FEEDING OF LABORATORY ANIMALS i.e. rabbit, g.pig, mice

FEEDING LABORATORY ANIMALS i.e. rabbit, g.pig, mice

Many institutions are rearing various types of laboratory animals as models in the experimentation for large animals/man. These laboratory animals are also used for testing the biological. The various types of laboratory animals used are guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, monkeys, rabbits, dogs etc. if would be beyond the scope of the article to give the nutrient requirement and feeding of all the laboratory animals, however practical giving schedule for the common laboratory animals like guinea pigs, mice and rabbits have been given to acquaint the animal owner in feeding these animals. For detailed feeding practice it is suggested that book on Animals Nutrition in tropics may be consulted.


There are NRC requirements and Indian Standard Institution has also given requirements for compounded feeds for guinea pigs. The ISI specifications are —-

Requirements for compounded feeds for Guinea pigs

s. n. characteristics                                                                             Requirement1.moisture percent by weight max                                                                                       102. Crude protein, per cent by weight min                                                                             223.Ether extract, per cent by weight min                                                                                44. Crude fiber, per cent by weight                                                                                         9-145. Total ash, per cent by weight max                                                                                     96. Acid Insoluble ash , per cent by weight max                                                                    17. Calcium, per cent by weight min                                                                                        1-28. Phosphorus, per cent by weight min                                                                                 0-6

9. Vitamin C Min                                                                                                                        200 mg/kg


The guinea pigs reach 500 g body weight at 12 weeks of age. Diets recommended for their animals contain 22-25 per cent protein.2800Kwal ME, 1 per cent calcium and 0.6 percent phosphorus besides the water and fat for soluble vitamins and minerals as requirements of NRC.

The quality of protein is very important for the growth, reproduction and location of guinea pigs. Therefore, about 30 percent of the protein requirement is given through the animals protein source like skimmed milk powder/fish meal.

The guinea pigs have the requirement for essential fatty acid requirement .Vitamin A,E and k are required to be supplied in the diet. Vitamin D is not needed if calcium: phosphorus ration is adequate. Ascorbic acid is required by the guinea pigs as they cannot synthesize this vitamin—about 6 mg of ascorbic acid is required for 300 g guinea pigs. In the stock diets 8-10 times more ascorbic acid should be incorporated.

The composition of the stock diet used at the IVRI laboratory animal-house is given below:                                                                                                                                                                                                                %



Yellow maize                                                                                              15

Groundnut cake                                                                                         15

Fish meal/dry skin milk powder                                                                    23

Wheat bran                                                                                                 10

Salt                                                                                                           36

Mineral mixture                                                                                         0.5

Vitamin premix                                                                                          0.5

The central grains are ground .To the 100 kg of the stock diet 10.g of vitamin A + B 2 premix is added. In addition 6 mg of ascorbic acid and 0.15 mg of vitamin E may be given per animal per day. It is always better to cook by which the digestibility is improved.

The green fodder like berseem, Lucerne, cabbage, cow pea etc. are offered in addition to the stock diet .The adult animals consume the diet at the rate of 7-8 percent. They consume between 20-30 g of stock feed when they are growing, 30-50 g when adult and 40-60g during pregnancy and lactation depending upon the litter size and season.

Feeding of other Laboratory Animals

The other laboratory animals like rats, mice, hamster, rabbit have their nutrient requirement and different feeding schedules which, if required the animal owner may consult the book ANIMAL NUTRITION in Tropics.

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The components of plants and animals

The animal’s body derives all the nutrients for its – physiological functions like growth, milk, wool and egg production from the digestion of food, most of which consist of grasses, forages, hays and concentrate. In utilizing the nutrients present. In the food to the nutrients present in the animal body to transform the nutrients present in the food to the nutrients present in animal body. It is therefore, essential to know the chemical composition of the plants and animals which may give general information regarding the relationship. In the subsequent article the detailed aspects of the various nutritional processes involved in the animal body would be discussed.


In the case of ruminants like cattle, buffaloes, sheep and goats, plants and their by – products from the majors
portion of their diet. The same is true for the monogastric animals like pigs , poultry and pre – ruminant calf but to these animals on a limited scale, foods of animal origin are also fed namely, fish meal, meat meal , meat offal’s and milk products. Plants and animals contain similar types of chemical substances but the relative amount present is different.

Most of the nutrients present in the plants and animals have been grouped together into different classes like water, proteins, fat, carbohydrates and ash. Plants and their by-products show much larger differences in the
chemical compositions then do the animals. The chemical composition of the plants is affected by the physiological stage and the species.


The water content in the plant decreases with the progressive maturity and so is the case with the animal body .the new born baby has got about 75% of water and about 55% in mature animal


THE main component of organic matter in the plants is carbohydrate whereas in animal’s body the carbohydrate content is very low. The carbohydrates serve as both structural and reserve material in the plants whereas in animals proteins reserve as the structural material and fats serve as the reserve.


Fats are important components of plants and animals. The liquid content in the plants is very low and contribute little towards energy availability to the animals whereas in the animal body, though variable, fat increases with age.


Proteins are the major nitrogen containing compounds present in both plants and animal. In young plants protein content is high. Leaves are richer than the stem. In animals muscles hairs, feather, wool, etc are composed of proteins.


The ash content which contains both micro and macro element in plants is highly variable depending upon soil conditions.


Vitamins are present in plants and animals in small quantities. Plants can synthesize all the vitamins required
for their tissue metabolism whereas animals can’t synthesize all the vitamins which they require as a component of various enzyme systems.