The Effects of Housing on Food and Water Consumption in Da-Rats
According to European legislation rodents should be housed in stable harmonized groups with enrichment; a principle, which may, however, frequently be disregarded to fulfil the needs of the study. Especially in feeding studies it is necessary to house the animals individually. Literature on single housing shows an inconclusive picture, and it seems as if a range of other factors and not just single housing itself, affect the outcome of the studies on single housed rats. Therefore the aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of single housing, enrichment and gender on the daily intake of food and water in rats. Twelve male and twelve female rats (DA/Sac) were housed either in groups or individually with or without enrichment and the daily food and water consumption was analyzed by the use of digital feeding stations. There was a significant difference between the two genders of DA rats in their eating and drinking behavior, whereas social environment only seemed to affect the eating and drinking behavior to a minor extent, while enrichment did not have an effect by itself on either of the parameters.