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For Ferrets Only
Ask Angela


Introducing a New Ferret:


 

QUESTION:

We had 2 ferrets, and our 3 year old died. The other ferret is about 8 months old. We bought a new ferret who is 8 weeks old, and they play together, sometimes the older one bites the new one hard, but mostly when the new one tries to sleep with her. We have them in separate cages at the moment, and whenever we try to put the new ferret in with the other one, she gets bitten. We don’t want to leave her in there and get hurt, are we doing the right thing, or should we just leave her in there and force our older one to let her sleep with her?

 

ANSWER:

Definitely do not leave the baby with the older one in the cage or even when playing, they need to be supervised. There have been some babies and submissive ferrets killed by other ferrets. As the baby grows and can defend herself then they can have longer play times together and eventually they should become good pals. However be forwarned that sometimes ferrets do not get along and have to be kept seperate, but since your new one is a baby the older ferret should adapt in time.

 


QUESTION:

I just bought a new ferret last week and this will be my third ferret now. I currently have two older ferrets both who are a little over 1 year old. The new guy is around 2-3 months and full of energy. I have him in a separate cage from the other two but I take them all out for playtime together. There was never any rough fighting, just sniffing and playing. After about a week I began caging them together but he tried to play with the others when they were lying down. One of my older ones seemed to be getting stressed out so I separated the new one again.

 

I still have playtime together and they all get along. The new one seems to play with one of my older ones more than the other. The other one will ignore the playing and come find me. I have been taking them out recently one on one so they can focus on each other only. The one that would ignore the situation would begin to play with the new one then.

I let the new one in the cage with the others under supervision now and put him back in his own cage. He seems to pick at the older ones every time he is in there and wants to play. I'm afraid that I will stress out my older one again and I definitely don't want to risk his health. Do you have any suggestions on how I can make this easier on them?

 

Also, my older ferrets just love their fleece blankets but the new one likes to eat them! I had to remove them from his cage and replace it with old jeans (something more durable). The last thing I want is for him to get a digestive problem. Will he grow out of this? I really don't want to have to replace the fleece blankets once I all get them to share a cage together.

 

ANSWER:

Just let them play together. Once the baby calms down you will be able to keep them together. Even though your other two are still young they have a routine and do not want a baby driving them crazy whilst they are trying to sleep! Ferrets do suffer from stress especially when new ones are introduced, so it would be best to just let them play outside of the cage and return them to their own cages.

 

Try to give them lots of individual attention and the baby more playing time. He may be chewing on the blankets as he misses his Mum and siblings, it would be best to only give him things he cannot chew as he could get a blockage. You might want to buy him some CHEWEASELS as he could also be cutting his molars. As he matures and all teeth are in, after 5 months you can try the other blankets, but do watch to make sure he doesn't chew them then.

 


QUESTION:
I am a ferret owner in Australia. I currently have two girls, sisters, approx 3 years old, desexed. They (Cocoa and Raven) are happy and excitable ferrets. I have a friend who has too many ferrets and would like me to adopt two of his boys who are 2 years old. I would love for my girls to have some more friends. The only problem is that they are not desexed, and although I am going to desex them when I get them, i'm not sure when to introduce them to my girls.

 

I have read all the FAQ's on introducing new ferrets and will definitely be taking it slow and employing all your tips. How long after desexing should i keep them separated? Also, the boys are very social with other ferrets so that hopefully won't be a problem, but they are much larger than my girls, could this be a problem?

 

ANSWER:

Males are usually larger than females, so that will not be a problem. Is it still breeding season there? If so you will need to neuter the boys and wait about 6-8 weeks for their hormones to abate, they will also loose their odor whilst changing their coats. If it is not breeding season but the ferrets testicles are quite visible, then get them neutered and after a week or so they should be fine to introduce to your females. Once you decide the time is right, bathe them all and put them to play on neutral ground with lots to do, they should adapt quite well. If the males are still too amorous then you may have to wait a little longer.

 


QUESTION:

I'm hoping you can help me with my fuzzy problems! I'm at my wits end with my new one and don't know what to do anymore. I bought my first little girl from a local pet store at 6 weeks of age and she is now one year and 5 months old. She is mellow, a bit emotionally detached (not a cuddler), and a complete pacifist.

 

We decided to look for a playmate for her and found one 3 weeks ago. We had an hour and a half play date with both ferrets before deciding to take the new one home. They seemed to get along fine during this time; a little biting from the new ferret but nothing over the top. The new girl is just barely a year old but she is huge compared to my other girl. When we got home we placed their cages next to each other in the ferret room and let them visit while supervised in our living room. The new girl would bite and drag my other one across the floor a bit in the beginning and I would in turn scruff her and drag her a little to let her know I was the big dog. The dragging and biting started to wane and was being replaced with grooming on the part of the new girl (mine doesn't seem to care for it and doesn't reciprocate, but she doesn't really fight it either).

