Where do our mice live?
Our mice are housed in cages in the Biological Services Units at King’s. The mice do not share their rooms with any other species because they are a prey animals and scent of any predators can cause fear. Mice are sociable animals and so they are normally housed in pairs or bigger groups (according to cage size) whenever possible, to ensure good welfare. All cages contain environmental enrichment to help prevent boredom in the mice. They are provided with nesting material as well as cardboard tubes. Mice that are deemed to require extra enrichment are also provided with small plastic or cardboard ‘houses’. Cages are completely cleaned on a regular basis (usually every 1 – 2 weeks), according to the individual needs of the mice in the cage. It has been proven that regular (daily) spot cleaning, as opposed to whole cage cleaning, improves breeding productivity which is an indication of good welfare. Many of the mice at King’s are housed in cages that are individually ventilated to reduce any possibility of infection in the animals. These cages have a reduced need for cleaning compared to conventional mouse housing.
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A rack of individually ventilated cages (IVCs) in a mouse holding room
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A Biological Services technician filling clean mouse cages with wood chippings from the automatic dispenser
How are we trying to improve the lives of mice at King’s? Researchers at King’s are currently working to incorporate running wheels into mouse cages to enable more activity, especially during the night when this species is at its most active. Some mice are also offered poppy seeds to forage, to encourage more natural feeding behaviour.