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When is ferret playing too much?

Discussion in 'Ferrets' started by IvyInspired, Oct 8, 2013.


  1. IvyInspired

    IvyInspired PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Guys!

    I bought one Angora ferret hob from a breeder - with the hopes to integrate him with me, my partner, and our 2 resident Bengal Cats, as i thought if i got two at the same time they would be harder to train and wouldnt rely on us other family members for company as much.

    Sure enough, Chivalry, as we named him, bonded to us all well, but while me and my bf are in work during the day, he was being cooped up on his own, and used to cuddle up with an old scarf. :(

    This made me feel bad, so i went and got him a friend! Ferret number 2 [named Pacey] is also a Hob from the same breeder (and half brother to my original ferret), and he is of a similar age (they are only 4 weeks apart in age).

    Now, most of the time they get on well, and they go off dooking and exploring together etc, so i know they enjoy each others company - however when they do scrap and play - it always ends with crocodile rolls and screeches and scuffles - and both ferrets now have scabs on their necks from this rough play.

    For the first week we left them to it, as it wasn't so serious for me to worry about their welfare, and i thought they were just establishing hierarchy. But now 3/4 weeks on, they still do this (now i break them up whenever i hear them doing this), and it makes them look like vicious creatures to always be at each others necks and with plenty of scabs to prove it too.

    I wondered if any ferret experts might have some advise on how normal/abnormal this behavior is, if it decreases as the ferrets get older (we are planning to castrate them after they reach maturity), and if it is something i can do anything about in the meantime?

    I would love to post pictures of the little guys as well - i THINK i have accomplished this but if not, i would love advise on this as well!

    Thanks

    Ivy
     

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  2. DKDREAM

    DKDREAM PetForums VIP

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    I think if the biting is getting too bad, then you need to separate them if they continue to bite and roll they could well rip each other's backs open, how old are they exactly, it sounds like they maybe maturing early. I would let them play daily (supervised so they keep a bond) but separate when you go out.
     
  3. lostbear

    lostbear Bear right at Newcastle . . .

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    They really are gorgeous! I was also wondering how old they are. I think you can get ferrets neutered quite early, and it stops all that male rivalry. DK will give you good advice on this.
     
  4. IvyInspired

    IvyInspired PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for the replies so far :)

    The elder sandy boy is around 5 months now, and the younger poley boy is 4 weeks younger so he is around 4 months.

    I think you may be right about the male rivalry coming about earlier than usual - its a shame though because as well as scrapping, they still cuddle up together at night etc - and i bought the poley boy specifically as a companion for the sandy boy, so it would be a real shame to separate :/

    Also - I've read that you should leave neutering until they are fully mature, around 8/9 months of age, as otherwise neutering early can trigger the onset of adrenal disease later in life.
    So again, it would be a shame if i felt the need to neuter early.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on this though, as there is so much conflicting advice around ferret neutering and adrenal disease out there - its hard to pick out the good advice from the bad!

    Thanks
     
  5. DKDREAM

    DKDREAM PetForums VIP

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    Hi Ivy,

    Yeah you are right about the early neutering can contribute to Adrenal in ferrets ( I usually neuter when they have came into season and shown they are mentally and physically mature.) You could try putting a little sudocream on each of their necks, and see if that stops them, some ferrets don't like the taste of it and will stop, but if they are both biting each other I think it could well get worse, are they kept indoors? and how are the lighting do they get normal daylight hours or do you give them artificial lighting as well? who is the one starting the fights is it the sandy?
     
  6. IvyInspired

    IvyInspired PetForums Newbie

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    Ooo, yes, il try the sudocream method - see if that helps.

    Yes, they live indoors, and have their own room. The curtains are open in there during the day so they get natural lighting, and they have a 8:30pm bedtime at night, at which point we just turn the light off in their room and leave the curtains open so they can experience natural sunrise of a morning.

    And actually, it is the smaller poley who is the instigator. Not to say the sandy doesnt give as good as he gets when things get started, but since we had him for a few weeks without another ferret playmate, he mellowed out so much, and isnt generally interested in fighting or scrapping.

    The little poley came to us after being in with a pen full of ferrets, old and young, so i think he learned that he needed to fight for his place and fight for all his toys and food.

    We quickly learned to feed them separately because he causes chaos at feed time otherwise, even with his own bowl, as he would quickly stash all his while hissing, and then steal his older brothers too.

    But now, he simply grabs and trys to scruff his sandy brother by the neck (which at this point is looking red and sore), and the sandy will take immediate offence and try and return the favour, and off they go rolling and screeching...

    So infuriating as they get on so well most of the time; i just wish i could let Pacey (the poley) know that he doesnt need to prove himself or fight for anything any more - its time to chill with his new family :)
     
  7. DKDREAM

    DKDREAM PetForums VIP

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    the behaviour you describe is very typical of a kit who has not been fed enough and dosen't realise when the next meal is coming, if he has had to fight etc. are you sure he is only 4 month as its a bit young for him to really start, I think if I was you I would feed him 2-3 meals a day this way he may be too full and satisfied to fight. It sounds as though he really is unsure bless him, its so sad when a kit is like that. All the best with him, please let us know how he gets on.
     
  8. IvyInspired

    IvyInspired PetForums Newbie

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    Yes DK, i think maybe he was just smaller and less able to get his fill of food when in competition with all other ferrets.

    I'm going to try giving them smaller meals more often, to keep Pacey full of food throughout the day, and hopefully its just a matter of time for him to realise he doesnt need to bother being so possessive over food and therefore aggressive to his brother.

    As a side note, i tried the sudocream trick this morning, and Chivalry [The Sandy boy] learned that he doesn't like having cream on his back [at which point he wiped it off all over the work trousers i was wearing!!], but that he does love to lick sudocream, so he sat on my lap licking at my fingers for the entire time i was trying to put my make up on!
    Pacey on the other hand, learnt that he doesnt mind the taste of sudocream, and started a mini scuffle anyway - which i broke up easily enough and was the only attempt at aggression from them this morning.

    Oh well - even if it didnt solve the problem at hand, it did charm the pants off me with Chivalry cozying up to me this morning :)

    Wish id got a picture!
     
  9. DKDREAM

    DKDREAM PetForums VIP

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    Oh what a shame, that it didn't work :( I am not sure what else to suggest really as usually it means having to split them up. Have you felt for any signs of testicles on either boy? as sometimes they can come in season very early (6 month old) I would just try and discourage and fights by just breaking it up. Its a great Idea to feed him more often Thats all I do when I have a kit who acts like that.
     
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