The mating season starts in the beginning of March, lasting
about two weeks. The females are mated twice, with the heat cycle
carefully controlled by light conditions. Minks differ from other
animals in that the actual act of mating is what initiates
ovulation. Nine days after the first mating there is a new set of
eggs in the ovaries. Females which are not mated before the end of
March are set aside for pelting.
Unlike other animals, the duration of pregnancy for minks can
vary from 40 to 70 days because embryonic development does not
begin until the eggs appear. Once this occurs, the pregnancy lasts
an additional 30 days.
The birth period normally takes place between the
25th of April and the 10th of May. In large
litters with more than 8 to 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 easily adopt the extra kits from large litters.
When the kits are four weeks old, feeding on the lid of the nest
box is initiated. This speeds up the kits' ability to learn how to
eat on their own, thus taking pressure off the dam. Later on, the
kits must also learn how to drink from the farm's regular watering
Once they are 8 weeks old, the kits are weaned from their dam.
Around the 1st of July, the kits are then paired off,
female and male, in order to ensure normal behavioural
By the end of August, the physical development of the mink is
more or less complete and continued weight gain consists primarily
The selection of animals for the following year's breeding stock
begins at the end of October. This is when the animals' size,
behaviour, health and pelt quality are evaluated. Animals not
selected for breeding are pelted.
The pelting season begins in November/December. During the
pelting process, the skin is prepared in such a way that it can
keep for up to a year without being dressed. The skins are placed
on drying boards in order for them to maintain their shape during
the drying process. The rest is recycled for use in the production
of bio-diesel among other things.