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Getting a Mink

ferrets, badgers, otters, weasels, martens, wolverines etc

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caninesrock
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby caninesrock » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:39 am

Oh. That sounds adorable. It's good she's intelligent. ^^ I wonder if her being so wild has anything to do with her dark coloration?

How was the marten in temperment and behavior?
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FrothingMagpies
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby FrothingMagpies » Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:32 am

Well I'm actually not sure if she's a European mink or an American, as they found her in a ditch as a baby & at the time I just assumed she was the baby of an escaped farm mink. The tamest mink there were the baby cross coloured mink, because she was so young, & the two adult black males, who I could actually cuddle. So I noticed more of a sex difference in temperment than a colour one.

I prefer males because they're more easy going (still much wilder than a ferret, just for a mink) & almost twice the size of the females. Sounds silly but they just seemed more like how I imagined mink would be physically?

The marten was rescued from a trapper as an adult I think, so he wasn't as tame as the mink. Having said that he was friendly with the people he was used to, he loved climbing up poles & things & leaping on to their shoulders & nuzzling them. He even jumped onto mine at one point, but I think that was more because he felt playful than friendly. I still got to stroke him for a while though, he doesn't smell bad at all, nothing like a ferret. He didn't seem as interested in playing with the mink as in exploring his new surroundings, so I'd guess they're still quite shy in captivity don't really feel a need to bond with their owners. However they ADORE playing with anything & everything, so that's probably the best way to bond with them. He spent a lot of the time pouncing on leaves blowing in the wind & "killing" them, it was so cute.
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caninesrock
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby caninesrock » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:07 pm

Well I'm actually not sure if she's a European mink or an American, as they found her in a ditch as a baby & at the time I just assumed she was the baby of an escaped farm mink.

Oh. I like the European mink alot. I don't know if she's a European or American Mink either though. The wild Amercian Mink look much cuter and less muscular than the fur farmed American minks in my opinion. She's really cute and really pretty though regardless of her species. It's awesome that they rescued her.

The tamest mink there were the baby cross coloured mink, because she was so young, & the two adult black males, who I could actually cuddle. So I noticed more of a sex difference in temperment than a colour one.

Oh. That's interesting. Is the cross colored one the one that looks like a big ferret?

I prefer males because they're more easy going (still much wilder than a ferret, just for a mink) & almost twice the size of the females. Sounds silly but they just seemed more like how I imagined mink would be physically?

I personally like the smaller, less muscular mink. If I ever moved somewhere where it was legal and got a mink, I'd get a male though now that I know they are friendlier.

The marten was rescued from a trapper as an adult I think, so he wasn't as tame as the mink. Having said that he was friendly with the people he was used to, he loved climbing up poles & things & leaping on to their shoulders & nuzzling them. He even jumped onto mine at one point, but I think that was more because he felt playful than friendly. I still got to stroke him for a while though, he doesn't smell bad at all, nothing like a ferret. He didn't seem as interested in playing with the mink as in exploring his new surroundings, so I'd guess they're still quite shy in captivity don't really feel a need to bond with their owners. However they ADORE playing with anything & everything, so that's probably the best way to bond with them. He spent a lot of the time pouncing on leaves blowing in the wind & "killing" them, it was so cute.

Aw. He sounds so adorable. I wish martens were in the pet trade. I want a pet marten. That's good that she rescued the marten. Was she just walking in the woods and found a marten stuck in a hunter's trap and freed it?
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FrothingMagpies
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby FrothingMagpies » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:31 pm

Actually now that I think aboyut it, I'm pretty sure she was a European mink because they were keen to point out how different her fur was from the farmed mink. It was a lot longer & shaggier & less soft, more natural. The farmed mink are selectively breed to have softer shorter fur.
Or she could have been descended from mink that have been living in the wild for a long time & have reverted to the natural coat type because it's more suitable for a wild animal's survival.