 

Then I caught them sleeping in the same areas so I thought we had reached the turning point. I even left them together in the ferret room unsupervised but listening hard for screams (which never came). Now I'm starting to think the new girl was just too worn out from being in heat to fight! When I got the new girl home I noticed her swollen vulva and realized she was in heat.

 

After 2 weeks of adjustment to her new home I took her to be spayed. She is set to have her stitches out Friday. My understanding was that after the spay she would be more docile; this is not the case. She was given a day and a half to relax in her room before being let out into the living room again. During this relax time my girl was only in the ferret room to sleep at night and only in her own cage.

 

Everything seemed the same at first but then the new girl resumed her violence. She has been hiding food under the couches to eat it and when my girl goes under there out of curiosity she is fair game. Mine won't fight back she just screams. I lift the couch and bring my girl into my arms where she uncharacteristically curls up. She is so stressed by these attacks that she cuddles with me! I let the new girl come up onto the couch a few times after the attacks to see if she will be nice and all she wants to do is bite my girl. The biting and dragging have resumed with full force during supervised playtime. Also the new girl is not descented so with every attack my current ferret ends up smelling like something dead. They were getting along so well I don't know what happened!!!

 

The new girl seems to have bounced back form the surgery and is having no problems with it. Is this violence being caused by the recent spay or is it something else? I am letting them out separately for the most part now, but do bring them together in the living room until the biting starts then I send mine to the ferret room after a treat and some reassurance. Hopefully you can give me some guidance as to where to go from here!

 

ANSWER:

Wow! The more I read the sorrier I got for both ferrets!!! What country are you in and where did you get the new ferret? Surely the person you got her from knew she was in heat? I am surprised she made it 2 weeks in heat without getting anemia and she could have died during or after surgery, from the prolonged heat cycle.

 

The problem is because of her hormones, it will take about 6-8 weeks for the hormones to abate, she may change her coat and the oily smell will go away. Also when she is less stressed she will stop using her scent glands. Ferrets only expel the odor when scared, nervous or excited, I have several ferrets not descented and no one knows who they are, unless they get scared of something.

 

PLEASE stop putting them together! Your original ferret does not need to be attacked, as the stress from that can cause some serious digestive problems, mainly ulcers. The poor little new ferret, needs to get over her surgery and wait until her hormones have completely calmed down, then introduce them slowly. If she was my ferret, I would keep her in her cage for at least 2 weeks as she may think she has babies, hence the hiding of the food and attacks on other ferret, just keep her calm and quiet.

 

If you can get Bach's RESCUE REMEDY it would be good to add 4 drops to her water bottle each day, it will help her to get over all the trauma she has suffered. Also putting it in the other ones water would help her to adjust to the new ferret. Keep doing this until you introduce them again (in about 2 months) and you are sure they are getting along.

 


QUESTION:
I did have two, 3 year old ferrets whom were brother and sister. A few weeks ago I lost the male to lymph cancer, shortly after I got a 14 week old male baby (He is un-neutered as I live in the U.K, we have to wait till they are 6 months before they can be neutered) to keep her company. It took around a week to introduce them, but now they get on just fine. I've noticed though that he wants to play rough and she just cant be doing with all the energy so I decided he needed a younger play mate. I've now got a 9 week old albino male and when I put him on the floor with the female she violently grabbed the back of his neck and started dragging him around while he was making a awful noise! As for my other male he just tries to bite the baby where ever he can! Is there anything I can do apart from swapping bedding and putting them in each others cages? I'm so worried they wont except the baby.

 

ANSWER:

The female is just trying to put the younger one in his place, but she could hurt him, likewise with the older male. You MUST keep them separate, with their cages next to each other, until the baby is strong enough to take care of himself. They will get to know each other through the bars of the cage and you can switch out bedding too. Usually older ferrets have no problem accepting babies, but since he is so little you need to protect him for a few weeks. Hold the ferrets together and when the older ones are calm put them down together for a few moments, but just take it slowly.

 


QUESTION:
We recently lost a loving and playful 2 year old ferret, Poppet. He was very smart and very hyper. His brother, Guv'ner, is more sensitive and sweet, wanting to cuddle more than play. After Poppet died he began acting very sad, pouting and wanting to be held more. My boyfriend and I wanted to get him another ferret as a new friend, so he would still have a buddy. We got a baby (well a little less than a year old) from a lady who couldn't keep him anymore because she just had her second child and was too busy to spend enough time with him. His name is Coqui and he is amazingly sweet to us, but whenever we let them interact, Conqui will attack Guv'ner! We had to pry him off of his ear when his previous owner was here! We are housing them separately for now, and letting them go in each other's cages frequently, but Coqui seems to not be interested in being friends with Guv'ner. This is making me very sad because, while he is great to people, we got him to be friends with our lonely ferret. Do you have any suggestions?

