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Ferret Tales is the regular newsletter of the Hants & Berks Ferret Club. The club was formed in 1998, has a membership of all ages and backgrounds and is intended for those who keep ferrets as pets as well as for those that enjoy working them. One of the Club’s main concerns is ferret welfare. In recent years ferrets have grown in popularity but the necessary know-how, literature and veterinary knowledge have been slow to keep-up, as their physiology is quite different from other species and, despite being hardy animals, they do have their share of vulnerabilities. Hence a Club main activity is the spread of well informed knowledge and experience and the availability of friendly advice and support in matters of ferret well-being. An important part of this concern is the provision of financial support for local ferret re-homing groups whose expenses can include the provision of food, suitable housing and veterinary support. With this aim, and as an opportunity to undertake some gentle education of the public, regular ferret racing demonstrations are undertaken during the summer months. This can involve anything from local fetes to county shows and often provides an entertaining and exciting day out for members (and the ferrets too!).



07903 390980




SUE NICKELLS (or 07411 127770) 01256 320676









07903 390980



01252 615494




RACHEL BRANT (or 07771 831013) (or 07960 291365) (or 01252 615494)

Club Website – The views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the Committee of the HBFC. The Committee and Editor reserve the right to refuse submissions if they are deemed unsuitable for this publication, and amendments cannot be agreed with the author. The Newsletter (Ferret Tales) is not to be reproduced in part or in full without the written permission of the HBFC Committee via the Editor. Permission must be requested in writing, stating the reason for the request. If you have any articles, comments or views about ferrets in general, the Club, events or questions on any ferrety subject, please send them to me for inclusion in future newsletters – Ed. Submission Deadline for the Spring newsletter is 15th February, 2013. Please send your articles etc. to Front Cover – The winner of the photographic competition – ASBO by the Walklet family Back Cover – Photographic competition – 2nd Lucifer by Barbara Jack, 3rd Ferrets by Sue Riley

CHAIR CHATTER It was great to see so many of you at Race and Show Day. It is a chance to get together, swap stories about the different shows we have attended and to impress the judges with our wonderful ferrets. Hey, I am biased but I went home with the best of the bunch again this year! (I did mean the ferrets not Paul! Before you ask) It is hard to keep the momentum going when we do so many shows, so I really must thank the stalwarts who come out with us time and time again to promote our small friends who ask for so little in return for their love and limitless enjoyment of our company. Jubilee Year has been a very successful year for us monetary wise but, it has been very tiring, therefore, we will have a re-think about the number of shows we do for the next year. It has been a great 3 years and my Chairmanship term is up. You must now ask would you like me to carry on in this role or, would one of you like to take us forward into the next 3 years? A change to the timing of the AGM next year - it will be in April after Open Show Day and will commence around 5pm. The venue (obviously for both events) is at Grazeley Village Hall (see page 3 for details). Please come along and meet some new ferrets (and their owners) from other clubs, do enter some of your own ferrets in their respective classes and have a really good day. At the AGM, your support is always welcome and this is your opportunity to have your say. It goes without saying that you are always welcome to raise issues important to you. Please let us know what you want us to do in the new year, we are trying to make meetings more interesting and get more of you to attend. As it is a bit of a trek for a lot of you, especially after a workday and midweek, we have moved the AGM to a weekend hoping it will fit in more easily. It is good to get together and have a talk about where we are and where we want to be and ideas on how to get there! (maps are good!!) Win some rosettes, put the world to rights and volunteer for the 1st show of the season at BCA. See you all soon, be well Sally

WANTED!! – A plea to ALL our members

As ferret racing is becoming so popular, the Club is in great demand to attend many more local (and some not so local!) shows and events. We now have 3 trailers fully equipped to use, but are in desperate need of more volunteers to come and help out at weekends. If you could spend even a few hours helping us at a show it would help enormously. We guarantee you will be given a warm welcome by everyone – you may even get a free lunch if you’re lucky at some events! You also have the advantage of free entry into the showground and we all have time during the day to have a look around the show between races. It’s a great way to spend time at the weekend, plenty of fresh air – even sunshine if you’re lucky, and being with people like you who all love their ferrets and love talking about them. Ferret racing is fun and your ferrets don’t have to be good at it they just enjoy it! So what are you waiting for – have a look on the website for the show dates and details, (or see Show Events at the back of all copies of Ferret Tales – Ed.) choose a show you fancy going to, then give Sally a ring on 0118 3486992 and she will be glad to answer any questions you may have.

