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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-06-2002, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 58
Cuts/bite wounds?

Orion, who is about 12 weeks old, has always been a rough & tumble wrestler with my other ferrets. He does run around and play nicely, but he also initiates a wrestling match with the other three quite often, both in and out of the cage. I've found this strange over the past few weeks mainly because he tends to focus these aggressions on my oldest ferret Ezra who is about 6 months old and either fully grown or close to it. Orion on the other hand isn't nearly full grown, though he is -very- big for his age. He was always a big baby, but he's actually surpassed Starkes (almost 3 1/2 months) and is as long as and thicker than Vin (4 months). While the other three duked it out during their first few weeks together, usually initiated by the older ferrets in each situation which I know to be normal, none of the three really gave Orion much trouble. He integrated into their group so easily I was amazed and thrilled. But over the past week and a half, he seems to be getting more and more aggressive towards the others. I thought it was just normal play until today I noticed a small spot of dried blood on Ezra's back that was well-hidden in his fur. After closer examination, I can see a couple other little spots around there that look like small scabs. All but the first one I found are about the size if you'd stuck yourself with the end of a needle or pin. The first one I can't really tell if it's bigger or just bled a bit more, but this has me pretty concerned. I never saw actual marks on the others when they tumbled and wrestled or even fought. And while these marks are -really- small, I don't want to wait until I find a really big cut on any of them. I checked over Orion and, while I can't see his skin very well cause he still has that thick baby fluff, he doesn't seem to have any cuts anywhere. Vin was unmarked too but I found another tiny one on Starkes (who is the smallest of the group and seems to get pounced a lot).
The three older ones seem to get along well all the time. Yes, they wrestle, but it has never seemed to be malicious, just fun. I had thought Orion was doing well too. I still find them all sleeping in the hammock or sleeping cube together, so it's not as if he hates them. What should I do? Should I go ahead and move Orion into the extra cage? Whenever I do, he cries to get back with the others. I'm at a loss... Sorry about the lengthy explanation but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by CMorrow; 05-06-2002 at 12:40 AM.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-06-2002, 05:16 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 559
No, there should be no need to move Orion to a separate cage. If there are obvious signs of stress in any of them such as loss of appetite, weight loss(other than normal seasonal weight loss), lethargy, diarrhea(or any sudden or obvious change in stools that cannot be directly linked to diet), vomiting, teeth grinding, pawing at the mouth, or any other unusual symptoms. If one of them was sleeping off by himself somewhere whereas he'd normally sleep in the hammock, then I'd start to be concerned. If Orion won't let one or all of them in the hammock with him, or near the food bowl, then yes, he would need to be separated. The fighting unfortunately is just part of normal ferret play. The fact that the ferrets get beat up and run back to get another butt whooping tells you that it is no big deal to them. Ferret play can be really violent looking to us and sometimes they really do hurt one another(one will usually hiss or bark, then bite at the other if things start getting to be too much). He may still be bullying them to assert his *dominance* amongst them. He may just be a *bully* ferret--seems like every group has one at some point.
The cuts and scrapes are normal. I have found scrapes and scabs on my guys--even amongst groups that never fought. They have their occasional tussles it seems. I would just keep an eye on them for now and unless you see some really obvious signs of stress(inside the cage), I would just leave them be. If it helps, you can slather a little bitter apple on the "victim's" neck to keep him from biting there(avoid putting it on any open wounds of course) OR try putting ferretone there so he licks instead of bites them.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-06-2002, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 58
Ok, Nancy, you're a lifesaver. It's good to hear that the cuts and scrapes happen. I'd read some places that if they ever draw blood on the others it's a sign they're getting too rough, etc, but I wanted to ask some people that I know have plenty of experience with these things. I appreciate your help.

On another note, today was a nice day so I took my kids outside on their leashes for the first time! I thought they might be nervous or scared with the new surroundings, but they loved it. They all immediately started burrowing through the grass and looking all around to see what was making those weird noises (birds, insects). Definitely going to have to do that more often!
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