Food Placement for Impaired Rodents


The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals states that animals should be fed palatable, non-contaminated, and nutritionally adequate food daily or according to their particular requirements unless the protocol in which they are being used requires otherwise. In addition, the Guide states that feeders should be designed and placed to allow easy access to food and to minimize contamination with urine and feces. Placement of rodent chow in an appropriate feeder may not be in the animal’s best interest if that animal is unable to reach the food hopper. In this situation, the IACUC recognizes that placement of rodent chow on the floor of the cages of sick or injured animals will ensure that animals will be able to access the food.


1. An appropriate amount of rodent chow or powdered food in a Petri dish should be placed in the cage of animals that cannot reach the food hopper or have an impairment which affects their ability to chew rodent chow.

2. The cage should be identified as being a cage where food is being placed on the floor of the cage because of an impaired animal.

3. Food should be changed minimum weekly, or as needed, so as to minimize potential contamination with the animals’ urine and feces.

4. Food should be placed on the floor of the cage for the least amount of time necessary to ensure adequate nutrition of the impaired animal.

Effective Dates:      December 1, 2022 through December 31, 2025