Mouse matches

Thought I would post a few of our current pairings 🙂

My favourite is a trio, two females one very special male!

Dumbo is a gorgeous argente pied boy who lost about 1/3 of his tail when he was 5 weeks old – it never held him back! He’s extremely confident, friendly, and oh so laidback. He’s up there in our top 3 for ‘best personality’ 😊

Jiggy & Pirate are sisters, slightly younger than Dumbo. They have very similar personalities – lively, friendly, confident, although Pirate is a little harder to catch!

The first two pics are Dumbo (R) and Jiggy (L) – aren’t they a gorgeous pair?! 😍

These pics were taken midway through clean out, don’t mind the mess!

My phone goofed with that last pic of Pirate, so the colour’s kinda iffy 🙄

I just introduced Riley to a group of two girls – there were three originally, but as I split Saturn from Neppy into a birthing cage, I moved Spoon in with Neppy so he wasn’t alone!

Riley is agouti pied. He’s in with two other agouti pieds and one agouti 🙂

This is Neppy, who’s girlfriend Saturn just moved out. He’s argente (tan but the hairs have a really dark blue base)

Saturn, a satin fawn, is now in the birthing cage. I’ve been trying to decide for the past week if she’s pregnant or not – she’s always been kinda chubby, all my other mice are really trim so I wasn’t aware how much harder pregnancies were to spot in chubby mice!! 😂

And a video of most them. Saturn (watch for any possible baby bulge!!), Riley and his two girls (Spoon is still in that cage at the time!), then Neppy and Spoon 🙂

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Current mice

We had five or six litters within about 5 weeks here. Two in one cage, 4 in the other!

The older litters are 8 weeks old now and such beautiful babies.

I was trying to get some satins from these litters, and in just one I got 3 satin girls and 3 satin boys…I kept all the girls and one boy!

Bangle is a banded satin boy. He’s very sweet and inquisitive, and a real beauty…I knew from 1 week old he’d be a keeper!

He did injure his tail on a faulty cage, but it’s fully healed now and causes no pain 🙂

And the girls!

With the younger litters I wanted to work towards selfs (solid colours), any black eyed mice, and agoutis/chocolates. Again, we had success, with quite a few satins thrown in!! 😍

However best of all have been their personalities!!

Now, with the satins when we were first concentrating on them, ALL our satins were real livewires. Super speedy and alert, always on the go…so we had to carefully think our satin pairings so their personalities would mellow with each generation, and man did we succeed – as you can see here!

We’re now working on the same with our chocolate and agouti mice. Some of these babies are real wick, and the hopper stage has been full of leaping and sprinting!! They can all comfortably be handled, obviously, but we’ll be working to breed calmness into the line.

Our other colours are very very chilled 😊 Our argentes in particular are super affectionate and confident!

And there you have it, up to date with mouse news!

DIY Mouse Food!

I made up a new batch of mouse food today. About 30kg, which will last 6-9 months depending on how many mice we have!

This is a homemade mix we’ve been using for about a year, it changes slightly every time, but the core ingredients are the same. Our mice love it! 😊

The food consists of:

  • 20kg basic mouse mix (£22)
  • 5kg dog food (free!)
  • 2kg ferret kibble (£5)
  • 1.5kg bird seed (£2.99)
  • 1kg peaflakes (£0.99)
  • 750g dried banana chips (£0.99)
  • Dried mealworms (free!)

Some things to consider before breeding mice

Mice are easy, enjoyable pets.

They’re small and can be kept in relatively unobtrusive cages. A single male needs 60cm, and 2-3 females will happily live in a cage that size if space is used widely. They’re wonderful to watch, as they’re so active & agile, and easy to handle. They also rarely bite.

Because they’re easy to breed and seen as disposable (cheap) pets people get into breeding mice, having done no research and not understanding the true responsibility that comes with breeding.

So, as someone who has bred well over 30 litters of mice, here are some things to consider.