SALLY IS WAITING BY HER PHONE NOW! CLUB NEWS: SUBSIDISED NEUTERING As a way of thanking HBFC members for all of their efforts, and in an attempt to limit unwanted ferret pregnancies, we are in a position to continue to offer subsidised neutering of your ferrets. Please note that this offer only applies to members who have been in the Club for at least 6 months. The cost to you will be £25 per hob and £40 per jill. As long as you contact a member of the committee first, having first got a quote from your vet, we will reimburse the difference. If it is felt that the quote is too high, we may suggest going to one of the many vets we know who are a bit more reasonable with their charges. This continues to be run on a trial basis and if the committee feel it is being abused, the offer will be terminated.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 2013 It is coming up to that time of year again when we need to think about our AGM. This year we have picked the date of 7th April, 2013, at the Grazeley Village Hall, Grazeley (near Reading), RG7 1LD, (there is plenty of parking)

You will see that this is the same date and venue as our Open Show. The AGM will start around 5pm (hopefully the Open Show will be finished by then). There are some positions on the committee up for renewal. Present committee (December 2012) Role

Current term served (years) 3 of 3 3of 3 3 of 3

0 0 0

1 of 3


3 of 3


1 of 3


3 of 3


1 of 3


1 of 3



Simon Arthur Nick Walklet David Jones

3 of 3


Show organiser

Paul Tripp

3 of 3


Officer Officer Officer

Chairman Secretary Treasurer


Assistant secretary

Committee member Committee member Committee member Committee member Committee member Committee member Committee member

Membership secretary Welfare Newsletter editor Website/IT Public relations


Sally Tripp Sue Riley Sue Nickells Simon Arthur Alan Spencer Rachel Brant Joan Jones

Term remaining (years)

Anyone who wishes to propose a motion for consideration for the AGM must do so by contacting Sue Riley, no later than 24th February. Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me. Kind regards, Sue Riley Secretary

JOB DESCRIPTIONS The following are the job descriptions relating to a number of posts on the committee where the current committee member has completed their full three years. Should you feel you would like to apply for any of the positions or require any further information, please contact Sue Riley.

Chairperson The responsibilities are many and varied. Keep the club on an even keel, be the public face of the club, responsible for all behaviour (good and bad) of all our members when out in club colours at the shows. Ably seconded by Show Managers – this is also their lot. Big stick, larger carrot! Run committee meetings, keeping order, carry the deciding vote if necessary. At the end of the day the buck stops with the Chair. The voice at the end of the ‘phone for both praise and complaints. Show organisers contact, chase money, send booking forms and invoices, all certificates, H&S insurance, making sure they are up to date. (The Chair at the moment has a great team that helps with this) Show Organiser Responsibilities are to answer queries for attendance at shows. Getting as many details as possible so the team can do the best to represent The Club and the ferrets. Negotiate fees. Contacting team members as to their availability for the shows booked. (we would rather have too many than not enough!) Organise trailers, making sure equipment is inside and packed correctly to ensure ease of towing. Appoint Show Managers for the day, passing on the responsiblity of the equipment and it's safe return. Membership Secretary • • • • • • • • •

Maintain accurate records of all Club members.(records currently kept on Windows Excel) Deal with all applications promptly Ensure all Committee members have up to date membership lists Attend all monthly Committee meetings and keep the Committee up to date with membership news Prepare a short report for the A.G.M. in March Organise membership renewals each April Pay all monies received into the bank promptly and keep clear records of amounts received and pass to the Treasurer Try and think of new ways to increase our membership Ensure both trailers are kept supplied with membership application packs

(Access to a computer with Windows Excel and also a printer would be an advantage. The job involves about an hour each month, plus attending a Committee meeting monthly, but obviously more time in March/April when memberships are due.)

Secretary • • •

To take accurate minutes of committee meetings and the AGM To provide an agenda for committee meetings and the AGM To advise members of any changes within the club

Treasurer (Sue Nickells says – “Having held the post of Treasurer since 2006 I really think it’s about time for me to stand down and someone else take on the job”) The post involves keeping all the financial records for the Club e.g.: • Invoicing shows • Paying all bills/expenses • Paying cash/cheques into the bank • Producing a monthly summary for the committee • Producing end of year accounts for audit This takes up about 2 hours of my time each week to keep the paperwork up-to-date – (possibly a bit more during the summer when we are busy with shows) – and attending a monthly committee meeting. (I currently keep all the records using an accounts ledger book; however this could just as easily be done using a computer programme if preferred. I would, of course, be willing to support anyone interested in taking on the post.) Newsletter Editor Reasonable typing skills, ability to “persuade” contributors to write stories/articles for Ferret Tales. Access to a good proof-reader! Select suitable photographs to illustrate Ferret Tales. This is not a difficult job rather it is one which is a pleasure to carry-out. Attend monthly committee meetings. I also currently log all the racing results for the Challenge Cup. (I have been carrying-out this task longer than the three years as I was co-opted on to the committee for nearly a year prior to being elected into the position. The newsletter takes me around 30 hours per quarter to type, edit, have printed and post out.)

