Scorrano, F. 2022. A new feeder device to provide cleaner and accessible diet gel to laboratory mice. Laboratory Animal Science Professional 10(2) (March/April), 50-52.
Gel solutions are simple to use, have a relative long shelf life and can be delivered with plastic cups or pouches. A common issue encountered by many institutions is that the gel becomes soiled quickly due to multiple factors such as: number of animals, strains and amount and type of bedding. The rodents can also flip upside down the cup, bury it under the bedding or chew it. This raise some concerns for the welfare of our animals that could be compromised when they do not have access to the gelled diet. Our team evaluated some feeder devices available on the market, but they could not satisfy our requirements. According to our animal caretakers and scientists, an ideal gel holder should be: reusable, easy to use and to install, designed for minimal cage occupancy, with adjustable height and angled presentation, enough strong to secure the gel cup and to ensure an accessible and clean product for max. 5 nights even in high density cages (5 mice per cage). Thus, we decided to create a novel gel cup holder using 3D printing technology and to share the model online so it could be printed, remixed, and used by other researchers for free. Design files for 3D printing, list of materials and settings are available online for free (QR code available in the article). This model can be remixed by other users according to their needs and budget.