Daily (24 h) rates of water and electrolyte turnover were measured in a conventional balance study in ten adult female pastel mink (Mustela vison) given free access to a standard mink feed for a 1-week conditioning period, followed by a 4 d experimental period and a 2 d fasting period. Drinking water was available throughout. In addition, the completeness of urine collection and the fraction of urine collected with the faeces were determined using a new experimental technique based on 24 h recoveries of specific urinary markers such as tritiated p-aminohippuric acid ([3H]PAH) or 14C-1abelled inulin ([14C]IN) continuously delivered by small Alzet® osmotic pumps implanted intraperitoneally. During feeding the mean individual percentage recovery in urine of [3H]PAH released from tbe osmotic pumps ranged from 68 to 88% (median 78%). Tbe mean percentage of urinary [3H]PAH recovered from faecal collections was 6% (range 3–12%). In response to fasting the mean individual percentage recovery of [3H]PAH in urine ranged from 62 to 78% (median 68%). For urinary [14C]IN the mean percentage recoveries in fed and fasted animals were 79 and 63% respectively. Furthermore, during fasting, withdrawal of the supplies of dietary water caused a slight but insignificant (P = 0·17) increase in the daily intake of drinking water and, hence, the animals maintained their normal water balance by a dramatic reduction in urine excretion (P < 0·001). At the same time urinary solute excretion declined significantly (P < 0·001), due in part to the cessation of dietary electrolyte intake and in part to reduced formation of urea, whereas urinary osmolality decreased only moderately. The mean 24 h balances of Na, K, Ca, Mg, Cl and P were close to zero and only minor differences between the feeding and fasting periods were observed. When corrected for the measured inaccuracies in urine collection the balance data obtained in the present study represent useful reference standards for normally fed and fasted non-growing mink and, to some extent, useful guidelines for future studies in experimental animals.