S.T.A.RESCUE – Claire Shuttleworth (Telephone: 01189 690435) NEWS FROM THE RESCUE Hello everyone, first of all, Thank You for the food you have donated to us, it is so appreciated and always welcome – something that’s always needed ☺

The Rescue has been full, as always, for the last few months. Lots of kits, and more strays than usual for this time of year, mainly youngsters – you do wonder how many of them are kits that have been bought on the ‘spur of the moment’ without people realising exactly what they’ve taken on! One in particular has captured my heart.... LOLA arrived on Sept 1st from the RSPCA. Poor little babe was found in the road beside the body of her mum who, in the words of the RSPCA “had been squished”! No more than 4/5 weeks old, her eyes were open, but she wasn’t that good on her legs – we think mum must have been carrying her to a new site, so what happened to the rest of her litter.... She was smothered in ticks and needed a lot of TLC to rally her round. But rally she did. Having sent pictures to Lily and Steve, they felt she wasn’t a ‘pure polecat’, so she has stayed here, and here she will stay. A beautiful girl (as you can see from the photo on the left) who has gone from strength to strength. At the time, I didn’t have another kit anywhere close to her age. Having talked to Sally, who had had 5 hybrids handed over, she very kindly “donated” a tiny girl – now called Lexi – of about the same age. Lola and Lexi hit it off straight away and have become firm friends. Now they are older (but no wiser!) they have joined my group of 8 and all are getting on famously – 2 little black bullets who run rings round the others. I have to admit, Lola can get away with anything. Her favourite game is running straight up me to sit on my shoulder and survey the world – love her to bits. Update on “Little Miss Haughty”, now called SPRITE. Such a beautiful jill, she is slowly coming round, getting more confident every day. I don’t think she will ever be brave enough to meet crowds, but she and I have got it worked out between us. She has accepted so many other kits since she’s been here, but the weird thing is, she won’t accept Lola and Lexi – the only 2! Both of those she has attacked when I’ve tried them together, and they are terrified of her, which is such a shame as that had been my wish – the 3 “odd ones out” to go together. So Sprite is settled here with a couple of boys who seem to give her confidence - whatever works for her. She is now another permanent member of the household. Claire

S.T.ARESCUE – Shirley King (Telephone: 01256 330532) Hello again, at last I have just managed to find a bit of time to write a short piece for the newsletter. I'm still alive but not so sure about kicking as the saying goes! There have been so many unwanted and dumped animals left outside my house and the shop; it has felt unreal for the past few months. At one stage there was over eighty cats and kittens here, fortunately, I have managed to find good homes for a few after nursing them back to reasonable health,

however, I had no choice than to take a few others in. Four were dumped outside the house in a box one very wet night, 2 five months old and 2 five/six week old kittens. A mother cat and three poorly kittens left at the shop, which has taken me back up to 73. There are also 33 rabbits, 12 Guinea-pigs and various other mice and gerbils here. It's a lot of work for an old dear of my age to contend with – an awful lot of feeding and “shovelling”. We have received 11 pairs of rabbits and 5 singles in three different foster homes, and a few other Guinea-pigs. Claire and Roy have numerous Ferrets in but, fortunately they are able to sort those out themselves, plus they are able to raise good income from shows they attend for the Rescue. I'm still trying to recover from the operation I had on my right hand. I was so grateful to Sally for staying with me for the first week after the Op, I’m not sure how I would have managed without her. Think she was glad to go back home for a rest! On a brighter note S.T.A.Rescue is having a Rock n Roll night 50s/60s on 15th December, 2012 at the Sycamore Centre, Winklebury, Basingstoke RG23 8AB. Times 7pm-12midnight. There will be a live Band, Buffet, Bar, Disco and Grand Raffle. Price - Tickets £5 per person. Please come along to support the rescue. It will be limited to 150 tickets so, let me know how many tickets you would like ASAP. Many Thanks for all your support in 2012. I would like to wish you all a Happy Xmas and all the best for the New Year. Take care and hope to see you very soon. Shirley

MEMBERSHIP NEWS A VERY WARM WELCOME TO THE FOLLOWING NEW MEMBERS, Michael and Valerie Clark from Hook, Hampshire We do hope to see you at some of our shows during the summer. Please contact Paul or Sally Tripp on 07903 390980

POLECAT DIARIES – NOVEMBER 2012 When I last wrote to you all back in August the next steps were: • • • •

Micro-chipping (can’t wait for that!) Find release sites for current business of Polecats as we don’t want to leave it as late as the last release. Test to see if our other breeding pair are sterile or not? Horatio and Magic. Re-build old and new polecat aviaries.

