An investigation into the effects of solid or grid cage flooring on the welfare of laboratory rats.
The welfare of laboratory rats housed on either solid or grid floors was investigated in several ways. No differences were found in body weight gain, food consumption or water consumption amongst rats housed in either condition. When handling was standardized between the 2 groups, there was no correlation between flooring and docility. Preference testing revealed that rats chose to dwell on solid floors rather than grids, regardless of previous housing experience. This preference for solid floors was particularly marked (88%) when the animals were resting and much less marked during activity (55.4%). Since the rats were observed to spend 70 to 75% of their time resting, it was concluded that their welfare was likely to be improved by housing them on solid floors.