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Feeding

Nutrition

The fox producer should study the general nutritional requirements of the fox and ensure that he can obtain the ingredients to fulfill them.

  • Nutritional advice is available, and producers should seek assistance in acquiring this knowledge from all available sources.
  • Analysis of the mixed ration, when needed, should be obtained from a qualified laboratory equipped for such purposes.
  • Complete dry foods should be stored and fed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Care should be taken to ensure that these feeds are suitable for fox and that the health of the fox is maintained at all times.

Feed Preparation

When the fox producer is dealing with fresh and frozen animal by-products which can deteriorate rapidly, he must insure that collection, storage, and preparation are carried out under sanitary conditions.

  • Containers used for collection of animal by-products should be dripproof.
  • Containers should be thoroughly washed after each collection.
  • Animal by-product should be stored under refrigeration or other preserving conditions at all times, or used immediately. Refrigeration is essential to provide a reserve of feed and to take advantage of seasonal availability of the product.
  • Feed preparation machinery, grinders, mixers and blenders should be cleaned carefully after each use, and regularly maintained.
  • Consideration should be given to the provision of alternative methods of food supply and preparation in the event of breakdown or emergency.
  • Dry foods such as cereals and supplements should be stored under dry conditions, and precautions should be taken to protect them from vermin infestations.

Feed Distribution

Sufficient feed must be given at all times to ensure the health and well being of the fox.

  • Feed should be placed in such a position that the fox can easily reach it; this is particularly important with young animals, and during periods of severe cold.
  • Wet feed should be of a consistency which does not fall through the wire of pens, but which is sufficiently moist to attract the fox. Pellets, when used, should be fed in suitable feed containers.
  • Feed should be given at least daily to growing and mature fox. Under certain conditions, a daily feeding may be skipped, and the amount added during subsequent feedings, depending on the condition of the fox.
  • Feeding machines and all utensils for feed distribution should be kept clean to protect the health of the animals.

Watering Systems

The fox producer must ensure that clean water is available to the fox at all times.

  • Most modern farms use either a fully automatic or semi-automatic watering system, or a combination of both, for the watering of fox. In freezing conditions, ice or snow should not be substituted for fresh water, as it may not provide enough moisture for the fox, particularly when feeding a dry, pellet type food.
  • Fully automatic systems use a valve or nipple from a control tank. Care should be taken so that the system remains clean and that the individual valves/nipples do not become blocked.
  • Regular maintenance should be carried out to prevent leaking of valves and connections which can cause wet areas in the yard.
  • Semi-automatic watering systems require manual operation of control valves.
  • It is essential to ensure easy access to drinking water and particular care should be taken that all operating systems are checked during hot weather. If neither the auto, or semi-automatic systems are used, fox should be watered a minimum of twice daily during warm weather to insure that a supply of clean water is available to the animals at all times.

 

U.S. Fox Shipper's Council And North Central Fox Producers. Standard Guidelines for the Operation of Fox Farms in the United States, 2006. USFSC and NCFP.