Posted: August 3, 2012, 6 a.m. EDT
Q: I’ve had two rescue ferrets, Snoopy and Mitzi, for three years. After my elderly ferret Xander passed away, I took in another rescue with adrenal gland disease. I’ve had Cheyanne about two months and Mitzi, who is deaf, still attacks her fiercely making her scream and bleed. Cheyanne had a Lupron implant but hasn’t grown any fur back yet. I don’t want to subject her to being bitten, so I continue to cage them and play with them separately, but it’s a challenge. Do you have any suggestions for getting them to be together without bloodshed?
A: A couple of factors here could be making this situation worse. First, Cheyanne is adrenal; sometimes that can cause other ferrets to react to the odd hormones, but as the Lupron kicks in, that should get better.
Second, Mitzi is deaf and probably unable to hear the noises that would normally cause a ferret to cease the behavior. You can separate Mitzi briefly each time Cheyanne screams to give Cheyanne a fighting chance, but you also need to help Mitzi realize that Cheyanne is asking her to stop. Because she can't hear, you need to associate a light (or something similar) with the screaming. One way to do this is each time Cheyanne screams, shine the light for Mitzi and separate her for a few minutes.
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