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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-07-2004, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
 
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Question New Ferrets, New Questions

Hello, I'm new to the forum and new to ferrets as well. My wife and I recently added 2 new ferrets to our family, Fred and Wilma. I did a lot of reading, here and abroad (thanks for the great links everyone), about the things that I would need for our new family members. I'm not sure of the coloring of the farrets, Fred is very dark (sable?) and Wilma is fairly light (cinnamon/silver?), and I know that they will probably change by the time they reach adulthood. They are Marshall which didn't thrill me but since I wanted young kits my options were limited. So far I haven't had the behavioral problems that I read about and nothing really seems out of the ordinary with them. They are both arlready litter trained (after just 1 week) and they have both figured out how to get in and out of the cage(for whatever they want) when we have them out to play. They are both 12 weeks now and have had their second round of shots. They were both descented and fixed before we got them.

All and all, as I expected, the cost for care of these little rascals adds up quickly. We've tried to offset some of the cost by using home made toys and even just old rags/towels. I only have a couple of questions, (so far ) so I'll get to it. I was hoping to save some money on litter, I know that cedar/pine litter is not good for them so that's out and anything with dust is out and no clumping. What do you guys/gals think of the corncob stuff and the chlorophyll stuff (as long as it's not pine/cedar)? What do you think of the bi-odor type products? are there any that work better or do they all work about the same so go with what's cheapest? do they even work at all? Do you have any home made toys that you could give me ideas for? Fred and Wilma have no problems finding mischief together and the really like the dryer vent line that I gave them and small plastic balls with bells(bought those). Any thoughts?

Thanks for all your help, if you have any tips for me please don't hold back. If you'd like I'll try to get some pictures of Fred and Wilma added.

Thanks Again,
Roy
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-07-2004, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Talking New Pics

Here is a pic of my new ferrets. Fred is on the left (the darker one) and Wilma is on the right.
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File Type: jpg FredandWilma.jpg (26.1 KB, 11 views)
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-07-2004, 02:27 PM
 
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We just use ordinary cat sand...Cheap and easy to get an hold on...

As for toys...Take some big bottles and cut of both ends....tape them all together and you have a great tunnel for them to go throug...A big old sock is always fun to hide in...also give them a old pair of shoes for them do dig in...

You could also take some sort of box an and fill it with rise....fun to dig in as well...Hmmm...what else...? Oh yeah; Buy a squeeking rubber toy....Most ferrets goes crazy and will do anything to get that squeeking thing and chew it to death :hpydance: Run around with the squeeking toy, and the ferrets will get alot of exercise
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-07-2004, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
 
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They really like Toilet paper rolls too, so I found out. I'd be smart to get some old shoes out, they were digging in my tenny's the other night, I couldn't quit laughing. Mostly b/c I couldn't figure out how they could stand the smell.

I'm gonna use the bottle idea, i'm a big bottled water drinker so I'll start saving up.

Thanks for the replay, I'll look into the cat sand in our area.
Roy
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-07-2004, 06:38 PM
 
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Red face

Cat litter- Cat litter that is unsented is best for ferrets- some ferrets get irritated by sented litter, and some are just taken back by the smell of it. Usually generic brands are good.
As for toys, my ferret's favorites are tubes and small stuffed animals or those toy mouse's that you get for cats. I went to Ace Hardware and bought a gutter extention which works great for a long lasting, bendable tube that they can play chase in. As for using things around the house, try filling an old film case with rice - they love the noise of shaky toys. Avoid anything rubber! They LOVE to chew rubber, but also can eat it- this makes bad for blocks. Believe me, they will eventually discover rubber made items around the house so keep a watchful eye on things you want to save, and especially for their health. My ferrets are picky when it comes to toys. They usually find thier own toys from stuff around the house- we just give in and let them have it. But I don't think you can ever go wrong with tubes and boxes. It's in their nature to burrow and hide. Try taking old cardboard boxes, shoe boxes, ect.. and cut holes in them, connect them together for a little playground. Make a little maze. Our ferrets still play in the one we made and it's been months. (We're new parents as well). If you store buy toys, don't count on your money lasting too long. They love to explore and "disect" toys. You're doing the right thing by making your own. Good luck and HAVE FUN!!!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-07-2004, 06:51 PM
 
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Unhappy We created a monster?

