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FUR-FARMING IN CANADA   41

mother fox proves to be not capable of rearing her young for any reason, they are taken from her and reared on the cat until four or five weeks old, when the cat will usually desert them. They are then able to lap milk. Young foxes have been found stiff and cold, but by warming them in hot cotton wool and providing them with feline wet-nurse, have finally grown to maturity. A nursing bottle and a medicine dropper also might be kept on hand to feed milk.

The young are blind for about three weeks and do not leave Data for the nest, but when they are about four weeks old, the mother Breeders carries them to a sunny place. They soon learn to lap milk and eat. When about three months old, the mother weans them and they may go to quarters of their own.

Foxes have only one litter a year, each litter consisting of from one to nine pups. The earliest noted litter came on March 12; the latest, on June 4. No instances are yet recorded of two litters in one year, but it is believed that it may occur within a few years when the animals are more domestic in habit.

According to the best authorities, foxes in the wild state are monogamous. In captivity, they are usually paired for life, and in many instances re-mating is said to be impossible. In some cases, however, foxes can be re-mated yearly. Some males will mate with several females during the same winter. Two systems of double mating are practised. Under one system, a male and two females of the same litter are given the run of three pens. After mating they are all separated into their respective pens. The other system also requires the use of three pens, the male spending alternate days with each of the two females. When matting is effected in these ways, success is not as certain as with single mating.

The fox continues prolific until about ten or eleven years of age. If a pair fail to produce young after the eighth year, they are usually slaughtered. In the majority of cases foxes mate when ten months old. Some breeders endeavour to mate a young female with a male a year older.

No serious diseases were observed in foxes on Canadian

Hygiene and ranches. No sick fox was seen except one that had Diseases

produced no overhair and appeared to be in very poor

condition generally. It was probably the type known to hunters as the Samson fox. Evidence furnished by R. E. Hamilton of Grand Valley, Ont., who once had one in similar condition in his possession, indicates that the lack of fur and the poor condition is caused by a tape-worm. Mr. Hamilton cured it by administering a violent vermifuge, using a biscuit vermifuge, puppy doses.


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