Quantitative assessments of food and water intake are delicate experiments that must balance competing constraints, namely the requirement for a special measurement setup with the impact of the setup on mouse behaviour (and the mesurements themselves). Methods of measurement available at MEF include:
- Mid-long term measurement of feeding and feeding control (pair feeding) online with the Phenomaster (TSE) system (24 cages),
- Short term feeding and drinking measurements in metabolic cages.
Mice are always singly-caged for such measurements, which requires an acclimatation period. All methods are labor-intensive, and their choice will depend on the expected type of data (see below).
Long-term, cumulative feeding measurement and control in the Phenomaster (TSE) - 24 cages
The most accurate assessment of food intake in energy balance studies requires cumulative measurements over weeks of both food disappearance and food spillage. Mice are in singly-caged in home cages. The system allows for:
- the cumulative measurement of food intake over weeks
- the control of food intake (by time, quantity, and pair feeding)
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Short term feeding and drinking measurements in metabolic cages
Food intake and water intake can be assessed as well in experiments involving metabolic cages for:
Metabolic cages are however not native cages, and can therefore not be used to host mice for more than a few days.