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URMC / Animal Resource / Animal Husbandry Information

Animal Husbandry Information

Animal Water Quality

The NIH Guide (ILAR 1996) recommends that laboratory animals should have access to potable, uncontaminated drinking water. Water quality testing of the Rochester water supply includes periodic monitoring for pH, hardness, and microbial or chemical contamination. The most recent report from the Monroe County Water Authority indicates that Rochester drinking water meets all New York State and USEPA drinking water standards. Please refer to the website link above for more details about detected contaminants and a water quality summary.

All rodents utilizing HYDROPAC® pouches receive ultra-filtered (0.1 micron) municipal water. All other animals plus rodents utilizing water bottles receive drinking water directly from the municipal source.  

Water Delivery Systems



NOTE: A FLAG/CARD Identification sign is posted on the door of every animal housing room

  • The pink post-it flag or laminated WEANLING/NEW TO HYDROPAC pink card is designated for PI use to label newly weaned mice. This will assist the Vivarium staff in identifying cages where animals might have a problem accessing water.
  • If using a pink post-it flag the PI writes the date weaned on the pink flag and affixes it to the cage card of the newly weaned pups.
  • If using the printed laminated WEANLING/NEW TO HYDROPAC pink card the PI must be sure the date weaned or a date of birth is clearly written on the cage tag. The laminated card is placed behind the cage tag. Please do not write on the laminated card as it is reusable.
  • The PI places several pieces of rodent diet on the cage floor and flicks the valve on the Hydropac® pouch to be sure water is flowing.
  • Vivarium staff will pay extra attention to pink flagged/laminated carded cages for any indication that the mice are not eating or drinking. This intense monitoring will continue daily for a two week period after weaning.
  • Any mice that do not appear well will be reported to the DLAM veterinary staff. The PI will be contacted by DCM regarding the problem and recommended treatment.
  • If the weanlings appear healthy after two weeks the Vivarium animal care staff will remove the pink flag or laminated card.

Rodent Diet and Bedding

In August 2021 we will transition from autoclaved to irradiated rodent chow as described in the March 2021 LIST SERV announcement

Irradiated Standard Rodent Chow 5053 replaces 5010.

Irradiated Breeder Rodent Chow 5058 replaces 5021.

The standard bedding used with our rodents is:

Primate Diet and Bedding

The standard laboratory diet fed to our primates and chemical compositions are:

The standard bedding used with our primates is:

Rabbit Diet and Bedding

The standard laboratory diet fed to our rabbits and chemical compositions are:

The standard bedding used with our rabbits is:

Animal Room Temperatures & Humidity Ranges

All of the University of Rochester's animal holding rooms are maintained within temperature and humidity ranges described in the ILAR Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (1996) with very rare exceptions. The building HVAC systems occasionally fail to tightly control room humidity in the face of outdoor seasonal extremes (Winter levels < 30%, Summer levels >70%). Please note that the animal room humidity levels rarely fall outside of range (less than 10 days in the Winter and Summer) and that the change in humidity is gradual over time. Be aware that we cannot control these outliers.

Animal Room Temperature Ranges

  • Mouse, rat, hamster, gerbil, guinea pig: 64-79F
  • Rabbit: 61-72F
  • Cat, dog, non-human primate: 64-84F
  • Farm animals and poultry: 61-81F

Animal Room Relative Humidity Range: 30-70%

Recommendations for Husbandry of Severely Immunocompromised Mice

The Animal Resource recommends the following special diet and water for severely immunocompromised mice such as NOG, SCID, RAG-2, Athymic Nude, and Beige mice. Immunodeficient mice also require strict attention to MicroIsolator Technology.

The following practices are available to investigators by submission of a special request to the Animal Resource Office:

  • Autoclaved acid water (pH 2.5-3.0) in sterile water bottles changed once weekly. This prevents a biofilm or overgrowth of Pseudomonas sp. (and other bacteria) in the water bottle.
  • Feed irradiated Mod LabDiet® 5P00 w/0.025%Trimeth/0.124%Sulfameth-5TK5 mouse chow. The vivarium has this diet available on inventory.

Please be sure to incorporate this information into your UCAR protocol as a Vivarium recommended husbandry practice for severely immunocompromised mice.

Interpreting Mouse Chow Supply and Drinking Water Hydropac™ Level

Microisolator Training (MIT) – Task List 

Seven Tips for Staff & Students New to the Animal Resource 

How to acquire the Animal Resource’s preferred animal lab surface disinfectant

Research labs may order their own sanitizing agent (Peroxigard™) used in the vivarium to disinfect surfaces contacted by laboratory animals.  Peroxigard™ is an activated hydrogen peroxide with a long shelf life and broad spectrum virucidal and bactericidal activity .  Contact Paul at ScottPharma at 508-405-4449 ext. 104 or to order. You will need to create a purchase order in WorkDay or pay with your P-Card.