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FUR-FARMING IN CANADA   57

the beach from time to time, and other food is found on the islands. While a number of the islands are now occupied by blue fox farmers, there are many more that are available for the purpose, and which can be leased ftom the United States Government on reasonable terms. Farms on the mainland may be enclosed with wire fencing, and need not be larger than 50 feet by 50 feet. For raising the foxes on a larger scale than would be possible in an enclosure of the above-mentioned area, several little farms, adjoining each other, may be fenced off.

 

 

"Blue foxes breed once a year, mating about February 1, and the young are born near the end of May, the litter comprising from three to seven. Artificial dens or hiding places in which the foxes may re-main secluded at will are provided.

 

 

"Food for the blue fox includes fresh, dried and cured fish, crabs, fresh meats obtainable in the vicinity of the farms, cooked corn-meal cakes made of a mixture of corn-meal and choppd dried fish, and meal, tallow and fish preserved in oil.

 

 

"Food should be supplied to the animals most abundantly from the first of July to August, as at that period the care of the young foxes makes it necessary for the old foxes to be better fed than at other times.

"The price of blue fox skins is about $30 each, and even more is paid for well-coloured, full-furred and properly handled pelts.

 

 

"Stock for beginning may be procured from persons raising blue foxes on the islands at a cost of somewhere near $200 per pair.

 

 

"The Secretary of Commerce and Labor has authority to lease for the purpose of propagating foxes, such islands in the waters of Alaska, excepting the Pribilof group, as have been so leased by the Secretary of the Treasury prior to May, 1898. The rental in the past has been one hundred dollars per annum for each island."

 

 

The blue fox is a better climber than the red and an overhang wire of 36 inches is required. Otherwise, the pens are built similarly to those of the common fox.

The rate of increase of blue foxes is said by Ernest Thompson

Rate of   Seton to be good index to the increase of red foxes. He Increase

says: "St. George island, about 36 square miles, has about

270 pairs of foxes, and although they are fed and protected and the species has 5 to 12 in a litter, not more than 400 to 500 can be marketed each year without reducing the stock." The figures are about correct for the annual increase of the silver fox, despite the claims of some ranchers of an average annual increase of from 200 to 300 per cent.


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