 

ANSWER:

Getting ferrets to get along is difficult and sometimes impossible! Since both ferrets are young, you should be able to work with them. The problem is probably the new ferret who was alone before and therefore does not really know what another is, especially since his companions were people. Try bathing them both and give them some towels to dry in, they usually go quite crazy after a bath and during that time, since odor is minimized they may just play. Make sure you stand there and part them with a roll of paper towel, just incase a fight ensues.

 

Clean all the bedding in both cages and put them close to each other, they will get to know one another through the bars. Hold them together as much as you can, one in each hand, but close enough so each can touch under supervision. Let them know you love them both, sit with them and play with them using paper bags, blankets etc..they should be so busy playing that when they do bump into each other, it will just be play and not any fighting. Once you see them sleeping together in the same bed or hammock, then you know they have accepted each other. Do NOT leave them together until you are sure they are getting along!

 


QUESTION:
I have two male ferrets, Meiko who is about a year and a half and Mushu who is about a year old. I got Meiko first and then got Mushu about two months later. It took me about two to three weeks for me to introduce the two together. They get along great and play a lot together. In fact they really don't like sleeping alone for very long. I recently got a new baby ferret, he is a male named Mowgli. All the ferrets are Marshall ferret, that have been descented and neutered. I still have the baby ferret separated from the older two. My middle ferret, Mushu, gets along with the baby really well. Sometimes Mushu play a little rough, but I think that is part of the size difference. My oldest ferret is a completely different story. He will will bite the baby in a non playful way. I have attempted to let them get used to one another by letting Meiko smell the baby through the cage or play pen. I have also let Meiko attempt to play with the baby with very close supervision, and that doesn't work. Meiko would attack the baby. I have tried to just keep them separated. I would let Meiko and Mushu play and keep the baby in the play pen. The other day Meiko got into the play pen and attacked the baby. It took a lot for me to pry him off the baby. I don't know what to do. Meiko got along so well with Mushu when I first got him, and still does. I don't know what to do with him and the baby ferret. Do you have any recommendations. How long could the transition take or will it be safer for me to find the baby ferret a new home?

 

Meiko has never acted this way with any other animal or children. If I were to keep Mowgli, the baby ferret, could Meiko turn and become aggressive towards the other ferrets or towards children. I love all my babies (ferrets) and would hate to any of them go, but I want to do what would be in the best interest for them.

 

ANSWER:
Some ferrets do not get along right away but in time meiko might accept the baby. It would be best for you to keep them separate as Meiko is that much bigger and stronger that he could really hurt the baby. Meiko could just be jealous and therefore you need to give him lots more attention, also do not punish him for attacking the baby, he will not understand why and will think you do not like him anymore. It would be much better for you to keep him caged when Mowgli is out and preferably let Mowgli play in a different room., so Meiko will not be jealous.

 

Keep their cages next to each other and switch them into each others cages, once or twice a day, so that they become familiar with each others odor. Then next time you try them together give them a bath, clean their ears really good and hopefully since they all smell alike Meiko will accept Mowgli. Personally I would wait till Mowgli is a little older so the others cannot hurt him, plus he may become aggressive if constantly picked on. As he grows older he will not take any nonsense from the others and will be only interested in play! Meiko will not become aggressive toward children, he is doing what is natural and showing baby who is boss.

 

Try to be present the whole time you allow them out together and just distract them with toys, or part them with a rolled up paper towel so your fingers will not get bitten. If it does not work out then you will just have to keep them in separate cages and have two separate playtimes.

 


QUESTION:
I have a 2 year old ferret to whom I'm going to introduce a new ferret this weekend. My current ferret, has always lived with his brother up until he died last month. He's been checked out with a vet and is fine. The new ferret I'm about to introduce to him is his other brother from the same litter. MY current ferret has been a bit down since losing his little brother, and I think he will be glad of the company of his bigger brother. The bigger brother, the one I'm introducing has had a similarly unfortunate experience at about the same time, when his mother died.

 

I've planned to put clean, fresh bedding in the hutch, but keep my current ferrets own toys in their. Then I plan to bath them both, and then let them dry off and play together with some toys and treats I've bought for them, hoping that they will tumble about playing and get used to one another's scent sooner. I know they may well fight, and am fully prepared to deal with things if they get out of hand. But both ferrets have been the alpha ferret from their previous groups, is there an increased risk of them actually harming each other, or never getting on, even though they've only been alone for a short amount of time and are brothers?

 

ANSWER:
Not sure they would remember that they are brothers. You did not say whether they are neutered or not? Best thing to do is exactly as you have planned and then put them on neutral ground to play, not in the hutch. See what they do and if one is more dominant than the other. If they get along then try them in the hutch to see if anything changes as the home belongs to your ferret!

