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Studies in mink nutrition with special reference to supplementary protein sources Ebner, Kurt Euwald

Abstract

The primary objective of this study was to compare horse meat, whale meat, chicken wastes and herring as supplementary animal protein sources in rations for mink during maintenance, reproduction and growth. Part of the rations were canned and part of the rations contained a commercial antioxidant. The results of the maintenance experiment indicated that there were no statistical differences between the rations. In the reproductive phase of the experiment, the mink receiving the canned rations had almost complete reproductive failure whereas the mink receiving the frozen rations had a kit crop that was below average. There were significant differences between the rations in the growth phase of the experiment. The rations containing Horse Meat, Whale Meat and Chicken Waste A were superior to those containing Chicken Waste B and Herring. The difference between the two chicken wastes has been attributed to the variability of the composition of chicken waste. The below average performance of the mink receiving the Herring ration was not due to protein of inferior quality, as evidenced by its high Net Protein Utilization value, but probably due to the results of oxidative rancidity. The addition of the commercial antioxidant to the rations had no significant effect on the performance of the mink during maintenance and reproduction but did retard the growth of the kits. The antioxidant failed to prevent the destruction of thiamine in the frozen and canned rations but did afford some protection for Vitamin A in the canned rations. The Net Protein Utilization values for the fat extracted supplementary protein sources differed considerably. Herring was the highest and was followed by Horse Meat and Whale Meat, Chicken Waste A and Chicken Waste B. The digestibility trials indicate little differences between the rations except for fat digestibility. The high fat digestibility suggests that mink can utilize high levels of fat from varying sources. The low "carbohydrate" digestibility indicates that mink may have difficulty in utilizing the cereal portion of their rations. The variability in feed consumption of the mink receiving the canned rations was attributed to the differences in the digestible energy contents of the rations. Regression equations relating feed consumption to body weight were calculated for the various ration groups.

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