|Originally posted by moi_kitty on The Fun Mouse forum. Please do not reproduce in any way without permission.|
So you think you want to start a mousery...
In the past few months it seems that the number of "mouseries" around the country (and the world) has grown dramatically. Unfortunately, the number of truly responsible mouseries has not grown at nearly the same rate. Before you bring a bunch of helpless animals into the world, there are some things you need to think about.
First of all, why do you want to breed? If the only reason you have is that you want more mice - go out and buy some! Simply producing more mice is NOT a reason to breed! A good breeder will have goals behind every single litter, and standards for whether or not a mouse is bred - just because you have a doe (or two) and one buck does not mean that they should be bred! In addition, talk to breeders (or pay attention to these forums). Not every animal should be bred - in fact, most should not. Unless you are sure that your potential breeders are high quality animals, you are not contributing to the betterment of the species - you're contributing to all the mice who don't have homes.
Second, but not less important, think about the financial aspect. Yes, it is true that mice are a relatively cheap pet. They are most often bought for under $5 a piece. Caging and food are slightly more - and do remember that if you are breeding you will need MANY more cages or tanks. But what happens when they get sick? If you cannot afford vet care for your animals (ALL of your animals) then you should not even think about breeding. If you do not think that a mouse deserves vet care, then why would you want to bring even more "insignificant" creatures into being? Not to mention that the risk of truly needing vet care rises with every single animal you own - mice are no different. The risk of needing vet care is even higher for pregnant mice! If you are incapable of transporting your mice to the vet, or paying for vet care, you should absolutely not be breeding mice.
In addition, consider the risk to the mice you already have. Having babies is a dangerous thing - even for humans! A pregnant mouse is at risk for hemorrhaging, miscarriage, spontaneous abortion, and (literally) hundreds of other things that could harm or kill her during or after her pregnancy. Raising a litter is not easy either, and takes a lot of fat and vitamins from the mother's body. Even a buck can be injured in mating! Some does do not appreciate the attentions of a buck - particularly after they've already conceived, and can seriously injure the buck.
Have you thought about how much time and effort it takes to clean just the number of mice that you have? Are you willing to put three times that effort into cleaning every week? For those who live with their parents, also remember that the smell of your mice will multiply with the additional number of mice that you have. Your parents will almost certainly not appreciate their house smelling because of your pets.
Also, if you live with your parents, guardians, or even roommates - will you be able to keep your animals indefinitely? What happens when the people you live with get tired of them and ask or *force* you to get rid of them? Particularly if you are a minor living with your parents or guardians, this is a VERY real situation! If you have a few tanks of smelly boy mice, a parent's patience can wear thin - particularly if they end up taking care of them because you are too young or immature to take care of them properly. Your beloved friends might end up being dumped on a pet store, being sold as snake food! You certainly will have done them no favors by breeding them.
What do you intend to do with the babies? Sure, you may have some friends who wouldn't mind taking a couple as pets - but what about the others? There may be a pet store nearby, but are they really going to stop a snake-owner from purchasing your babies as food for *their* baby (snake)? I'm sure some people would be okay with that, but I'm certainly not one of them! If your only option is to take your babies to a pet store you should NOT be breeding. Pet stores have mice, they don't need yours!
Breeding can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience - but it can also be heartbreaking. Accidents happen, babies and adults die or become ill, the unthinkable can happen. It may seem fun and exciting for you now, but always remember that these are real live animals with feelings and needs - they are not toys - and by breeding them you are taking a calculated risk.
And always remember Heather's favorite phrase, "The world has enough mice. Why do you think you should bring more into it?"
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