What is a working ferret?
A working ferret is any ferret that will help man with pest control this is mainly wild Rabbits, there are those who would use them to flush out Rats thankfully not many people do this as ferrets can sustain serious injury especially if cornering a female with young. There are also the usual health risks associated with Rats.
How do they work?
The usual practice is for ferrets to be entered into a rabbit bury and flush out rabbits to either nets where they are dispatched by the ferreter, flushed to birds of prey, dog or gun.
Do all ferrets work?
We are often asked at shows if we have any working ferrets, people see our ferrets racing up coloured pipes, sleeping in hammocks or being stroked by endless groups of people. It is our experience that most will work, they all seem to have that instinct even though being domesticated for some 2000 years. Of course there are ferreters and some our members that have working lines that they swear by and keep going year in year out.
It is advisable that any ferreter has obtained permission before undertaking any rabbit control activities, preferably written. Remember that you could be charged with Poaching and face prosecution so having written permission at hand is obviously going to be an advantage should any Police officer or Gamekeeper come calling.
Let’s not forget that rabbits do not respect borders so the need to cross fences, gates etc into other properties is usually the norm, in this case it is also vital that over boundary permissions are also obtained, most of the time this is not usually a problem, if it is, then you can’t cross and you should question whether the task is viable.
Once you have been granted a permission it will be necessary to do a survey this is to make sure that you have a good idea of what you are getting into, the lay of the land, how many ferrets you are likely to require, do you need help and more importantly is it a feasible option to control the rabbit population there. Remember that any permission is valuable and you should ensure you look after it, your reputation could be at stake good customer relations will lead to other work. Out of courtesy make sure you inform the land owners when you’re going to visit they may have other engagements planned and the last thing you need is to ruin a family occasion.
Ferreters will go into the field with a variety of equipment the following items should be regarded as essential.
Good working ferrets
A box to carry them in
Locator collars & finder
An assortment of Purse nets
Spade to dig up ferrets underground
Folding hand saw
Tools for undergrowth clearance
Sharp knife for paunching rabbits
Small first aid kit
Fully charged mobile phone for emergencies
Letter of permission