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What is the best feeding strategy to adjust female minks’ body condition without compromising the welfare during the winter season?

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

The present project aimed to evaluate the effect of two different feeding strategies for first-year breeding females on different welfare measures. It was hypothesized that adjusting the minks body condition from score 4 or 5 in December to 2 on 20th February compared with 31st January would reduce the number of stereotypic female mink as well as the amount of stress hormones measured as faecal cortisol metabolites. The two different feeding strategies were tested on 200 brown first-year female mink in each strategy, with half of the animals starting from body condition 4 (BCS 4-group) and the other half in 5 (BCS 5-group). There was a significantly lower prevalence of stereotypic behaviour and a lower amount of faecal cortisol metabolites in the group that was slimmed down to body condition 2 in February compared with January. Besides, nonstereotypic animals in the BCS 4-group had, in January, a lower amount of stress hormones compared with the BCS 5-group. This indicates that larger changes in body condition is more stressful for the animals. We accept
our hypotheses and conclude that adjusting mink to body condition 2 on 20th February is less stressful for firstyear breeding females than adjusting to body condition 2 on 31st January. Even so, there are welfare challenges
with both feeding strategies, and it remains to be investigated which feeding strategy during the winter best prepares mink females to be able to respond to flushing, without compromising their welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the XIIth International Scientific Congress in Fur animal Production : Scientifur
EditorsO. Szeleszczuk, D. Kowalska, S.H. Møller, J. Malmkvist, J. Peura, V.H. Nielsen, M. Brzozowski
Number of pages3
Publication year2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventXIIth International Scientific Congress in Fur Animal Production: IFASA - Warsaw, Poland
Duration: 24 Aug 202125 Aug 2021


ConferenceXIIth International Scientific Congress in Fur Animal Production

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ID: 228012022