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Shepherd Shack® Details

Research Integrity

Effective environmental enrichment is a crucial component of sound, ethical research programs.  However, rodent enrichment items should support the research goals of the institution without confounding results.

  • Clean and Consistent
    Shepherd Shacks are manufactured from unprinted, uncoated, white book, publisher-grade paper. Other enrichment items often contain post-consumer waste materials.
  • Adhesive and Glue Free 
    Other enrichment devices like tubes or cardboard structures are manufactured with glues and adhesives. These potentially study-affecting substances may be directly ingested when the enrichment items are chewed and manipulated. Shepherd Shacks are manufactured from 100 percent paper pulp without adhesives or glue.
  • Ink Free
    Other enrichment items manufactured from recycled materials may contain inks and dyes that can potentially disrupt studies. Shepherd Shacks are manufactured exclusively from unprinted paper.
  • Contaminant Free
    Shepherd Shacks are virtually free of heavy metal        pesticides.

Animal Health & Welfare

Research animals give their lives for the advancement of science. In return, we at Shepherd believe it is our duty to provide enrichment items that encourage species specific behaviors and improve breeding and overall health.

Shepherd Shack® is an exceptional environmental enrichment choice in support of this lofty goal.

  • Reduced Aggression
    Studies show that Shepherd Shacks reduce aberrant behavior like whisker picking and hair loss amongst several strains. 
  • Most Prefered Rodent Structure
    A recent study determined that mice prefered Shepherd Shacks over plastic houses by over 15 to one.
  • Superior Nest Building Device
    Shepherd Shacks form an outstanding foundation for nest building when combined with our ALPHA-twist® or Enviro-dri® . Mice manipulate the nesting material and pull it into the Shepherd Shack to make the perfect nest. Studies show that a Shepherd Shack combined with nesting material is preferred over a cage with only nesting material by a ratio of over 4 to 1.
  • Activity Center
    Shepherd Shacks induce climbing and burrowing within the cage. It also can be chewed and shredded in nest best building activities.
  • Preferred Over Other Nesting Material
    When given the choice, mice prefer a cage with a Shepherd Shack over a cage with nesting material alone. 
  • Increase Pup Survival in Breeding Operations
    A recent study showed for some strains that Shepherd Shack reduced pre-wean pup loss by 30 percent and post-wean pup loss by 50 percent.  
  • Undisturbed Breeding
    The Shepherd Shack allows animal care staff to spot change the bedding in the cage without disturbing the litter within the Shepherd Shack.


Operational Productivity

Environmental enrichment items are crucial to the health and welfare of the animals and the research goals of the investigators. However, enrichment devices require additional investment and animal care staff labor to implement. Therefore, environmental enrichment programs must also be able to be utilized effectively and efficiently within a large scale research facility.

Shepherd Shack’s unique characteristics and durability supports economical facility wide usage.

  • Multiple Styles and Designs
    We have a Shepherd Shack to suit every available mouse cage and animal care staff work practice.
  • Shepherd Shack Dome
    can be used as is with two entrances. It may also be split into two pieces and fit within the smallest cages. The split, open back improves observation and allows an additional avenue for entry and exit.
  • Shepherd Shack 
    our original and largest mouse enrichment item has one entrance/exit and affords the best opportunity for a large nest.
  • Shepherd Shack Backless
    is a modified version of the Shepherd Shack with the back removed to allow for enhanced observation and a better fit in a tight cage.
  • Shepherd Shack Rat is designed for rats and guinea pigs.
  • Economical and Reusable
    Shepherd Shacks are manufactured from durable paper pulp that may be reused after cage changes. This assures the economical Shepherd Shack is even cheaper to use on a cage change basis.
  • Disposable and Compostable
    Plastic enrichment items must be handled, washed and sanitized. The paper pulp used in Shepherd Shacks may be disposed of in typical waste streams and compost easily in a moist waste environment.
  • Autoclavable and Available Irradiated
    Shepherd Shacks are easy and efficient to autoclave. They are also available irradiated for critical studies.

Available through our Dealer Network