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Fur animal farm

The fur animal farm at AU Foulum was established in 1988 with a capacity corresponding to 1,300 mink dams. In 2002 collaboration regarding farm management was initiated with the Danish Fur Breeders Research Centre and the farm was expanded to a capacity of 2,000 mink dams.

The farm consists of three connected service buildings, the farm area and a behaviour section with six small sheds.

The farm has a total area of 25,000 m2, 6,700 m2 of which are under roof.

Farm section
The mink farm has a capacity of 2,000 mink dams and their progeny. It comprises one ten-row shed, four sheds with each four rows of 384 cages, and 24 sheds with each two rows of 204 cages. In total there are 5,010 mink cages on the farm.

The large sheds are mostly used for mating and whelping and for summer/autumn housing. The small sheds are mainly used for mink kit summer housing and for old dams, males, and animals involved in balance studies.

All the mink cages are in sections of six with exterior nest boxes facing the feeding aisles. The cages are equipped with water nipples. In the four closed sheds and two of the two-rowed sheds the cages are equipped with a drip watering system (capillary pipes) which can supply water to the nipple during the whelping and suckling season without having to activate the nipples. The watering system is frost-proofed by circulating warm water and by having defrosting wires in the water pipes.

The manure system in the original part of the farm consists of two cross channels with collector arms. The channels run through the middle of the sheds at a right angle to the manure troughs, which are on the “north” and “south” sides of the sheds.  The manure is pushed manually to the cross channels and then transported by the collector arms to an auger pit located at the end of each channel. From here manure, straw and sand are transported by auger up into waterproof containers. The collector arms are pneumatically driven while the augers are electrically driven. The system is equipped with an overflow channel for water/liquid manure, which is collected in a slurry tank. In the ten-row shed and in six of the two-row sheds there are manure troughs with automatic slurry removal under the cages.

Special facilities and expertise

There are two houses with 30 cages each for physiology and balance studies. They also contain washing and weighing rooms, freezers, a rough laboratory with a freeze-drier and equipment for grinding feed and manure samples. The rooms for physiology and balance studies are approved for using radioactive isotopes.

The feed kitchen has a feed chopper that can crush frozen feed blocks of 45-90 cm, two horizontal feed mixers with a volume of 150 kg and 500 kg, respectively, and three pot mixers with volumes of 20, 30 and 50 kg, which are mainly used for mixing digestibility study feeds.

Connected to the feed kitchen is a refrigerator and freezer house for storing experimental feed on pallets (1,000–1,500 kg).

Workshop and pelting facilities. Blood sampling room. Shed for pelt blocking and grading.

Pelt storage in climate-controlled drying and freezer rooms plus a special drying room with climate-controlled humidity, temperature and air pressure in the drying pipes.

Operating room
Other auxiliary rooms and offices