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The nutrition of the female pastel mink (Mustela vison) Farrell, David James

Abstract

A study, comprised of five parts, has been carried out on seven adult, female, pastel mink. Metabolic responses to ambient temperature have shown that these mink cannot tolerate temperatures much above 29°C, but are not unduly disturbed by low temperatures around 0°C. Under sleeping conditions, and within their thermal neutral zone (25 ±2°C) , the three animals measured did not demonstrate an abnormally high metabolic rate. Under conditions of prolonged fast, these mink appeared to maintain normal activity, although they lost much bodyweight. The apparently high, daily, urinary, nitrogen excretion, when related to heat production, gave a value of 2.5 mg of urinary nitrogen per Calorie (A.D.E.). The effect of additions of fibre to a basal ration has shown an inverse relationship between this component and the time of passage of the feed. The apparent digestibility of the ash component in the ration was markedly decreased with increasing increments of dietary fibre, but that of the fat was only very slightly reduced. Under these experimental conditions, nitrogen retention appears to be always positive, possibly reflecting a constant demand for fur growth, and a constant loss of nitrogen in the form of ammonia. Maintenance energy (A.D.E.) requirements of these mink have been quantitated. The effects of a decrease in cage capacity and the additions of fibre to the ration appear to decrease the animal's energy requirements. The Caloric intake of a one kg mink is almost identical to that suggested by the N.R.C. Water intake, when related to energy (A.D.E.), is appreciably less than the 1 gm / Calorie of heat produced generally accepted for mammals. However, it is in close agreement with figures obtained for the cat and for the mouse. The addition of a non-nutritive bulk to the ration significantly increases the water intake when related to the A.D.E. of the ration

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