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Did You Know?

- Ferrets lack a cecum to digest/ process fuits and vegetables.

- A ferrets left lung has 2 lobes, while the right has 4.

- A ferrets body contains 14 or 15 pairs of ribs.

- A kit has 30 baby teeth, while an adult has 34.

- Food fully travels throughout their system in 3 hours.

Perspective on Marshall Farms

 

Hopefully this page will provide you with some food for thought. I would like to state right up front that I am neither an advocate or a proponent for Marshall Farms (MF) and I strongly do NOT believe that anybody else opinions/beliefs regarding them should be forced on another person. I truly believe all accusations pertaining to anything needs to be analyzed and thought through thoroughly and researched for accurate source. Often what you end up reading is meant to excite you, with accompanying photos that are exaggerated, doctored and misleading, as usually those individuals have their own personal agenda that they do not disclose. Everyone is entitled to make up their own mind and voice their own opinion without being attacked by others. I proudly own Marshall Farm ferrets, full angora ferrets, breeder rescue ferrets, and some from unknown breeder origin, and would NEVER trade ANY in for the world.

When the name Marshall Farms is brought up, various emotions are often voiced on the negative due to their past outrageous violations concerning the welfare of the animals they breed. On the other side of the coin (which is always over looked ), over 95% pertained solely to their dog breeding antics (Beagles) with all violations being quite a few years old. Marshall's has since drastically cleaned up their act, though they do still have some ways to go. It is irresponsible to go on bashing a company for violations that happened some time ago, repeatedly circulate false and misleading information and not recognize the changes/improvements that they have since made. It is also irresponsible to single out only one company when there are quite a few ferret/pet mills out there as well as large scale breeders and some small scale breeders that all do the same thing and have the same practices.

Let's take a look at some of the common issues that have been raised regarding Marshall Farms:
  • They control the lighting in order to increase the number of litters the females will produce.
    Yes, unfortunately they do and more unfortunate so does a large majority of big breeders involving any animal. Breeders are in the business to produce litters in order to make money from their sale. Small private breeders generally do not fall into this category as they mate using their own ferrets and are very selective(this does not necessarily mean the quality of the ferrets are any different).

  • They spay/neuter and descent their kits at too young an age which leads into health problems as the ferret gets older.
    While there is very strong anecdotal evidence this is true, there currently is no hard proof. The number of Marshall Farms ferrets that may develop health problems like Insulinoma, adrenal, etc. may be high, but so is the number of Marshall Farms ferrets owned. When you look at the incidence rate realistically in proportion, there is really no difference among breeders.

    Breeders are in the business to make money and will fix/alter their kits early in order to sell them while they are young and attractive to buy (matter of opinion though). By performing this step, they are also controlling the population of ferrets as well as the health of the female who will need human intervention to bring her out of heat or she can die. In general Marshall Farms ferrets are not at the pet stores for sale until they are about 8-10 weeks old, as they have to keep them longer to watch for possible kennel cough due to their breeding of dogs as well. Path Valley kits can be found at stores as early as 6-8 weeks of age. I believe the majority of the blame for performing these surgeries at an early age lies with the public, as the majority of us do want to own a pet at a very young age (so maybe individually we are the ones at fault as well as all the pet stores who buy the ferrets at such an early age to sell to begin with). Other animals (cats and dogs, etc) are out for sale at the age of 8 weeks as well; maybe legislation is what should be addressed as this is a worldwide issue not limited to only a handful of breeders.

  • They practice closed-colony breeding, provide inadequate vet care and poor living conditions.
    Marshall Farms has such an enormous selection of ferrets, that any concern in genetic health problems from closed-colony breeding is certainly not much of an issue. Historically Marshall Farms has only retained one full-time vet for all of their ferrets, however they do have a substantial number of qualified technicians to assist with health care and vaccines. This should not be that alarming, as shelter owners, breeders, farmers, experienced pet owners, etc. will tend to their own pet's health as well as initiate vaccinations on their own. However, due to the size of Marshall Farms I do strongly believe that more than one full-time vet is necessary and warranted.

    The cleanliness of Marshall Farms is not the greatest, but neither is it across other large scale breeders. It is interesting to note, that there are currently no ferret specific regulations/guidelines for the housing/care of ferrets to enforce. This is not just a Marshall Farms problem, it is a universal problem.

  • They do not ship in adequate containers with food, water, etc.
    This is a false statement, as they are all shipped to code (no airline would accept any animal for transport unless they are housed to code). Unfortunately at a certain point your pets are turned over to the airlines where they remain at their mercy. Interesting to note the shear number of airlines that have been fined and brought up on charges for the way they treat animals in their care. As stated above this situation is not restricted to Marshall Farms but rather on a global basis which is an ongoing fight.

  • They sell their ferrets to labs for testing
    Yes they do and I am forever grateful for the sacrifices of all animals in order to advance the medical field (both human and animal). Do not confuse my admiration for their loss for all testing, as this is not the case! I vehemently oppose unnecessary toxic and cosmetic testing, there simply is no justification for this, as in this day and age there are other alternatives, we need to stop this now!

    Thanks to their sacrifices, ferrets and other animals have provided us with treatments for cancer, AIDS, neurological diseases, rabies, distemper, small pox, anthrax, diabetes, liver and heart disease, genetics, spiral cord injuries, strokes, organ transplants, insulin discovery, polio prevention, etc. In addition they have also advanced the veterinarian field in understanding their body make-up providing us with treatment options and hope to help our ill ferrets.

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Health Tid Bits

- Ferret's normal rectal temperature is between 100 - 104 with 101.9 being the average.

- Heart rate is 180 - 250 bpm with 225 being average.

- Respiration is 33-36 per minute.

- Normal urine pH is 6.5 - 7.5

- Blood volume is 60-80 ml/ kg.

- Ferrets do possess toxoplasmosis in their systems. However, unlike cats they cannot release/ shed the infected eggs back into the environment, they hit a dead end, so humans cannot catch the disease.

 
All content on this site has been researched and authored by Brenda (webmaster).

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