American mink (Neovison vison) develop fatty liver quickly in response to food deprivation, which results in preferential mobilisation of n-3 PUFA. The altered n-3:n-6 PUFA ratio in the liver may activate the endocannabinoid system resulting in increased lipid synthesis. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of feeding intensity (80 or 120 % RDA), dietary fat source (n-3, n-6 or n-9 fatty acids (FA)) and short-term fasting (1–7 d) on hepatic de novo lipogenesis (DNL) and the development of fatty liver in mink. Significantly elevated expression of mRNA encoding for acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1 (ACC-1) and FA synthase (FAS) was observed in the liver of mink fasted for 5–7 d, while upon re-feeding for 28 d after a 7 d food deprivation, DNL returned to pre-fasting levels. The females had a higher expression of ACC-1 and FAS mRNA than the males. In the non-fasted animals, dietary fat source and feeding intensity had significant effects on ACC-1 mRNA. The highest levels were observed in the mink fed the rapeseed oil (n-9) diet at 80 % RDA, while the lowest levels were seen when the same diet was fed at 120 % RDA. For FAS, the highest gene expression was seen in the fasted mink fed at 80 % RDA and the lowest in the non-fasted mink fed at 80 %. It is concluded that short-term food deprivation induces hepatic lipidosis in mink and that during this process, hepatic DNL further exacerbates liver fat accumulation.