Breeding The mink farmer wants to sell big, good and lots of pelts. Therefore when the mink farmer chooses next year’s breeding mink, he looks for healthy, thriving and curious mink, which will have lots of puppies. The most important factor in the picking of breeding mink is the breeding animals fur quality. You can find mink in different colours The nature only offers brown mink, but on mink farms you can find many different coloured mink. That could be all brown, white, grey, or black mink.
There is are also striped and spotted mink. Some mink are short-haired, some are long-haired. The mink farmer chooses which fur type and fur colour the mink, on his farm, have. He achieve different colours and fur types by many years of breeding.
Did you know ..that the mink’s fur colour is determined by its parents, just like your hair colour is determined by your parents? Hereditary features The colours of the mink’s fur is determined by its parents fur colour, just like with us humans. The mink’s fur colours and us humans hair color are hereditary features, which will be passed down to the next generation by genes.
Your genes are a mixture between your fathers and mothers genes, and the mix of the two were already determined, when the fertilization happened. It is the same with mink. Besides determining your looks, the genes, we inherit, also have a saying, in our temper and intelligence. You could say, that the recipe for humans, can be found in our genes. You can find genes in the chromosomes. The chromosomes can be found in the cells.
Everything living, also plants, are made off cells. You can actually spot cells with your eye. When you skin gets dry, the skin starts to sprinkle off. The ‘sprinkling’ skin are dead skin cells. Mink pelts vary in colour. They can be white, black and brown in many different shades. They can also be patterned. How does one breed a specific coloured mink? That knowledge of genes is used by the mink farmer, when he wants to breed a specific mink. If a mink farmer for example wants more mink with white fur, he lets a white male mink mate a white female mink.
That way he will be completely sure, that they will get white puppies, because the white fur colour lays in both the parents genes. Fertilization is what happens, when the egg meets the sperm cell, and they melt together. White + Brown = ?
You would think, that if a white mink mates a brown mink, they would have light brown puppies, but that is not, how it works. The puppies would be brown, however the puppies puppies could be white. The mink puppies colour is determined by two genes. One from its father and one from the mother. As shown below, the mother’s two genes are both brown, and the father are both white. They both give one gene each, so all their puppies receive a gene pair consisting of one brown and one white.
The brown colour dominates, so all puppies will be brown. The year after will some of these brown puppies have puppies themselves. If they mate a white mink, who has two white genes. Their puppies will receive one gene from each parent. Now half of their puppies will be white: Cells are the smallest units, which all living is made up off. They are organism’s building blocks.
Chromosomes er x-shaped parts of cells, where the genes can be found as beads on a string. The mink farmer keeps track of the mink’s information with a little computer. A female gets mated several times to make puppies. Hereditary features are the appearance, the receive from our parents, which we once will pass on to our children. Mating When winter is ending, the female is going into oestrus and developes eggs in the ovary.
These eggs will slide into the oviduct and get fertilized, when the mink farmer lets to mink mate. If the female is mated with minimum a week's gap, more eggs will be fertilized, thus more puppies will be born. Delayed growth - assembling the team The now fertilized eggs swim around in the womb. The eggs wait until all fertilized eggs reach the womb. This pause in development is called delayed growth, and it is special for mink and the other animals in the mustelidae. When all eggs reach the womb, they stick to the womb at the same time.
This is when the development of the puppies starts. This way all puppies gets developed at the same time, and after about 30 days, the female give birth to about 6 puppies. This happens around late april or early may. Fashion changes The fur fashion has changed over the years. That is why, the mink farmer gets different amounts of money for different fur types and colours. A farmer needs to bet on one a special fur colour, and hope that he hit bullseye.
He could also produce a fur type, which aren’t sought after at auction and therefore lose profit. New fur types and colours The breeding of the mink farmer is about deciding, which fur types and colours, he already has, to gamble on. Sometimes new types occurs. If this happens, the mink farmer can breed and create a little flock of mink with a new fur type.
Statistics shows, that the prices on different fur types have changed. If you for example look at 2008. If you back then gambled on light mink, you would’ve statistically made more money in 2013, compared to if you gambled on the classical brown and black. The fur fashion has changed over the years. That is why, the mink farmer gets different amounts of money for different fur types and colours.