So what has been happening……….The 5 remaining polecats went from strength to strength, which was great news. A fantastic release site was surveyed in mid-September and was found to be spot on, there was even a local lane nearby called ‘Polecat lane’ how ironic! Over the following weeks we constructed a lovely new release pen that had been donated to the cause, which we reinforced and strengthened to withstand feisty young Polecats. Everything was moving rapidly towards my favourite part……Micro-chipping! 14th November, 2012 arrived and it was to be the day of moving the polecats to their Soft Release Pen, but first we needed to chip them. On went the gloves, into the aviary I went…… and 20 minutes later chipping had been completed! I won’t say I was disappointed but, I was expecting a lot more trouble than we got, one small bite on the finger was all I had to show for the tough job of microchipping 5 wild Polecats. I’m not to sure what I was making such a fuss about, maybe next years lot will give me a bit more of a test! On the morning of the 14th we met up with some friends at Wild Wood in Herne Bay to collect 6 more polecats which are to be released at the same site with ours. The idea is that the two different bloodlines have the opportunity to breed, fingers crossed. About 4.30pm on the 14th we put all 11 Polecats into the new release pens, in which they will stay for a week before release. So enough chatter from me, time for some pictures of the event: Below – View of part of the polecats new home

Above: Outside the entrance to the Woods

Above: Inside the woods. Lily is hard at work finishing the Release Pen.

Above and below: Polecats settling into the Release Pens. How many noses can you count above? (there are 5 altogether).

As for the other points we were focusing on since August; 1. We still need to test for the fertility of our other breeding pair but now the young polecats are on their way there is some more space for us to play around with the Polecat set up. 2. We still have a large new aviary to put up but that is a job for spring next year. In the next update we will have some photos (possibly professional) and dodgy video of the actual release day! Can’t wait! Time to leave them to it for the night!

Till next time Steve

SPONSOR A FERRET SCHEME – a great Christmas gift! Earlier this year we launched a trial scheme whereby people could sponsor a specific HBFC ferret, either for themselves or as a gift, for a period of 12 months. In return for a one off payment of £12 they, or their nominated recipient, could expect to receive a pack containing a certificate of sponsorship, a photo of their chosen ferret, a write up about their ferret’s background, a greeting card and a letter of thanks from the club. They will also receive two further updates during the subsequent 12 months on what the club and their ferret has been up to. The initial response at shows was limited, perhaps due to insufficient promotion, but thanks to individual efforts by some club members to sign up friends and family (special mention here for David and Joan) we have so far signed up 7 sponsors raising £84 towards ferret welfare. However, there is still time to boost this further with your help. Christmas is fast approaching so if you, or someone you know, is looking for a unique Christmas gift for their loved ones then look no further than our sponsor a ferret scheme. You can find full details of the sponsorship candidates and a sponsorship form on the HBFC website. Alternatively contact Nick Walklet (email: or ‘phone: 07771 831013). ……..and for next year? If you have a ferret with a good back story (the more heart rending the better) why not put it forward for the sponsorship scheme. All you need to do is send Nick a short summary of your fuzzy’s history along with a photo and we’ll look at adding a few more candidates to the scheme. I’m afraid there’s no tangible reward for doing this, just the satisfaction of knowing your ferret is contributing to the club’s fund raising efforts. Nick Walklet

H.B.F.C. RACE AND SHOW DAY 2012 The Club Race and Show Day was once again held in the grounds of the Land’s End pub in Charvil. After the end of the Iver Apple Day event on the Saturday, a few of us drove (in fading daylight) over to the Land’s End pub for the sole purpose of getting the tents erected so that on the Sunday morning, club members could just turn up and put their ferret cages on to the tables in readiness for the start of judging. As daylight turned to night, Simon put his car headlights on so that we could finish off roping the tents down and then the tables were hastily arranged in the tents and covers put on them. Not much more could be done so it was home to exercise and feed our ferrets and then a hot shower, hot food and to bed. Our judges this year were Lily and Steve (from Surrey Rescue), Mick Quelch and Paul Pountain. We had a couple of hundred ferrets entered into the various judging classes and/or into the heats for Fastest Ferret on the Day races. Derek Harding did a marvellous job organising the ferret racing. Sue Nickells (photo left) (helped by Lindsey/Claire) carried out the mammoth task of organising the event which, went like clockwork. We enjoyed good food and good company at lunch time in the pub (the food was paid for by the H.B.F.C) The weather was kind to us, it wasn’t exactly warm but it stayed dry until last thing when the prize giving was nearly finished – we couldn’t have asked for more. On the following pages you will see a list of the winners of all the classes, the Fastest Ferret on the day, the Challenge Cup winner and of course who was Supreme Champion and Reserve Champion. Well done to all ferrets who entered, we know that the few may have won rosettes but, as ever, we actually took the best ferrets home with us!

