Mouse Pregancy (Too Young?!)

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Mouse Pregancy (Too Young?!)

Post by Murmur on Sun 03 Feb 2019, 2:37 pm

As a disclaimer, I've read everything that this site has posted, the breeding packet and all. These are just questions that I still have and things I need help figuring out.

So, I recently acquired two mice from my local pet store. They were both said to be females, who had been raised together. (Not related, just two litters who shared a nanny.) Of course, it's now clear that I have one male and one female.

My issue here is that the female (Shorthaired PEW) is significantly smaller than the male (Longhaired Lethal Yellow). I would say about half his size, but that's an exaggeration. He's got about 40% more body mass than the female. I'm assuming this is because she is younger? He also is treating her like a child. I haven't seen much explicit mating behavior, he has just been grooming her and sharing his food. Should I be worried about her health if she gets pregnant too young? At this point, I've assumed they've mated, and since they're getting along I'm not sure if I should remove the male. Should I remove him if she gives birth?

Overall, I'm just concerned about her health. I can't seem to find much detail on pregnant young mice, other than don't let it happen. (But, no advice for when it does happen!) As well, half the sources I've read say that I need to remove the male immediately after mating, and half of them say that he'll be a wonderful dad. What would be the option that reduces the stress on my female? I don't want her to worry about him eating her babies, but I'm sure she'd love the help of a tankmate she trusts. Advice?

And on a much less important note. Any idea what their babies will look like? She's a shorthaired PEW, and he's a longhaired Lethal Yellow (I know one of his brothers in the pet store tank had Chocolate fur and was also longhaired). Other than that I don't know much. I've tried creating Punnett Squares and I'm fairly certain I'll be getting little copies of the parents. Love


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Re: Mouse Pregancy (Too Young?!)

Post by MouseLover on Mon 04 Feb 2019, 4:41 pm

Mice can get pregnant from as early as 5 weeks old, but responsible breeders wait a lot longer. Usually it's not recommended for a mouse to breed until 12 weeks old. If they get pregnant too young, there can be a higher chance of complications. For this reason, I would remove the male ASAP, every minute counts. At this point there may be a tiny chance that they haven't mated yet, or that she's not sexually mature yet, and by taking him out now there's a chance that you may be her from becoming pregnant too young.

After removing the male, I would then treat her as if she is pregnant just in case. If she doesn't get enough nutrition right now, there's a higher chance of problems with the pregnancy or delivery, and a higher chance of her eating her own babies due to deficiencies. Make sure her food bowl and water is always full, but she'll also need extra protein (such as scrambled eggs and cooked chicken).

After her and the male are separated, if she hasn't given birth within 21 days, she wasn't pregnant. You could then get her some female companions. If she does have babies maybe she could keep some of her girls with her for company?

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Re: Mouse Pregancy (Too Young?!)

Post by Murmur on Mon 04 Feb 2019, 6:42 pm

I just removed the male. Luckily I had a spare cage so I just needed to run over to the pet store to get him another wheel and water bottle. They still have some of the girls (I've learned how to tell the difference of sexes myself now, and not listen to staff) from the litter if she needs another friend. They both seem to be a bit confused about the change as they're favoring the sides of their cages that are closest to each other. But, for their sakes they've been separated. They were only together for about four days, and I've read that female mice go into estrus every 3-5 days. So, as far as I know I may be in the clear, or not. (Just crossing my fingers now.) Thanks so much for the advice! This is my first time having mice and I want them to be happy and healthy.

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Re: Mouse Pregancy (Too Young?!)

Post by MouseLover on Tue 05 Feb 2019, 4:26 am

Aaw they're probably missing each other but I think it's for the best. Keep an eye on your little lady's weight and let us know if there's any sign of pregnancy Smile

Pet stores are notorious for getting the sex of mice wrong lol. It may be worth having a look at the difference yourself so that if you do bring some more home you might be able to tell if it's a boy/ girl.

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Re: Mouse Pregancy (Too Young?!)

