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74   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

The nests are made about 20 inches by 20 inches and 6

Rest of the inches high, and are pushed into a lar ge box (similarly to Female

a drawer in a chest of drawers), which is placed in a bank of

earth and covered up. Thus, if it is necessary to examine the nest, it may be drawn out. A piece of meshed wire over the inner box will permit a view of the whole interior. The entrances should be a foot or more long and from three to four inches in diameter. Mr. Desormeau, the manager at Lac Chaud, reported that, once a female took possession of a nest, no other mink was allowed to enter, always being met at the entrance to the passageway and beaten back. The food is always carried to the entrance and is taken from the hand as quickly as offered. As many nests as there are females in the ranch, and probably a few more, are required to prevent fighting for possession or the making of nests in burrows.

The males are provided with large caves roofed over with

Home of planks or concrete. Food is thrown in through a hatch in the Male

the roof. In summer the mink obtains a considerable quan-

tity of food in the water, as small fish can get through the meshed fence. Because of the free range, only flesh food is fed.

It could not be ascertained how the mother and young are cared for during the several months when the latter are dependent on their mother for food and protection. It is the intention of Mr. Desormeau to separate the young from the old each year and place them in one end of his fenced area, having a fence crossing the island to divide them. It is likely that when they are about two months old, or about July 1, the separation of the young from the mother could be easily effected by simply carrying them away in their box. They would be old enough at that time to live on solid food and would be tamer and gentler than if left with their mother.

The food is almost wholly fish, supplied from the lake. Permission has been received from the Quebec authorities to capture the fish by any method. It is proposed to restock the lake with fry.

It is estimated that six men can manage the ranch and that about two thousand females and one quarter as many males can be accommodated as breeding stock.

No ranches of this type were examined, but proof that such The Colony exist was furnished by owners who did not wish to reveal Plan to the public the methods they used. The promoters of this method claim to be highly successful and have given considerable study to the habits of the mink, a fact which is proved by their intelligent discussions of mink-ranching problems.


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