I think that's the one you mean! Cross mink are from crossing an albino with another coloured mink I think, they can be any colour along their back & head & fade to white along their belly. Heres a black cross http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... =3&theater
& heres a sapphire cross http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... =3&theater

Most mink in farms are very overweight, maybe you don't mind the more muscular ones when they aren't unhealthily fat? All mink are more muscular than ferrets I think, but heres Minkenry's healthy, trim female http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... =3&theater

No she actually got Mineko from a trapper in person. I'm not sure if she asked him to get her one, or more likely, if he was trying to trap something else & ended up with a marten & asked if she'd like it. They seemed very interested in conservation so I doubt she just asked for one to be taken from the wild. Same, I would love one, they have a strangely innocent appearance to them, the main thing I noticed about him was his big doe eyes, the really did remind me of a deer'e eyes which makes no sense seeing as they aren't even remotely similar animals, it was just my impression.
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Minkenry
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby Minkenry » Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:23 pm

FrothingMagpies wrote:Actually now that I think aboyut it, I'm pretty sure she was a European mink because they were keen to point out how different her fur was from the farmed mink. It was a lot longer & shaggier & less soft, more natural. The farmed mink are selectively breed to have softer shorter fur.


European mink ALWAYS have a white spot on their upper lip. If there is no white on the upper lip it is 100% guaranteed to be an American mink. However, American mink do on rare occasions have white on their upper lip too, but I've never seen one like that in person, and it's quite rare.

Fur farmed mink are quite a bit larger, and have much silkier fur, with shorter guard hairs than the wild mink. Because of their longer guard hairs, most wild American mink have more of a spiky look than their fur farm cousins. Many mink running wild in Europe are American mink that have been free for many generations, and so have reverted back to their original wild form.



Here are some pictures for comparison of the different mink.

Wild american mink

http://www.wildlifehotline.com/wp-conte ... ES.jpg.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/171/4317 ... d146d9.jpg

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-8qPNnJvg96I/T ... l_1612.jpg


Fur farm bred american mink

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... =3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... =3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... =3&theater



And last of all, European mink

http://helsinkippusa.files.wordpress.co ... .jpg?w=500

http://www.flickr.com/photos/61934286@N04/5862839755/

http://zooinstitutes.com/animals/11420.jpg
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FrothingMagpies
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby FrothingMagpies » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:21 pm

thanks for all those references! It's great to have someone so knowledgeable on mink around :)
Then Yuka was definitely an American mink, but yes, probably reverted back to the more natural form.
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby Minkenry » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:54 pm

Saranna (FrothingMagpies),

For the second time, I just went through and read all of the crap you're going through trying to get a mink. So it sounds to me like your conclusion is that you have only 3 options.

1.) Go the legal route and pay tons of fees getting a license and then go and find a mink farmer that will sell you a baby mink.

2.) Go to France and buy a baby from them, thus spending even more money on the trip.

3.) Ge lucky, and have your friend's friend who works at a mink farm sneak you a baby mink. (I personally don't like this idea because it's dishonest)

After reading this I realized that you never once mentioned your 4th option. You could always get your own baby from the wild. There in Ireland there are no laws protecting American mink, and I'm sure anyone would be happy to let you come and trap mink off of their land from what you say about how mink are viewed. There are a couple different ways that you could go about getting a baby mink from the wild, and I would be happy to explain them to you if you are open to the idea. Some people are funny though. They think it's totally fine to get a baby that was already born in captivity and keep it as a pet, but somehow morally wrong to take a baby that was born in the wild. I'll tell you a little secret... the baby doesn't know the difference. This moral hypocrisy makes no sense unless the animal we're talking about is a threatened or endangered species. People pat themselves on the back for "saving" a baby mink from a fur farm where he was "destined to be pelted in the fall" Funny thing is, people don't realize that animal you "rescued from death" has just as much chance at surviving his first year in the wild as he does the mink farm. Identical in fact. Mink farmers keep just enough baby mink to replace their older breeding stock, and the same holds true for in the wild. The only difference is he'll die a quick and painless death at the farm, and most likely a slow and agonizing one in the wild. He'll ether starve to death, get in a fight with another mink that will kill him, or get caught in some hunter's trap, all slow and painful deaths. So yeah, too many people are run on emotion, and use very little logic. Anyway, if you are open to this idea, I would be happy to help you do it. It shouldn't cost you near as much money, and will be twice as much fun ;-)
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FrothingMagpies
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby FrothingMagpies » Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:28 pm

You're right, it is a lot of crap xD & to be honest right now every one of the first three options feels difficult, a low chance of actually happening, the French option is risky & I too am not completely comfortable with the thievery of the third option. I'm not fond of dishonesty either but I feel desperate by now.

