Breeding Rodents For Feeders

Few Questions on laws with breeding feeders as a business…

1) I read somewhere that it's cruel to kill a rodent by any other means but spinal dislocation. It seems extremely inefficient to do this to thousands of rats, plus, i think it's just cruel.  The link below is from Arizona, but does New York have a similar law?  I tried looking but couldn't find anything specific on Humanely Euthanizing Feeder Animals.

I have read on many other websites, including professional lab and feeder breeders that say they all use CO2 and it’s “recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association panel on euthanasia”

2) Zoning. What would the zoning requirements be for raising feeder rodents (commercial, industrial, agricultural, etc)?  I'd imagine this would probably vary state to state and municipality to municipality, I'm mostly interested in the Western NY Region. 

3) USDA License or not... Do you need any sort of USDA license to breed feeder rodents. I saw a company who raved they were USDA licensed. They also sold rodents to Zoos, Rescues, and other organizations.  As far as I knew, you weren't required to hold a USDA license unless you were dealing with wildlife and or certain exotics.

4) Are we required to have a vet come in and do inspections on our stock and get vet reports?


I used to breed snakes and was a buyer of frozen rodents.

My suppliers all said they used CO2.

Zoning issues about breeding animals are very local. You need to contact your local health or agricultural department, not expect someone here to know.

My main supplier, The Mouse Factory mentions being regulated by the state of Texas on its site, but nothing about the USDA.

Whether inspections will be required is again a very local issue.

Good luck.

The Mouse Factory mice are shipped frozen? How do you prepare them? Do you microwave them? I admit, I always thought that snales, etc, ate live mice.

“Dear? Don’t look in the microwave… that’s not my lunch, it’s for–”

I know a couple of humans who passed out from nitrogen narcosis, they claimed it was pleasant enough to do again if it were not for that pesky likelihood of death issue.

C02? That is nasty stuff, burns like hell. I use my nose to determine when I have my MIG welder hose purged with CO2, and a big dose would be a horrible way to die IMO.

I used to volunteer to sacrifice the rats after experiments when I was in grad school because a lot of people didn’t like to see them in the CO2 chamber. There is nothing peaceful about them dying through CO2. They go through sheer gasping panic for a significant amount of time. A lab guillotine is a lot quicker and less cruel but really messy.

Having inhaled a large proportion of CO2 once, through my own idiocy (ok, I was trying to slim down a ziploc bag containing dry ice), I can confirm this. IIRC, it reacts with water to produce carbonic acid.

I once breathed helium to the point where I started to black out. I didn’t feel any discomfort or even realize anything was wrong until darkness started to close in. I assume breathing nitrogen would be the same.

If you know anyone who has access to liquid nitrogen and would let you have some, that’s the way I’d go.

Drop them in a bowl of hot water for 20 minutes - they soon reach normal body temperature. I imagine microwaving could get very messy and they stink. Wouldn’t fancy using the microwave for anything else afterwards.

I used to drown them, not much fun and quite time consuming but I could never get the hang of spinal dislocation - they are bendy and tough little buggers.

Thanks so far guys.

I do it slowly so it puts them to sleep (sleeping) before I turn the gas up to actually kill them. They seem to go peacefully.

I’m needing to kill very large amounts of rats so nitrogen may not work

It’s supposedly approved by the veterinary medical board shrug
And yea, for defrosting them, you’re going to want to fill a bowl with hot water and put them in a plastic bag and let them defrost. Give them fully defrosted and warm. If you microwave you will wind up nuking the inside of the rat and you may burn the snake