 

Whatever you do, do not leave alone. Keep the new one separate for a few days until you are sure they will get along when you are not there.

 


QUESTION:
I have a female ferret about 6 years old and I just moved to a new apartment which left her without her Chihuahua roommate (they played together for about a year and then I moved). She seemed fine with the move and enjoyed playing and running about. We have lived there for about 3 weeks now. I just recently bought a new baby ferret for her to play with and followed all the guidelines for introducing them to no happy ending, the older one bites her. I try to play with the older ferret by herself but now she will not play anymore. She just sleeps and cuddles, not like her at all and she even let me clip her nails (ummm, really not normal). Also I saw more than once that she was getting her front paw stuck behind her teeth, she put it there on purpose and then got it stuck! Why would she do that? And yesterday I noticed yucky green smelly diarrhea in her litter pan. The baby got in her cage for awhile while I was trying to get them used to each others smells so it could have been from her but with all the other depression problems and weird behavior from Minnie (older ferret) I am guessing it is from her. What could it be? I am really concerned and there are no vets near me that have experience with ferrets. I am worried since she is so old. Advice would be great.

 

ANSWER:
Unfortunately buying a baby ferret was not a good choice for your older ferret! She has been alone for so long that she doesn't need a companion and at age six she certainly does not need a baby jumping all over her, you have to think of her as a grandma! The green diarrhea is more than likely her, although the baby may not appear to be sick, she most likely brought along ECE with her, which is affecting your older ferret. The pawing at the mouth is because she feels like vomiting, which means she is pretty sick to her stomach.

 

You will need to see if she is eating or drinking anything, she will need lots of fluid. Please buy her some GERBERS BABYFOOD, CHICKEN/TURKEY(blue label), take 3-4 teaspoons and add a teaspoon of water and warm it a little, see if she will eat it from your finger, if not use an eyedropper to dribble behind her canine teeth. Also you can add a teaspoonful of ENSURE. She may shake her head at first, but after you persevere she will take it readily. Once she likes it then put in a bowl for her, making sure she eats it all. You need to give her this at least twice a day, but if she isn't eating her other food then you will need to feed her every 3-4 hours.

 

Ferrets go down hill very fast and without fluids or food can die in a few days, especially at her age. She could also be suffering from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) so the baby food will be a great help as the protein in it is much higher than her kibble and will help keep her sugar level up. Plus baby food is easy for her to digest as is assimilated by the body much faster than kibble.

 

The stress of the new baby and the ECE could cause her to get ulcers, so you will need to watch that she doesn't start grinding her teeth. If she continues with the diarrhea then you can give her some PEPTO BISMOL, half an eye dropper. These are some things you can do, but I strongly recommend that you find a ferret knowledgeable vet in your area, incase she might need SUB Q fluids for dehydration. If you need help finding a vet, please let me know.

 


QUESTION:
I have a beautiful little female pink-eyed albino. She was given to me from an active household (daycare with 4-5 little kids) which the ferrets were allowed run of the house. They (4) came to me and Jesse (my albino) nips; not hurting but nips. I was overwhelmed with animals (5 dogs, 6 ferrets and 9 sugar gliders). My adult son really wanted Jesse and Nippy so he went to their home, where they also were allowed run of the house (which is great!). However, son and girlfriend split so they have been returned to me. Jessie acts totally afraid; she runs around the area under the couches, tv's, etc., always along the wall. She doesn't play with the others and doesn't come out in the middle of the room. The only time I can hold her is first thing in the morning when they wake up and I let them out of their cage. They are only in their cages at nighttime. Anyway, while she is in a sleepy state, which is only a minute or two, I hold her, stroking and speaking softly to her. I have tried a treat but she wants no part of it.

 

I try to very slowly approach her and she runs for the hills. It breaks my heart to see her like this. I believe at my sons house, the 5-year old chased (playing) and I'm sure scared the hell out of her. I think between that, 2 adults arguing, and 2 teenagers was just too much. I know there is a lot going on here. I have 5 dogs that have run of the house and this probably also scares her. The dogs and ferrets go their own ways; neither bothering the other. I did, however, introduce them slowly. How do I work with her to calm, get her to trust me, and stop the nipping (not hurtful but catches us off guard). I just want to see her playing and happy like the others.

 

ANSWER:
I am very concerned about the little albino, it sounds as if she may be 'blind' and as you said scared o death. Personally I would keep her in a cage in a very quiet place until she gets used to the sounds of all the goings on. When you let everyone out, are they always supervised? That seems like a lot of animals all going in different directions, if Jesse is blind you can imagine the fear factor, hearing everyone coming and going. On the other hand if she is 'deaf' the same would apply, seeing, but being startled by touch!

