NIH Research Festival
Lab animal facilities have a goal of minimizing cost while maximizing animal welfare and scientific progress. In our facility, we noticed large quantities of food wasted due to food hoppers being filled or topped off with more food than required. Literature states a mouse and rat will eat 3-6g/day and 15-30g/day, respectively, but what does that amount look like? We designed an in-house study to test how much feed is needed and if that varies by cage type, group housing, or gender, in the hopes of offering an alternative to keeping hoppers constantly full. Mice were housed in two common cage types. In each cage type, half of the mice were singly housed and the other half were in same-sex groups. Rats were housed in same-sex pairs or groups. The chow was weighed every weekday in AM to measure daily consumption. Weekend chow consumption was averaged over the 3 days. No difference was found between male and female consumption rates in mice and rats, nor between different cage types in mice. Group-housed mice ate less chow than singly-housed mice. In all mice groups, the practice of filling the hopper with a single scoop from the facility’s food scoops was more than the mice require for 2 weeks of food. We experimented with other measuring systems, and found that a ½ cup measure is ideal for a singly housed mouse for 2 weeks. In rats, it was necessary to fill their hoppers to the brim once a week.
Scientific Focus Area: Research Support Services
This page was last updated on Friday, March 26, 2021