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Posted by sasheena on May 03, 2003 at 19:01:19:
In Reply to: Sorry, I don't buy that...go with natural posted by NZ on May 03, 2003 at 17:34:14:
Researchers using mice MUST have a precise, scientifically formulated diet with zero (statistically anyway) variance in the food for them to be able to rule dietary differences out as a possible source of their results. I know, not because I work at a lab, but because I have a degree in statistics, and have spoken with enough lab people and read enough papers, to know that the lab blocks formulated by research labs, like Harlan and Jax, and used BY them on their experimental animals, have probably had as much as, if not more, nutritional research done on them than a high quality dog food. This makes the Harlan Labs rodent blocks, and other commercially available lab blocks (ones used by researchers) as just as useful as anything else, and perhaps even more beneficial to the rodent.
NOW... if you just think about Kaytee rodent lab blocks, or some other off the cuff variety, YES those varieties have little specific research and NO regulation to make sure they meet any sort of standard, and those could definately be very bad for your mice.
I've used dog food and lab blocks, cattle and horse and chicken feed, and my own mixtures. I've also used "expensive" and "cheap" dog foods. The problem with a very expensive dog food is that it HAS been heavily researched, it IS very good for your dogs, but that does NOT make it good for your mice. A protein balance designed for a dog is not necessarily good for a mouse. I've found that after much experimentation, and a lot of health issues, that the generic dog food, cheapest on the shelf, is the one the mice like the most, give me the most babies with, and live the longest on. Especially when combined with chicken scratch and sunflower seeds. Sadly I did not trust this success, and when I had a chance I purchased some lab blocks, and from the time I started feeding them that instead of my mixture that works, I have had dismal results... almost every litter produced eaten by the protein starved momma mice... dead parent mice, lots of problems. Bleah! Even though I still had one bag of the stuff, I went out and bought my mixture again <$30 for 144 pounds of food. I can only hope the mice will start producing for me. It would be embarrasing to have more than 40 cages of mice, and yet when the hatchlings shed (after they've pipped) have no mice to feed them. I'm predicting that within a week of switching back to Generic dog food, I will see healthier mice, and within three weeks I'll be overrun with mice again. (I used to breed enough mice so that I sold about 100 extra every month, used the proceeds to pay for mouse bedding and food).
Anyway, this is my opinion. Everyone should figure out what works for their mice, and then DON'T CHANGE IT!