WelFur’s fourth principle concerns mink’s behavioural development and human/animal relations on your farm.
Development of social behaviour
Mink’s ability to develop their social behaviour is affected by their company and the space available to spread out after weaning. Mink’s space requirements are set in an industry standard that states concrete requirements regarding number of animals per cage.
A WelFur assessor will check whether your mink are housed individually, in pairs or in groups during the growth period. The assessor will also inquire about the procedures for weaning and separation of the kits.
Development of other behaviour
Mink displaying repetitive behaviour or chewing of own or other mink’s fur, is not kept at optimum wellbeing. Mink’s wellbeing can be improved by giving them access to activity materials in the cage, e.g. plastic tubes.
A WelFur assessor will check whether your mink are displaying stereotypical behaviour or fur chewing, and whether they have an enriched environment in their cages.
Good human/animal relations
Mink’s welfare is affected by the procedure, the frequency, and the duration by which they are handled.
A WelFur assessor will inquire about your procedures for vaccination and other procedures that involve handling or moving animals.
Mink’s wellbeing also depends on how well accustomed they are to their housing system and contact with humans. This is reflected in their behavioural reaction towards humans, which can be curious, timid, aggressive or indecisive.
A WelFur assessor will check the temper of your mink, using the so-called ‘stick test’.
- Make sure your mink have room to develop their social behaviour. Make particularly sure you are adhering to the industry standard by housing a maximum of 2 mink per standard cage and a maximum of 3-4 mink per cage with top section, depending on the size.
- Make sure to give your mink access to activity materials.
- Plan your farm procedures so that the mink are handled as little and as seldom as possible.
- Choose your breeding stock on the basis of their positive and inquisitive reactions to human contact.