 

Keeping her in a cage in a quiet room and continuing to talk to her softly and handling her gently, may help her. Try feeding her some chicken baby food from your finger, so she will get used to receiving something good from your hand, you may want to start giving it initially with a spoon, until she gets used to the food. Tuck her firmly under your armpit, so she feels secure.

 

You did not mention how old Jesse is, if she is an older ferret, moving from one place to another can cause so much stress, that she will develop ulcers, so the baby food will be a great supplement for now. However if her anxiety continues, you might want to visit a ferret knowledgeable vet and get a blood test done, also a thorough checkup.

 


QUESTION:
I read all of ask Angela re. adding new ferrets to old ones and none answers my question. I have a spayed female, Nonie and a neutered male, Shorty, both about five and raised together since about 5-6 weeks. I just adopted a spayed female, Lily, about 1 1/2 year old ferret. All of the ferrets are so sweet, never bite and really enjoy playing with me. They do not play with each other and I would like to know the BEST and least traumatic way to get them together without Nonie attacking Lily or Lily and Shorty attacking each other with screams and much hissing. I play with all of them equally and pay special attention to the older ones.

 

ANSWER:
It is difficult to answer your question as ferrets are so different. The two that have been together are the 'best of pals' and may not adapt to another ferret at first. The male may be more willing, but then again depending on his personality it would be hard for me to know.

 

The ferret that is 'young and new' to your family may have never been with another ferret and unfortunately that can create a problem. However if she has been with other ferrets, then after an initial introduction, they should get along fine. Put their cages next to each other and then switch cages so they get used to each other's smells. Try putting one of your ferrets at a time with the new one, by holding them first and then give them something to play with, a new toy, paper bags or tunnels, this way it will distract them a little from each other, but at the same time, they may enjoy playing together.

 

If they squabble then part them with a roll of paper towel and distract them with toys. If they fight then separate them immediately and try again later. Fighting ferrets can develop ulcers from the stress so do NOT force them to get along.

 


QUESTION:
I recently bought a 10 month old female ferret and today I bought her sister. I can not tell if they are just playing or if they are fighting. They jump up in the air a lot and are always biting each other the ferret i purchased first seems to be very "vocal" and making noises. They cannot leave each other alone but they do not drag each other or anything of that sort. They both seem to always be going back for more. Should I keep them in a different cage over night until they have spent more time together?.

 

ANSWER:
Sounds as if they are just playing with each other. If they are not dragging each other around and not screaming at each other, they most likely will be fine. It is normal for them to bite each other. Were they previously together when you bought the first one? They more than likely remember each other. When they have finished playing, check to see if they end up sleeping in the same hammock/bed together, if so they probably will be fine.

 

If you see any squabbling going on, then cage separately and just let them play together each day, until you feel comfortable that they are getting along. Both are quite young so they should adjust in no time and be the best of pals.

 


QUESTION:
I have a ferret who's one years old now and has been alone the whole time(Diddy) I got a baby ferret (Mase) to accompany him. At first they were good and slept together. Then after a while I woke up to screeching and hissing. Diddy was attacking Mase I separated them and the next night it happened again. I currently have them in separate cages. Every time I put them together on the same bed, DIddy would attack Mase. Mase has little bruises on the back of his ears. I seriously need help. I don't know what to do with them.

 

ANSWER:
You need to keep them separate until the baby can defend himself. Your ferret has been alone for such a long time he doesn't know how to play without hurting


the baby. Just hold them both together until they get used to each other and let them play in paper bags and tunnels, to expend their energy. Do not leave them alone until Diddy stops dragging the baby by his ears.

Always supervise their play, give them lots of toys to play with and keep them separated when you are not with them. They will be the best of pals once the baby grows!!!

 


QUESTION:
I am writing to you today in regards to my babies. In November of 2005 my husband bought me an 11 week old male Panda ferret. Today I brought home a 7 week old Cinnamon male. My question to you is that when I am introducing them I am noticing that my Panda (Bandit) is extremely rough with the new baby. He is constantly grabbing him by the nape of his neck and his throat and dragging him around the cage and the playpen. I have tried to tell him NO" in a firm voice, but to no avail. Is this normal? Will he kill our new baby? What do I do?

 

ANSWER:
Fortunately your Panda is still young so things should work out okay! he is trying to establish dominance over the other one, who is being very submissive. It would be best to house them separately, but allow them to be close enough to get to know each other. Hold them both at the same time, but do not allow them to play too roughly. Your older one could kill the other accidentally!

 

Give them some time, but remember ferrets do play very rough with each other, the best thing to do is separate them by distracting their attention and using a rolled up paper towel to divide them. After awhile they should be sleeping together in their hammock, that will be the indication that all is well! Keep them under supervision until you are sure they are getting along.

