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Post by Barbiefly on Fri 08 Jul 2016, 2:55 am

Hi, I'm new here and a new mouse parent. We were recently taking care of a friends daughters mice while they went on vacation and when they came back the father of the girls said he didn't want the mice back. I have been reading up on mouse care as I have never had any mice before. We have two dogs, two cats and three cockatiels also. I realize that the info I was given on how to care for the mice is wrong and would like some answers from knowledgeable people. For one thing, the mice are two males and they are in the same cage. When they got them they were 2 months old and one might have been a little older than the other because he was bigger. From what I've read here two males should never be kept in the same cage. They seem to love each other and sleep curled next to each other but it sounds like that could change at any time. We were thinking on getting another cage and connecting the two but I'm thinking now that we should keep them seperated and not connect the cages.

The wheel they gave us is too small too, from what I've read their back should not arch when they are on the wheel. I want to get a bigger one but which is best. The regular kind of wheel like the silent spinner, one of the saucer types or one that's like a ball?

The food they gave us is the Kaytee mouse pellets which I know is terrible food from a terrible company. They told us to give them 4 pellets a day and I'm not sure if this is enough food for them. I'm definitely going to get the vitakraft parakeet mix I keep reading about here but how much do I give of each until they are used to the new diet? Maybe two pellets and a couple tablespoons of the vitakraft? I have been giving them a few treats I've read are good for them like Cheerios, romaine lettuce, banana, apple and brown rice. Just a few pieces, a different treat every day.

They gave us a bag of bedding but I didn't know you are supposed to put it in the oven or freeze before using it. They were using the colored paper bedding which I know isn't the best for mice. I'm thinking of using carefresh, I think that's the name. Is this a good one. They told us to put just a little on the bottom of the cage but I've read that you should have 2-3 inches. What do you guys use and how much?

What toys do you use to help keep their teeth from growing too long? The mice don't seem to like the little colored wood blocks we were given. I put some toilet paper rolls in and paper towel roll and they seem to love climbing and going through those, I put the paper towel roll like a ramp and made a little hole in it and tied it to the bars of the cage with hemp string. They love climbing up that. Do you have any other ideas for cheap toys I can make for them. Surprisingly, they have not chewed the paper towel rolls up.

That is all my questions for now. I'm sure I'll have more soon. And thanks in advance for any answers you give me. Oh, and I forgot to say I'm pretty sure these are pet shop mice. It's my husbands coworker who gave them to us so I haven't asked and my husband is to busy while working to ask her.
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Post by scaredymouse on Fri 08 Jul 2016, 4:50 am

Welcome to the forum! hello3

It great that you took in these poor little abandoned mice and are here to learn about them. I just hate that people think these sweet little creatures are disposable. You are absolutely correct, males should never be housed together. I know it looks like they love each other and they very well might... but the day will come that the get territorial and will fight to the death. Such is nature. The best home for them is a 10 gallon aquarium with a mesh lid with locking clips. I believe Petco is having their dollar per gallon sale, so you can get a 10 gallon tank for $10.00, then the lid is about another 10 and the clips are about 5.00. The best bedding for them is paper based bedding like carefresh or kaytee clean & cozy. I personally like the kaytee clean and cozy because it's softer and less dusty in my opinion. The ones that are pretty colors are fine as long as they are unscented. You are right, 2-3 inches of bedding is much appreciated by mice. It helps absorb odor and they love to play around in it. You can hand shred some toilet paper to put in their nest box for bedding. Just NO cotton. They sell cotton fluff at the store that looks so great but will kill mice if they eat it. Many people bake the bedding to kill any potential mites... I don't do it. I have a lot of pets and I don't have that kind of time in my life.

Wheels should be at least 6" in diameter. Really, any of these are fine... the mesh, silent spinner, or flying saucer are all perfectly good wheels. I spoil my mice... so I actually have all of the wheels and swap them out so the mice don't get bored. But in your case, you could just pick two and alternate every now and them. In any case, as long as the wheel is 6" or bigger, you're fine. However, with the mesh wheel, I prefer the 8"- it still fits in the tank and they have a nice running area. After all, that's pretty much their favorite thing to do.

The vitakraft parakeet food is what I use, I think it's the best. You could do like a 50/50 mix, but I doubt they will even touch the blocks as soon as you give them yummy new food. The worst that will happen is their tummies might get a little upset for a couple days but they will be ok. I have gotten new mice with no idea of what they were eating before I got them, so I had no choice but to give them 100% new food and they never had any problems acclimating to it. From now on, they can have all the food they want. Mice don't overeat, so as soon as you see the food bowl run down, fill it back up. Other things they love are dried mealworms, dried oats, flaxseeds, walnuts, pecans, dried coconut, and pumpkin seeds. They should get fresh food a couple times a week, mice seem to have different preferences but all my mice go nuts for kale, spinach and broccoli. They aren't too big on fruit though. They do love a nibble of wheat bread and cooked pasta though!

