In search of your ferret's true colours

Shooting Times & Country|June 24, 2020

In search of your ferret's true colours
There is no truth in the idea that a ferret’s colour affects how it works, says Simon Whitehead, but it may have an impact on you
Simon Whitehead

If this lockdown has taught me one thing, it is the value in taking the time to ponder on life’s little intricacies. Finding time to do what you want to do before it is too late, after all, we never know what is around the corner. My jills are due to whelp soon, Tawny’s pups are heading to their new homes and I often find myself wondering what the ‘new normal’ will look like.

I have only bred two jills this summer, one albino and one polecat coloured fitch (the only one in my collection). Renowned as an advocate of working white or light-coloured ferrets, I am often brought to task as to exactly why I favour them over the more aesthetically pleasing darker, polecat crosses.

As is the case in life beyond ferrets, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, quite simply, I like pale ferrets but I am often asked whether colour really does affect their working ability. The truth, in my opinion, is that it does make a difference but perhaps not in the way you might imagine.

Like a lot of the ferreters of my vintage, I served a long and nurturing ferreting apprenticeship. I spent time listening to my elders talking about their ferrets and dogs. However amusing I found it at times, it was always educational but I had to learn to take everything with a pinch of salt. Especially when it came to the colour of ferrets. On one side of the fence were the owners of the nicotine albinos. They swore blind that their charges never failed to outwork everybody else’s polecat crosses. The characters were adamant that their dark, masked, wild-looking stinkers not only had more class and finesse but outworked the more common looking yellowy, stained albinos.

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June 24, 2020