Photographs Rachel sleeps through judging, with Barbara and Nick, Centre Siobhan/Steve and right Julia, Claire, Sally and Sue,













































185 points 180 points 175 points 165 points 155 points

SHOW AND RACE DAY RACE WINNER (Fastest ferret on the day) 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH



AN INTERVIEW WITH SUPREME CHAMPION TILLY’S MUM - JULIA In the summer of 2011 with 7 ferrets and one group, Sophie and I took it upon ourselves to have yet another ferret without consulting Tim. Sally said she had an albino jill. When we went to visit we saw two, Lula and Tilly. We did really fancy Tilly but, she was only about 6 inches long and we didn't think she would manage the ferret house, we didn't like to take her from her brother and sister. The ferrets appeared (!!!) to get on well, so Lula came home. It didn't work. The others bullied her and made her very happy disposition very sad. So then we picked up Wilfie “the walloping cat” from Sally - so that Lula could have her own friend, (we did tell Tim this time) We saw that Tilly and her brother and sister were still there. I wanted Tilly as well but tried to stay firm. A couple of weeks later I just thought what the hell, in for a penny in for a pound and so Tilly came to live with us. In the meantime, Tilly's brother and sister went to live at STARescue. Yes I weakened, well a group’s a group, size doesn't matter, so we had Paddy and Twigs, commonly known as Little Brown from Star. Tilly was a long, skinny, bitey girl with lots of personality, and fur to die for. She has a certain something. Lula has it too but in a different way. I recognised her loveliness but didn't appreciate that others would see it too, such an ordinary girl. I didn't think she would reach supreme champion now as she is just a great big happy fluff ball, and both her and Twigs have decided they are too old for being bitey!

It is no doubt that the Kemp ferrets are happy ferrets!!

Left – Tilly Kemp – Supreme Champion 2012

SWALLOWFIELD SHOW AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY 26/27TH AUGUST, 2012 Swallowfield is one of my favourite shows – a typical old fashioned country show. It was where we first discovered ferrets over ten years ago too, which makes it an extra bit special! We were lucky with the weather and were soon set up and ready for our first visitors. As we are always just inside the entrance, we’re the first stop for most of the early visitors. We were, however, a bit surprised with one rather elderly lady’s comment to her equally elderly friend – ‘’ Isn’t that what our mothers used as fur stoles to put round their necks?’' We quickly covered the ferrets ears!!! It was fun watching all the dogs coming through the entrance gates. They could all smell the ferrets – some desperate to get into the tent, especially the terriers! Some just looked puzzled and a few wanted to go in the opposite direction! The smell of ferrets certainly causes different reactions to different breeds of dog. The weather turned very hot during the day and we soon had to roll up the back of the tent to allow in a bit of a breeze. Shirley, with the the S.T.A.Rescue stall which was next door to us, provided us all with lunch (and tea, coffee and snacks too!) You know if you go to a show that Shirley attends you’ll never go hungry! We were kept very busy in the tent all day with lots of visitors wanting to make a fuss of the ferrets and ask lots of questions, but we all had time to have a wander round the rest of the show too. There were lots to see both in the arena and at the many and varied stalls. My favourite is the produce tent with so many different flower and vegetable classes. Not many of the shows do this anymore and it’s nice to hear the people discussing who won each class and who had the biggest onions/marrows etc. Everyone has a different opinion on who should have won! At the end of the day we wrapped the tent up safely for the night and took the ferrets home for a good rest, ready to face an early start the next morning. Unlike a hardy group of members who are happy to camp over at two day shows I much prefer a hot shower and my own bed even if it does mean an early start in the morning! Next day we were not quite so busy but still had visitors to look after. Bargains were there for the grabbing when the stalls packed up and the produce tent had its auction. Great fun! We missed most of the showers and were able to pack up in the dry (a great bonus after so many wet shows this year!) This was another enjoyable show, a chance to catch up with other Club members and enjoy a weekend out in the sunshine (well, most of the time anyway!) Sue Nickells

PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION The photographic competition for 2012 unfortunately did not attract many photographs (45 in total) however, they were all very good which made it difficult to choose the winner. The results are as follows: 1st 2nd 3rd


ASBO – the Walklet family Lucifer – Barbara Jack Ferrets – Sue Riley

The above photographs are shown on the front and back page of this edition of Ferret Tales. The judge has “Highly Recommended” the following photographs: The Stig (with big horse), Purdey on the hoof and Tolly in the primroses (see these below)

Our thanks go to Sally’s friend Sarah for judging the photographs. A difficult job!

EMERGENCY FIRST AID Many of the urgent calls for help received by my colleagues and myself are when a ferret has been found ill, collapsed, been injured or some similar type of emergency. Although most owners will realise that this means an urgent trip to the vet, the main question is “What do I do now? – how to deal with the emergency in the first instance. It would obviously not be possible to cover every emergency situation, but here are a few tips on immediate action in two of the most common situations – accidental injury and poisoning. The basic principles in any emergency situation are: a. b. c. d.

