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Help. Attacking ferret
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Help. Attacking ferret - Tuesday, March 29, 2011 11:28 PM
Hello, I'm an avid reader of the forums, first time poster.

I have from what I can tell a very "unique" situation I'm hoping the community has some answers.

We rescued our first ferret about 6 months ago, poor thing was dropped off in front of the pet store we visit frequently.  The vet "estimated" her age to be about 1 year old.  She is very sweet, so my children named her Sweet Pea.  After bringing her home she was a real proper fit.  I've wanted ferrets for about 15 years now never got the courage to actually own one.  After decided that me and the wife are not dog or cat people due to various allergies and constant arguments as to what actually counts as a "dog" :P.  We then about 3 months ago decided to get a second ferret, a play mate for Sweet Pea.  Enter, Peppi, about 8 weeks old when he entered our family.  They got along so well, we couldn't have asked for a better situation.  Fast forward 2 1/3 months, and after brief deliberations (and 4 frozen margaritas) our "business" increased by two.  Now Sweet Pea and Peppi, have two more friends to play with Fudge and Silver both about 8 weeks old.   We were already introducing the older two, to the new ones very slowly as we did before, and things started out good.  However, Fudge had some hard times upon entering the household, he was severely under weight, and later started showing signs of ECE.  We placed Silver in the cage with Peppi and Sweet Pea, and isolated Fudge.  After a trip to vet, an IV, X-rays, and a lot of love and care Fudge started to put back on weight.  

Now here is my problem.  Now every time Sweet Pea and Fudge are together she viciously attacks him.  I'd pull them apart, scruff her, tell her no, and put her down only to do it again.  So we started putting her in time out in her carrier, bitter apple spray, water sprits..... didn't work.  Now I know that they need to establish dominance, but she does hurt him.  She bites hard, breaking the skin, and shakes/drags him.  The final time, Fudge even poo'd he was so scared.  Right now we have them play in shifts, but I'd like for all my ferrets to get along with one another.  For me it is just so odd, that she gets along with all the other, it is almost as if she has something against him.  And after she "attacks" him he get so depressed and goes back to his cage and sulks.  I'm hoping that when he gets bigger, since he is a male, that he'll be able to defend himself and the fighting will stop.  Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Re:Help. Attacking ferret - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 6:00 AM
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Have you tried bathing all of them to neutralize the scents?  I would try bathing them, laundering their bedding and putting up a barrier where they could see and smell each other but not interact for a couple weeks before trying to reintroduce them.  I would also put his litter mate (the one that's his age) in with him so he's not sequestered and running the risk of becoming depressed. 
When people ask what its like to live with a ferret I tell them "Its like a herd of toddlers riding a tornado through your house". 

~ My quote (please don't use with out my consent.)


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Re:Help. Attacking ferret - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 7:16 AM
Just keep doing what you are doing, correct her if she's getting too rough, but you have to allow some scruffing and dragging so she can show how in charge and big she is.  Some girls are just like that, my little female is the same way, she hates any newcomer and makes it her business to attack them every chance she gets.  I step in as needed and just do short supervised playtimes, preferably somewhere new and exciting to distract her and play with her extra so she leaves newbie alone a bit.  It'll take time, I've had intros take months and months before the fighting stopped.   There's no need to be squirting her and bitter apple, she's not doing anything wrong, she's just being a ferret, they are territorial. 

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Re:Help. Attacking ferret - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 7:56 AM
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I don't allow adults to pick on 8 week old kits.  Just not fair to kit(s).  It's like throwing a piece of meat into the lion's den.  I have seen what a adult can do to a kit.

I like to do slow introduction in my home.  I let the kits be kits.....let them have their play time and get used to their new home.  I have a ferret it's easier  to keep them in one area.

I slowly introduced one ferret at time to kit(s).  Let them get used to each other for a week or so.   Usually I pick a ferret that's going to get along with them.

Then comes the trouble makers of business.   One at time, they come out.  I make the ferret room the messy room, so that the kits have some place to hide.  Tubes are great....this way the kit can' block a entrance way and the mean ferret can't get into the entrance way....

I also sit in the room and watch behavior of my adult.  It I see that adult going for that kit.  She/He get a scruff and drag along the floor. I will hold the ferret down for awhile and hiss at him or her.  They need to remember that mom the top ferret....she doesn't like it when they are fresh new comers.

With my kids they usually get sick of mom picking on them and they slowly back away  It takes a all works out for us.
If it makes you feel any better. It took me over 6 months to get a kit into my business of ferrets.  But they all live together now in one big family.

I am sure others will share their experience.  Good luck introduction and I hope this helps.

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Re:Help. Attacking ferret - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:23 PM
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Some ferrets just don't take to new additions well it seems. I had to keep my old ferret, Moe, seperated from Junior, our new kit, for almost 4 months before they would tolerate each other in the same cage.  He would bite June's neck so hard he drew blood, and Junior would mess himself and scream...I will never again put a kit in with an adult ferret.  Now that Junior is older, Moe doesn't attack him. Poor Junior used to sit there and just scream even if Moe just walked past him outside the cage.  I tried everything, bathing them together, giving them treats next to one another, giving them soup out of the same bowl, and even putting them in the same cage together when they were both sleeping so they would get used to each others smells.  I would also switch out their bedding so they would get to know each other that way by smelling each other, but no one would get hurt this way. 

You just have to keep working with it.  It might take a while.  Whenever Moe would attack Junior, I would take Moe and scruff him (he was deaf so telling him NO was useless lol) and drag him along the floor.  Every time.  He eventually started to get that what he was doing was bad.  And only attacked Junior a few times when they were both out playing.  Also, Moe would go back in the cage while the others were playing if he attacked Junior too many times. Keep working at it, they'll get along eventually.  I never thought Moe and Junior would like each other, but they are fine together now.
"You know you're a Respiratory Therapist when.."
RIP Fisher, Big Fatty, & Spaz <3 Miss you so much*8-10-11, 2-5-2011 & 8/26/10*&l

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Re:Help. Attacking ferret - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 5:00 PM
Thank you for the help.  We are currently trying all the methods.  After bathing today, there seemed to be a slight improvement.  Sweet Pea is still going after Fudge, but now she'll scruff him and let go.   Fudge still gets all upset and has this look like, "why doesn't she like me" and runs for my wife (his momma) and just snuggles with her.

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Re:Help. Attacking ferret - Saturday, April 02, 2011 9:24 AM

Looks like all the advice worked.  We started to do supervised cage time with no problem.  I'm starting to think that the reason why Sweet Pea was so aggressive was because she never considered Fudge part of her clan. 

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