"The little guy in the picture is Buddy, the very first shelter kid to cross my threshold, a severe biter not at all trusting of any human hands. With lots of love and patience, he found he no longer needed to embed his teeth to the bone to keep from being hurt. He was the first of many biters to come to me. I love to work with biters; the transformation is so rewarding!" - Shelter Mum Brenda
About The Lakeroad Ferret Farm Rescue/Shelter, Inc.
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All about Our Day at the Shelter
by Shelter Mum Brenda
On behalf of all the fur kids in this shelter, we would like to explain some of the things that go on here. Each cage has a number and name plate(s) on it. Doing this has a dual purpose: 1) It helps us keep track of who gets out next, plus it identifies the ferrets in one stroke on a sheet of paper should we need to count heads for Missing In Action (MIA) fur kids, and 2) it provides backup in the event Shelter Mum is unable to care for our Shelter for a day or two. Someone could come in and know when and where each ferret belongs.
The GRAY and YELLOW alert:
This tag tells how often soup is fed and the amount of medication administered in the soup. The soup is a concoction of vitamins, minerals, supplements, and crushed Totally Ferret food all run through a blender to liquefy like soup. This is recommended and administered to all Insulinoma ferrets. Each cage is the living quarters for the ferret(s) that have come to this shelter. If they come in as cage mates (multiples living together), they will never be split from one another if it can be helped. Ferrets stress easily, especially when they have been removed from the home they have always known. Now that they have a new home, smells, schedule and human caregiver, stress is a real concern. These changes are a lot to take in for one little body. Here at this Shelter we do all we can to keep the little fur kids from stressing themselves to the point of becoming ill. We request from the original owner as many of the ferrets own belongings as possible. Their food and water are essential, as is bedding, if possible. The Shelter would like the cage, but usually it is not donated.
Each cage gets at least one hammock and one house for sleeping (sleep box). The number of hammocks and houses relates directly to the number of ferrets in a cage. Each house gets a blanket. We use yard sale baby receiving blankets. (Note: All multi-level cages have one large hammock in the middle so that if the ferret falls, the hammock will break the fall.) All floors are covered with a shelf cover. The cover can be removed and washed frequently. Each cage has a pink fire escape bag on it so that if we should need to get out quickly we can bag them and toss them gently to get out safely.
Each cage gets at least one water bottle with a dish under it (all water bottles leak) and one food dish. The cages with multiple ferrets will get more than a single dish of food and water. The food and water dishes are kept full at all times. Most of our fur kids drink out of a dish, but to be sure no one runs out of water, they have access to the water bottle as well. (Note: All food and water dishes are kept away from the bathroom area.) Most cages have a floor above the sleeping box for the food and water dishes so that they are away from the litter box/poop papers. This keeps the litter from getting in the water dish and the food and water out of the litter boxes.
Ferrets need a minimum of 4 hours a day out of the cage to run and play. We do our best to make sure each cage gets at least that amount of time out. We have eight areas that we can let the ferrets run and play: the ferret room, the play room, the playpen, the original dining room, the original library, the kitchen, the bathroom and if the weather allows it, the side porch. Our day starts at 3:30 AM. Cage #1 has the most ferrets in it. They are limited to where they can go because they love to climb; therefore, they start in the playpen for one hour. Cage #2 gets the porch, Cage #3 gets the house, Cage #4 gets the playroom, and so on. So that each cage group gets time in each area, every hour (we have a timer set) this changes and the groups get moved to a different area.
This system gives each group of ferrets a total of 4 hours out of the cage. We do this until bedtime around 8:30 PM. There are groups that get the run of the kitchen and the resident space all night because they can be trusted to be out of their cage. Some even like to sleep with Shelter Mum!
After each cage group has been placed in the area they will play in, we clean the cage, litter box, litter papers if they use them and make sure all the bedding is clean and fresh. Water bottles are checked to be sure that they are full. If they need refilling, they are replaced with a clean bottle. All dishes under the water bottle are emptied, washed and fresh water is added. Food dishes are filled. If the dish is completely empty, they too are removed, washed and replaced with clean fresh dishes. This is done first thing in the morning and again at night. As we clean the cages, we will remove any of the covers, blankets, and hammocks that are soiled. Laundry is a daily job at the Shelter. Most of the odor that people complain about is from the blankets, hammocks and covers in the cage. Washing them frequently helps to keep the odor under control.