How are furs produce - Government of Nova Scotia

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How are furs produce - Government of Nova Scotia

FurWhat is fur farming?Fur farmers raise and breed animals such asmink, foxes and chinchillas for their pelts.Interesting facts:• Nova Scotia's fur industry is comprised ofthree main sectors: mink, fox andchinchilla.• Through improvements in nutrition andgenetic selection, the mink produced hereare recognized world wide for theirquality. The “Jet Black” type wasdeveloped in Digby County, Nova Scotiain the late 1950's and can now be foundon mink ranches throughout the world.• Newborn mink are called “kits”. Minkbreed once a year in March, with kits bornduring late April and early May. The littersize ranges from 1 to 12 with an industryaverage of 5 to 6.• The majority of the fox production is ofthe silver fox colour phase . Newbornfoxes are called “pups”. Foxes breed onceper year, between late January and earlyMarch, with the pups being born fromlate March through to early May. Thelitter size ranges from 1 to 9 with anindustry average of 3 to 4.• Newborn chinchilla are also called “kits”.Chinchilla breed year round and canproduce 3 litters a year.• Nova Scotia's fur industry is regulated bythe Nova Scotia Department ofAgriculture & Fisheries. The fur industryhas no quotas or marketing boards.Where is fur produced in Nova Scotia?85% of the mink production is located inDigby and Yarmouth counties. The minkfarms were started in these areas because fishby products are used in the feed. Foxproduction is distributed throughout theprovince.How many pelts do we produce?In 2003, mink pelt production totaled over700 000 pelts, making Nova Scotia the largestproducer in Canada. The black mink varietymake up 91% of total pelts produced.In 2003, 12 fox farms produced over 1300pelts.The chinchilla industry produced just over3,500 pelts in 2002.In 2003, fur pelt sales generated over $42million in farm gate sales in Nova Scotia, withover 15 new entrants in the last three years.How are furs produced?The fur industry is labour intensive. Thetraditional wet feed ration for foxes and minkis made from 85% waste products from fishplants, slaughterhouses and egg productionfacilities. These by products would otherwisebe disposed of in landfills, or have to becomposted. The wet ration is prepared on theranch and the adult animals are fed once dailywhile the growing kits are fed at least 3 to 5times per day. Some farms are adopting dryfeed systems raising the animals oncommercially prepared pellet feed.36 “Growing Nova Scotia


During fox and mink breeding season, thebreeder must be on hand to ensure all femalesare bred as they come into heat.The pelts are harvested in late Novemberand early December when the fur is at itsprime.How are fur animals used?The pelts from the mink and foxes areultimately made into clothing. The carcassesare composted or rendered.What happens after furs leave the farm?Pelts for sale are prepared on farm or atcustom pelting facilities. Pelts are graded forfur quality characteristics which include clarityof colour, texture, density, size and length ofnap. The nap is the length relationshipbetween the two distinct fur fibers found onthe pelt; one being the shorter underfur andthe other being the longer guard hair. A shortnap, where the guard hair is only slightlylonger than the underfur, is the mostdesirable.Pelts are sold at auction in a worldwidemarketplace.What challenges do fur producers face?Fur farmers have to adopt new technologies toimprove domestic and internationalcompetitiveness. New manure handlingequipment is used for environmentalsustainability, computer controlled peltprocessing equipment and computerizedbreeding records are being used. Newtechnology in housing means adopting moretraditional barn-style buildings and increasedbiosecurity measures such as a guard fencearound the entire farm to control themovement of animals and people. Cage sizesare increasing as well.Who's involved in producing furs ?• Fur farmers• Feed processors/suppliers• Construction contractors• Auctioneers• Veterinarians• Fish Plants• Slaughter HousesContacts and other resources:Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture andFisheriesNova Scotia Mink Breeders Association37 “Growing Nova Scotia

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