For those who have experience, what have you seen as the average lifespan difference between altering your hobs early and leaving them intact. Also if altering, do you find it makes a difference if it's done when they are younger (after the first season is completed) or following a 2nd, 3rd season, etc.? I'm specifically only interested in info about surgically altered hobs as I don't believe there's been enough time with implant neutering to gain statistically significant info? (Unless someone has been using DES for neutering for many years?)
I have two yearlings who've finished their 1st season and are not going to be used by me (nor are they needed by their dam's breeders) for their "services". I don't mind having hobs and the two are half brothers that although caged separately at night, did okay with each other during playtime while in season.
I've had a hob that was surgically neutered after age of 5 who lived to be 10ish. He developed adrenal as do almost all surgically altered ferrets who either do not use DES as a preventative or are chemically castrated. It seems that the science is that adrenal is basically inevitable to surgical castrations. This is why the lean toward chemical castrations. No, there is no science to prove the DES as of yet and I'm rather sceptical myself, though I've started suggesting the use of DES with my kit people. It seems less invasive and causes the least amount of muscle loss. If you're going to use it annually as a preventative, might as well use it as the method of castration instead of surgically castrating, you can always surgically castrate if you need to. It's a perfectly simple surgery and the risks are few (anaesthetics are always dangerous) but the risk of adrenal is almost guaranteed if the surgery is done. That being said, you've done what is best for your wee lads and if surgical is the direction you want to go in, you've given them the best possible chances. They've reached both sexual and physical maturity (their line might dictate further growth but it would be mostly complete). Now there is the question if they live or at least play together well why bother at all (except maybe to deal with their disgusting seasonal habits)? You've survived the worst, their first year. The B&E twins lived happily together all of their lives each year their seasonal habits becoming more subtle. Enigma died of liver cancer at 7 and his brother died the following year of renal failure. Their health had become compromised about 2 yrs before that when they came down with ECE, they suffered off and on with gastric issues after that. I believe they would have lived much longer if their immunity hadn't been so compromised by this disease. My preference is to keep my hobs (I presently have 6, counting my vhob) intact allowing for a natural life. In the end, the choice is not cut and dry but becomes an issue of preferences and husbandry. Surgery is the most invasive and seems to have the greater known risks. Good luck with your boys ciao