An experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of diet on fur colour and quality of bromocriptineand melatonin-induced winter pelage in mink. At weaning, 90 standard dark female kit mink were assigned randomly to one of two dietary regimens. Diet 1 (no. = 30) was a basal ranch mink diet, and diet 2 (no. = 60) was the basal diet, supplemented with liver and eggs. On 26 June 1986, mink given each diet were assigned to treatment (no. = 15) and control groups (no. = 15). Animals receiving diet 1 were treated with 120 mg melatonin implants (silastic) while those given diet 2 were treated with 120 mg melatonin implants, 60 mg bromocriptine pellets, or 60 mg bromocriptine pellets plus 18·6 mg melatonin implants (silastic). Control groups on each diet received no implants. Subsequently, fur growth was measured at biweekly intervals. Mink treated with 120 mg melatonin, 60 mg bromocriptine, and 60 mg bromocriptine plus 18·6 mg melatonin all moulted 1 month earlier than controls and exhibited significantly greater fur growth during the months of August and September (P < 0·05). Mink implanted with 120 mg melatonin, and bromocriptine plus melatonin were considered to be in fully prime pelage by mid October and were pelted by October 23. Mink receiving bromocriptine alone were not considered to be in prime pelage in October and were pelted in December with controls. Neither diet supplementation with liver and eggs, nor treatment to induce early fur growth had an effect on fur colour or quality. It was also concluded that treatment of mink with bromocriptine may not completely mimic the effect of exogenous melatonin on winter fur growth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology