- Species differences
- View description
- Distribution area
- Fur Animal Breeding
- Farm equipment
- Containment conditions
- Cage production
- Litter material
- Diet type
- Eating mode
- Breeding and reproduction of minks
Mink is a dexterous and agile animal. Because of its silky thick fur, it is bred for industrial purposes.
As for the species of this beautiful animal, there are only two of them in the world. This is European and American mink (eastern). The last of them belongs to the class of mammals and the order of carnivores. The American mink is a species of mustelid family. She represents the genus of ferrets.
The American mink used to be considered the closest relative of the European one. However, this claim has been refuted by the most recent genetic studies. The European species is similar to the column (an animal whose fur has a longer pile), and the American one is similar to the marten and sable. Based on this, the eastern mink is sometimes distinguished into a separate genus, called Neovison. Thus, it can be concluded that these two species had an independent origin. Their significant similarity was the result of evolution in the presence of similar living conditions.
What is the difference between European and American mink? The appearance of these species has slight differences. The European mink has a much smaller skull, and is itself somewhat smaller. For example, in an American species of animal, the body length reaches 50 cm, and the weight of its largestindividuals approaches 2 kg. European minks weigh 0.5-0.8 kg and are very similar to ferrets.
On the paws of the animal of the European species there are membranes. They make him an excellent swimmer. On the paws of representatives of the American species, the membrane is poorly developed.
What is the difference between European and American mink? Lighter colored fur. In addition, representatives of the European species have white spots on both lips. This color is also present in the American mink. Only such a spot is located only on the lower lip, as well as on the chin.
What is an American mink, what does this furry animal look like? Just like the European, it has a relatively small head. In addition, it can be distinguished by a flattened muzzle, short and round ears and well-developed mustaches (vibrissae). By the shape of the head, it is easy to determine the male and female. Moreover, this difference is manifested even in monthly puppies. The male has a more massive and wide skull. This gives the impression that its shape is more blunt.
Most minks have black eyes. The only exceptions are some mutant forms. Their eyes can be brown, red, orange, yellowish and even greenish.
The American mink (see photo and description below) has a roll-like body, which is elongated. Its forelimbs are somewhat shorter than the hind ones. The claws on them are practically non-retractable, and the soles of the paws are bare.
American and European mink havesmall limbs. Moreover, they are almost completely covered with fur. Despite the presence of swimming membranes, all five fingers located on each of the legs are capable of independent movement. This helps the animal hang on the walls of the cage, and deftly climb them.
How does the American mink swim? See photo and description below. Due to poorly developed membranes, these animals move in lakes or in rivers due to the wave-like movements of the tail and body.
They can swim under water for a distance of up to 30 m, plunging to a depth of 4-5 m. The speed of movement in this case is from one to one and a half kilometers per hour. But on the ground, the animal can move much faster. For short distances on land, he runs at speeds up to twenty kilometers per hour.
The American mink's longest jump is 1.2 m long and 0.5 m wide. The animal moves with difficulty on loose snow, preferring to dig holes in it.
The American mink is native to the Western Hemisphere. Its natural habitat ranges from Florida, New Mexico, Southern California, Arizona to the Arctic Circle.
But in the early forties of the last century, these animals were brought to the territory of the USSR. Here they adapted well and began to breed. Today, the American mink is the main competitor of the European species. This situation is observed in such countries: France and Germany, Scotland and England.
WhatAs far as the European mink is concerned, its habitat has been noticeably reduced in recent years. Today this animal can be found only in the Balkans and in Finland, in Poland, in the west of France and in the European territory of Russia. And this is all despite the fact that relatively recently the habitats of this species were much more extensive. They covered all European territories occupied by forests (except for the northwest and south). Biologists explain the disappearance of the animal by the influence of hydroelectric power plants and the acclimatization of a more successful and larger competitor, the American mink.
For its habitat, the American mink (see photo below) chooses the same places as the European one. She prefers to settle in dense forests along swamps and lakes. Also, the animal loves rivers, where in winter there are many “hollow ices”.
European and American mink have differences in the arrangement of their shelter. In the second of the two species under consideration, it is more complicated. These are earthen burrows, sometimes borrowed from the muskrat. They have long winding passages (up to 3 m) that connect several chambers. There are from 6 to 8 such holes in the habitat of one individual. In the nesting chamber, the American mink always lays out a litter of dry leaves, grass and moss. Often, the animal arranges a restroom directly in its shelter. In this case, he places it behind the nesting chamber. Also, a latrine may be located near the entrance to the hole.
Besides burrows, individuals of the American species more often thanEuropean, equip their brood nests in the trunks of fallen trees and in butt holes.
Fur Animal Breeding
Fur of the American mink is much more valuable than its European counterpart. In North America, this animal has long been hunted by hunters, placing their fishing gear in the winter forest. But today mink farms have become the source of furs. Initially, they were discovered in Canada, and then, due to the ease of breeding this animal, many other countries adopted a similar experience. Selection work was carried out on such farms. The result was a black American mink, as well as platinum, white and blue. Artificial breeding of furs made it possible to obtain much more fur than the wild trade.
American mink can be kept both at home and in special facilities. But in both cases, the animal must be placed in a cage.
Those who decide to go into the fur business will need to build their own farm. Its buildings must stand on a flat dry site, protected from snow drifts and winds.
