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Ranch Mink Breeding: The Third and Fourth Season

April 10, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 323

Growth and development of fur takes place between July and October

The major activity of this period is feeding. The main goal is to achieve growth rates as high as possible. Usually mink are fed many times a day to make sure that there is always fresh feed at their disposal.

July is the month where all mink (kits and adults) are vaccinated. The majority of ranchers will use a vaccine that protects against Pseudomonas, E.coli, diptheritis and bordetella. The whole procedure is tedious, labor intensive and time consuming. However it is extremely important.

The growth of the winter fur commences in August. Nutrition is altered to augment hair growth. Mink fur consists of two layers, the longer, shinier guard hair that is most prominent, and the shorter, more supple underfur that is laid beneath.

By the end of August, the mink's physical growth has been completed. Any further growth after this period should be attributed to fat gain.

It is crucial to keep the cages clean and make sure that the mink are content and well fed.

During autumn the fur density becomes thicker (10.000 hair per square centimeter). Fur growth commences at the tail and continues up the back and to the head. The fur growth in winter is stimulated by low temperatures and by the shortening of the daylight period. Decreased exposure to sunlight increases the secretion of an hormone called melatonine. This hormone stimulates hair follicles to produce longer and thicker fur. This change stimulates the production of melatonin, a hormone that activates hair follicles to produce. When the furring processes takes place the mink's skin has a blue shade. When the skin turns white, then it is considered prime.

The fourth and final season takes place in the time period between November and December. It is the season of the fur evaluation and harvesting.

The majority of mink are evaluated in November or at the beginning of December, depending on factors such as color and sex. This process entails thorough physical assessment of the mink's fur coat. A specialist will consider a number of features like underfur density, guard hair length texture and color. Which characteristics will receive the greatest focus will be determined by the market demand at the time.

Some mink will be pelted and some of them will be kept as breeding stock for the seasons to come. Ranchers will consider other factors as well, such as size, feces size, sensitivity to diseases and temperament and litter size.

The mink chosen to be kept for breeding stock will be placed in separate cages. Pelting of the remaining mink may take place in the ranch or they maybe shipped to specialized facilities.

Finally the pelts are sent to auction houses for sale.

Dimitris Zagoudinos is a third generation furrier from Siatista. Visit his online store for more info about the fur making industry.

Source: EzineArticles
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