Food Restriction Procedure
Weigh the rats to get “baseline weight”.
Calculate 85% of baseline weight – this is the critical threshold for weight; if rats fall below 85% of baseline their daily chow ration must be increased.
Make a doorsheet listing the intial starting weight, the 85% threshold weight, with room for recording body weight each day.
Give each rat 3-4 pieces of chow over night. Make sure they have water at all times.
At the start of each day’s training, weight the rats and record their weights on the door sheet. Make sure no one has fallen below 85% (increase their chow ration if their weight has fallen too much).
Prepare the chocolate reward by mixing: 70g Powdered Chow, 14g sucrose, 70ml DI H2O- stir until moist , 40g Hershey's syrup
Place the rat in the goal box and allow it to eat the chocolate treat for 1 min.
Place the rat on the end of the balance beam, and allow it to walk down to the goal box.
If the rat reaches the goal box, allow it to eat the chocolate treat for 15 seconds; then return it to the end of the balance beam.
If the rat does not walk to the goal box, pick it up and handle it for ~30 seconds, then return it to the end of the balance beam.
Repeat 5 times each training day.
Return the rat to its home cage, and give it the daily ration of 3-4 chow pellets.