Food and Water Dispensers
By Cait McKeown
How to Serve Food
The food can be ‘dispensed’ from a specially designed container that provides a generous depression into which the dry food is supplied and through which the food can be eaten by the mice. This food-delivery system obviously depends upon the animals' ability to easily reach the food by standing on their hind legs and is therefore not recommended when there are juvenile rodents within the enclosure preparing to wean. This food-delivery system is most often used in laboratory situations. It has two major advantages. One is that there is much less wasted and discarded food. The other is that there is little opportunity for fecal (stool) and urine contamination of food. Metal ‘hoppers’ can be used for dispensing food or it can simply be placed in heavy ceramic bowls (preferred because they cannot be easily tipped over) or similar containers. These are available at most pet shops but if there is any difficulty in finding one, try a cookware shop as small bowls or ramekins may be suitable.
This is one of the high-sided heavy ceramic bowls I use
Water can be given in bowls, but these quickly get dirty and contaminated
with substrate, bedding, urine and faeces. A bottle is much healthier
and safer for your mice: I have heard of young mice drowning in their
water bowls. If you are buying a new mouse it is essential to note or
ask what type of drinking arrangement the mouse is used to. A mouse that
is not used to a bottle may have trouble working out how to use one and
can literally then die of thirst. In a case such as this you may want
to provide a water bowl for a short period as well as the normal bottle
until you see that the new mouse is confident drinking from the bottle.
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