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The effect of daily disturbance on the breeding performance of mice.

Authors
  • Peters, Alan G
  • Bywater, Peter M
  • Festing, Michael F W
Type
Published Article
Journal
Laboratory animals
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2002
Volume
36
Issue
2
Pages
188–192
Identifiers
PMID: 11943084
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The United Kingdom Home Office Code of Practice for the housing and care of breeding animals requires that, 'the general well-being of all animals must be checked at least once daily'. However, excessive daily disturbance of rodent breeding colonies could be counter-productive to animal welfare if it increases pre-weaning mortality. An experiment involving 100 breeding cages of BALB/c mice compared daily inspection of the mouse cages, but without disturbing the mice within the nest, with daily inspection in which every individual was studied even if this involved removing the cage lid and disturbing the nest. No statistically significant differences were found between the two groups in breeding performance or pre-weaning mortality, though the disturbed group produced marginally fewer offspring and had slightly higher mortality. Average weaning weight did not differ between the groups, but sexual dimorphism at weaning was significantly increased in the disturbed group. It is concluded that there are unlikely to be any welfare benefits in an inspection regimen that involves disturbance of breeding mice, provided the cage is inspected daily.

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