Below are some tips for rolling out the refined handling techniques in your facility, based on successful implementation by others. We will add more information after our September 2017 workshop.
- Start slowly – select one or two cages to trial the techniques on first to gain confidence in the technique prior to adopting more broadly.
- Consider the strains you are working with. For example, Professor Hurst has found that B6 mice can be more unsettled on the hand, unless they have extensive experience of cup handling, so are better handled by a tunnel. Other strains such as BALB/c, BALB.k and outbred ICR (CD-1) strains habituate much more quickly and show settled behaviour with both methods.
- View the mouse handling tutorial, FAQs and poster resources before trialling the techniques.
- Accept that there will be an initial investment in time to become skilled in the new techniques.
- Consider leaving a tunnel in a cage for at least five days to habituate the mice to the tunnels before first using the tunnel technique.
- Consider switching from tail to tunnel/cup handling one room at a time.
- Some facilities train new staff to use the tunnel/cup handling techniques only (so tail handling is not used as a routine method of handling).