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FUR-FARMING IN CANADA   77

In one case the canine teeth of a vicious male were cut off and he became quite docile. Mink may be safely handled if two pairs of woolen mitts are worn.

The period of gestation is about six weeks. The tiny young, which are blind for about five weeks, should not be handled. Before they are six weeks old, the mother leads them out and they begin eating solid food. At six or seven weeks of age they should be taken from the mother, unless she is of a very quiet and gentle temperament. Most of them will become quite tame.

The following practical hints on mink-farming have been recently published in circular form by the Biological Survey of the United States Depai tment

of Agriculture:

 

  1. Minks should be kept in the proportion of one male to five or six females.

  2. Each breeding female should have a separate pen. The male should be kept by himself except at mating time. The females begin to rut about the middle of February. The male should be admitted to the female for about one day. The young are born about the middle of April.

  3. The females must be kept alone or they will be likely to kill each other's young. The male would also kill them if he had an opportunity.

  4.  Food: The best steady food for minks is bread and sweet milk, corn-mush and milk, or corn-mush cooked with bits of meat in it. The animals should have meat or fish about twice a week. The meat may be a very cheap kind. Keep pans clean and feed only as much as the milk will eat up clean at each feeding. Feed once a day, except females that are suckling young. These should be fed twice. Provide fresh water regularly. Do not salt the food.

  5. Pens: Pens should be 5 or 6 feet square, the sides of smooth wide boards cut 4 feet long and set up with the lower end resting on a footing of stone or concrete 18 inches in the ground. The floor of the pen should be the bare ground. The pens can be built economically in groups of four or more. The sides can be of heavy wire netting instead of boards, but in that case the top would need to be netted or the animals would climb out.

  6.  Boxes: Boxes about 2 feet by 1 feet by 1i feet in size should be provided for nests. They should have hinged lids so as to allow their being opened and examined. Fine straw or hay should be

Practical Hints on Mink-Farming


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