Post by Murmur on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 11:56 am

Since I've separated the male (James) and female (Tomi), both are adjusting to the single life nicely. But, I can confidently say that I truly think Tomi is pregnant.

I know I'm not a professional, but there is a definite swelling in her abdomen. And it's more round pear-shaped than she-ate-too-much shape. If I'm calculating correctly, this would be her eighth day of pregnancy, as she lived with James from February 1st to February 4th. I've read almost everywhere that mice don't "show" much in terms of baby weight.

But, does anyone think that it's possible I'm seeing such a weight gain because of her smaller size, and since it's her first litter (I assume)? She doesn't seem uncomfortable, just a bit slowed down and more focused on nesting and sleeping.

I'd also like to know if and when I'm allowed to clean her cage. I don't want to destroy her nest, if/when she makes one. Yet, I don't want her living in a messy cage. How do I know if she's stressed by all this?


And FINALLY, my most important question (ANYONE PLEASE HELP)! I'm supposed to give her protein like eggs. The only eggs I have access to are hard boiled. How much of this do they need? Surely not the entire egg? It's bigger than they are! And do they eat the white or the yellow? I know this seems simple, but I can't find this answer anywhere.

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Re: Mouse Pregancy (Too Young?!)

Post by MouseLover on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 1:07 pm

If the mice were together when you got them, is it possible they were living together before 1st February? That would mean she was further along in the pregnancy than you thought, and might explain why she's big already? Like you say though, it's totally possible that some mice just "show" more or earlier than others. Some mice look like they've swallowed a whole ping-pong ball by the end of their pregnancy haha.

I'm not 100% sure about the cleaning issue, as I've not had a pregnant mouse. But I'd imagine there would be ways for you to clean around her nest, such as just wiping certain items with baby wipes or taking out wet/dirty litter and replacing with fresh. You wouldn't have to touch her nest or remove her from the cage and you could still give things a freshen up if you're worried about stressing her.

Hard boiled eggs are great and a bit of both the white and yellow would probably do her good as they contain different nutrients. How much to give isn't an exact science, but she won't need a whole egg in one go. I'd maybe give her a tea spoons worth, and remove any leftovers after a couple of hours to prevent it going bad.

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Re: Mouse Pregancy (Too Young?!)

Post by Roseheart on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 11:57 pm

I've had many pregnant mice and if she's not that far you can clean it just give her more nest materials and you could keep the old stuff too if you want but usually they don't mind and she should be fine as I've had young mice mothers but you will most likely have a small litter of 7 to 8 or you might just get lucky and get 10 but I wouldn't worry too much unless she has complications
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Re: Mouse Pregancy (Too Young?!)

Post by MouseLover on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 6:50 am

@Roseheart wrote:you might just get lucky and get 10

Lol, I would have thought lucky would be a really small number Laughing Easier to keep them all if you wanted to, or less to have to find homes for.

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Re: Mouse Pregancy (Too Young?!)

Post by Roseheart on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 9:07 am

I said it was lucky because I've never had my mice give birth to more than 8 that aren't runts who sadly die
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Re: Mouse Pregancy (Too Young?!)

Post by j.n379 on Tue 12 Feb 2019, 2:29 pm

My girl was small when she had her litter, I saw 4 when I accidentally disrupted her not knowing the birth had happened. One died and was removed by me, and another disappeared so I'll never know if it died naturally or was culled but it was definitely not growing at the correct rate. The cleanup I did after the babies were grown showed that more may have been born and dealt with by the mother before I even knew about the birth.
She was fully grown, at least 5 months in my care so about 6 months old, and her litter became very small, I'm not sure the original numbers though.
Her two sons remained with me, one passed at about 3 to 4 months old and the other is still with me.

I also just this week witnessed several LARGE litters of much healthier babies from much bigger mamas with better genetics than my girl.

If you're truly lucky, your little girl will birth a small number of healthy girls who can live with her forever! That was my hope, but instead I got all boys and needed to get a lot of new supplies!
There are a lot of possible outcomes, some will be harder on you than others, but the only thing you can do now is feed her extra proteins and make her comfortable.


