Yarm Ferret Rescue May 2008

by Sue Lloyd

Winter wasn't hard hitting until January and the ferrets didn't start to take up their extra nesting until then. Despite little snow, a pair of stoats in our area went into ermine (white winter coats) which for this area was very unusual

Eventually spring arrived; it was a long haul and dull weather seems to have delayed some jills coming into season, yet others came in very early despite living outdoors! The vasectomised hobs who had come into their season by the new year had gone back over in the prolonged dull weather so it was a slow start tot he vasectomised hob service that we offer. Another consequence of the prolonged winter was the lack of availability of shavings due to horse owners needing more and a warehouse fire at one of the major shaving producers, so at times I had none.

Veterinary fees seem to be increasing rapidly which seems to be having a knock-on effect as several cases of neglect due to medical problems and their resulting treatment costs have occurred in two instances, illness was too advanced to respond to the delayed treatment.

Earlier in the year there was an alarming number of young lads wanting to home ferrets for the purpose of breeding; if this is your aim don't bother coming to me for stock although I do seem to do a bit of match-making for the more responsible breeders.

On the subject of jills in season, vulval swelling usually indicates a jill in season. However, one jill that we took in failed to reduce even after being spayed; it transpired that he poor soul had a grass seed lodged in her nether regions. Ouch! Instant relief once removed!

Warning: a working jill in season has been lost in my area; she came up out of a warren and normally would have returned to her box. However, on this particular day she wandered off into a rape-seed field. To make matters worse she had a tight locator collar on. Is it really safe to work ferrets when crops and vegetation mask warrens? Most of the local ferreters don't, nor would they work a jill in season.

Fingers crossed, on the rescue front things are quiet although strays have come in from around Thirsk where a monthly fur and feather auction takes place. Veterinarians class ferrets as exotics yet at these sort of auctions they can be sold for pennies. Why?

First Published in NFWS News #81 May 2008

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