How to Raise Muskrats

By Contributor

How to Raise Muskrats. The muskrat is prized for its fur as well as its prolific offspring. The muskrat is small and doesn't eat much, but keeping large numbers of them are difficult because of their ability to dig out of most enclosures. It is possible to raise muskrats in a wide variety of climates.

Keep your muskrats in cages with solid bottoms if possible. Cages with metal bars on the bottom may be best to keep them from escaping. Muskrats will be able to dig out from under a fence or other similar enclosure. Muskrats raised in cages do not need shelter from the rain or cold, as their fur will is waterproof and will insulate them from the cold. Large cages with plenty of room for your muskrat population will work best.

Keep your muskrat population as spread out as possible. The muskrat is usually docile, but a densely-populated area will create friction between the muskrats and they may begin to fight amongst themselves. The population should be large enough that the animals can socialize, but not too large that fighting will ensue. A dense population will also make muskrat litters smaller. When raising muskrats for profit or for fur, the larger spaces will make for a better return on the investment.

Expect anywhere from two to five litters each year from an adult female muskrat. Warmer temperatures tend to have more litters per year, while colder ones have fewer. When there is plenty of food and clean water expect more litters than when food is sparse, so make sure the muskrats always have food and never have to fight for it. They will eat most types of aquatic plants.

Wait for the 29-day gestation period to be over and then assess the number of offspring, typically five to six kits, and their condition. The mother feeds and raises the babies; humans rarely have to intervene in the care. The kits will mature quickly, and often a spring kit will be able to reproduce by the fall.

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