 


QUESTION:
I got another a ferret, her name is Armani. I work at a pet store, and a man from the oilfield brought her in because he didn't have time for her anymore, and gave her to us. She is about 2 and a half to 3 years old. She is an absolute sweetheart, gets along with everyone, curls up and sleeps in my arms even. Recently about two weeks ago, my Mom decided that we could buy a friend for Armani. We bought one from a Petco in Pocatello, Idaho, while we were on Christmas vacation out in that area. The new ferret, Versache is about 5 months old, and fairly large. He and Armani got along for about 5 minutes, and then, Versache started biting her neck, ears, and anywhere else he could get a hold on. I separated them, then a day or two later put them back together, and let him bite her, thinking that she would start to fight back, and it was just play. Well, she didn't won't fight back, she just screamed and screamed, and she became very depressed after I reached in and took her out. I have them separated, and the cages beside each other so that they can still see each other, and I let them out to play, but then he just hurts her some more, so, I now let them out separately. We got Versache for a friend for Armani. What, if anything can I do to get him to stop hurting her? Is it just the age difference? Should I keep them separated, and let him grow up a little bit? He still even bites me occasionally( I just pop his chin when he does this, and he is not doing it nearly as much), and is constantly chewing on the bars of his cage, so, will he just grow out of it? Should I keep them separated or together? If you can help me it would be greatly appreciated, because, I can't continue to keep him, and Armani be depressed, but, I don't really want to get rid of Versache either.

 

ANSWER:
You have to remember he is young and your female ferret quite a lot older. If your ferret hasn't been with other ferrets it is more than likely she does not not know what a ferret is and does not want a young rambunctious ferret jumping all over her. In my opinion I would keep them in separate cages until he calms down and gradually as she gets used to him being there, maybe she will accept him.

 

If she keeps getting stressed or depressed, she is likely to develop ulcers, so stop putting them together for awhile. Please do not 'pop his chin' when he bites, but just say a firm "NO", he is doing what is natural, so distract him with a toy and do not allow him to bite.

 


QUESTION:
I have a ferret who is estimated to be 1-2 years old, male. Two days ago I bought a 3 month old female ferret who is fixed from our local Petco. I also bought a new cage for the 2, a 15 square foot living space cage with multiple levels. I introduced the two ferrets and they seemed to get along fine, playing as ferrets do. However, I have noticed recent changes in the older ferret's behavior. He is not eating as usual, his activity has decreased, and his bowels are no longer dark and somewhat firm. The bowels are now mucus like, light brown and have some red in them. He is usually very active but now is prone to lying around and not very active at all. He coughed up some clear liquid last night but no food. I feed him Totally Ferret. Could this be stress related to an abrupt change or could this be food contamination, or possibly EG? The younger ferret seems to use the bathroom anywhere, as she is not accustom to the litter boxes yet. I am worried that she may have stepped in her own feces and traced it to the food bowls. Please help! I have not yet contacted a vet, as I do not have one for the ferret.

 

ANSWER:
You are probably seeing some stress related problems! However baby ferrets tend to bring with them ECE, but I am sure that your older ferret has already had it when he was a baby, what you are seeing is most likely a recurrence of ECE, caused by the stress of the new ferret.

 

It would have been better for you to have left the male in his cage and introduced them gradually and then put them together in the new cage. However if they are getting along you can probably leave them together., although if you need to monitor food and water intake it might be best to cage separately and just let them play together until the male is fine.

 

Have you changed food recently, as that always needs to be done very gradually so as not to cause a digestive upset. You might want to get some BABYFOOD and feed the male until he stabilizes, it is much easier on his digestive system and since he is having problems will be the best for him right now.

 

What kind of conditions was the baby in, before bringing her home? Baby ferrets can bring in parasites with them, which means you would need to have a fecal done at your vet to make sure he does not need treating for that. If the food has any red coloring in it, then that will show in the feces, especially if he

 

Try giving him some baby food(CHICKEN) 3-4 teaspoonfuls at least twice a day and see if he improves, if not get him to the vet to make sure he hasn't picked up worms from baby. Also if she is very active he may be better off in a cage by himself until he feels better, I am sure he doesn't want her jumping all over him if he does not feel well.

 


QUESTION:
I have a ferret who's going to be 1 years old (diddy) in January and we're thinking about bringing in a ferret about to be 2 years old (Gizmo). Gizmo is a single ferret and his owner went away to college with out him. He hasn't had a lot of attention for about a year. Do you think its a good idea to bring him in with Diddy?

 

ANSWER:
You may need to keep them in separate cages for a while and introduce them slowly. Unfortunately, when ferrets are kept alone for some time from a young age they find it difficult to socialize with other ferrets, simply because they do not recognize their own kind.

 

If you have had them together at all and they have played without a problem then they will be fine. However, I would not leave them alone together, until you know they are going to get along, usually they end up sleeping in the same hammock, or bed.