I have thought a little about getting a mink from the wild but honestly I really don't know if I could tame it. I really doubt my ability to succeed with that. What you do with your mink seems like magic to me :P I know this probably doesn't appeal to you so much, but as it's my first mink & I've never had something this wild or powerful before I want the tamest one I can get. I know they'll never exactly be "cuddly pets" but I want one I feel safe with & trust.
I know your mink have very natural lives & are able to hunt etc & maybe this is demeaning to the mink ( I hope you don't see it that way) but I want one that's comfortable living inside too & doesn't feel pent up in my house/his cage in my shed. My ideal situation is one that's comfortable on a leash & harness so I can bring him outside to run around & swim in the pond & walk around in the forest. I'm not expecting a little poodle trotting at my side or something I can show off to my friends & say "Hey look I tamed this wild beast to go where I want it to" I just want to be able to make his life more interesting & natural & get him all that exercise they need.
Do you think any of this is possible with a wild caught mink? Or would I just end up with a wild, unhappy animal locked up in a cage? I just want what's best for it but also a companion I can handle.
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby Minkenry » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:55 pm

I'm not suggesting you try to tame an adult, I'm suggesting you get a baby. There are a couple ways to do it, but only one I would actually recommend.

Mink give birth depending on the photo period (how many hours of light there are in a day) which are different depending on how far or close you are to the equator. So mink in Alaska give birth later in the year and mink in the south give birth earlier in the year. Unfortunately I don't have the different areas memorized as far as when mink breed and give birth, I only know for where I live in Utah. Here in Utah mink breed from late February through March, and give birth from the last week in April until the second week in May. You'll need to do some home work to find out when mink start giving birth in Ireland.

So, for Utah, I would try to catch a female the first or second week in April. Because of the time of year she is most likely going to be pregnant. Then I would keep the female in a proper setting for her to raise a litter. Don't bother the babies until they are 32 days old, and then pick out a baby and bottle raise it. Let the rest of the litter grow up without disturbance, and then release them with their mom when they are 9-10 weeks old. At 9 weeks old the babies will be strong enough to follow their mom around. So release them together where you found them.

If this idea interests you, let me know and we can lay out a more specific plan as to how, and when you'll catch the female, and how to house and feed her.
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FrothingMagpies
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby FrothingMagpies » Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:26 pm

That's a big difference, sorry I didn't pick up on that xD
Now that sounds like something I could do!

Did a bit of research into where I could try to trap a female, I have no idea of if this link will work or not but it's a document on the mink population's distribution across Ireland & it shows a map with the population distribution & my area has them, apparently. It was written in 2008 but I doubt a lot has changed since then. http://npws.ie/publications/irishwildli ... /IWM40.pdf
I can start asking local farmers if they have seen them on their land & if they don't mind me putting out traps, once I find out when the females breed here. I get along pretty well with most of them, they're comfortable with me walking my dog through their land amongst their livestock so they're familiar with me which can't hurt.

Ireland doesn't get very cold but we have very little sunlight, in fact most days I'm completely in darkness/artificial light, I have to get up early for college & by the time I'm home it's already dark. It'll be like this for another few months, dark, not that cold & very rainy. So if their breeding season is light triggered I think I have a while to prepare. But I'll check to be sure.
I live in an area with a lot of rivers & streams & marshy/boggy ground, so that should be ideal considering they're semi aquatic & thankfully I won't be too far from the traps so I can check them regularly.