To help the animal survive until it can receive veterinary attention To reduce any likelihood of further injury To alleviate immediate pain where possible To prevent the animal injuring people who are trying to help it.

Perhaps the most fundamental piece of first aid is to have already made contact with a vet who is willing and able to treat your ferret. Knowing who to ring and where to take your ferret is half the battle in an emergency. An injured or seriously sick ferret may die while you try to find a vet, so please do not put off finding a vet until it’s too late. If you do not already know of a vet in your area contact your NFWS area co-ordinator or visit the NFWS website (Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.NOW! You may well find an experienced ferret vet through these sources. (or check Ferret Friendly Vets in Ferret News – Ed) Alternatively, take time to ring around vets in your area BEFORE you need them. Dealing with an injured ferret: Like most small animals, ferrets can be victims of a range of accidents – road accidents, crush injuries such as being stepped on, trapped in doors or having objects fall on them. Ferrets also suffer falls from stairways, windows and other high surface on which they can climb. The first priority is to move the ferret to safety, where further accidents cannot occur. This is especially important in the case of road accidents where it could be hit again. However, in the case of road accidents you need to take care yourself as bending over an animal will make you very difficult for motorists to see. If possible get another person to keep watch and indicate to oncoming motorists that you are there. Moving an injured ferret: a. Try to stay calm and quiet. Shouts, noises and sudden movements can panic a ferret into trying to run, even if badly injured. b. Cover your hand and arms and keep your face away from the ferret. An injured ferret may bite if frightened or in pain.

c. Gently lift/roll the ferret enough to wrap a coat/rug/towel around it. Try to form a tube around the ferret so it can be held at both ends. The head can be covered loosely provided breathing is not obstructed. d. Use a board, tray, shovel or similar flat surface to lift the ferret from the accident site. e. Place into a deep box or carrier. If no carrying box is immediately available, keep the animal wrapped in its ‘tube’ on the board or tray, getting someone to hold both ends of the tube securely. Once the ferret has been moved, you will need to check whether other emergency procedures are needed. Bleeding / wounds: Cover any wounds with a clean damp cloth. This keeps the wound site from drying. If there is serious external bleeding, apply a pressure pad of cotton wool or similar, taping it or tying it in place until you get to a vet. Internal bleeding is indicated by collapse and very pale membranes in the nose, mouth and eyes. Immediate veterinary attention is needed. Keeping the airway clear: Remove any collar the ferret may be wearing. Make sure the ferret can breathe, especially if it unconscious or semi conscious. If there seems to be a problem you may have to take steps to help breathing. Very gently open its mouth and clear any vomit, blood, mucous that may be in the mouth or throat. You may need to gently pull the tongue forward. Be careful when doing this as it may cause the ferret to regain consciousness quickly and it may panic and bite. Keep the ferret’s head slightly lower than its body to allow fluid to continue to drain from the mouth. If the ferret is unconscious, do not let it lie too long on one side as the lungs can become congested. Gently turning the ferret over every 10-15 minutes (by rotating its ‘tube’ covering) helps to reduce this risk. Conserving body temperature: Injured, shocked ferrets lose body heat quickly. Wrap the ferret in a warm blanket or rug, making sure the feet and legs are also covered. If no blanket is available, use whatever fabric is to hand; newspaper, bubble-wrap, even cooking foil to help retain adequate body temperature. Do not use direct heat such as heat pads, hot water bottles or the like as this diverts blood from to the brain where it is most needed. In cases of injury and/or collapse, immediate veterinary attention is needed. By attending to the sort of emergency procedures above, you can help your ferret survive long enough to get it to the vet for treatment. NB – Don’t forget to ring the surgery to let them know you are coming or, in out-of-surgery hours, to find out whether you need to go somewhere different to your normal surgery address. Dealing with Suspected Poisoning: Ferrets are both carnivorous and curious so they run the risk of primary poisoning (eating something poisonous) and secondary poisoning (eating another animal which has eaten something poisonous).

