Automated Rodent Reaching Chamber Home Cage Pellet Hopper

Skilled forepaw reaching behaviors are required to retrieve pellets from the food hopper.  Infrared recording devices quantify reach attempts and latency measures.  Pellets removed from the hopper, but dropped outside of chamber, indicate pellets grasped but not retrieved or pellets scooped out of the hopper.  Pellets dropped through the grid floor inside of the chamber indicate pellets successfully retrieved, but not successfully eaten.  Two reaching holes on opposite walls allow researchers to alternate baited and non-baited hoppers within or between trials.  Walls may also be marked for visually cued cognitive tasks.  Latency measure and reach attempts into non-baited hopper are used to assess cognitive deficits.  Latency measure from introduction to the chamber to the first reach attempt indicated motivation to retrieve pellets. Home-cage hopper allows effortless, timesaving, quantifiable training of skilled forepaw behavior. Hoppers can be used for mice or rats.

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