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Dietary copper supplementation improves pelt characteristics of female silver fox (Vulpes fulva) during the winter fur‐growing season

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Copper has an essential role in normal fur pigmentation and fur quality. This study evaluated the effects of cupric citrate (CuCit) supplementation on growth, nutrients metabolism and pelt characteristics of the female silver fox (Vulpes fulva). Fifty age‐matched female silver foxes with similar body weights were randomly divided into five dietary groups for 58 days during the winter fur‐growing season. The basal diet contained 4.92 mg/kg copper. Groups I‐V were supplemented with 6, 30, 60, 90 or 150 mg Cu from CuCit per 1 kg dry matter basal diet. Serum alkaline phosphatase activity was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in those fed 90 mg/kg Cu than those fed 150 mg/kg Cu. Pelt total thickness was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in those fed 30 mg/kg Cu than foxes fed 6 mg/kg Cu supplemented diet, but were similar to the other groups. Length of guard hair was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in those fed 90 mg/kg Cu than fed 6 mg/kg Cu and 30 mg/kg Cu, but were similar to the other groups. Length of underhair was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in those fed 6 mg/kg Cu than those fed 90 mg/kg Cu, but was similar to the other groups. Considering decreasing environmental contamination and improving pelt performance, supplementing 30 mg/kg Cu from CuCit (actual copper 35 mg/kg dry matter) is appropriate for female silver fox.
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Keywords: CuCit; growth; nutrients metabolism; pelt characteristics; silver fox

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2014

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