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.
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.
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
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.
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