Ferret

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Marigold
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Ferret

Post by Marigold » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:25 pm

We've all had a very interesting day, especially Poppy, our Norfolk Terrier.
Whilst I was on the phone this morning, Poppy was going mad round the side of the house, barking hysterically. Tony went and caught her and said she was trying to get something that was hiding behind the two plastic sheds, where it's too narrow for her to get in. Possibly a rat, we thought.
We went on down to the summer house with our lunch and found Poppy barking again down there. There was a ferret in the summer house, being chased round by Poppy. It ran out and round the back. Poppy didn't seem to know what to do with it, fortunately - she 's never killed a rat. Eventually we caught Poppy and the ferret ran back into the summer house. We shut the door on it, put P. indoors, and I prepared one of the old quail cages for the ferret.
Wearing gloves, I went in and picked it up, but it soon became evident that it was very tame. A little girl, with a tick on her foot, which Tony removed - a lot easier than on Poppy! Took some pics and put her in the cage, with water and some of Poppy's minced meat.
Had lunch, then I printed off some Found posters and set out to attach them to local lampposts. I went first up to the farm at the top of the road, half a mile away, because I knew that people there use to keep ferrets and it seems the sort of place where people might go ferreting. This house has a large and fierce dog that sometimes gets out and frightens me, let alone Poppy. A large lady eventually answered the door, said yes they did keep ferrets, but assured me it couldn't be theirs since I had said how tame and easy to handle it was. We went out to her garden to check, all the same. There were 2 more ferrets in quite a big cage, but she found that, sure enough, one female ferret was missing. I showed her the photo on my phone and she said "yes, that's Opal!" The escape was blamed on the teenage son, who was "supposed to be responsible for the ferrets' - although judging by the filthy state of the cage, and the unreported escape, he didn't take his responsibilities very seriously.
Anyway, I offered to drive her and her other son, who is 6 and couldn't be left alone, so when she had detached him from the TV (not easy, took some time, at increasing levels of volume) we all piled into the car and came home. Ferret was fast asleep on her lovely clean bed of Aubiose, having eaten some of her lovely fresh mince and drank some of her lovely clean water. The woman put her apparent tameness down to exhaustion and said she wasn't normally like that at all, in fact, rather fierce. Apparently she had got out before and killed their pet duck, (who was then fed to the ferrets for food, apparently.)
So I took them and Opal back home, very relieved not to have the ferret any more. I thought she was lovely and would have been happy to rehome her, but it would have meant Poppy couldn't go out in the garden without going berserk - as it was, she spent all afternoon looking hopefully up at the empty cage, or sniffing round the summer house, now redolent of ferret as well as the normal hedgehog smells from under the floor. It's a good thing that last year we had mended the hole in the summer house floor as otherwise the ferret would have gone down underneath and we'd never have got it back. It's also good that she crapped and peed on the part of the new floor which wasn't covered by the nice new carpet we have just laid in there. But I was sorry to have to return her to such poor conditions. I think the woman would probably have been happy for me to keep her, but as it was really not possible I didn't encourage the idea. She was so lovely and soft and pretty, I quite fell in love with her, but was prepared to believe she could be less easy to handle, - and the woman said she was also in season and was wondering who she might have met on her travels and with what result ....
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Marigold
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Ferret

Post by Marigold » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:31 pm

I'm back on Tapatalk on my phone, so I can post a picture of Opal. Here she is; what a sweetie!
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Minorcafan
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Re: Ferret

Post by Minorcafan » Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:39 pm

Poor Opal, to have to return to such filthy conditions.
valeriebutterley
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Re: Ferret

Post by valeriebutterley » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:27 am

Didn't realise ferrets were so large, thought they were really mini, am I thinking of weasels, are they really tiny?

She certainly is lovely though.
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chrismahon
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Re: Ferret

Post by chrismahon » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:25 am

Our Tiggy (Manchester Terrier) would love to have met Opal Marigold, but the story would probably have been very different.

Yesterday she came back with the front half of a Coypu, about the same size as Opal, and buried it in the log basket in the hall. It was freshly killed but puzzling how half was missing? She's not herself this morning and doesn't want breakfast. After being taken out for a poo and a wee it was obvious where the back half of the Coypu went -she ate it!

I can't understand people keeping animals and not looking after them properly. You would think the lady at the farm would check regularly.
Margaid
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Re: Ferret

Post by Margaid » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:05 am

People can be horribly callous about animals they own Chris as either they get can't be bothered when they have ceased to be useful or they get bored with them quickly, hence the campaign "A dog is for life not just for Christmas". From how Marigold described the behaviour of the 6 year old I suspect that the large lady who eventually opened the door to Marigold has little or no control over her sons ad couldn't be bothered herself. Poor little Opal, she must have thought she was in ferret heaven in your cage Marigold.
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Hen-Gen
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Re: Ferret

Post by Hen-Gen » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:13 am

Love ferrets. I used to keep them and they were very gentle except when in the frenzy of the hunt. And when they bite, they bite hard!
That saying 'a dog is for life and not just for Christmas' is a good one. However some pc friends of mine were not totally amused when I substituted the word AIDS for dog.

On that question of being in season ferrets are induced ovulators which means that they are always in season and it is the act of mating that stimulates ovulation. During the act of mating the male bites the neck of the female and really savages/ mangles it. It is believed that this is what causes ovulation. This is why female ferrets, like female dogs, should always be spayed if they're not going to be bred from because the risk of pyometra is very high.
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Marigold
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Re: Ferret

Post by Marigold » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:37 am

valeriebutterley wrote:Didn't realise ferrets were so large, thought they were really mini, am I thinking of weasels, are they really tiny?

She certainly is lovely though.
Yes, weasels are really small, like a pencil running around, but make up for it by being fierce and clever little hunters. Stoats are similar, but bigger. Both beautiful animals when in motion. I expect ferrets are originally descended from them, maybe HenGen can tell us more? I know nothing about ferrets - I had to Google to be sure I was giving Opal the right sort of food. I don't know how long she'd been out - actually there are lots of baby rabbits running around in the paddock next to our house, so I don't think she had gone short of food. Our neighbour was most apologetic when she told me how her cats kept hunting and eating them, and was surprised when I said what a good thing that was. Mischief would have been happy to have a go, Margaid!

I think the woman was just about staying on top of things. She was so overweight that she was just dragging herself around, took ages to answer the door. The way she had problems with the 6-year-old when asked to go 5 mins down the road to collect Opal suggested that her influence over the teenage son was likely to be non-existent. She said she had 'just moved in with her new partner to see how things went' and I wondered how all that was going. The little boy turned out to a nice little chap when I spoke to him, and loved running across the stones on our pond and seeing the chickens. She said they had three chickens - I was glad not to have seen what conditions they were living in!
valeriebutterley
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Re: Ferret

Post by valeriebutterley » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:26 pm

Just been out to collect eggs and found one of my extremely elderly and original bantams, Cookie, dead. She must have been 6 or 7, and was a hybrid Silkie/bantam/buffSussex bantam and had been failing for days, I suspected it was old age. Just put her near food and water, and up in the nesting loft last night. She was out in the garden with all the others yesterday, so had a lovely last day.
When I picked her up just now she was a really good weight, bless her, she wasn't miserable enough to starve herself!
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Marigold
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Re: Ferret

Post by Marigold » Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:19 pm

That's sad, but as you say, a lovely way to go.
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