The mice are checked daily every single day
of the year. It’s the first job we do when we come in the mornings, to check every cage
to make sure all the mice are well and make sure they all have food and water. And then
these cages are changed weekly. We produce our own mice in a separate ward
from the one that I work in, it’s what we call our clean ward, although the building
is a clean building, it is our cleanest ward and everyone that works in there has to shower
in, that’s where all of the matings are set up to produce the main mice for our centre.
Depending on what we are researching into, it depends on how long we keep them for, how
long they stay with us for. So we have different projects such as ageing projects so obviously
the mice will stay with us for a bit longer because we are looking into problems of ageing
such as osteoporosis. Check the water level.
Move the wire tray. Top up the food.
A sprinkle of new bedding and a sprinkling of their old bedding too just to give a bit
of scent in there and make them feel more at home when they go in.
This tube actually is not too bad, that can go in again and then check each mouse gently
but firmly, popping them in its cage. The diet that we give them is especially designed
for our mice. It is designed to deliver the correct amount of nutrition that they need. All the
cages are cleaned and sterilised before they are brought back in to the ward for us to
use as are the bottles as well. Our water is also tripled filtered and chlorinated.
Normally we house up to five adults in one cage base. These are about eight weeks old.
We make their lives in here as natural as we possibly can by giving them environmental
enrichment such as you see in the card board tube and in the paper bedding. We have tried
to avoid housing them singly, mostly they are in groups of five in a cage, in matings
they will be in trios, which is two females and a male.
Here we have a cage with just two mice, this one I’m just going to top of the food. Have
a little look they are both hiding in the tube, have a little look to make sure they
are both looking well. They have both got nice coats and bright eyes, look really well
and active and they have made a nice little nest in there too, so I’m sure that they
will be more than happy to stay in that cage for another week.
There are certain strains in here that I do prefer because of the way that they look.
Some have got multi-coloured coats and some are a little bit more chubby than others,
so that kind of makes them more endearing somehow.
We never worry about having too much food in the cage because mice don’t tend to overeat.
They just eat until they are full and then they go off and make a nest and go to sleep
or chew their tube, which these ones haven’t. Our choice of bedding is paper, shredded paper.
It comes quite compressed so we put a sprinkle in and the mice have to make a bit of effort
to take it apart and fluff it up which gives them something to do and makes them a nice
fluffy nest at the end of it. The material in the bottom of the cage may
just look like every day saw dust but actually it is Aspen wood chip and it is as dust free
as we can possibly get it, so their environment is dust free and clean and nice and absorbent. This is quite a clean cage as well, just a
sprinkle of food needed in that one. At the end of their lives they are humanly
culled, we are all trained to do this when we first start working here.
When I first came here, I had already had experience with gerbils as pets and rats as
pets and hamsters as pets so I had already handled some rodents in the past but I had
never actually looked after mice but I did receive full training in how to handle them,
how to care for them, lots of training on what to look out for in the case of them being
unwell that sort of thing and how they liked to be socially housed rather than singly housed
and that sort of thing. So we are given a lot of training when we first come here but
there is a definite advantage to having had experience of rodents in the past.