I have a question of my own so I'll just add it here for better views. I have 2 ferrets. We just got the newest one about a month and a half ago. It has seems that he is a bit more skiddish and really uneasy with being held. I know he's young, but he's super aggressive and bites a lot no matter what I teach him. He's not breaking the skin, but he hasn't learned yet that he can play rough with our other ferret, but not us. Lately we realized that he refuses to look at us in the eyes. He constantly turns his head away from us. I normally would just consider this a baby's behavior, but our other ferret Mongo is only 3 weeks older and is much more affectionate and calm with us. He seems to acknowledge our presence and want to include us in things. People have visited us and they all respond the same way by stating that our baby is a monster... they even tell us to get rid of him!!! Of course I would never do such a thing. I'm hoping time and lots of love will cure his coldness to us. But I'm wondering if I'm doing something to make him respond so mean to us. He only wants to play with the other ferret, and even Mongo is starting to run from him. Any suggestions? Is it just his personality or does he really not like us?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-08-2004, 12:28 PM
 
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Not looking into you eyes, means that you are the boss...For animals eye contact with a leader, means that you are challenging the leader. So that's actually a good sign.... :blob4:

But...about the behavior....Patience, love and more patience. My first ferret bit me until I bled, and I really thought he hated me. It took me 2 months to make him accept me and trust me...And trust is a key word here...The ferret biting you and don't want to be held, is a sign that they are insecure and scared.

I would do it lik this:

When the ferret bites:

Take the ferret and hold him in his neck...squeeze him gently down at the floor, and hold him there for a few seconds. Ignore him afterwards for about 1 min. Do this EVERYTIME he bites, or you will give him mixed signals, like that sometimes biting is okay.

When the ferret don't want's to be held:

Some ferrets just hate being held, but try to keep him calm for a few seconds at the time...Forcing him to stay longer just makes the ferret stressed.
While you hold him, give him a treat...After a while he will connect you hodling him as a good thing.

To make the ferret trust you:

Don't push the ferret. Make some noises everytime you are about to give him a treat. Let him come to you...It won't take long before he comes running everytime you make that special noise Sit down a talk softly to him...let him get to know you voice and smell...Such things are important for a ferret, since they don't see very good....

Good luck
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-11-2004, 03:54 PM
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Roy,
first let me say welcome to PT! It's always nice to see another ferreteer around the boards! Second, please accept my apology for not responding sooner... If I leave anything out, don't hesitate to shout at me or PM me

Quote:
Originally Posted by HotHead
I was hoping to save some money on litter, I know that cedar/pine litter is not good for them so that's out and anything with dust is out and no clumping. What do you guys/gals think of the corncob stuff and the chlorophyll stuff (as long as it's not pine/cedar)? What do you think of the bi-odor type products? are there any that work better or do they all work about the same so go with what's cheapest? do they even work at all?
These are strictly my opinions based on my experience...
  • Clumping cat litter is deffinately NOT a good idea. Because of it being so fine it can get up their noses as they tend to burrow & dig in the litter. In addition there is the risk of the dust factor with is not good for a ferrets respratory system.
  • Conventional Clay cat litter would be ok if it were dust free. I personally don't like it because it doesn't absorb the smell very well & it makes my ferrets fur/skin feel dirty & gritty.
  • Corncob Litter in my opinion is perfectly fine & is affordable. Many have told me that there is a chance of mites harboring in corncob bedding, but I never had a problem. I used to buy mine from a local farm feed store. For a 50 pound bag I paid about 15.00 or so & it lasted me about 2 month or so.
  • Another suggestion is Carefresh bedding, which is recycled paper. This is what I use now. It is a little more exspensive but to me it is worth it. I buy the largest bag which I believe is 50 liters dry weight. It is readily available at most pet stores for about 20.00 a bag which lasts about 3-4 weeks. I can also get this at me feed store though for about 15.00 a bag. The website I posted above is the cheapest I have found it on the internet but you have to pay for shipping so it comes out to be about the same as if you bought it locally. It does abosrb the odors fairly well as long as you don't allow the bedding to get too wet (go to long between litter changes)
  • I have heard many other people mention wood stove pellets. I have never tried these, but have heard they are very affordable & work pretty well. Although they may be a little hard to find.
    • As far as litters being scented though... I absolutely agree with you. Make sure any littler you use is non-scented. Ferrets have a weak respritory system so those extra scents (and dust) can be very harmful for them.
    • I have used bi-odor in their water for a while, & while at first I thought it helpped, I actually think it was a conciencious thought more than anything. It really didn't make a difference & I personally would save the money & not mess with it.
Some tips on helping keep the odor to a minimum are:
  1. Feed a qood high quality food (use this food chart for reference, the higher the # the better the food.)
  2. Try to avoid food or treats containing fish products
  3. Keep thier ears clean (use a cotton swab at least once a month to clean the outter "visible" portion of the ear canal)
  4. Be sure to clean the litter on a regular basis (depending on the size of litter pan you use it should be anywhere from every 2-3 days or so to no less than once a week)
  5. Don't overbathe them. Depending on the climate in which you live & how dry or humid it is there, you shouldn't need to bathe them more than once a year or no more than every 6 months or so. Over bathing a ferret causes dry skin which in turn forces them to release more oil out of their skin to replenish moisture resulting a stronger scented ferret.
I'm sure there are others I may be leaving out at the moment, but these will at least get you started.

