Breeding rodent colonies in a laboratory settings can have many challenges, such as poor mating, cannibalism, small litters, runt pups…etc… Ensuring that the optimal conditions are present can improve productivity and breeding performance. Providing a stress free environment with controlled noise, smells and lightning, combined with gentle care and appropriate enrichment can make all the difference.
For Best Practices for Rodent Colony Planning and Breeding Support and Pup Heath, see our guide.
Notably, offering suitable nutrition and supplements during gestation and lactation can lead to significant improvements in breeding performance. ClearH2O DietGel® Prenatal is a high protein supplement made with purified ingredients, and contains nutrients necessary during pregnancy and lactation such as omega-3 fatty acids, iron, folic acid, and has been proven to reduce cannibalism and increase litter size. To further substantiate these claims, Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI) evaluated DietGel® Prenatal to determine its impact on pup yield, pup weight and time to first litter of C57BL/6J mice.
Increased litter size
The first finding was a slight decrease in the time to first litter, with females on DietGel® Prenatal delivering pups on average 25 days after mating, compared to 27 days for control females. Females on DietGel® Prenatal more consistently produced bigger litters, with an average of 8.4 pups born per litter and 7.7 weaned pups, compared to 6.7 pups born and 5.9 pups weaned for control females.
Increased pup weight and survival
Pup weight was also increased in the DietGel® Prenatal group, with an average weight of 3.89 grams, 7.28 grams and 9.67 grams per pup at P7, P14 and P21, respectively, compared to 3.28 grams, 6.32 grams, and 7.60 grams per pup for the control group. In addition, pup survival rate also increased from 84% to 91% in the DietGel® Prenatal group.
While different strains of mice have different nutritional requirements during breeding, DietGel® Prenatal may offer a unique solution for improving the breeding performance and colony health of C57BL/6J mice and other strains. To try DietGel® Prenatal with your own mouse strain, request a sample. To see the full study, download the MMCRI technical bulletin.