The Art of Applying Mouse Ear Tags

White laboratory mouse

Mus musculus is the species of mouse found most frequently in a variety of laboratories. Because of their genetic similarity to humans, they are the most commonly used mammalian research model in genetics, physiology, psychology, medicine, and other scientific disciplines. For research, experimental, and testing purposes in a laboratory setting, animal identification plays a critical role in managing individual animals. The primary purpose of effective animal identification is twofold:

  • It helps maintain the overall health and comfort of the animals; and
  • It is vital in keeping accurate research records.
Mouse ear tags
Mouse Ear Tags

To that end, there are a variety of options when it comes to the identification of mice and other rodents, including marking the fur and tattooing the toes. However, the application of mouse ear tags is both relatively inexpensive and generally painless. Note that this method is not appropriate for mice that will undergo CT or MRI imaging.

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5 Essential Books for Lambing Season

Two sheep with lamb

As sheep (along with dogs) were among the first animals to be domesticated by human beings, it stands to reason that we have collectively accumulated a vast amount of information about raising and caring for these animals. For centuries this knowledge has been added to and passed down orally, from generation to generation. Then, with the advent of the printing press and the scientific method, our knowledge about the raising of sheep was able to be refined and preserved.

Like all ancient crafts, the raising and breeding of sheep is best learned by doing, in a hands-on manner, overseen by an experienced mentor. It does not lend itself well to pure book-learning by itself. And of the many different aspects of raising sheep, surely one of the most fraught and ticklish is the matter of lambing. Lambing, of course, is the act of a ewe (female sheep) giving birth to a baby lamb. A successful lambing season demands deep biological knowledge, familiarity with the personality of the ewe, the patience of a saint, and nerves of steel. Even then, so much can go wrong.

In that event, the sheep farmer—even the most seasoned—may find him/herself at the limit of their knowledge. If a trusted vet is not immediately available to assess the problem, it is up to the sheep farmer to solve it. The books listed below may be of assistance and should be ever-present in the sheep farmer’s barnyard library. Continue reading “5 Essential Books for Lambing Season”

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It’s Not Too Early to Prepare for Lambing Season

Two lambs in pasture

We typically associate lambing season with springtime. Yet many who keep sheep find that lambing can begin as early as December. Whatever time of year your lambing season begins, it is vital to plan ahead. Preparing well for lambing season will optimize the number of newborn lambs and help keep your flock healthy. Key preparations boil down to:

  • Proper management and feeding of the sheep
  • Readying the barn
  • Stocking up on needed supplies

Here are a few tips for preparing for a successful lambing season. Continue reading “It’s Not Too Early to Prepare for Lambing Season”

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Diary of a Reluctant Cat Rescuer

Charles Darwin quote: The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.

Guest blog by Frank Weaver

“So first, your memory I’ll jog,
And say: A CAT IS NOT A DOG.”
~ T.S. Eliot, ‘The Ad-dressing of Cats’
from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

Perhaps it is due to a defect in my character, but the company of animals has for me often been preferable to that of human beings. Not that I am any sort of misanthrope. I like people, and get along well with practically all of them. It’s just that I find the complex machinations of the human mind—how to read it, how to respond to it, what to make of it—quite exhausting at times. Whereas the instincts, behaviors, and personalities of most animals lie much more at the surface, readily accessible if not always understood. Their innocence is profoundly appealing, and thus dealing with them is just easier for someone like me.

So yes, I love animals, all of them. I daresay, they tend to love me back most of the time. And how could it be otherwise?—given that my namesake saint is most famous for his inspiring rapport with birds and every other beast.

St. Francis with the Animals
Saint Francis with the Animals by Lambert de Hondt / Willem van Herp

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Beware Winter Pet Perils

Snowy winter scene

There are strange and mysterious sounds
When the winds of winter blow,
The long nights are crystal clear and cold,
And the fields and meadows are covered with snow.

~ Joseph T. Renaldi (from “Winter Wonderland”)


Even for those who don’t much like the season, winter does have its charms. Is there anything more serene than the sight of newly fallen snow on a frozen meadow, or more enticing than festive holiday lights illuminating a city street? Yet behind all that beauty lie dangers, hidden and unhidden, that every pet owner must be aware of once the winter months roll around. Now, with daily temperatures dipping below zero in New York, New England and other northern states, we will end the year with cautionary advice for pet owners keen to protect their animals from these perils and keep them safe, healthy, and happy. Continue reading “Beware Winter Pet Perils”

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