Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Mission impossible ferret video!

This isn't my video or my ferrets but a very entertaining video I found online. Enjoy!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Some favourite ferret toys.

Sometimes unfortunately, shop bought toys aren't as successful as home made ones, then at other times home made toys are overlooked in favour of bought toys. This is something quite possibly every ferret owner has been through! So I'm going to share with you some of my ferret's personal favourite toys in the hope you might find your guys' perfect boredom breaker!

Tunnels are always a great choice for our tunnelling loving friends. The bigger the better! I have a half tunnel with a closed end (not so clever as it collapses all the time), a small open ended red tunnel with cat toys attached and a large three sided combination tunnel with another hole in the centre which has lead to some pretty awesome ferret battles! Prices vary but do look around, something like this one on Ebay might be a good starter tunnel.

Alligator hide n sleep

I can not stress enough how great the Alligator hide n sleep toy is! All three love it! One can hide inside and use it like a ferrety fortress while others brave the snapping jaws (of alligator and ferret alike!) to try and claim the bowels of the alligator for themselves. As the name suggests it would make a perfect bed for smaller ferrets, but mine can never settle in it for long. As it is an American product, shipping to the UK can be pricey, but as before have a good look around on various sites for the best deal. I've found one on Health style emporium at the great price of £16.99 with free shipping. I don't think you'll find one cheaper than that, but if you do then please drop a comment below and let people know! Alligator hide and sleep

The cheapest and quite possibly their best toy is the 'dook cottage' (ahem) that I made quite simply by cutting a door and windows in a cardboard box (and drawing on a flowerpot of course!)
This was a big success but I then decided to add on an extension and a tunnel entrance... The tunnel entrance is just a small plastic play tunnel taped to the side of the box after I cut a hole the same diameter as the tube. et voila! A cottage play 'room' with three entrances! They go crazy zooming in and out of the door and the tunnel, the one on the inside trying to fend off attacks from all angles. It's great to watch and cost so little to make! If you don't have any large boxes laying around you could pop to your local supermarket and see if they have any they could give you.

Cat teasers are another good buy, except for if you have a serious stasher like Shiro around who will only try and take it to stash, not to play with.... They love jingling noises but beware of small bells and parts that can easily come off, such as feathers and fluff.

Till next time, have fun!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Update on Lola and her 'bino brothers!

Lola has been in with her adoptive brothers for quite a few months now, and they get on brilliantly! She is now 7 months old and the boys are a year and a half. Here are some of the cutest snaps we have of them from recent weeks :)

She enjoys trying to 'watch' the game with her daddy

Trying on some 'bling' for size

Alfie (left) and Shiro have some cuddle time

All three in their hammock

Friday, 9 November 2012

Out and about with ferrets: Woodland

The woods we visited a week or so ago.

The woods can be a great place to go with your fuzzies as long as you are sensible about it.
Many people visit woodland to appreciate the flora and fauna or to simply enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside and the fresh air. They won't be able to do this with you trampling through the woods with about a hundred ferrets in tow shouting and generally making a ruckus! I think it's important to think of others when out in public, especially with your animals. People in the woods who think they don't like ferrets or are not too sure about them are more likely to approach someone who is treating their surroundings with respect as opposed to someone who is loud, garish and has too many ferrets with them to control. That's not going to look good for the ferret community as a whole! I see myself and my ferrets as a billboard if you like for ferrets as pets. I see every outing as a chance to show people how great these little guys are! Just something to bear in mind...

Alfie facing the wintry light 

Alfie and Lola 
As I mentioned earlier it's probably a good idea to take ferrets in small groups if you have a number of them. We only have three which is fairly manageable, but we have the carrier to lug around too. It's going to be far more relaxing and enjoyable for you and the ferrets if you're not constantly having to untangle leads and stop because they all want to go in different directions (it happens!). I also feel that you will have less of a negative impact on wildlife if you have small groups at a time rather than a whole business of them! 
My ferrets love the  woods, it's probably their favourite place out of everywhere we've been with them so far. After all, there's plenty of leaf litter to snuffle in, soft earth for digging, fallen trees to climb on and investigate and hollow logs to explore! The gorgeous Autumn light we're getting is perfect for photographs (In my mind anyway) and walking with your ferrets is a great way to keep warm!