I say if it's at all dirty, clean the cage top to bottom right this second, then don't clean it again until the babies are walking around, eyes open. Give her lots of toilet paper and paper towel ripped into strips to make her nest again. Then you ignore the nest until after the babies are born.
Then you can figure out which instructions to follow on touching the babies, I did multiple daily tummy checks from day one and some supplemental hand feedings because the one was too small (didn't work, but it could have in theory) and those boys are by far, the sweetest, calmest to handle mice I've ever had. I tucked them in my shirt for twenty minutes a day after they grew fur, so around 10 days old, just watched a tv show then brought them back to mom. Once they started roaming more actively I did solo visits to keep a better eye on them, but mostly they wanted to snuggle. The last one still remains very still in my hand and is happy to get scratches and love, which most of my other mice didn't until they were seniors or ill.

Basically, if you do get babies from her and they do remain healthy, they may become the most bonded animal you've ever had. You didn't do anything wrong here, they were already together when you got them and you couldn't have known not to trust the people who were supposed to know better. Having baby mice is often a wonderful experience, but I recommend not watching the birth, it's not a fun part and it stresses the mama.
If there's any doubt about the gender of your future babies, this board can help and if there's too many babies for you, or too many males, we've got a section for adoptions too Smile
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Re: Mouse Pregancy (Too Young?!)

Post by Murmur on Thu 14 Feb 2019, 1:09 am

@Roseheart
Thanks so much! I've just cleaner her cage, and considering I think I have about a week until she should give birth (today is estimated to be day 14 of pregnancy) I'm hoping to just do spot cleans from now onward. She's a bit indecisive about where she makes her nest! She's got makeshift ones in every corner, but hopefully her favorite one is in the nest box. And thanks for the vote of confidence on young mice mothers! Love I'm equipped and stocked to handle up to 5 tanks of mice, but I just wasn't betting on it happening so soon, lol! Plus, I have a local pet store that I know accepts surrenders and helps pets get adopted. So, if I have too many I can go to them.

@j.n379
I'm sorry to hear about your babies! I've heard that pregnancy is hard on the young mothers, which is why I''ve been so concerned for this girl. I joined this forum just for the reason of learning as much as I could! I've been giving her some egg pieces to provide more protein. But, I really liked what you said about socializing the babies! I must say I love the idea of putting them in a shirt pocket to get them used to cuddles, lol. I may borrow that idea. I plan on beginning to touch them at five or six days old. I know I could do it earlier, but I don't want to stress mama, as I'm still bonding with her and I know she doesn't trust me fully yet.

My newest problem is that, hear me out, I've taken her wheel away. She's a crazy spaz when it comes to that toy and flies off of it and falls. She constantly rolling off of it, uncontrolled. Or ending up upside down somehow. I think she may hurt the babies. So, I took it away. It's been four hours and she's sorta going stir crazy. She's becoming a wall biter, just chewing at the corners of her tank, and diving in bedding. Granted, I don't know if this is exploration of her new toys, or boredom. I tried my best to substitute with some other toys, but any toy ideas that won't let her hurt herself and be reckless? Or should I give the wheel back, but under supervision?

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Re: Mouse Pregancy (Too Young?!)

Post by MouseLover on Thu 14 Feb 2019, 5:50 am

Actually quite a lot of people take pregnant mice's wheels away. If they're particularly wheel obsessed they'll often neglect their nest-building in favour of wheel running, or worse neglect the babies. So it's totally fine for you to take the wheel out for a bit if it's in her/ the babies best interest Smile

I would just do what you're doing already and just try and give her more toys and things to explore instead. Stuff treats inside toilet rolls and wrap in paper, for example. She just needs things to do with her time. If it seems like she's enjoying diving in bedding, maybe you could fill a cardboard box with bedding and put some treats in the bottom, to encourage her to dig? Depending on how comfortable she is outside her cage, you could also set up a little playground for her to explore in a dry bathtub, just to let her run and explore a bit. Obviously if you think she'd just find that stressful, don't bother. It's better for her to be a bit bored for a few weeks than for her or her babies to be unsafe.

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