Is it ok to have 3 male ferrets with one female?

Hi, we adopted a male and a female ferret in December. We have decided to adopt another pair but our local rescue only has two males. We would get them vasectomised but are there likely to be problems with 3 males to one female?
Thanks.

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Hi Christine

If you are only going to vasectomise rather than castrate then my advice would be no it’s not OK. In breeding season your hobs will still come into season. You will need to separate them from each other and even if your jill is speyed also from her as their hormones will be raging and they will probably still try and mate with her this will be rough and they might hurt her quite badly. They will certainly fight with each other to the point of serious injury in some cases. If you have them castrated they can all live happily together.

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Many thanks Donna, that makes perfect sense. The hob we currently have is vasectomised so he can take care of her needs during mating season without consequences. So if we get the two new males castrated that should mean they can all live together happily.

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No, a vasectomised hob will continue to hassle the Jill. So likely not going to be a nice environment for her. He may also be aggressive with the other hobs despite them not being in season.

I think there was a typo in Donnas post, as I believe she meant to say it’s not OK to keep them all together throughout the season.

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Hi Ewan,
Yes, I got that. But if I understand Donna correctly, if we have the two new males castrated then they won’t try and mate with the jill?

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Yes that is correct. The vast majority of the time the castrated male will leave the Jill alone. Sometimes you can get lingering hormones which cause him to half-heartedly have a go. If you are unlucky then you will have to time out or separate those hobs too.

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Hi

That was my bad typing sorry. I did mean it’s not OK. The two castrated males would be fine to live with the jill, You would need to leave it about 6 weeks after the castration if your jill is not speyed and your vasectomised hob will need to be separated from all of them for the duration of the breeding season once he has brought your jill out of season as his hormones will continue to drive him to mate and he won’t care if the jill is in or out of season. He won’t care if your other males are castrated either and he will hassle them to the point of some very nasty fights. Hobs have been known to cause serious injuries and even kill each other as the urge is so strong. If you aren’t going to breed then it is far kinder to to just neuter them all and they can live together happily all year. It’s a lonely and confusing life as a vasectomised or un-neutered hob in the breeding season

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Many thanks for this great advice. You can probably guess I’m quite new to keeping ferrets but I really want to get it right.
Re: the jill (Daisy) She is currently uneutered. Should I wait until the end of the breeding season before attending to her contraception? Also what in your opinions would be better for her - neutering or hormonal implants?
Re: the hob (Dan) He is vasectomised. Are you recommending that we have him castrated along with the two new hobs?
We have the space to keep them separated and the time to make sure they’re settling in and adjusting.

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Not sure where you live, but in the UK, the Jill’s are fully in season now. It is vital that you do not let your Jill continue in season for long. She will stay in season for a long time unless mated or neutered (or jab/implant). By remaining in season they can develop a number of very serious health issues.

The only reason to keep a vasectomised hob is to bring Jill’s out of season ‘for free’. You really would have the most content family of ferrets year-round if all the males are castrated. For the Jill it is not as essential to surgically neuter. The implant or the annual injection are valid possibilities. The latter avoids complications in the surgery which is quite invasive, but means much higher ongoing costs.

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I would opt for neutering the female asap, I always go for surgical neutering. And I would have the vasectomised male castrated. I used to have an intact job who was too old to neuter when I got him and it was an awful shame having to separate him from the rest for 6 months + at a time. He went from the sweetest boy to a terror with his hormones.

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We’re in the UK (North Yorkshire) The jill is in season and is being ‘attended to’ by the vasectomised hob. My understanding is that this prevents anaemia in the jill.

Really appreciate this expertise. It means I can have an informed conversation with the vet. It also means we can make plans for the two new hobs. They’re currently at a local rescue so we’d like to home them asap to take the pressure of the rescue and to ideally give them a happy, healthy future.

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Yes you are correct. So practically only a couple of days with the vasectomised hob will be needed, after which you can remove him from the Jill to stop him carrying on ‘attending’ to her. :wink:

In a week you should be able to visibly tell whether it worked or not. As the Jills swelling will start to shrink.

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Hi,
A little advice regarding vasectomised hobs is that vasectomies in ferrets will often reverse themselves and you can end up with a pregnant jill. This is something that is vital to consider if you choose that route for your jill.

You can jill jab yearly but that is not something that should be a long term plan really and whilst I have never had a problem myself some jills will come back into season and need a second jab later in the year. Personally I would always choose the surgical route. I honestly believe that the implant is a way for greedy vets to make money as it needs to be carried out regularly to suppress the hormones. Also the only time I used it my hob died shortly after so I don’t have much faith in it.

My own choice would be to jill jab now and spey once out of season and I would castrate all 3 hobs. You would have truly happy group.

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Thanks Donna, that’s really helpful and it’s pretty much what I was already considering.

I really have appreciated everyone’s input. Thanks all.