Shiro standing still for once!
Please don't be tempted to let your ferrets off the lead, one tunnel and they'll be gone! They can also move pretty fast when they want to, which you may not have encountered in your home, so you may have a nasty shock when it comes to it! Also, please remember that they cannot survive in the wild, so letting your ferrets loose for any length of time really isn't a laughing matter!

Please keep an eye out for dog walkers, who are probably the main visitors in woods such as the one we visited in these photos. Not all dogs will tolerate ferrets and some may be off the lead so please keep and eye and an ear out for signs of dogs and pick your ferrets up out of harms way. And just remember that even if the owner says that their dog is friendly, it's unlikely that it has come into contact with ferrets before so it could act very differently! Always have your guys safety in mind. One bite in the wrong place from a dog could spell paralysis or even death.

As long as your ferrets stay on the lead, you stay in control and you respect others and the environment around you, the woods can make a great day out for you and your ferrets!

The woods can be a very stimulating place.
Some things you may want to consider taking with you...

  • A carrier or two for problematic or sleepy fuzzies
  • A spare harness and lead in case one breaks (unlikely but you never know!)
  • Food and water for you and your ferrets
  • Doggy poop bags in case your guys leave any packages...
  • Sensitive baby wipes for wiping down mucky paws (or in some cases the whole ferret!)

Monday, 1 October 2012

My home-made ferret coats for winter walks!

Yes, ferrets are more comfortable in the cold of winter than they are in the summer heat, and they do have their own little fur coats but when there are so many coats on the market for dogs why shouldn't ferrets (as small as they are) have something to keep them extra snug?
There is a serious lack of coats online for ferrets, and the ones I did find were seriously out of my price range! So, I headed down to my local haberdashery and picked up some material for just under £8 which is enough for three coats! The coats I was looking at would have cost me well over triple that before postage!
I've made two so far, I still have Shiro's to do. Lola has a blue cherry print cotton fabric with a cream fleece lining and an adorable flower decoration whereas the boys have matching coats with a very patriotic design! They are secured with neck and belly straps that are fastened with velcro for ease of use. Once I've made Shiro's coat I just need to make a single 'buttonhole' on the back of each coat so that I can attach the lead to the harness underneath.
I obviously haven't got any pictures of Shiro in his little coat yet but here are the pics we got of Alfie and Lola....

See how much she's grown! (She used to fit in my hand)

Well, I hope you like them and don't forget to subscribe/join with GFC to keep up to date! I'm hoping to make some more bedding in the near future...

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Our new cage flooring

As you will have seen from previous posts we used to have a shredded paper substrate which at first I thought was amazing. But after nearly a year and many, many sweep-ups later I'd had enough!
We went to our local flooring shop and bought a vinyl off-cut for £10. This has covered the two levels of the cage and there's enough left to cover the floor of their travel cage. The only problem with the vinyl is that our guys don't use litter trays, so we needed something to absorb liquid and keep the corner of the cage that they toilet in clean.
I ordered a bumper pack of Pampers bed mats, designed for children that wet the bed which is a much cheaper option than using puppy pads. They are absolutely gigantic as you can imagine so I cut them in quarters and change them twice a day. There are seven pads in one pack and the box I bought contained four packs. I use double sided tape to secure them to the cage floor, which works to a certain extent; it depends how naughty the ferrets are feeling, they can sometimes pull the pad up from the floor and then leave it in a crumpled heap! But all in all this is a much better arrangement-no more tissue everywhere!
The water resistant underside features an adorable teddy bear design, for what purpose I'm not entirely sure but it's cute in any case. As you can see from the pictures below the topside is a soft porous membrane over the top of a cotton wool like material. It has large wings consisting of the top layer of material for fixing to a bed, I use these as extra cover for the cage.

