Very Bad Season

by Max Abell

At the time writing it's mid-April. This ferreting season was one of the worst I have ever known since I started ferreting 35 years ago. The summer of 2012 was so wet that a lot of the first and second litters of baby rabbits were drowned. Then what with the usual myximatos and RHD outbreaks, the rabbits have had a lot to deal with, so left us ferreters with a huge reduced population of rabbits to harvest come the 2012/2013 season.

This seemed to be the general story over the whole of the UK, there were a few people that were still getting good numbers but 99% of ferreters found the same as us, the rabbits just weren't there.

Today I can see the sun coming through the window; yes, I did say the sun. Hopefully the weather will now improve and give the animals and birds chance to get back on track and do what they should be doing this time of year, it's been more like December instead of Easter so far. Regarding the ferrets we have decided not to breed this summer as we have enough ferrets for what we need. We only breed for ourselves and very close friends, unfortunately you do get irresponsible owners that breed kits because they are under some illusion that they can sell kits for fortunes, how wrong they are. It's for this reason that so many unwanted kits end up in rescue centres or much worse in homes where they are not really wanted or looked after properly.

I urge anyone that is going to breed this year ask yourselves these questions, first have I got good homes for the kits and second have I got the room for any more ferrets if I intend to keep them. If the answer is NO then do the right thing by your ferrets and get your jill jabbed or put her with a vasectomised hob to bring her out of season. This prevents any illness to the jill and unwanted kits that will possibly end up living a life of misery. Most owners are sensible and it's up to us to try and train the selfish or uneducated owners that are still causing the unnecessary suffering to these great little creatures every summer. So please think before you breed, and YES I do mean your ferrets!

We intend to try and get out ferreting again about the end of August, hopefully the summer will produce a good amount of young rabbits for the 2013/2014 season, my niece got some boneless rabbits out the freezer two days ago and I have a nice ham hock in the fridge sitting next to the rabbit, so I think a rabbit, ham and leek pie is on the cards for Sunday dinner this week.

I hope all N.F.W.S. members have a nice summer and thank you all for supporting the N.F.W.S. and ferret rescues around the country.

Max Abell and Family

(First published in NFWS News - #96 Spring/Summer 2013)