Some housing Systems have special caging and ventilation equipment, including filter-top cages, ventilated cages, isolators, and cubicles. Generally, the purpose of these systems is to minimize the spread of airborne disease agents between cages or groups of cages. They often require different husbandry practices, such as alterations in the frequency of bedding change, the use of aseptic handling techniques, and specialized cleaning, disinfecting, or sterilization regimens to prevent microbial transmission by other than the airborne route.
Rodents are often housed on wire flooring, which enhances sanitation of the cage by enabling urine and feces to pass through to a collection tray. However, some evidence suggests that solid-bottom caging, with bedding, is preferred by rodents (Fullerton and Gilliatt 1967; Grover-Johnson and Spencer 1981; Ortman and others 1983). Solid-bottom caging, with bedding, is therefore recommended for rodents. Vinyl-coated flooring is often used for other species, such as dogs and nonhuman primates. IACUC review of this aspect of the animal care program should ensure that caging enhances animal well-being consistent with good sanitation and the requirements of the research project.
Sheltered or outdoor housing—such as barns, corrals, pastures, and islands-is a common primary housing method for some species and is acceptable for many situations. In most cases, outdoor housing entails maintaining animals in groups.
When animals are maintained in outdoor runs, pens, or other large enclosures, there must be protection from extremes in temperature or other harsh weather conditions and adequate protective and escape mechanisms for submissive animals. These goals can be achieved by such features as windbreaks, shelters, shaded areas, areas with forced ventilation, heat-radiating structures, or means of retreat to conditioned spaces, such as an indoor portion of a run. Shelters should be accessible to all animals, have sufficient ventilation, and be designed to prevent buildup of waste materials and excessive moisture. Houses, dens, boxes, shelves, perches, and other furnishings should be constructed in a manner and made of materials that allow cleaning or replacement in accord with generally accepted husbandry practices when the furnishings are excessively soiled or worn.
Floors or ground-level surfaces of outdoor housing facilities can be covered with dirt, absorbent bedding, sand, gravel, grass, or similar material that can be removed or replaced when that is needed to ensure appropriate sanitation. Excessive buildup of animal waste and stagnant water should be avoided by, for example, using contoured or drained surfaces. Other surfaces should be able to withstand the elements and be easily maintained.
Successful management of outdoor housing relies on consideration of