Quote:
Do you have any home made toys that you could give me ideas for? Fred and Wilma have no problems finding mischief together and the really like the dryer vent line that I gave them and small plastic balls with bells(bought those). Any thoughts?
Your dryer tube is PERFECT! As are towels, rags & blankets. I also agree with the suggestion of cardboard boxes. If you try to think like a ferret you would find that anything they can hide or burrow in/under would be perfect! Vary the size of boxes & stager them at various heights as well. Old socks always seem to be a favorite also. Tie a knot in one so it looks like a ball & they seem to love that. I would recommend staying away from anything rubber at all cost. Yes it is totally tru that ferrets are obsessed with it, but it also is very well known for causing blockages, which in turn can be life threatening to your ferret. The bottle idea is a great one as well, although I would use 2 liter bottles to avoid getting them stuck in there. Another option which is very popular to ferrets is a "dig box". Take a plastic tote (made by sterilite or rubber made or of the like) which is around 3 ft wide by 2 ft deep by 2-3 feet tall (doesn't have to match this size & can be pretty much anything you want) and fill it about 1/2 full with long grain white rice (be sure not to use instant rice), corn cob litter (as long as you don't use it for litter in their cage), shredded paper, or non-styrofoam packing peanuts. Ferrets tend to play for hours digging & burrowing in it.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-11-2004, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tycor2328
I have a question of my own so I'll just add it here for better views. I have 2 ferrets. We just got the newest one about a month and a half ago. It has seems that he is a bit more skiddish and really uneasy with being held. I know he's young, but he's super aggressive and bites a lot no matter what I teach him. He's not breaking the skin, but he hasn't learned yet that he can play rough with our other ferret, but not us. Lately we realized that he refuses to look at us in the eyes. He constantly turns his head away from us. I normally would just consider this a baby's behavior, but our other ferret Mongo is only 3 weeks older and is much more affectionate and calm with us. He seems to acknowledge our presence and want to include us in things. People have visited us and they all respond the same way by stating that our baby is a monster... they even tell us to get rid of him!!! Of course I would never do such a thing. I'm hoping time and lots of love will cure his coldness to us. But I'm wondering if I'm doing something to make him respond so mean to us. He only wants to play with the other ferret, and even Mongo is starting to run from him. Any suggestions? Is it just his personality or does he really not like us?
Tycor:
A couple things, I agree with the fact that lot looking into your eyes means submission... but I wouldn't worry too much about that. One of my ferrets (Tigger) is such a hyper little girl & REFUSES to allow you to hold her without trying to wiggle free & will not look at anyone. How old is your baby? Where did you get him from? These may play factors as well. Remember the key to owning a ferret is patience. I wouldn't be too hard on yourself about it to be honest. Each ferret is so individual & unique & it very well just may be his personality.
Are there certain things that trigger the biting? Consistancy is the key to breaking this habit. EVERY ferret is trainable it NOT bit. Actually I prefer to say that you cannot train a ferret as they tend to be stubborn & can often outsmart you, so rather you are "re-teaching" proper behavior.
Many people have differnt methods of teaching a ferret not to bite. Believe me when I say I know how frustrating it can become. They method I found to work the best was with each bite to "scruff" them by the loose skin on the back of their neck & hold them in the air an arms length away from you & boldly tell them "no bite". Only hold them there for a minute or so cause a ferret has a short attention span & will quickly forget why it is being punished. After scruffing them cuddle them in your arms & kiss them & show them love. Keep repeating this until you can successfully cuddle them without being bit. Once you have acheived this give lots of praise for the acceptance & then set him back on the floor to play. This teaches them to trust you & shows them you are not affraid of them. I used this method on my oldest ferret who was a SEVERE biter when I first got him 4 years ago. It took me & my husband about 3-4 months to teach him to behave but now he is the biggest baby ever! he will even allow you to cuddle him & will give you kisses in return.

Just try your best to be patient with him & continue to show him lots of love & attention. You can turn him around!
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