1. Space

Let’s say you have one litter of mice, you leave ten babies with mum, and five of them are male. From just one litter, you need seven cages – one for the females, one for dad, and one each for the male offspring. 

That’s seven cages of AT LEAST 50cm (80cm+ for six females), and they’re all gonna need cleaning out on an at least weekly basis. Do you have the space, time and money?

2. Cost

Not just for the mice, or the food…but the toys, cages, and vet care! I know someone who just spent over a hundred pounds on her mice that got a URI!!

3. Time

Cage cleaning takes anywhere from 10-60 minutes depending on the style of cage, size, and how many total you have to clean.

Then there’s the time you must put into handling your mice. For adult pet mice this is easy, you can let them climb all over you for half an hour a day…but add numerous babies/litters into the equation and it becomes quite the time sink! Especially at hopper stage, where more handling helps the bouncy babies settle.

At the hopper stage mice are extremely fast and can be very, very hard to handle. They leap all over the place (hence why many call this the popcorn stage!) with no regard to height or where they’re jumping, and sprint full speed…it’s very easy to lose them at this age!

4. Rehoming

Rehoming mice is not as easy as many people expect; they’re not a common pet. And, if people do want mice in your area, it’s still extremely hard to pace males – most people want females, who can live together and smell less than males.

And remember, it’s the males who’ll be needing individual cages whilst with you too!

5. Sexing

To the untrained eye sexing mice can be difficult way past the point where males are able to impregnate females (from 4 weeks old). I know of someone who had a wild mouse break into their cage, impregnating one of their elderly female mice. She couldn’t accurately sex the babies by 4 weeks old, and a male accidentally stayed with the females. Mum and all the daughters went on to be pregnant, and mum unfortunately passed away whilst giving birth 😢

Once you’re experienced at sexing mice, you can sex them at a few days old…otherwise you’re waiting until the boys are 4-8 weeks old, when their testicles start to very clearly show. The biggest problem there is that male mice can retract their testicles when nervous, scared, or excited…so even then it’s easy to miss and think they’re girls!!

6. Culling

This is the part people don’t want to think about, or believe they can ethically breed without having to cull mice…you can’t.

Let’s start with culling babies.

Mice have anywhere between 5-20 babies per litter; my lines average 12-14 pinkies a litter. In the wild babies have about an 80% survival rate, so these huge litters are important to try guarantee some babies survive…unfortunately (fortunately?) this isn’t a problem with pet mice.

Now, the more babies to a mum, the more strain on her and the less milk (and nutrients) the babies get. A stressed mum means more chance of munched babies, hungry babies, or abandoned babies. Too many babies means individuals miss milk and they get less nutrition overall; babies from big litters will never grow to be as big or healthy as those with managed litters.

Let’s talk numbers. The ideal number of babies for a mum to manage is 4-6. At that ratio the babies get a ton of milk, and mum has a wonderful, enjoyable motherhood!

If you really want, you can push it to ten babies. Female mice have ten teats, so although babies won’t receive huge amounts of milk, it shouldn’t be a problem…but you really shouldn’t keep more than that in one litter. With ten babies you’ll have to keep a very close eye on babies, and check they’re a good weight with milk bellies regularly…if any babies are skinny, you need to reduce the litter.

To leave a mum with a large litter (12, 14 babies) is in my eyes cruel, on both her and the pinkies. Just because litters of 14-18 babies can survive with one mum, doesn’t mean it’s fair – they won’t thrive. It won’t be good for them, and they won’t reach their full potential. 

Moving away from having to cull for litter size, you’re most likely going to have to cull to keep down the number of males you have. Males in litters lie 50%, although I’ve noticed mine often sit at 60%. As I said earlier, males can be extremely hard to rehome. Within a few litters you could end up overrun with male mice!

And finally: culling for health.

Please note, all methods we use to cull out mice are humane and veterinary approved.

If you’re breeding mice seriously, you’re going to need to cull at some point.

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Breeding mice is a rewarding experience, but you must know what you’re getting into 😉