Charlie I absolutely will! I appreciate all the advice. I'm not completely confident that they will be able to be a fully bonded pack but I want to try the safest way possible and whatever happens, happens. No matter what at least Eden has Rose and Kingsley to keep him company when he's out and about!
kraesmom Thank you for the link; I will start reading into it!
Hello! It's been almost a month now since I started actually trying to bond Ivy and Eden; I wanted to update you guys on what the situation looks like now and ask what you think?
So far I haven't let them really interact with each other for more than 10 seconds. I have been cage swapping every morning for about 2 hours and Ivy is completely comfortable in his cage. When I go to take her out for some playtime I always find her sleeping in his blanket.
During the super short meetings where I'm usually holding one of them and my husband is holding the other she seems pretty okay. I've also put some salmon oil on Eden's face and she licked it off.
This evening I tried giving all 4 of my ferrets a bath together, they were doing fine. I took them out one by one until only Ivy and Eden were left in the bath. Ivy seemed fine with him in there (though it could be because she's too terrified to move in water) but at one point she had even leaned her head on Eden's neck.
After the bath I dried them off and put Eden in a playpen in the middle of the kitchen floor and had Ivy loose on the outside of the pen. She seemed indifferent and didn't bother so my husband coaxed her closer to the playpen with treats to see how she would react when noticing Eden and she started to follow him aggressively from the outside of the playpen which worries me.
Everywhere his head was she was mirrored right on the other side, if he would move she would follow it as quick as she could. I worry it's out of aggression. I haven't had them together without something in between long enough for her to attack as I want to try and do this as slowly and carefully as I can to assure that IF there is any chance of bonding Ivy to Eden I can make it happen. If not then at least I know I gave it the best chance I could.
Wow, you have really been doing all kinds of things to try and make the bond happen!! Like the bath together and the salon oil on the face are all great! That sounds like progress there.
How does it go with just the 10 sec meeting? Are you and your husband each holding a ferret or are they actually meeting for 10 seconds together in the same space? Are you keeping both their cages side by side now or are they still in separate rooms? What does Ivy do there? Does she lung at the cage trying to get to Eden?
Have you tried the leash and going outside? I don't know if it's cold out where you are or not. lol
Thanks for the reply Charlie ! I'm definitely trying my best with them. For the 10 second meeting I usually just hold Eden if my husband isn't around close to her and let her sniff him a bit from wherever she is. If my husband is around he will hold one of them while I hold the other and we will let them sniff eachother's faces/necks for a few seconds.
The other day I did try for a bit longer while she was inside her cage I held him outside the cage and she was fine at first but after a couple seconds for the first time in a while she did try to lunge out of the cage at him.
The cages are currently still in separate rooms since Eden's is too long to fit in my bedroom as well. Ivy in Eden's cage? She normally eats some of his food then just goes to sleep in his main bed
I haven't tried outside yet; I'll try that this weekend and update you on how it goes! It's a little cold right now here in Canada but it hasn't snowed yet on the West coast, just lots of rain.
Ok, I figured you were holding one of them for the 10 sec meeting.
Hmm, doesn't sound good when Ivy lunges at him even through the cage. The only time Ivy seems ok with Eden is if she is distracted by something else.
Ok, I didn't know you were in Canada too. Me too. Yeah, you will want to do that when it's warmer. lol
Oh, Eden is still quite young. I don't know, maybe wait til he is older?
Yeah it's too bad you can't have the cages side by side. But then again you don't want to stress either of them out either. I'm glad that you are taking your time with this so neither ferret gets injured and you are using utmost caution. You obviously see the signs because of your past experiences as well.
Yeah, I agree it wasn't looking good, though the lunge wasn't through the cage; I had the door open and was holding him and she tried to leap out into my arms where he was. Don't know if that really makes a difference.
I actually did take them outside today to a park beside my house since it's a neutral area!
She didn't pay attention to him very much at first and I didn't want to force her to interact so I brought them together with some oil after they explored the area a little. I stayed low and close that way if she lunged at all I would be right there to separate before anyone got hurt. Her face was constantly on top of his neck but she never bit or tried to wrestle him, she just kind of stayed on top of him for a few seconds then would wander off. If he was close by again she'd do the same thing: sniff him, stay real close to his neck area then go continue exploring. I was really happy she didn't try to lunge at him at all outside. In total we were probably only there for about 10 minutes as I didn't want to stress her out since she doesn't overly enjoy being too far away from home.
I feel like it was a good interaction over all, but I'm still trying not to get my hopes up that she will ever fully accept him.
I haven't really noticed her be phased by his scent in the cage. Even after he's been in there for a couple hours and I put her in the cage she just does her normal routine of checking the food and water, having a few bites, then curling up in her favourite corner or with her siblings.
She's fine sleeping on his blanket as well since I put his into the main cage once a week. On my laundry day I normally clean all their bedding and what not but with his main blanket I put it into the main cage and just clean the one they were using and put it in his cage. Repeat. I've been doing that for about 3 weeks now and she isn't phased by the blanket filled with his scent.
I do think you're right about it being a territorial thing, though.
Yeah, I think she's the one calling the shots. She seems fine when she is distracted but once she has her attention focused on him, it's a different story. It could very well be a very long time before she will accept him if at all, she may just tolerate him for brief periods.
I just finished their second outdoor meeting. This time I tried it in the backyard as its a little dark to bring them to the park. The backyard is not as much of a neutral area as she's been roaming it since I adopted her.
It was another great meeting! I started in the backyard and let her do whatever she want. She would run up to him out of the blue but never lunge or attack, just sniff then walk away. Just like the first time. We were probably out there for about 15 minutes until she wanted to go back inside. Overall while outside she was around him without attacking a dozen times.
I actually opened my back door and let them walk inside (on leashes) together. She didn't attack once we were inside the door either. I let her sniff him for a bit, gave them some Salmon oil as celebration, them split them up again. Since he's so young he's full of energy and I didn't want him trying to play with her just yet and her thinking it was an attack or anything.
Wow! That was great! A little at a time with her! She just might accept him. Yeah and waiting until he is older too may help as welll so he can fend for himself if she does try anything. But you don’t want it to go that far.
Thank you guys for the positive feedback, it helps a lot. There's a chance it could happen as much as there's a chance it can't. Hopefully taking things slow will continue with positive results. As much as I've come to terms with the idea that Eden may never be a direct part of the business, watching this all happen is sparking hope! Also, don't worry, I wouldn't ever put Eden into harm's way. If I feel like Ivy is going to be too rough with him or aggressive I'll just leave the bonding alone. Their health is more important than the integration!
Thanks again! I'll keep you all updated as things change/progress.