Farm Animals


Rodents, Rabbits and Birds

Annie Reinhardt: Feeding enrichment device for cats


Simple feeding enrichment device allows cats to engage in species-typical foraging behavior. Pieces of cork glued to the inside of the cardboard tube make it more challenging for the cat to get hold of the "prey."


Tamara Godbey: Enrichment options for sheep and pigs

Heavy metal chains with assorted dog toys attached provide safe environmental enrichment for pigs.

Playtime PetT Tricky Treat Balls filled with grain work well as feeding enrichment gadgets for post-surgical sheep. They spend a lot of time head-butting and kicking the balls around the pen in order to retrieve the grain. Pigs will also use these balls, but they tend to destroy them rather quickly.

Tamara Godbey: Two-tier cages for mice

We came up with a caging system a few years back, by stacking a standard long mouse cage into a standard rat cage and drilling a single small hole in the top cage, thereby providing an artificial underground space. The mice spend the majority of the daylight hours in the bottom, unless they hear me come into the room and then the come to the top for treats. Of course, the food, water and running wheel are at the top, so they do come up from the bottom for those things, but mostly only in the dark. I have also had females with litters in this system and they always keep the pups in the bottom cage, even if you repeatedly move the nest to the top cage.

Tamara Godbey

Monica Luzzi: Saphenous blood draw in rodents
Photos by Dr. Sally Walshaw


Figure 1.  A 50ml centrifuge tube (with air holes drilled out) is used to restrain the mouse/rat Figure 2.  The lateral/posterior of the hind limb is prepped with a small clipper


 Figure 3.  Alcohol is applied to the area  Figure 4.  Hold off the vessel to aid dilation


Figure 5.  Insert a needle into the vessel (small gauge, this seems to be an insulin needle, will do) Figure 6.  The blood here is collected right into the tube. Then pressure is applied to aid clotting and preserve the vessel for the next draw, this is key. This tube is provided by Sarstedt, it is a Microvette CB 300 and comes with serum activator, lithium heparin, potassium EDTA, or Fluoride. 

Anita Conte: Group-housing of pigeons

"Unfortunately there are no standards for birds who are singly caged and housed in this manner for years. Obviously these pigeons are unable to engage in species-specific behaviors and many of them develop stereotypies."

"Recently we built a large flight pen and group housed up to 6 birds at a time. The animals did really well although it was extremely difficult to find just the right mix of birds who were willing to live together peacefully. They seem to truly appreciate the group-housing idea" (see right and below).

N. D.: Rabbit pens


 Rabbit pens: a typical rabbit pen at York University.


Tamara Godbey: Group-housed rabbits

 Group-housed rabbits
at the University of British Columbia

Richard Weilenmann: Guinea pig housing

"We use old rabbit-cages each furnished with a Macrolon IV rodent cage for our guinea pig groups. In the Macrolon cage the animals have access to a 2-cm layer of sawdust topped with approximately 8 cm of hay. Food and water is placed outside the Macrolon cage to keep the sawdust and hay relatively dry and clean. Generally the animals defecate and urinate on the grid of the rabbit cage, but they spend most of the time in the Macrolon cage digging their way through the hay, nibbling and eating hay, sleeping in the hay and hiding in quasi-dens made of hay." Contact: richard.weilenmann@Roche.COM

Chris Sherwin: Mice building tunnels

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