Symptoms which should alert you to the possibilities of poisoning include sudden violent vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling/frothing at the mouth, staggering, fits and collapse. Although these symptoms can occur in illnesses not associated with poisoning, you should immediately start to think whether your ferret has recently been anywhere it might have had contact with something poisonous. For example, has it been rummaging around in cupboards where bleach, dyes, mothballs, medicines, detergents or disinfectants are kept? Has it been in the garden shed amongst slug pellets, weed-killers or rat poison? Garages may contain oil, paint, creosote, putty, glues and so forth. Even handbags in which paracetamol or other headache remedies may have been kept have proved a serious risk to curious ferrets. Many house and garden plants can also be poisonous so think back to whether the ferret was investigating any shortly before the onset of the symptoms. Ferrets are not always put off by smells or tastes that we would think unpleasant, so don’t rule out anything on those grounds along. Obvious clues will be if the ferret is found have ripped open a packet of something harmful, or if it is found with a half-eaten mouse. If this happens or you have a strong suspicion as to what the ferret may have eaten, take that packaging/substance/carcass to the vet with the ferret. Immediate steps to take if you suspect poisoning is to put the ferret in a quiet, darkened place (especially if it is having a fit) while you ring the vet for advice. DO NOT try to do anything not recommended by the vet. The vet will decide from your information whether to come to you or get you to bring the ferret to surgery immediately. Finally, always, always have a clean carrier available for emergency use. If possible, keep one to be used only for vet visits and emergencies. Clean it thoroughly after each use and store in somewhere immediately accessible. There is no time in an emergency to have to scrub out a carrier or rearrange the loft to find one. It is too optimistic to hope we will never need to deal with an emergency but, we can at least be prepared. Dr June McNicholas (Our thanks to Dr. McNicholas and N.F.W.S. for allowing this article to be reproduced in Ferret Tales)

A THANK YOU FROM THE ALRESFORD & DISTRICT AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY LTD. The HBFC received the following on the 20th September, 2012: “On behalf of the Chairman and Council I wish to say a very big thank you for organising such a wonderful display of Ferret racing at the Alresford Show this year. We very much appreciate the commitment and time you have given, the Ferret’s are so popular with the visitors and so much fun. We do hope you can come along again next year. Kind regards – Show Secretary”

Hants & Berks Ferret Club

ANNUAL QUIZ NIGHT Saturday 19th January 2013 From 19:30 Headley Village Hall, Newbury Road (A339), Headley, Berks. RG19 8AB Bring a plate of food to share and your own drinks plus a raffle prize please.

FERRET FRIENDLY VETS Unfortunately, ferret friendly vets are not numerous, however, please see below some tried and tested veterinary practices that certainly make the grade:Falkland Veterinary Clinic Carl Gorman or Sue Forester Newbury – Telephone 01635 46565 Kelperland Vets Stephen W Cooke Nr. Holyport – Telephone 01628 624935 / 633973 St. Vincents Veterinary Surgery Michael Morrow Wokingham – Telephone 0118 979 3200

JC EX0TIC PET Consultancy John Chitty on 077757 96432 Clifton Veterinary Surgery Alton – 01420 82163 Endell Vet Group Salisbury – Telephone 01722 333 291 Hampton Park Vet Centre Salisbury – Telephone 01722 416 245 Mildmay Vet Clinic Winchester – Telephone 01962 854 088 Nine Mile Veterinary Hospital Tel: 01189733466 - Great Western Referrals SWINDON - Tel 01793 603 800 Available 24x7x365 for Emergencies 01793 603 800

Purdey Tripp viewing the ferret friendly vets

St. Kitts Veterinary Centre Hartley Wintney Tel: 01252 844044 Hours: 08.30 -19.30 Mon – Fri and 08.30 – 16.00 on Sat and Sun. Cobham Park Veterinary Clinic Cobham Guy Heilpern on 01932 590022 Mon – Fri 9 – 7 Sat 9 -2 EASIPETCARE 106 Crockhamwell Road Woodley Reading RG5 3JY (Next door to Woodley’s Waitrose!) Tel: 01189 699 526

WHEN YOU ARE ON HOLIDAY Ferret Rescue Surrey Lily and Steve - Telephone – 0845 837 9695 Ferrets United Cathy - Telephone – 07885 082109 STARescue Claire and Roy - Telephone – 01189 690435 Chez Tripp Sally & Paul Tripp can help with holiday boarding – Telephone – 0118 348 6992 Ferret boarding is usually charged by the day and by the cage. This means that you don’t pay for each of the ferrets housed but if you have a group that live together they would be homed in one cage. If you know of any other tried and tested ferret friendly vets or ferret hotels, please let me have their details for future inclusion - Ed.

TALES FROM THE FERRET SHED Winter must be on the way as all the boys in the Ferret Shed are eating and sleeping more. The “softies” have a very large dog bowl filled to the brim each evening with dried food and when I visit first thing in the morning it is empty apart from some crumbs. This then gets topped up and usually it is Tolly (my 2kg tubs) who appears like magic and starts to tuck in. The sound of chomping will awaken a few others and there is some pushing for space around the bowl, which carries on whilst the other group (the “hooligans”) are extracted from the balcony in the shed and carried indoors for playtime. Usually, by this time all of the breakfasting is complete and the softies are waiting for me to return and start to clean-out the shed. Some of the boys who are awake are put upstairs to the hooligans quarters to play whilst I tackle the downstairs poo trays. Much scrabbling at my legs and Fred Bear must have his cuddles, he snuggles into my jacket and would happily stay there I suspect for the rest of the morning! Must get a jacket with a “poachers” pocket for him to retire to whilst I carry on with my shed chores. All the boys get weighed monthly; we learned some time ago that both the state of the poo and the ferret’s weight are excellent indicators to their health. Certainly their weights are on the up (getting ready for winter) with Harry, a couple of days ago, weighing in at just a tad under 2kg (level pegging with Tolly). We had noticed, a number of weeks ago, that Oliver was looking rather lean then he stopped eating dried food and didn’t appear to be drinking very much, certainly he wasn’t drinking his end of playtime milk. We popped him on the scales and horror of horrors he had lost around half a kilo from when he had been weighed about 3 weeks previously – not good news. We took him off to see Mr. Cooke at Kelperland who put Oliver straight onto a very high dose of antibiotics and told us to get food and drink into him. A spleen disorder was suspected and this the simplest possible treatment was the first port of call. As I’m sure you already know, it is difficult to force a ferret to do anything he doesn’t want to do but, force him to eat and drink we had to!

