Online Research into Ferret Ownership in the UK<br />Hilary Anderson<br />Ferret Research: 2011<br />
Methodology<br />116 people took part in a online survey between the 8th and 16th of August 2011. <br />Respondents to the...
Demographics of Ferret Owners<br />Of the 116 people who took part in the survey, 94% currently have ferrets, 3% have had ...
Number of Ferrets Owned<br />109 people currently own ferrets. The minimum number of ferrets owned is one and the maximum ...
The Ferrets – Gender, Age and Colour<br />57% of the ferrets are hobs and 43% jills. 21% of respondents have no jills and ...
The Ferrets – What are they like<br />Most people (93%) owned only pure ferrets but 17% had at least one hybrid and 11% at...
The Ferrets – Ferret Diet and Vaccination<br />37% of respondents feed their ferrets a mainly kibble diet although 89% of ...
Hunting with Ferrets<br />104 people answered the question on whether they worked their ferrets – 16 (15%) people do work ...
Ferret Rescues and Fostering<br />Only five rescues responded to the survey. To avoid identification of any particular res...
Medical Section: Neutering<br />This question was asked of all respondents who either had had or currently have a ferret. ...
Medical Section: Illness<br />The 102 people who responded to this section have or have had a total of 3495 ferrets – eith...
Acquiring a new Ferret<br />39 people are looking to acquire at least one more ferret. 7 intend to get one or more within ...
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Ferret research

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Online survey of 116 online ferret owners (mainly UK-based)

