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Ferrets are for life...

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Ferrets in Australia are being dumped in the wild by stupid owners and ferret groups aren't happy. They say breeders are not giving ferret owners enough information to make an informed choice about owning the animals, and because of that the ferrets are suffering.

Specifically, the tendancy to nip and smell is being downplayed, as well as the amount of care ferrets need. Many bad breeders classify them as "easy to care for cage animals".

Ferrets in Australia have already been outlawed in Queensland, and many Oz ferret owners worry such dumps may make them illegal where THEY live too.


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People who buy a pet, then don't accept responsibility for it, should themselves be dumped on the side of the road in the Outback.

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While ferrets do require more care and nurturing than say, a cat, they are still quite easy to manage. Clean a cage once a week, use wood pellet litter instead of clay cat litter, blend the high protein ferret food with kitten chow (too much of either introduces diet issues), and most importantly, PLAY with them. Ferrets are kittens that never grow up. They should be adopted in pairs since a single ferret is a very lonely animal. I now have three and they are the most silly and lovable little beasties I've ever had the pleasure of owning.

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Though it doesn't say this, I got the impression from reading the article that some of the problem ferrets may be intact. Virtually all ferrets sold as pets in the US have been neutered and had their scent glands removed. Ferrets who have not undergone this process are quite odiferous and may be much more difficult to handle behaviorally. And IIRC, females at the peak of their reproductive cycle must mate with a male or risk losing their lives.

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You remember correctly. More specifically, female ferrets have a long heat cycle, over a month, and the stress it can put on their bodies can give them anemia, uterine diseases or other problems. It wastes them away and puts great stress on their body's immune system. It won't definatly kill them, but it's not worth it to put the animal through. Female ferrets general have to be bred, "dry bred" (bred with a vasectomied hob), given hormone shots when they come into heat, or fixed.

It's also quite likely the ferrets weren't altered. Big ferret farms, like Marshall's, Path Valley, Real Canadian and Hagan fix their ferret babies in house, so it's cheap to do. For a 'backyard breeder' with 2 jills and a hob, they sometimes cut corners by not fixing and not giving shots. Which can be a disaster :P

I should finally note that this should not be mistaken by breeders who don't fix their ferrets but sell them with an 'alter' contract. Ferrets are best fixed at 4 months old, older than most people want to have their 'new baby kits', so breeders give them the kits with an extra fee and a contract to get them fixed. The fee is refunded after they do.

Melissa "MelSkunk" Drake

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