How mink want to eat?

23 01 2015

So Maria’s beautiful data, as yet unanalysed but easy to interpret, show that when young mink can pick where to feed from, they choose to feed from a low height. This preference persists even once they’ve reached adult size. It can be seen in their behaviour just after food arrives, and in how much food is leftover 5 hours later.

But maybe that’s just a slight preference, that doesn’t really affect them if they have no such choice? Seems not. If the only food they have is at the highest level, they still take longer to eat it than if it’s placed nearer the floor, and again, that’s even once they’ve reached adult size (below).

I’ve watched farmed mink stand to reach up for food for over two decades now, and I swear I’ve only just realized how different this is from how they’d feed naturally. If there was a practical way of effective this on farms, I wonder if it might improve welfare and enhance growth rates?

Food leaving, no choice