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Ferret research

  1. 1. Online Research into Ferret Ownership in the UK<br />Hilary Anderson<br />Ferret Research: 2011<br />
  2. 2. Methodology<br />116 people took part in a online survey between the 8th and 16th of August 2011. <br />Respondents to the survey were members of ferret forums and ferret-related facebook sites. This means that the sample is skewed towards technology confident, ferret-loving people who actively engage with ferret-related matters.<br />For this reason, these results will not be representative of the UK ferret-owning population in that those without access to ferret forums are not represented.<br />Additionally, the forums are dominated by people who are aware of ferret rescues and would expect this sample to own more ferrets and to be more likely to have obtained from a rescue. <br />With regard to colour of ferret or incidence of illness, the results should be more representative as these are characteristics of the ferrets and not their owners.<br />These results should be viewed with caution – they represent the views and ferret engagement of 116 people not the UK ferret-owning population.<br />
  3. 3. Demographics of Ferret Owners<br />Of the 116 people who took part in the survey, 94% currently have ferrets, 3% have had ferrets in the past but not currently and 3% do not have ferrets but intend to acquire them.<br />21 respondents were male, 79 female and 16 did not give their gender.<br />The sample was skewed towards the young, with 29 people being under 25, 41 people being aged 25-44 and 31 aged 45-64. <br />
  4. 4. Number of Ferrets Owned<br />109 people currently own ferrets. The minimum number of ferrets owned is one and the maximum 80. The average number of ferrets owned is 8 but this is highly influenced by the 6 people who have more than 20. The most common number of ferrets kept is 2.<br />The total number of ferrets within the survey was 882. The ferret distribution by size of group (assuming one group per owner) can be seen below. <br />As can be seen a few owners have a lot of ferrets. 60% of ferrets are kept by 22% of sample respondents – each of whom have more than 10.<br />
  5. 5. The Ferrets – Gender, Age and Colour<br />57% of the ferrets are hobs and 43% jills. 21% of respondents have no jills and 8% no hobs. <br />Polecat is the most common colour (33% of ferrets), followed by albino (23%) with silver, sandy and other colour all being about 10%. <br />Most ferrets in the sample (51%) are younger adults (1 to 4). 12% are kits, 11% aged 5 to 6 and 6% older. <br />
  6. 6. The Ferrets – What are they like<br />Most people (93%) owned only pure ferrets but 17% had at least one hybrid and 11% at least one EU Polecat. <br />71% of owners kept at least some of the ferrets outside, either with access to a run or with regular inside playtime. 18% kept at least some of their ferrets inside running free and 28% inside but with periods caged.<br />81% of ferret owners walk their ferret outside – most commonly in the garden (57%), outside their local area (38%) and less commonly in the local park (28%). <br />The most common source of ferrets was from an independent ferret rescue (54%). About 25% of ferrets owners had obtained from each of the following – the free ads, direct from a breeder of from friends and family. 15% had gone to the RSPCA. <br />A lot of people had obtained their ferrets from a mix of the above. There was, on average 1.7 sources mentioned per respondents. 7% had kept a stray, 6% had rescued at least one ferret themselves and 7% had purchased at least one from a pet shop (although sometimes to save it from a bad situation).<br />Most people (87%) have never bred their ferrets. 6% had bred an occasional litter from their own and 3% had bred a litter for sale or by mistake.<br />
  7. 7. The Ferrets – Ferret Diet and Vaccination<br />37% of respondents feed their ferrets a mainly kibble diet although 89% of these feed the occasional meat. 54% feed at least one meat meal a day and supplement it with kibble and 5% feed a pure meat diet. 5% did not respond. <br />The most popular brands of kibble by mention are James Well Beloved (48%), Vitalin (39%), Alpha (26%), Supreme Science Selective (26%), Pet at Home (22%), Dr Merlins (20%) and Chudley’s (14%).<br />Most people feed a mix of kibble with an average of 2.3 mentions per respondents. 8 owners use cat food (5 Applaws and 3 IAMs/Purina).<br />Vaccination<br />This questions were asked of anyone who has ever owned a ferret. 100 people answered this question. <br />41% of respondents (41) have vaccinated their ferrets, 53% have not and 5% are undecided. <br />
  8. 8. Hunting with Ferrets<br />104 people answered the question on whether they worked their ferrets – 16 (15%) people do work them and 1 respondent does it professionally. <br />All hunt on private land where the owner gives permission and 2 also hunt their own land. <br />11 of the hunters regard their ferrets as both workers and pets. 4 regard them mainly as pets and no-one regarded them mainly as workers. (1 non-response).<br />Purse nets and ferret finders are used by 15 out of the 16 respondents. Using guns and dogs is less common with 6 and 5 respondents mentioning each of these respectively. <br />
  9. 9. Ferret Rescues and Fostering<br />Only five rescues responded to the survey. To avoid identification of any particular rescue, only aggregate results will be give.<br />Of the five rescues, two have charitable status. They raise funds through donations, holding ferrets show and open days and through ferret racing. <br />Of the three rescues without charitable status, two do not fund-raise while the third accepts donations, sells ferret-related good and holds ferret shows.<br />The rescues were started because the individual became known as the local ferret person (3 mentions), they became aware of limited facilities for ferrets (2) and a particular ferret kick-started the process (2). The other two reasons mentioned (one mention each) was to help the ferret community and the progression from fostering to rescuing. <br />The five rescues currently have 212 ferrets in their care (62% male, 38% female). <br />There are 37 kits, 76 teenagers (1-2), 45 young adults (3-4) and 37 older ferrets.<br />46 residents are permanent due to age (10), health (15) or behavioural issues (26). Of these permanent residents, 37 are at one rescue and this rescue is also fostering 21 ferrets.<br />Fostering<br />14 people who foster ferrets responded to the survey. To avoid identification of any individual, only aggregate results will be give.<br />These 14 individuals are fostering 41 ferrets. The maximum number fostered is 10 (all kits under six months) and minimum fostered is one ferret.<br />16 of the ferrets are under six months, 10 are older kits, and 4 are young adults. The age of the remaining nine is not known.<br />
  10. 10. Medical Section: Neutering<br />This question was asked of all respondents who either had had or currently have a ferret. 102 people took part in this section.<br />All respondents use some method to bring their jills out of season. No one answered yes to letting nature bring them out of season.<br />The most commonly use solution was surgical castration mentioned by 77% of respondents followed closely by surgical spaying (65%).<br />About 8% of respondents use a vasectomised hob to bring their jills out of season and 7% have or had a v.hob. <br />The implant – chemical castration is still relatively new – with 14 people using it in total. 8 of these plan to repeat it and 6 to surgically neuter after first implant wears off.<br />6% of respondents (6 people) use a jill jab to bring their jills out of season.<br />Most people use a range of methods – esp surgical castration AND spaying for mixed groups. <br />
  11. 11. Medical Section: Illness<br />The 102 people who responded to this section have or have had a total of 3495 ferrets – either personal, fostered or rescued. <br />For a range of illness, the number of ferrets and owners who have experienced this illness is given. No ferret in the sample has had Aleutian disease. <br />The high number of ferrets with ECE is caused by owner having 21 ferrets with this disease and also one onwer had 15 ferrets with lymphoma (adult).<br />
  12. 12. Acquiring a new Ferret<br />39 people are looking to acquire at least one more ferret. 7 intend to get one or more within the next 3 months, another 12 within the year. 10 will acquire one or more within a longer time frame and 10 people are not sure when. <br />32 people will look at their local independent rescues for their new ferret(s), 13 from the RSPCA or other national body, 6 from the free-ads and 4 from a breeder. 2 people are looking to breed their own.<br />The majority of people are not sure what age their next ferret(s) will be or are not bothered. 15 are not bothered by what the age the ferret is and 9 are not sure what age they are looking for.<br />Of the 14 people who have a rough idea of the age of ferret(s) they want, 7 want a kit(s), 5 a young adult(s) (1-2) and 2 and older ferret.<br />14 people are looking for two ferrets and 11 are not sure how many they will get. 7 people are looking for just one ferret and 6 for three or more. <br />

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