Oliver awaits in ambush on the stairs!

I pick up Oliver’s story about a week from when I started to write and am pleased to say he was on the scales this morning and is currently 1.3 kg and still rising. His appetite is huge (eating us out of house and home) but it’s lovely to see him back to his naughty normal self and soon to be back at normal weight.

Whilst on the subject of health, Wells was taken along to see Mr. Cooke at the same time we took Oliver and Harry. Wells (who some of you might remember had half his spleen

removed back at the beginning of January) hit an all-time low (in July) of .750 kg. From July he had been having additional food consisting convalescence food (a/d, Royal Canine and Oxbow Carnivore) plus chicken and chicken livers. This has been paying off as his weight did go up to .810 kg but now, unfortunately this was rapidly being “pooed” out from the other end! This meant that rather a lot of pro-kolin was needed on a regular basis to rectify matters. What could Mr. Cooke recommend? It was suggested that it would be worth looking at probiotics, which works in humans, cats and dogs so why not ferrets? After a bit of reading on the web I ordered some Protexin BioPremium (the same manufacturer as Pro-kolin) which promises “a symbiotic supplement to encourage normal digest function”. Assembly of such a small dosage was interesting until I found it best to reduce the large granules into powder in the coffee bean grinder. What then to hide the powder in – if it’s anything like the pro-kolin, Wells can smell that at 200 miles and decline it! I found that it hides effectively in a/d with a dash of oil and a couple of spoons of chicken broth. This is very much to Wells liking but, it is early days yet to find out if it benefits him. Wells!

One evening about six weeks ago I took a telephone call from Lily (Surrey Rescue) asking if David and I could possibly pick-up a stray ferret in Hindhead. Armed with a quick map from Google derived from the postcode, a carrying box and a tube of ferretvite we set off into the darkness. Eventually we found the cottage in rural Hindhead and whilst a large barking dog was locked into another room a gorgeous poly boy (see photo left) was produced from a cardboard box. Whilst David opened up the carrying box I produced the tube of ferretvite which was swooped upon. This was indeed somebody’s much loved pet and he accompanied us to Fleet. The “winter palace” in the garage had been previously set-up and we popped him in. After a tour of inspection he tackled the pot of dried food, had a drink and promptly went to bed. Shortly afterwards there was another telephone call from Lily who had already located the owner who, yes as you may have guessed, lived only a stone’s throw from the cottage we had picked him up from. Next evening his “Mum” appeared on our doorstep and in floods of tears cuddled her beloved Hannibal. Apparently the hutch door had not been closed properly and out went Hannibal on his voyage of discovery and couldn’t remember his way home. Hannibal

Christmas is almost upon us, the boys are getting excited and chattering about what presents Father Christmas is going to bring. Stanley has his own personal “stocking� and has put it up already on the off-chance that he might get an early present! The Christmas boxes have come down from the loft and assisted by the boys, the shed lights have come out and untangled. On the 1st December David will be putting these up inside and outside the shed. It only leaves me and the Ferret Shed boys to be the first to wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and all our good wishes for 2013. Joan Jones


INSERTS A copy of the Club accounts and some posters from STARescue advertising Christmas events have been inserted in this newsletter. The Club accounts are for Club members only.

My thanks to the following for their help with this newsletter Derek Harding for arranging the printing of the newsletter Photographs from many sources (including Derek Harding, Simon Arthur, Julia Kemp) All contributors And of course David for his proof reading!














The above is correct at the time of going to print If you would like to help at any of the above shows, please contact Paul Tripp (Show Manager) on 07903 390980 Club Meetings are held in the rugby clubroom at the AWE Aldermaston commencing 20.00 hrs. Contact any committee member for directions or look at the Club Website for maps, further details and any changes / additions to the above

Photo Competition - Above 2nd place Lucifer (Barbara Jack) and below 3rd place Ferrets (Sue Riley)

Ferret Tales (Christmas 2012)  

A quarterly newsletter from the Hants & Berks Ferret Club.

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