Bolton Ferret Welfare

Yarm Ferret Rescue - May 2010

by Sue LLoyd

As I write these notes I'm still waiting for Spring to arrive; a long winter that has turned into a mostly cold spring. The birds seem to be starting their broods and a few butterflies are about but this coldness hasn't delayed the deluge of 'in season' jills visiting the vasectomised hobs, who have all worked like troopers!

I personally don't like a huge hob for this job. If a jill refuses to mate I've always found that there's a reason, be it an infection or enlarged uterus: I don't want a jill bullied into submission by a large hob.

Once again I will run the foster jill/kit service if anyone needs a foster jill or can offer a jill to foster kits. Please telephone or text 07817 415 645.

It has been a great honour to receive the Dick Nutt Memorial Shield. Thank you. I've been reminiscing and thinking about how things have changed over the years. For instance, dry ferret food has made life so much easier; how did I manage without it? Years ago rescues coming in were usually strays, now we are swamped mostly with ferrets no longer wanted as pets. The agricultural shows would hold a couple of ferret classes, with often no more than 19 turning up, now we average 15 classes with 19 or more entries per class. We used to be put at the end of the rabbit tent, now we have our own!

When I first joined the National, the big message was to keep jills out of season, preferably by not breeding and on the whole that message is now widely understood and practised. However, the downside of showing is the numerous ferrets being bred for certain popular colours which of course means many don't reach the 'required' standards and can face a very unsure future; pet shops, fur auctions, any home just to get rid of them.

Many years ago a friend of mine who ran a big rescue, heaved under the number of ferrets taken in. "We are a product of our own success." she said. "We have promoted ferrets and the rescues are full".

Food for thought.

(First published May 2010)

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