conditions can induce changes in metabolic and physiologic processes or alterations in disease susceptibility (Broderson and others 1976; Schoeb and others 1982; Vesell and others 1976).


Primary Enclosures

The primary enclosure (usually a cage, pen, or stall) provides the limits of an animal's immediate environment. Acceptable primary enclosures

  • Allow for the normal physiologic and behavioral needs of the animals, including urination and defecation, maintenance of body temperature, normal movement and postural adjustments, and, where indicated, reproduction.

  • Allow conspecific social interaction and development of hierarchies within or between enclosures.

  • Make it possible for the animals to remain clean and dry (as consistent with the requirements of the species).

  • Allow adequate ventilation.

  • Allow the animals access to food and water and permit easy filling, refilling, changing, servicing, and cleaning of food and water utensils.

  • Provide a secure environment that does not allow escape of or accidental entrapment of animals or their appendages between opposing surfaces or by structural openings.

  • Are free of sharp edges or projections that could cause injury to the animals.

  • Allow observation of the animals with minimal disturbance of them.

Primary enclosures should be constructed with materials that balance the needs of the animal with the ability to provide for sanitation. They should have smooth, impervious surfaces with minimal ledges, angles, corners, and overlapping surfaces so that accumulation of dirt, debris, and moisture is reduced and satisfactory cleaning and disinfecting are possible. They should be constructed of durable materials that resist corrosion and withstand rough handling without chipping, cracking, or rusting. Less-durable materials, such as wood, can provide a more appropriate environment in some situations (such as runs, pens, and outdoor corrals) and can be used to construct perches, climbing structures, resting areas, and perimeter fences for primary enclosures. Wooden items might need to be replaced periodically because of damage or difficulties with sanitation.

All primary enclosures should be kept in good repair to prevent escape of or injury to animals, promote physical comfort, and facilitate sanitation and servicing. Rusting or oxidized equipment that threatens the health or safety of the animals should be repaired or replaced.

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