We have two new additions to the blog.

Some are born with ferrets, some earn ferrets and some have ferrets thrust upon them. I belong to the latter group.

After an immensely productive whirlwind tour of the CLA Game Fair, Staffordshire and north Wales, I limped back home north of the border with the unexpected addition of two ferrets in a plywood box.

I blame my girlfriend.

When we saw a sign advertising ferrets for sale, I was only going to stop and have a look.

The salesman saw us coming and chose his methods well.

I have wanted ferrets for years but have never really got around to the actual business of buying them. He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Three hundred miles from home, I had resolutely decided that the sensible thing would be to learn all I could about keeping the animals, then buy some of my own in due course.

As we drove away with a scrabbling box in the back seat, my girlfriend tried to comfort me by explaining that there is never a good time to get ferrets.

All the breeder had done was dangle two (apparently adorable) eight-week-old silver kits infront of my girlfriend while explaining how much fun I would have working them in the winter.

It was a done deal.

Now that they are home, I must say that they are seriously growing on me.

They appear to be able to eat almost everything, from wild blaeberries to bacon, and I actually find that I quite like the smell of them.

I’ll take the .22 out tonight and see if I can’t get them their first taste of rabbit meat.

I’m not sure how they’re going to help the black grouse, but I’m sure they will somehow.

The views expressed on Patrick Laurie’s blog are the author’s and not the views of Shooting Gazette, ShootingUK, IPC Media or its employees. www.gallowayfarm.wordpress.com

  • Dudley Nicol

    I have some helpful hints on living with ferrets. I use to have 56 living in my backyard for years. I bred them with a passion. Genetics has been my passion passed on by many generations of family deer breeding.
    One thing I found out is that you have to have male and female combinations to have healthy ferrets. I will elaborate on that if you need me too.

    Now by way of background most ferrets for centuries have been bought in pairs. Hence they tend to be brother and sisters bought out of the same litter. They have recessive genes.
    So this means most are now terribly in bred.
    You can tell this from tail length.I they have long tails they are generally good natured ferrets. If they are short and Albino then they are generally in bred. They mate religiously so you need to make sure you have them paired up correctly.Black eyed white ferrets worked best for me, although I had some awsome polecats.
    I opted for a rock circle holding setup rather than messy boxes and a whole lot of cleaning. Don’t have them
    anywhere near birds especially chooks they get mites.Sulphur ointment is the best cure for mites. (their feet get puffy first).
    If not I prefer one inch wire cages tied together with
    electrical ties.Their scats fall through. Milk is a no no.
    Although it adds calcium and stops ricketts if in powder form. It is too rich for their metabolism and give them scours. Straight meat gives them black scats. So what worked for me was rice cooked in chicken stock and vitamised green vegetables. Sure minced rabbit worked wonders but Imixed it with muesli. They have to eatcartlige and bone. Chicken necks were a good source of calcium.No dry or large chicken bones under any circumstances.
    I used to hunt them competitively with the ferret association. Never less than seven in a burrow system.Always gave them a mixture of Baby Farax and coffee before introducing them to the free world. They took off like demons and I never had one fall asleep underground. We harvested up to 600 rabbits per day.I will post pics to the gazette.Hope this helps.