The vinyl is easy to clean and replace as it is secured with cable ties, it also matches our laminate flooring!
Here's the finished result on the top level :)

Friday, 7 September 2012

Summer photo contest winners

The winner of the summer photo contest is Jeani Sayer with her entry: Cloud.

The runners up in no particular order are...

Abigail Dobson with Honey.

and Victoria Leeks with Sparky.

Your ferrets are all so cute!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Summer 2012 photo competition.

I enjoyed the spring 2012 photo contest so much that I've decided to do another!
The rules are very simple. All you have to do is upload up to two pictures of your ferrets with a 'SUMMER theme' to the Ferret Dook Facebook page before the 1st September, labelling them as 'summer photo comp' or similar with the ferret's name. I will transfer them to the competition album to be judged after the closing date. (Photographs that are not deemed as fitting the competition theme will sadly not be included in the contest so please think carefully before uploading!)
As with the last contest this is just for FUN-the winner and two runners up will be featured here on the Ferret Dook blog, and the winning photograph will also be used as the Facebook page's cover photograph for a period of time subject to the owner's consent.
Please note that there is no prize for the winners of this contest, as it's just a little bit of fun, but I'm hoping to have some more serious competitions in the future!

Here's what I'm looking for....

  • Reasonably good quality photographs (i.e no small specks in the distance that are supposed to be ferrets!)
  • Photographs matching the 'Summer' theme.
  • Photographs focusing solely on the ferrets. Props can be used as well as natural surroundings, e.g flowers, grass etc but please no humans or other animals in the shot!
  • Creativity! Now we have some glorious summer weather (in the UK at least) there's no excuse not to take your fuzzies outside in the cooler evenings and let your creativity flow!
The competition closes on the 1st September at 12 noon (UK time) and I will announce the winner on my blog and the Facebook page at a later date. To go straight to the Ferret Dook Facebook page please click here
Good luck! I can't wait to see your entries!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Clara's Art Studio: Fine artist and Illustrator

I'm absolutely in LOVE with Clara's work at the moment, particularly her ferret portraits and illustrations. Clara is a Cuban born artist, who drew her first picture at the age of three while visiting her Uncle's farm. She took courses in art while training to become a lab tech, but is now committed to her artwork. Now based in New Jersey, Clara takes commissions, often turning someone's much loved pet(s) into works of art.
Her love of ferrets began in 1987 when introduced to one by her daughter. She became deeply involved with  ferret rescue and the ferret community. She now has an extensive portfolio of ferret artwork, which is simply a delight to view. She uses various mediums and often uses mixed media in her work. A few of the mediums used are watercolours, acrylic, coloured pencils and graphite. Clara doesn't limit herself to paper either, wood and even metal mailboxes make an appearance in her portfolio!
Believe me when I say that picking just a few favourites is extremely difficult, but nevertheless here are a few of my favourite works by Clara. I hope you're sitting down as these just amaze me every time I look at them!
If ferrets could fly-Watercolour


If ferrets were free-Coloured pencil on paper

Acrylic ferrets on wooden plaque

Ferret wizard-Acrylics on wood.

These pictures just take my breath away! I wish that I had even half the skill that Clara possesses. Since I don't I'm commissioning her to do a portrait of Alfie, Shiro and Lola, I'm thinking about the ferrets on wooden plaque design pictured above. You can also get Clara to create an everlasting tribute to your beloved pets or buy some of her beautiful greetings cards by contacting her via her website or her Facebook page. She paints other animals too, not just ferrets, as well as humans and still life. I'm still in awe at the moment! I'll let you all see my commissioned piece once it's all completed!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Keeping ferrets cool

In Britain we're having a heatwave at the moment, which has brought me on, naturally, to talk about ways to keep your ferrets cool. Ferrets can overheat very quickly, and can become very ill in a matter of hours. Indoor ferrets should stay indoors in a cool place away from direct sunlight. It may be best for outdoor ferrets to come in  also if possible. A fan or air conditioning unit can be used, just make sure it's not blowing directly at the cage. I would also keep the fan away from their reach, being the curious little animals they are they're bound to get hurt somehow. I have windows open too to try and encourage some air flow, but please make sure that your ferrets can't reach them otherwise you could have some escapes/falls on your hands!

