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From farm to auction house

From farm to auction house
Thursday 21, 2016

From farm to auction house. 

Mink breeding has a specific yearly rhythm, which is determined by the length of the days. When the days start to get longer in january and february, the females start to get in heat.

When days start to shorten, the fur on the mink starts to thicken, thus the mink’s winter fur comes, and then begins the pelting.

Winter - A new season awaits

The mink farmer prepares the mink farm for a new season, in the winter months. After last year’s pelting there are only breeding animals left. Way over half of all cages are empty. The breeder empties the nests for hay and cleans the halls.

Spring - New puppies arrives.

The breeder begins the mating of the mink in march. The mating of the mink takes roughly two weeks. In heat, means that the mink wants to mate. Unlike other livestock it is different, how long a mink is pregnant. It could last everything between forty and seventy days. The embryos’ development begins, when the egg sticks to the womb. When it sticks to the womb, it takes roughly a month before birth.

The first puppies are born in late april, while the last brood is born in the beginning of may. Females usually give birth to 4-7 puppies, who only weighs ten grams, when they come out. They live off their mother's milk in the beginning, however when they turn four weeks, they learn to eat from the feed from the tray and to drink from the drinking valve.

Summer - The puppies has to stand on its own.

6000 people works with mink breeding in Denmark. Just around the first of july, the puppies turn eight weeks. They are now separated from their mothers and put in their own cage with a partner. In the end of september, their bodies are practically fully developed.

Autumn - The pelting of mink.

During autumn the mink gets its winter fur. It is now, that the breeder chooses next years breeding animals. The size, temper, health and the fur’s quality determine, which mink are picked as breeding animals. Autumn is the mink farmer’s ‘harvest time’. It is now, that it becomes clear, what have come out of the year’s work. The mink, who weren’t chosen as breeding animals, are put down and pelted. The pelting happens in november and december. The pelts are sent to Kopenhagen Fur and put up for auction in next year’s auctions.

What happens under pelting?

In the end of october the mink farmer chooses next year’s breeding animals. The mink, who weren’t picked as breeding animals, get pelted. The farmer either does the pelting himself at his own pelting center, or he sends his mink to a common pelting center.

● Mink are put down on the farm. This happens by putting mink into a box filled with carbon dioxide (CO2) or carbon monoxide (CO).

● One by one the farmer lets the mink into the carbon dioxide filled box. When they breath the gas, they quickly fall asleep. They become unconscious within 20 seconds, and they die within 45 seconds.

● After putting down the mink, they are put to cool for 24 hours.

● The dead, and now cool, mink is going to be pelted now. The pelt is taken off by a machine. The pelts are then rolled in sawdust to get rid of the layer of fat.

“Kopenhagen Fur is an auction house, which means, they sell products for others. Kopenhagen Fur sell pelts for fur animal farmers."

 

Did you know ..everything from the mink is used?

The pelt is sold on auction. The body of the mink (muscles, guts etc.) is used to make biogas, fertilizer and fuel.

● When the fat has come off the pelt, the pelt is being tanned and dried. The tanning board is just like an ironing board. Long and narrow with holes. When the pelt tightened to the tanning board, a machine blows air through the holes to dry the skin.

● After drying the pelts are packed and sent to Kopenhagen Fur and set up for auction in next year’s auctions. They are stored at Kopenhagen Fur until sale.

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