 

If you haven't put them together yet, you might want to bathe them and clean their ears, so they both smell the same. Clean all the bedding in the cages and place the cages next to each other. Let them play with each other, there may be some tussling at first, but you can intervene with a rolled up paper towel to divide them.

 

Ferret play can be rough, but if either start to hiss or scream then it would be best to separate, put in their own cages and then try again the next day. Once they get used to each others presence, they should be fine.

 


QUESTION:
I am hoping you can answer a question for me. I was told by someone that if I got two baby ferrets at the same time that I should keep them housed separately for the first month so that they will bond with me and not one another. Is that 100% necessary or is there a way I can still house them together and still develop the necessary and healthy bond with myself and the animals?

 

ANSWER:
They will bond with you regardless of being seperated, as long as you give them both quality time playing with them.

 

However I would recommend that you cage them seperately as they tend to play with each other in a very rough way. You must remember that they are carnivores and will practice pouncing on each other and biting really hard, they are practicing for the real thing. Their skins are extremely tough so they are not going to feel the bites, however since human skin is more tender, we do experience pain.

 

Also ferrets are born to play and this is their way of playing, so to prevent these rough encounters it would be much better to divide the cage, if you can, so both have their own seperate space until you come home to play with them.

 

It is a better method but not one that has to be followed. You might want to observe their antics and personalities first, before making a decision on seperating or no.

 


QUESTION:
I was just wondering if you could help me out with a question I have regarding my 2 ferrets. I bought my boyfriend a baby ferret for his birthday back in February of this year. Ferrah is a female and is now 6 months old. My birthday just past and my boyfriend bought me a ferret for my birthday. When we brought Kody (male) home at the end of May he was 13 weeks old. When we first introduced them they played none stop for a good hour, running in and out of the play tube. Ferrah was so curious, and was jumping around so happily when we first put them together. We had never seen her like that before. She is usually a pretty mellow ferret. They were having a great time playing together. And we were so relived that they seemed to get along so well. (our biggest fear).

 

It has been almost three weeks now, and they still play together but Ferrah started to hiss at him periodically when they are playing. Sometimes Kody wont even be doing anything to her. She will just follow behind him and hiss. They are in the same cage now, because they started to sleep with one another outside of the cage. So we thought that it would be okay to put them together. So basically I was just wondering what does this hissing mean. Because they still play together, but after a while she starts to hiss at him for no reason, just following behind him. Is it jealousy? With him touching all her things and being in her “house”? Does this mean that they don’t get along or that they should be in separate cages? Will she stop with time?

 

Also, Kody is a neutered male but his urine really smells, not like Ferrah’s ever did! Is there anything that we can do about this? Do those waste deodorizers really work that they sell in the pet stores that you add to there water?

 

Anyways I would really appreciate if you could answer this question for me, it would be a huge help.

 

ANSWER:
It sounds as if your ferrets are getting along quite well, especially if they are sleeping together! Ferrah at 6 months is an adult now and perhaps does not want to play as much, she is trying to tell Kody to leave her alone.

 

As he matures in another few months they will settle down nicely together. You may want to give them both a bath and thoroughly clean the cage, add something new, such as a blanket, bed, some Tshirts, so that it does not belong to Ferrah.

Most likely since it has been her home all this time, she isn't that crazy about letting him share! However if you clean and change things around it will be new to both of them and they should be quite happy exploring together.

 

Is Kody's urine smelling when he first goes, or is it after sitting in the litter. If the latter then you need to get a better litter, such as CAREFRESH which absorbs the urine and is easy to remove. I use it in all my litter bins, with a pelleted recycled
newsprint on top to weigh the Carefresh down as it is very lightweight.

 

If his urine is exiting smelly, it could be something in the food you are feeding them. If not the food, then you may need to take a sample to your vet to get it checked to make sure he has nothing going on, like an infection.

.

QUESTION:
My dad bought me a second ferret yesterday... she had been at the pet store since the first week of February (born December 8th)... she's the second ferret they've had there since I bought Marshall after having been there for 3 months... and I was worried that Moe would never have a home.

 

Marshall has been playing with my cats since I brought her home, so she has no problem with the new addition.. but since Moe has had no real encounters with other animals, she doesn't know how to act... She always jumps on Marshall, and bites her face, ears, and neck.. I don't know if she's just trying to play, or if they are gonna end up hurting each other. I was wondering if the way Moe is acting, is a normal way of playing? or if I should keep them apart? any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

ANSWER:
I imagine that Moe has been pretty lonely and craving attention! She is just being a normal, happy ferret. Does Marshall play with her? As long as they are not fighting, I wouldn't worry too much. Until Moe settles down, I would keep them in seperate cages, unless you are sure that they are getting along together. Usually you can tell that they are, if they are sleeping together in the same hammock/bed.

 


QUESTION:
I have a girl ferret who is a year and a half old. We were thinking about getting a younger ferret for her to play with. I would just like to know how well ferrets do with other ferrets after they have been by theirselves for awhile. Will they be mean to each other.

