Preparing for a Ferret Show
There is a growing interest in ferret Shows. "How do we get our ferrets ready to show?" has become a frequent question. It's not a particularly easy question to answer, especially since some are also asking "How can I ensure my ferrets win?". Then there are questions about what goes on at ferret shows from owners who don't want to do wrong by their ferrets.
The same answer applies to all these questions, which is that showing ferrets doesn't start the day before the show. There is no magic formula or tricks of the trade. Quite simply, a nimber of the points judges look for depend on long term good ferret keeping.
A coat in good condition, a well-muscled body, and overall fitness are the result of correct feeding, plenty of exercise, good hygiene and everything else that contributes to a really healthy ferret.
Alertness and ease of handling is down to how you handle and treat your ferret on a day-to-day basis.
Ears and nails should be routinely inspected weekly at least, so if you keep the ears wiped over and the nails trimmed when it becomes necessary, there is really little left to do for a show.
Some owners bath their ferrets a couple of days before a show if they need it, but there is very little else required to prepare them.
In fact, it's easier to say what you shouldn't do before a show!
Don't leave your ferrets nails and trim them just before a show. There's nothing worse for stewards or judges than being scratched to bits by newly trimmed nails. It tends to suggest that you left your ferrets' nails too long in the first place! Judges can also tell how much attention you pay to your ferret's feet by the shape. Nails left to grow long over time flatten the feet whilst nails the correct length for health and comfort give tighter feet. Don't bath your ferrets just before a show; it can take the natural gleam out of the coat. Again there are tell tale signs if the ferret has only been spruced up for the day. Coat density, good skin condition and long whiskers are signs of long-term care. No matter what your shampoo promises, it won't make up for these!
And please don't go overboard wiping ferrets ears. Yes, clean ears are important, but the shining pink, sore-looking ears seen in so many ferrets present for show only suggest an over-enthusiastic use of cotton buds and cleaning fluid. A wipe should be all that's needed in normally clean ears. If your ferret has mucky ears as a matter of course, it probably needs a visit to the vet
There are no secrets. If you treat your ferrets as if they are show winners, there's a better chance that they will be! Remember, showing should be just another way of having fun with your ferrets, and no matter what the judge thinks on the day, you still take home the same lovely animal you brought to the show.