Housing sheep fitted with instruments in a floor pen
The problem of housing sheep that are required to be fitted with catheters and other instruments as part of an experimental procedure has been addressed in an innovative way at an establishment visited recently.
A modified floor pen has been used with straw litter bedding to provide a comfortable stall for the sheep.
The pen has sufficient space for the animal to turn around and smooth transparent acrylic sheets fitted over the existing mesh side allows the sheep to see a companion housed in an adjoining pen, while preventing damage to the instruments.
Researchers working with the sheep have experienced no problems with them being housed in the floor pen.
Sheep carrying instrumentation were previously kept in metabolism crates which were raised above the floor, greatly restricting the movement of the animals and making it difficult to meet their behavioural needs.
Handling the sheep in the floor pen is reportedly easier than when they were kept in a metabolism crate. An added advantage is that when not required for sheep, the floor pen can be readily configured to house rabbits.