The American mink prefers temperature conditions corresponding to the climate of the middle zone. If in the area where the farm is equipped, the temperature rises above 30 degrees in summer, then the room must have an air cooling system. Also, all premises where the animal is kept are provided with electricity and water.
Around the farm, it is mandatory to establish a sanitary zone with a width of at least three hundred meters. BUTthe distance to the nearest road should be from 25 to 30 m. The maintenance of the American mink also requires the adoption of measures to prevent the animals from leaving the territory of the farm. To do this, you need to build a high fence, digging it into the ground by 30 cm, and nail a visor in the upper part, directed towards the farm.
American mink (see photo below) should be housed in cages with floors raised above the ground. The content of the animals is separate. Adults should be in individual cages installed under a gable canopy, which is called a shed. This device must be electrified and provided with water supply. As a rule, sheds are made in the form of rectangles, along the longitudinal sides of which there are cages with animals. Such a device facilitates the process of feeding minks and cleaning up after them manure. In addition, with this arrangement, all stages of care can be easily automated.
Sheds must be covered with a net, which is buried 30 cm into the ground (in this case, the animal will not be able to dig the fence). The roof of the canopy is made of asbestos-cement sheets, on top of which a wooden grate is arranged. Ruberoid is placed on it. In the passages between the cells, the width of which must be at least 1.17 m, it is necessary to lay out concrete paths. The subfloor must remain unpaved. This is necessary for the absorption of urine. In the cages for the animals themselves, hanging houses are equipped. Rest of the territoryused for walking.
Mobile and very active animal is the American mink. Because of this, its content in cramped cages is unacceptable. The animal needs a free area for walking. It is believed that a mink grows under normal conditions if a territory of 5.25 square meters is allocated for each individual.
Cages need to be built with the right material. They can serve as a metal galvanized mesh. For a cage, you can’t take material that will rust over time, because it will leave a dirty coating on the fur of animals.
For the manufacture of the cage, a standard mesh with cells of 25 mm in size is taken. However, puppies up to two weeks old can freely fall out through such holes. That is why in those cages where females are kept, rugs made of mesh with a smaller cell are placed on the floor.
For the purpose of breeding, are you interested in such an animal as the American mink? The maintenance and care of the animal in this case must be carried out in accordance with all the rules. In the cages, not only feeders and drinkers are necessarily placed, but also small containers with water. Minks will bathe in them.
In addition, all elements in the cage must be well fixed. Otherwise, the active animal will turn everything upside down.
The bottom of the cage, which contains the American mink, must be covered with small wood shavings, straw or hay. Moreover, for each animal, the volume of such materialis at least seventy kilograms per year. When caring for a mink, the bedding is changed as it gets dirty. But it should be borne in mind that the bottom of the cells cannot be laid out with rotting or damaged material.
What does the American mink like to eat? The description of her natural diet is quite extensive. Under natural conditions, the animal preys on small mammals, birds and fish. Predators eat reptiles and molluscs, amphibians and crustaceans. American minks, due to their large size, sometimes prey on muskrats, and in famine years they are ready to attack poultry.
In captivity, these predators are fed meat and fish, grains and compound feed, bone, fish or meat meal, milk and dairy products, succulent feed, fodder yeast, sprats, cake, as well as fish or combined fats. These products should make up seventy percent of the animal's daily diet. Moreover, you can’t save on mink food. Everything that these animals do not receive with food will be reflected in their coat. After all, it is not for nothing that it is believed that 70% of the beauty of the fur is provided by high-quality feed.
As for plant foods, oatmeal or buckwheat and barley, pea and millet groats are used. They give minks sunflower, soybean and pumpkin cake, as well as beets and carrots, potatoes and turnips, berries and grain vegetables, tomatoes and cabbage. In spring and summer, young grass and green onions are added to food, as well as tops of root vegetables.
Mainthe challenge in fattening minks is to feed the animal as much food as possible.
There are different types of feeding for fur animals. The first one is fish. They talk about it if seafood makes up more than fifty percent of the calorie content of the diet. The type of feeding can be meat. It is considered as such when the calorie content of animal products is more than fifty percent. Feeding is mixed, or meat and fish. This name is given to the diet with an equal content of both fish and meat products.
The animals are fed only twice a day - in the morning and in the evening. And you need to do this at strictly defined hours. The exception is pregnant females. They need food more often - 3-4 times a day.
You need to feed the animals every day, without taking any break. Starvation, even if short-term, is immediately reflected in the fur. It thins and fades.
The drinking regime is also important for minks. Water animal must be provided constantly. This is especially true when the animal is fed dry or canned food.
Breeding and reproduction of minks
It is necessary to prepare in advance for the appearance of offspring in animals. Moreover, this whole process requires careful planning and organization. As a rule, in March, the female mink begins the rut. Then the animals mate. Their offspring appears in the second half of April or early May.
10-15 days before the expected due date incells where females are kept, it is necessary to lay soft shavings or hay. This will come in handy for a litter that usually has 5 to 6 pups. In a kind of nest, small animals will stay for up to 40 days, feeding on mother's milk and gradually getting used to feeding. After this period, the minks are placed in separate cages.
With proper care and maintenance, the American mink will delight you with lush winter fur by September. Until December, animals can be selected for skins.
The maintenance and cultivation of American mink lasts no more than 5, 5-6 years. After that, the ability to reproduce in animals decreases and the quality of the fur deteriorates.