Please don't put anything frozen in with your ferrets without a suitable cover on. You can use frozen water bottles (like hot water bottles) and put them back in the cover or some people will say to freeze a bottle of water and wrap it in a towel. The only problem I have with this is that it won't stay in the towel for long! My ferrets can remove something like this in about 10 seconds or less! If you're going to do this then please find a cover that they won't be able to tear off straight away.

You can buy a Granite cool slab, normally designed and on sale for chinchillas, they provide a cool area to lay. If you want a larger piece then a DIY store or kitchen workshop that provide a cutting service may be able to provide you with a suitable sized piece of granite or marble. You will be better off asking for any scraps they have to buy, otherwise you may be asked to buy a full (usually around 2m) length piece, which would be very costly!
Another thing you could do if your ferrets don't detest it, is to spray them gently with a light mist of water periodically, using a spray bottle to encourage cooling via the skin. Hopefully I don't need to say this but please don't spray your ferrets in the face, if they didn't like being sprayed before they certainly won't like it after!
Something that I like to do is put a small amount of water in the bottom of a shallow tub and let them drink and paddle to cool off. My boys hate it, and jump out straight away if you try and put them in there! Our newest addition Lola however is a water baby! I saw how she loved to jump in and out of her splashy tub so I bought some plastic play balls (the ones meant for ball pits) that float. She has great fun trying to catch the balls as they bob in the water.
Some ferret owners place ice cubes in the water bowl or just provide them to play with. Ferrets don't really like to drink very cold water, so this may actually stop them from drinking as much as they would normally. Aside from that I'm not too keen on letting them have ice cubes as they can cause serious problems if chewed and swallowed due to the drastic temperature change.
It may be tempting to take your ferrets to the beach on a hot day, or out for a walk, but this can be disastrous! If you want to take them outside to enjoy the weather then  please do it at dusk, if the temperature has cooled suitably. They really won't enjoy being dragged around in the heat, and will more than likely become very ill.
Coincidentally, if your ferret does overheat (limp, red nose and paw pads, panting, mucous) then you must not bring their temperature down too quickly, as this can actually make matters worse. You should try and get some water into them with a bottle or syringe, but make sure that they are actually swallowing, you don't want water to end up in their lungs! You can wrap them in a damp cloth, or wipe them over with one. If there are two people present then it would probably be wise to have one calling a vet and to drive there while the other person attends to the poorly ferret.

Just remember, you can have fun in the sun, but please leave your ferrets at home!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Bathing your ferrets.

