cathy A. Ferret Medicine And Surgery. 1st ed. CRC Press, 2016. Print.
  • “Carbohydrates”. Healthdirect.gov.au. Web. 14 May 2017.
  • “Fiber In Cat Foods”. Peteducation.com. Web. 14 May 2017.
  • “Digestive Enzymes”. IVC Journal. Web. 14 May 2017.
  • “Carbohydrates «   Pet Food Nutrition”. Petfoodnutrition.com. Web. 14 May 2017.

Breeding Wholeprey

When you consider breeding animals for wholeprey, you need to be 100% committed to those animals.

16730334_757147727800113_6508668447199140105_n.jpg
Valentines Pinkies. This was the first litter of one of my gorgeous mice girlies back in my mouse breeding days.

You’re taking lives into your care, you’re responsible for their health, well-being, enrichment and so on. You may need to cull animals for various reasons (sickness, runts, cutting litters down to bearable sizes for the females, culling out the biters or sickly animals etc etc). So if you cannot handle the unfortunate but sometimes necessary “killing “side of things, then please for the sake of any/all animals, don’t consider breeding. It is not all cute babies and happiness.

You need to have a good understanding of that specific animal husbandry. Research on the requirements, cage wise, food wise, about the gestation period and basic breeding practices. Please do things humanely as possible, feed your animals a good diet that can cater for growth and reproduction.
Respect your animals and know when to retire them from breeding. Know your options for retired breeders, you can choose to end the life or keep but end breeding or re-home. Which ever you decide that is your decision.
16729412_757148021133417_2164632786286926148_n.jpg
One of my previous litters of Mice. A few of these ended up staying as breeders once they grew up.

 

Over breeding (or back-to-back breeding) can cause stress on the females bodies over the long term and that in turn may affect breeding production. (You may see less babies, or more deaths.) You need to be prepared in advance as anything can happen with pregnancy. Females may encounter issues with labor or egg laying and may require vetting. Whether you vet is entirely up to you but if you need to be prepared to make the call to dispatch the suffering animal if worst comes to worse.
16640917_757148161133403_920672176212190785_nIf you cannot take responsibility for the animals, they may have unnecessary suffering and that is not right by them. They provide our ferrets with food, it is our duty to provide them with some forms of love through care, enrichment and general good breeding practices. Do right by the animals, provide adequate food and water, good cage or enclosures, enrichment, all that and you will in return have good production for prey animals and you will be greatly rewarded.
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These cuties can make breeding wholeprey quite difficult. ( I am a rodent lover, and have had both Rats, and Mice as pets, even before I personally had ferrets.)

Watching the animals from the moment they are born, through to adult hood is incredible and amazing. I can tell you right now, I learnt so much from my own breeding animals. I’ve seen their affection, the way each mother and sometimes father care for their young. It truly is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Bonding with the animals is a risk and there will be times where you may re-think “Can I do this…” so know the limit and be confident you can take charge. Remind yourself why you started and why you should continue, it is not for you, it is for your ferrets. Respect life for what it is, not for how long the animal may have here with us. Time is nothing for animals, they don’t think of the future or what ifs or what happens when they die.

16707700_757148461133373_6181696858319239331_o.jpg
Sometimes culling can be quite difficult for me to go through with, but I never allow myself to doubt during the process otherwise I risk hurting and causing suffering to these beautiful lives. I do not want them to stress or be afraid during the final moments with me.

I personally promised my animals that even though It hurts me to have to breed them and end their lives, that I will provide them with endless love, good nutrition, fun and good enrichment because they deserve that while they are in my care.

16707482_757148844466668_4558558811284222172_o
Lovely meal for my breeding rats. Stir fried: mixed veg, egg, salmon, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and loooove.

Before you leap into the breeding project, grab some books on the species you wish to breed, join some forums, learn as much as you can and be willing to spend a fair bit to get started as well as spend well for simple maintaining and upkeep.

Dispatching Prey

Importance of knowing how to humanely dispatch prey animals.

If the ferret owner does not know how to dispatch the animal in chances that the ferret does a dodgy kill then the [live] prey animal may be put under unnecessary suffering.

16722562_757147447800141_6436058936294470068_o
Freshly dispatched and bagged young rats and mice.

As the one in charge, you must be knowledgeable in dispatching animals and must be able to do so efficiently and humanely otherwise this too, can clash with potential animal cruelty laws.

You as the owner, are responsible for the lives involved when it comes to live feeding. Not just your ferret, but the lives you allow the ferret to hunt as well.

 

 

Recommended method for a fast dispatch:

For live feeders, This is the recommended dispatch method which can be easily done at home in the odd chance that the ferret makes a dodgy kill. You should look into it, study it and use it wherever needed according to your better judgement.

  • Cervical Dislocation: A common physical method for euthanasia of small animals by applying pressure to the neck and dislocating the spinal column from the skull or brain. The aim is to quickly separate the spinal cord from the brain so as to provide the animal with a fast and painless death. The University of Iowa and some veterinary associations, consider the technique as an ethically accepted method for terminating the life of small rodents such as rats, mice, squirrels, etc.
There will be times where you will be required to put your personal emotions to the side as emotions will often cloud rational judgement when it comes to being able make the decision regarding the animals life and know when to dispatch a dodgy kill. If you’re upset or cannot handle the moment, then the animal will suffer more than it should. Respect the animal and do the right thing by dispatching it swiftly if and when needed. If you feel you cannot go through with this, or do not have the stomach for potential dodgy kills, then please do not ever attempt live feeding for the sake of all involved. This is the only ethical thing you can do. YOU need to be emotionally willing to go through with it.