Effect of Moderate Diet Restriction on Body Condition, Health, and Reproductive Performance in Female Mink (Neovison vison)
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Selection for large body size can result in the development of obesity, which in mink females is associated with poor reproduction and metabolic diseases. Caloric restriction is effective in diminishing oxidative stress and delaying aging-related diseases. This study investigated the effects of moderate diet restriction (MDR) during the fall on body condition, health, and reproductive success of mink (Neovison vison) breeder females. The 100 control (CTRL) females were fed according to normal farm feeding practice and the 100 sister-pair MDR females were fed about 20% less. In the fall, more ideal body weights and body condition scores (BCS) were seen in the MDR females, and they produced larger litter sizes. In addition, the MDR females exhibited less deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage than the CTRL females. Telomeres were elongated in both groups. This dietary management practice is anticipated to result in significant advancement in the fur industry, both economically and welfare-wise.