The whole question of mink-ranching is one that needs more thorough investigation and probably the establishment of experimental farms under experienced ranchmen. A somewhat vague classification into three types of farming can be made from the information gathered:
The Natural Plan.—The minks are given an extensive range and the conditions under which they live differ from the natural conditions only in that the animals are fed and occasional nests provided. All catching is by trapping.
The Colony Method.—The families are kept in colony houses with a runway to a creek.
The Pen System.—Each mink is kept in a separate pen.
The Compagnie Zootechnique de Labelle was the only The Natural ranch of this type examined, though a vague report was
an obtained of another of the same type at Port Medway, N.S. In 1911, some two dozen mink were placed in the area shown in the illustration, comprising about one-quarter acre. They increased about 100 per cent. in number in 1912. The manager explained the small increase as being due to the limited quarters with which they were provided. Another possible explanation is that 1912 appeared to be a poor year for both mink and fox. It is also possible that the old wild animals captured did not take kindly to their new location or to the artificial nests. The last cause will disappear, particularly as soon as ranch-bred mink are available.
As stated, the total area enclosed in the ranch in 1911 was about one-quarter acre. In 1912, work was under way to enclose an area 2,000 feet long and 1,500 feet wide at the widest point. The larger range will probably insure considerable success.
The situation of the ranch is on an island in Lac Chaud in an uninhabited section of country in the Lam entians. It is high and rocky and covered with birch and spruce. The ranch is enclosed with one continuous fence about 12 feet high, set on solid rock on land, and on sunken piers in the water. The chief difficulty is in the construction of the water fence as ice breaks the wire in spring. It is proposed to prevent this by dropping a plank fence three feet wide into the piers to protect the wire during the icy season. In six ing the planks will be removed. Not more than a dozen feet of the margin of Lac Chaud are included within the fence. To prevent the escape of the mink under the fence, a wide carpet wire is turned in on the lake bottom. To pre-vent high climbing, a strip of sheet iron a foot wide is fastened half way up the fence. There is also an overhang of iron.