 

ANSWER:
Each ferret is an individual, so it will be difficult to say if your ferret will get along with another. How old was she when you first got her?

 

The socialization period for a ferret is between 7-8 weeks of age, therefore if the ferret was taken away from it's siblings before then, it will not immediately recognize another ferret.

 

If your ferret has played with another ferret at any time, even a kitten/cat or dog, she will most likely accept another ferret, there is no guarantee!

 

If you are planning to buy a baby then usually ferrets do accept them, however she may be a little rough with the baby at first so it would be best to cage them seperately and introduce them slowly.

 

There is one problem you may encounter and that is jealousy! If your ferret has been given all your attention and suddenly has to share you, there may be some resentment, and depending on her personality, if she finds it stressful, could develop ulcers. You will need to give her lots of attention at first to reassure her she is still loved, until she accepts the newcomer.

 

Do you have a FERRET RESCUE close to you, perhaps you could find her a companion there, let her choose someone she likes

 


QUESTION:
I hope you can help me and maybe come up with a solution. I have a 5 year old female fuzzie, that I adopted at 4 weeks old from a abusive amateur breeder. She was sick and almost dead. but today she is a very happy and healthy ferret. On Dec. 31 2002, we adopted a 9 week old male. Here is my problem. Tina my older fuzzie seems to hate the baby. I tried to introduce them the other day and she grabbed him and dragged him under the couch. I finally got them out, Ike the baby was shaking and crying, but was not bleeding. Now when he sees her he runs from her. I keep them in separate cages for now. and I have tried the bitter apple on the youngster to defer biting, but Tina (the terrorist) just wiped off the bitter apple and attacked him again. I have even tried to switch housing with them every night to get both their scents in both cages. But as soon as Tina smells his scent she tears up the cage she in and will not stop till everything is dumped, spilled or ragged. Its almost like she is in a rage. I haven't ignored her or anything like that.

Now Ike on the other hand seems to be at peace with her scent. I even tried to set the smaller cage on the floor with Ike inside and then I let Tina out to play but she just terrorizes Ike inside his safe house. He is to the point of hiding under his bedding to get away from her. Please, what can I do? I love them both very much and getting rid of one is not a option for me. I'm to the point of trying anything. Desperate in Arizona.

 

ANSWER:
Tina most likely is very jealous of Ike and it will take her a little while to get used to him, however in my experience usually older ferrets are very accepting of baby ferrets. Don't forget she has been alone for some time and received all your attention, so be very careful that you spend a lot of time with her also.

Switching cages is not really a good idea, because Tina is used to her home and you are disrupting her security by moving her to an unfamiliar place and the fact that you are giving 'her home' to Ike is making matters worse!

Ferrets are by nature very solitary animals and it will take Tina a while to get used to having Ike there, especially since she is not sure 'what' he is, but she will get along with him I am sure. Try holding them at the same time and then putting them down together a little each day, as Ike grows he will be able to take care of himself. Just do not leave them unattended until he can fend for himself, you must remain calm and just separate them when Tina becomes aggressive, try parting them with a roll of paper towel and then distract them with some toys, tubes or paper bags etc..

Sometimes ferrets so not get along with others and often times it is best to keep them separate as it will produce too much stress and especially so in Tina's case as she is so much older. At her age she could have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and any amount of stress could bring on a seizure, so if you see her acting really strange, then I could keep her separate from Ike and maybe a check up at the vet will be necessary.

I do feel that keeping their cages close to each other will bring about good results in time and more than likely even if they do not become the closest of friends (because of the age difference) they should be tolerant of each other.

Another thing I always remind people when trying to put an old ferret with a very young ferret, 'Ike will wear Tina out, it is kinda like a grandmother having her grandchildren around constantly, it would wear her out also!

 


QUESTION:
I just brought a new ferret home hoping he could join my 2 females and everyone would just get along but he is attacking one of my ferrets and I'm afraid he may hurt not only her but also the other who is sick. I hate to have to send him away but don't know what else to do my girls never fight and have always taken care of each other but he has the one scared to come out of hiding and I'm afraid to turn him loose with the girls. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:
There are some questions that need to be asked! How old is the ferret? Where did he come from? Has he ever been with other ferrets? Here he is in strange surroundings confronted with 2 strange ferrets that he may not know what they are if he is an only ferret. Is he healthy himself?

Personally I feel the ferret should be kept completely separate until he gets to know his surrounding and new owner and get to know the other ferrets through the cage. He is under an extreme amount of stress and now the other ferrets are also, it would be best at this point to keep them separated and let the poor thing get used to his new home!

Also the sick ferret will be experiencing more stress. If it is a baby then it needs to learn a few manners before subjecting the older ones to it. If I knew more details I would probably be in a better position to help.

 




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