Nest building material

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The construction of nests is common in rodents. Wild house mice build nests to provide heat conservation, shelter from predators and competitors and to allow successful reproduction. Nest building increases lifetime reproductive success and is an essential thermoregulatory adaption. The motivation and ability to perform the behavioral sequence culminating in a finished nest persists also in domesticated mice and in laboratory animal facilities.

The provision of nest building material should be considered as standard in laboratory rodent housing. Nest material differs in its quality. Naturalistic material that enables mice to build dome shaped nests or nests with walls should be prefered.

Maternal and non-maternal nest building performance has been used for decades as a monitoring tool in several scientific fields and different protocols to assess nest building are available. Nest building activity can be used as a monitoring parameter in models of psychiatric disorders or to monitor sickness behavior following infection. It might be useful as an early sign of dysfunction and to monitor disease progression. Finally, it is reduced by pain and stress.

--PJirkof 15:14, 18 March 2020 (UTC)

We observed that shredded paper nesting material was associated with less severe self-injury/ulcerative dermatitis in individually housed male rats[1], suggesting that nesting material might reduce stress or improve welfare.

  1. Khoo, Shaun Yon-Seng; Correia, Vanessa; Uhrig, Alexandra (2020). "Nesting material enrichment reduces severity of overgrooming-related self-injury in individually housed rats". Laboratory Animals. 54 (6): 546–558. doi:10.1177/0023677219894356. PMID 31924130.