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FUR-FARMING IN CANADA   129

persistent trapping. It is almost as common to-day in the thickly settled sections of the country as in the most remote wilderness. A half-hour's run on a bicycle to the creeks in the suburbs of Washington will enable one to find mink tracks.

Wild mink when taken young become perfectly tame and are gentle and affectionate pets. They breed readily in captivity, are hardy, easily enclosed and seem not to worry over confinement. They are fond of the water, are expert swimmers and divers and get much of their food from streams and lakes in the form of fish, frogs, and crustaceans. They also climb trees and are at home in the forest.

There are numerous instances on record of "mink farms", of "minkeries," that have proved successful, but the low price of mink fur for many years has discouraged the industry. A few years ago mink skins sold at $1 to $2, but they aie now quoted at $5 to $8. As other choice furs decrease in abundance there seems every probability that mink fur will hereafter increase rather than decrease in value.

With no other species is success in fur raising so simple and well tested. The value of mink fur varies greatly with different parts of the country, being least in the southern sections and greatest in the north-eastern States and eastern Canada.

RULES FOR HANDLING FUR ANIMALS

A few general rules apply equally well to all species.

At first the animals should not be taken away from their native climatic conditions, at least not from their natural life zone. As a general rule the colder the climate the better the fur, and healthier the animals. This does not mean that all the fur raising should be in the far north. Mountain areas, extending south even into many of the Southern States, offer unusual advantages in the close proximity of sections with warm and cold climates.

A thorough knowledge of the native food and breeding habits of a species should be made the basis of care in captivity. This is of the greatest importance at the start, though later on the animals may be able to adapt themselves to greatly modified conditions.

Sufficient room is necessary for the animals to keep themselves clean and obtain exercise and healthy occupation. Quiet and freedom from excitement and nervous strain are essential. Also constant familiarity and association with one or more suitable keepers.

 

CONCLUSION

The committee believe (1) that any experiments to be of value must be continuous for sufficient length of time to establish permanent 9


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