Thank you so much for this idea! I think we find my solution ;)
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby FrothingMagpies » Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:41 pm

Read more of the document, here they den from February to April & the time that they most were caught in this experiment was from June to September, synchronising with the denning/dispersal period.
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby Minkenry » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:25 pm

Ok, what you really want to find out is when the mink breed in Ireland. You basically want to trap your female just after the breeding season ends. This way she has time to acclimate to captivity before she gives birth. If you were to catch a female the week she is due to give birth you run the risk that she won't care for her young properly due to stress. You will need a quite place to keep her where she won't be bothered by people, animals, artificial light, or loud noises. The bigger her cage the better, but she honestly doesn't need a huge cage. The best way to find mink isn't to ask people, unless they themselves are mink hunters/trappers. Mink are sneaky and the farmers are likely to ignorantly tell you they have no mink. Look for good mink habitat, and you are likely to find mink. Get on YouTube and watch all the mink trapping videos you can as they will give you some good pointers as far as habitats and trapping spots are concerned. You'll be setting one of two types of sets. Ether a float, or cubby set. I prefer a cubby set, and have no experience with a float set, I've just read that they apparently work. You can do one of two things when it comes to a trap. You can build or buy traps. Building is cheaper, or sometimes even free if you can find the supplies. If you build a trap you have the choice between wood and wire. Wood is a better for the mink, and you can often get the supplies cheaper or even for free, but wood traps are much more difficult to set as they are bulky and heavy, and you'll need access to the proper wood working tools. Ether one will work just fine, it's really up to you and what you want to use. Just get on tube and there will be a bunch of different trap designs to choose from. When you find one you like, just message me before to make sure it will workout. Also double check with me if you are making a wire cage, just to make sure the wire is tough enough. Chicken wire will only slow a mink down for a moment. You'll need STURDY wire that has 2.5cm X 5cm holes, or smaller.

Just a thought, I see videos of people in Europe who hunt mink with dogs. If you can make friends with someone like that, you have an easy ticket to getting a mink. Ask around, and maybe get on some internet forums. Get on you tube and try to talk to the people who post mink hunting videos. If you talk to them, act like you are interested in hunting, and impressed with how they do it. Flatter them and become their friend. Don't just tell them what you want or they might blow you off thinking you are weird. Also they might hunt mink because they hate them (most hunters actually admire their quarry, but guys who aren't true hunters, but more like pest control guys with a gun hate their quarry). Anyway, get to know some guys and become their friend without telling them why, and you've got an easy for sure ticket to getting a mink!
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FrothingMagpies
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby FrothingMagpies » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:34 pm

It seems they breed from February to April, but mostly March - April here. I don't want to catch her before she has the chance to breed! I'm building a huge pen in our shed out of plywood & wire (not chicken wire, I'm not sure of what it's called but it's much thicker & not flexible. I think it should contain her. It's only slightly warmer than outside & darker but it has windows & no one goes in there but me twice a day to feed the ferrets so it should be fine.
I'm not very practised with woodwork, would something like this be okay? http://i.pgcdn.com/pi/75/69/06/756906193_160.jpg There is a small business near me selling live catch ones for mink. From what I've read (admittedly not enough yet) the float traps don't seem as successful as the cubby ones.
Funny you should mention youtube, every time I go on all my suggested videos are for mink trapping/fur harvesting from all the mink videos I watch xD

As for people hunting mink with dogs, I have found the number of a club in my county for it, I'll have to find a subtle way of asking where all the mink are ;) & I get what you mean, I wouldn't even tell my friends about my mink endeavours, I think if I told a hunter that I wanted one as a pet I'd be called a tree hugging vegan hippy *rolls eyes* Unfortunately deception is the way to go it seems. One more thing, when I catch my mink will she adapt to non live prey? I doubt very much she'd take ferret kibble, I was thinking fish, & frozen chicks/ mice/ rats? I could give her some feeder crickets & mealworms if that would entertain her to chase & catch them too.
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby Minkenry » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:09 pm

I would try to find a way to get the hunters to actually help you catch one. If you can befriend one good enough to get him to corner a mink with his dogs for you, then you can set a life trap, in the entrance and exit holes of where ever it's hiding, and catch you a mink without all the waiting for one to find your trap. I would feed her a freshly killed something (rat, bird, fish, ect) and if she doesn't eat it, give her a life one to kill. The moving animal will excite her too much to ignore, and after she tastes blood she'll start eating. Then after that you can just feed her whole fresh bodies.
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Re: Getting a Mink

Postby Minkenry » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:11 pm

Oh and as long as the trap is the appropriated size for a mink, it should work fine. Just ask the guy at the store if the trap would work for mink. He should know

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