Bathing ferrets is sometimes necessary but is often over practised by owners. Owners of particularly smelly ferrets may think that by bathing their ferret regularly they can eliminate any odours. All that this normally does is make the problem worse as bathing tends to dry out the skin and coat, leading to the ferret producing more oils to compensate. If your ferret hasn't been neutered then that will likely be the cause of most of the smell.
Unless your ferret rolls/steps in something unpleasant then it shouldn't really be necessary to bath your ferret more than twice a year. Some people do say that every couple of months is fine, but personally I think this is far too frequent.
You need to have a gentle shampoo, one designed specifically for ferrets if possible. I'm currently using 'Beaphar squeaky clean Rodi shampoo' suitable for small animals including guinea pigs, hamsters (personally I've never bathed any of my hamsters but there you go) rabbits and ferrets. You will also need a suitable object to bath them in such as a sink or bathtub. Personally I wouldn't use the sink as they are very skilled climbers, mine can climb out of the bathtub so can certainly climb out of a sink! Obviously sinks are fairly high, which would create a fall hazard. I bath mine in the tub, with a couple of inches of warm water in the bottom. If you have a non slip mat then that would help the ferret feel safer and reduce the risk of accidents.
If you are bathing your ferret(s) for the first time then I would try to make it as fun as possible with toys, perhaps buy a waterproof toy just for bath time?  It's handy to place something in there for your ferrets to stand on if they want to come out of the water at any point, I use a large Tupperware container. Adding some kind of weight to the container will make for a more stable 'raft'.
Particularly if you have a longer coated ferret such as an angora you will be best to gently brush your ferret before the bath using a brush designed for small animals (soft bristle brushes are best, please don't use slicker  brushes as these are best for dogs and can cause injury if used improperly) as any knots that are in the coat will tighten on contact with water (just the same as our hair) and be even harder to remove after the bath! This is a valuable piece of information I've learnt from my time working as a dog groomer.
To start, place the ferret (I would do this one ferret at a time) in the bath, and give it a couple of minutes to check everything out. I would then start to gently scoop water onto its back. For my two older boys I use the shower head to wet them and to rinse as it is far quicker, but this can be a scary experience so you may need to build up to this gradually. My boys enjoy sticking their heads underneath the spray before running off, then returning to do the same again a few minutes later!
Whether you are scooping water onto them or using a shower hose I would start at the back, the same as you would with a dog. This is far less stressful than if you were to start at the head, your ferret wouldn't know what was going on! Starting from the back gives them time to gradually get used to the feeling and the sounds.
 Once your ferret's coat is completely saturated you can then work a small amount of shampoo into a lather on their coat. With ferrets I don't tend to wash the head as such. I may dampen it with water but I certainly don't shampoo it. Their heads are far too small I believe to bath without getting soap in their eyes, ears and mouth, so usually only shampoo up to the neck. Aside from the worry about the shampoo, having water splashed in your face cannot be a terribly nice experience! Gentle baby wipes are useful for wiping over a mucky face.
Once your ferret has been lathered up you can rinse it off. This is the most important part of the bath, you need to remove all that soap to prevent irritation and even skin problems that may occur if left in. It may be helpful to do a water change or two so that you can easily see when the bubbles stop appearing in the rinse water and when the water starts to run clear. Another way to check if the coat has been rinsed thoroughly is if it 'squeaks' when you run your hand down it. If you're unsure as to what I mean run your hands over your rinsed hair the next time you wash it, it should sound squeaky, which is normally an indication that all the soap has been removed.
Have plenty of towels ready as your ferret will try to roll in/on anything available to dry off! I've had them try to climb up my trouser leg to dry off before! Try to bath your ferret on a warm day/when you have the heating on to prevent it getting a chill. If you have outdoor ferrets then I wouldn't suggest putting them back until they have dried off thoroughly, which doesn't take too long.
Hopefully I've provided you with enough information, of course if you do have any questions then please feel free to comment below and I will try to answer them for you!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Crusher's Chronicles Volume 2.

Those of you who read my feature on Crusher's chronicles volume 1 will already know about Crusher, the ferret behind the books and his crew. For those that (shock horror) missed it, you can check it out here

Volume two is another collection of funny stories about a real life group of ferrets living in the north of England. Like the first instalment there are 15 short stories with pictures and they are written from the point of view of Crusher, as he tells all about the hardships of running a team of 37 ferrets and his human parents on top of that!
In this book you can read about the 'Meerkat Mafia', runaway angoras in search of love and 'The British ferret party' plus much more!
There's a good share of ferrety romance in this, from the afore mentioned runaway angora love story, a young innocent Belle falling for a bad boy from up the hill and plenty of flirting when a new boy appears on the scene!
Here are my favourite quotes from 'The new boy on the block' chapter... ' "The name's Stockton, I came in last night, Mum and Dad brought me in from the east and from the eye candy I've seen down there, I will be staying." '
Crusher's response to this? ' I couldn't contain myself any longer, "Whose Mum and Dad! Do you mean our Mum and Dad? Anyway what sort of name is Stockton? Eye candy! Are you here just to wind me up? My name is Crusher and I'm top ferret round here." '
Despite Crusher's disapproval certain members of the group didn't seem to mind at all! ' "Is he stopping? Looks like a chunky hunk to me" Lydia sniggered.'
One of my favourite parts of the book is when Crusher gets into a rather sticky situation with some 'long eared carrot crunchers'. His in the moment reaction to this experience? ' Far too much to take, got to admit, resulted in me toileting all over Dad's nets'.

