Farmed European mink to feed on household waste

November 17, 2016 - Farmed mink can feed on organic household waste converted to larvae, a new circular economy research project shows. The research project is now being extended.


The so-called Black Soldier Fly larvae are rich in protein and fat and show promising as alternative source of protein in mink feed, researchers from the Danish Technological Institute says.

A new research project converting household waste into larvae shows very promising results as a possible alternative source of protein in mink feed. A team of scientists from the Danish Technological Institute has examined the economic and technological potential in converting organic household waste to Black Soldier Fly Larvae in a project called Waste, Insects and Circular Economy (WICE). It turns out that 10 kilo of household waste can be converted into 3 kilo of larvae in 10-12 days, and the mink received the new feed very well.

The quality of mink skins is largely tied to the protein sources. Today, European mink typically get protein from by products of the human food production, in particular the chicken- and fish industries. Other sources include soya- and blood protein. The competition on the European market for by products is, however, increasing, driving prices up.

The larvae based feed turned out to be rich in protein and fat and was obtained well by the animals. At the same time the breeding of the larvae does not require much space, and can take place without damaging the environment.

Next phase of the research project begins in summer 2017, on a much larger scale. This stage of the project will focus on things like the larvae’s impact on skin quality and the size of the animals, as well as how large a part of the mink feed the larvae can possibly make up.

Danish fur auction house Kopenhagen Fur is partner with the Danish Technological Institute in the circular economy project.

– The research project has shown that Black Soldier Fly larvae are an exiting and potential new raw component in mink feed. It is interesting for us to keep working with the larvae. The possibilities are endless and the projects are sustainable, so we look forward to do more larvae research, Kevin Byskov, manager of Kopenhagen Fur’s research farm in Denmark.