Previous Fur Farming in Canada (1913) Next

 

FUR-FARMING IN CANADA   87

in the business. To make a success, a man should have at least $2,500 to start with. At least one acre of ground should be enclosed with a 3-foot concrete wall in the ground, and about a 6-foot board fence on top. This would probably cost $1,500. One should then secure at least 100 females and 25 males. These would probably cost $300. The remaining $700 would be needed to pay for feed and for a man to take care of them.

"The necessary attention would be to feed and water them and, in the season of maternity, to see that the females do not steal one another's young and crowd one another in the boxes. The males and females should, of course, be separated. With good care 90 per cent. of the young should be raised.

"Thirty years ago black skunk pelts sold at from 50 to 75 cents. To-day they are one of the leading furs on the market, although they are not known by their own names, but by various assumed ones. At the present time, it is profitable to raise skunks foi then fur. The demand is now greater than the supply and is increasing because of the heaviness of the fur, its fine texture, its good wearing qualities and strength. On the other hand, the supply is decreasing for various reasons. The large forest and prairie fires, devasting large sections so that neither bud, snake, nor fur-bearing animal can exist, and the high price which spurs every hunter and trapper to his utmost effort, are the principal reasons. Then coon hunters coming from the city with a pack of hounds to hunt for sport, destroy a good many. In fact, they usually get one coon and kill six or eight skunks. You can follow their trail by the smell and the dead bodies of skunks which they have wantonly destroyed.

"Skunks can be raised as easily as house cats, provided you have an enclosure where they cannot dig out or climb over. For every hundred mature skunks, you should have an acre of ground enclosed.

"I experimented for three years on a small scale. The first year I had one male and three females. They brought forth fifteen young. One of the young ones died, leaving eighteen—eleven females and seven males. Five of the young graded as No. 2, the balance star black.

"The second year I started with twelve females and two males, which brought forth forty-three young. Three of the young ones died, so I had fifty-four in all—fourteen old ones and forty young ones. I disposed of seventeen males and five No. 2 females, leaving a balance of thirty-two black ones.

"The third year the females had from three to six young. Unfortunately, I could not attend them myself and had to entrust them to a man who had no interest in them except the pay he received from me


Previous Fur Farming in Canada (1913) Next