This is another cracking little book that any ferret owner/enthusiast should own! Treat yourself or why not get  one or both as a gift for the ferret lover in your life?
Buying the two together works out at a cracking £8.99 so these suit virtually any budget. Why not take a peek at their other ferret related goods and ferret bedding while you're there? Here is a link to the 'ferret goodies' page where you will find both volumes of Crusher's Chronicles.

Happy reading!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Our new addition, Lola.

Here she is, one of the babies that I have been watching from birth in my 'Kit watch' series that has recently finished. The kits are slowly going to their new homes and it's great for me to still be able to see some of them progress through Facebook.
We have named our little girl Lola, she is a sable blaze mitt. At the moment she sleeps in a separate cage to the boys as they are still getting used to each other. The boys can be a bit rough, they don't seem to realise how much larger they are in comparison. Shiro is also being quite protective of his cage and toys.
She has been with us since Wednesday and in all seems to be settling down okay. She loves toys of every variety and is such a little bundle of fun! The boys are still trying to work out what this little bundle of excitable fluff is I think! Hopefully they will bond in time, and I can move her into their cage with them.
Between play time and the all important nap times I've tried to capture her on camera as much as possible during this final stage of 'growing up'. Here are a few of my favourite photographs of Lola plus a little video of her having fun with a ball!

I hope you like Lola, I will update you of her progress with her adoptive brothers in a few weeks.
Bye for now!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Kit watch, 7 weeks

The kits are still growing at a fast rate! They are now 8 weeks old but I have photos of them aged 7 weeks. Their eyes are now open and they are growing in confidence as they explore their surroundings. They can manage solid foods such as chicken portions and day old chicks with no problems. They are already incredibly playful, it's not unknown for the odd tussle to break out between the babies, which is incredible to see as they are only the size of your hand right now!
Most of them have homes waiting for them, and I have to say, one will be coming to join us and our two rescued boys in a couple of weeks. I chose her when she was a week or so old, and I'm already very much attached to her since I've been following her progress all this time. We've decided to name her Lola, and we can't wait to introduce her to Alfie and Shiro, who we've now had for 8 months and are 14 months old.
Kits such as these are cute, but please remember that they do grow up, and don't stay tiny forever. We've chosen to adopt her from a very small from home breeder after rescuing Alfie and Shiro last year. I would say that if you are looking for your first ferrets then rescuing would be a very good way to go, as I've said before there are lots of unwanted ferrets in shelters, but they are often easier to train for first time owners as they will likely have had some bite training from the shelter's owner. Our two were aged 6 months when we got them, and they sure tested us when we took them home, but young kits can be even harder to handle. They need to be taught what is acceptable and what isn't, they will explore using their mouth-and most importantly teeth! But at the end of the day, any animal can bite, and young animals especially will nip. If you are not prepared to work through a little bit of nipping from a ferret-or any animal, then perhaps a young animal isn't for you!
I will hopefully be able to bring you one last picture update of these little kits before they leave mum for their new homes!


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Latest ferret show results!

We went to a ferret show on Sunday and I was amazed at the results! Alfie only went and won the title of 'reserve best in show' didn't he? I couldn't stop grinning! I am just so proud of him, especially as he is blind in one eye due to a cataract, which is very noticeable and is something that I had originally thought may hold him back, how wrong was I?
Alfie came first in the 'Albino hob' category, 3rd in 'veterans/disabled' and obviously was named 'reserve best in show'. Shiro came 2nd in the 'Albino hob' category and together they won the 'matching pairs' class.

Rosettes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, reserve best in show and matching pairs. In the middle is the trophy for reserve best in show. Also pictured are two hammocks given as prizes. We also received certificates for each win. 

Showing them is just fun for us, we just have our ferrets as pets and members of the family, so it's really great when they win at these shows. They have only been to two so far but have come away with 8 rosettes and a trophy so far!
We have their rosettes hanging on the wall next to their cage and are going to put a shelf up soon for any other trophies they may win in the future. With them being only one year of age at the moment I'm thinking that we're going to need more space for rosettes!