So far MisterMiceGuy has used 10 gallon glass aquariums and extra large plastic critter carriers with a modified lid to house his mice. Recently MisterMiceGuy acquired 5 mouse lab breeding cages from Reptile Basics Inc. The cages are made from durable High-density polyethylene and have a 1/4″ stainless screen top with accomodations for food and water. Each cage can accommodate 1-3 mice (Reptile Basics Inc. 2020). As March 20, 2020, two of the cages have been in use for 11 days.
Initially MisterMiceGuy was reluctant to use laboratory cages due to the cost of each enclosure and the opacity of the cage. However, after using them MisterMiceGuy regrets not having invested in laboratory style cage from the beginning.
In the new cages the plastic water bottle rests above the cage lid out of reach of the mice, minus the metal water dispenser part. Prior mice had full access to the entire plastic bottle. This resulted in the bottle occasionally being chewed through and the mice periodically experiencing stressful periods without water. MisterMiceGuy has noticed that mice deteriorate very quickly without access to water. The new cages eliminate that problem allowing mice access to continual clean water without periods of dehydration. This also reduces costs incurred by replacing plastic water bottles that have been chewed through.
Secondly the new cages have a food hopper built into the lid. This keeps the food from being contaminated in the bedding and allows it to be dispensed as needed. Prior the food was distributed on to the bedding. Although foraging for food can be beneficial to mice (Lecker and Froberg-Fejko 2016), this meant that the food would be soiled with urine and faeces. Additionally the food would quickly disappear into the bedding making it difficult to determine how much food when the food had run out. The resulted in periods were food was wasted or periods were mice may have been underfed. The new cages eliminate these problems by keeping the food uncontaminated and easy to view and resupply.
The cages are also lightweight and very easy to clean. Now that the food isn’t being mixed into the bedding and the water bottles arn’t being damaged the bedding staying cleaner longer and less bedding is used over all. 10 gallon glass tanks are fragile, cumbersome and difficult to clean and MisterMiceGuy does not recommend them for this reason.
MisterMiceGuy has observed improved overall appearance of the mice kept in the new cages. So far MisterMiceGuy highly recommends investing in laboratory style cages for the serious hobby breeder.
Reptile Basics Inc. (2020) Mouse Breeding Cage. Retrieved from: https://www.reptilebasics.com/M10
Lecker, J., and Froberg-Fejko, K. (2016) Using environmental enrichment and nutritional supplementation to improve breeding success in rodents. Bio Serv, 45(10), 406-407.