Annual cycle

Natural mating

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The female heat cycle is controlled by light conditions. The mating season starts in the beginning of March, lasting about two weeks. The females are mated twice. Mink are different from other farm animals in that it is the actual act of mating that initiates ovulation. Nine days after the first mating there is a new set of eggs in the ovaries. Females that are not mated before the end of March are set aside for pelting.

Pregnancy

Mink differ from other farm animals in that the duration of pregnancy varies from 40 to 70 days. The reason for this is that embryonic development does not begin until the eggs have implanted. Once this occurs the pregnancy lasts an additional 30 days.

Good start for kits

The birth period normally takes place between 25 April and 10 May. In large litters, with more than 8-9 kits, it can be necessary to cross foster some of the kits to other dams, because a dam can have difficulty taking care of a large litter properly. Dams with small litters can without problem adopt the extra kits from large litters.
When the kits are four weeks old, feeding on the lid of the nest box is initiated. By feeding on the lid of the nest box, the kits learn more quickly how to eat on their own, thereby taking pressure off the dam. Later on, the kits must also learn how to drink from the farm's regular watering system. 

Fur farming

Production of mink skins varies according to changing demand. Changing weather, financial market developments and fashion trends all impact on demand. Currently, around 50 million mink skins are produced globally each year. 
Denmark is the world's largest producer of quality skins with an annual production of around 14 million mink skins. Other important fur producing countries are Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, China and the USA. 
Denmark also produces a lesser quantity of fox, chinchilla and rabbit skins.