Smith, A. L., Mabus, S. L., Muir, C. et al. 2005. Effects of housing density and cage floor space on three strains of young adult inbred mice. Comparative Medicine 55(4), 368-376.
Some recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (the Guide) are based on best professional judgment. Our current efforts are directed toward replacement with data-driven standards. We demonstrated earlier that young adult C57BL/6J mice could be housed with half the floor space recommended in the Guide without discernable negative effects. This report extends that work by examining optimal housing densities for young adult male and female BALB/cJ, NOD/LtJ, and FVB/NJ mice. These 8-week studies were initiated with 3-week-old BALB/cJ and NOD/LtJ mice and 3- to 5-week-old FVB/NJ mice housed in three cage types. We adjusted the number of mice per cage to house them with the floor space recommended in the Guide (approximately 12 in2 [ca. 77 cm2] per mouse) down to 5.6 in2 [ca. 36 cm2] per mouse. Early-onset aggression occurred among FVB/NJ male mice housed at all densities in cages having 51.7 in2 (ca. 333 cm2) or 112.9 in2 (ca. 728 cm2) of space. FVB/NJ male mice housed in shoebox (67.6 in2 [ca. 436 cm2]) cages did not exhibit aggression until the fifth week. Urinary testosterone output was density-dependent only for BALB/cJ male mice in shoebox cages (output decreased with increasing density) and FVB/NJ male mice. We conclude that all but FVB/NJ male mice can be housed with half the floor space specified in the Guide. The aggression noted for male FVB/NJ mice may have been due to their age span, although this did not impact negatively on the female FVB/NJ.