The present study set out to establish the chronic mild stress (CMS) animal model of depression in male CD-1 mice, a commonly used mouse strain. Mice were exposed to a series of mild stressors (e.g. soiled bedding, paired housing, cage tilt, white-noise)presented in a continuous unpredictable fashion. Intermittently, CMS was discontinued and the mice were presented with both water and a palatable saccharin solution (0.1% w/v) in a two-bottle choice test overnight (15 h). Repeated exposure of these mice to the stressors led to a reduction in preference for the saccharin solution. This change in preference was attributed to an increase in the consumption of water rather than a decrease in the consumption of saccharin solution. Over time and with extensive testing, CMS no longer affected performance in the two-bottle saccharin preference test. Treatment with the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine (20 mg/kg i.p., once daily) had a varied effect on the CMS-induced change in preference for saccharin, dependent on the timing of initiation of imipramine treatment. In the first instance, following 5 weeks of CMS where a reduction in saccharin preference was established, treatment with imipramine for a further 5 weeks maintained the stress-induced deficit in saccharin preference. However, using a different approach, pre-treatment with imipramine once daily for 2 weeks, prior to onset of CMS, and co-treatment thereafter, attenuated CMS-induced changes in saccharin preference. Finally, when imipramine treatment was scheduled to begin with the CMS procedure, imipramine failed to prevent the CMS-induced reductions in saccharin preference. Changes in behaviour observed after exposure to CMS may be linked to a stress-induced deterioration of the sensitivity of the mice to a rewarding stimulus. Treatment with imipramine can reduce these behavioural changes but is only effective when given repeatedly prior to onset of CMS.