Toys. Those little blocks are boring. Toilet paper rolls are always a big hit! Many of us make popsicle stick toys for our mice, with popsicle sticks from the craft store and hot glue guns. That's great that you used hemp string, that's safe, as is sisal and jute. A lot of us make hammocks out of fleece (safe fabric). Mice also LOVE old cardboard egg cartons. They will chew those up into nothing. Plain old cardboard is also well loved. From the pet store, applewood sticks are well liked.

I hope I answered all your questions! If I missed something, let me know.






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Post by CallaLily on Fri 08 Jul 2016, 8:10 am

I think Scaredy covered it all but I wanted to say Welcome3

You can get some ideas for fun homemade toys here:
Popsicle Stick MES
Totally Free Toy Ideas

Also, your boys may appreciate a Fake Friend.

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Post by MouseLover on Fri 08 Jul 2016, 8:20 am

Don't have much to add to scaredymouse's response but just wanted to thank you for taking these little mice in, and trying to give them a better life. It sounds like you've made a great start already!

That toy you made them sounds fab. Mice absolutely love climbing things! As scaredy mentioned, lots of us make things out of popsicle sticks for our mice. You can use hot glue guns or Elmer's glue (or PVA glue if you're from the UK). You can make houses, climbing frames, swings, whatever you can think of.

Good luck with the mice, and let us know if you have any more questions.

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Post by CinnamonPearl on Fri 08 Jul 2016, 8:31 am

I would separate those boys immediately. Use a container to house one of them if you need to and get another one quickly. That fight could break out at any moment, even a few minutes from now, and they might not both make it out.

It seems like Scaredy covered everything. For switching the boys from Kaytee lab blocks to Vitakraft, just follow these steps. Fill their bowl with blocks, weigh how much food you put in, and give it to them, after a day (or however long you intend to go before changing their food), weigh the untouched food to see how much they ate or used. Use subtraction to get the number. That's how much you should give in each feeding. At the next feeding, give 75% lab blocks and 25% Vitakraft. At the next, go 50-50. The next time, 25% blocks and 75% Vitakraft. And finally, chuck those garbage blocks in the bin and start feeding 100% seeds. The slow transition is so they don't get an upset stomach while making the change.

Also, colored paper bedding is totally fine. I prefer it, in fact. It's more fun! You can bake or freeze your bedding if you want to, but I'll be honest, I never have, and I've never had any problems. Now I know that not having any problems yet doesn't mean I never will, but it seems to be okay to not do it all the time unless you're using a bedding notorious for parasites.

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Post by Rodents rock! on Fri 08 Jul 2016, 10:13 am

Hi Barbiefly! Welcome!! You came to the right place for help. All of the people on this site have been very helpful to me and it's a fun site! What are the names of your new mice? (by the way, thank you for keeping them and taking such good care of the little guys!) When you get a chance, we would love to see photos! I make stuff for my mouse, Mickey, out of the popsicle sticks and a hot glue gun. He loves it! It's inexpensive and fun to create things. And the best part is once the popsicle structures get dirty - you just toss them and make something new! Looking forward to hearing more about your new guys. Congrats
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Post by River on Fri 08 Jul 2016, 11:05 am

I've got much to add, but felt is another safe fabric to use if you have it on hand. I prefer saucer wheels, but they take up a lot of space in the 10 gallon, so it depends on you.
Post pictures soon!

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Post by Barbiefly on Fri 08 Jul 2016, 11:48 am

Thanks everybody for the great info! I appreciate it. I'll post pics soon. Oh, and we named them Codo and Podo. They were named Coco and Buddy when we got them but we wanted to give them our own names. They were almost named Wookie and Wampa but we decided Codo and Podo because it's easier for my almost 2 year old son to say. And it's a reference to one of my favorite movies growing up. Smile
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Post by Barbiefly on Fri 08 Jul 2016, 12:05 pm

Also, does anybody know any good books about mouse care. I love to read and have books about my animals. Thanks!
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Post by CinnamonPearl on Fri 08 Jul 2016, 3:18 pm

Books aren't the best place to learn about mouse care because they can get outdated, so be careful when learning from them. I'm sure there are good ones out there, though. I don't know of any, but perhaps someone can point you in the right direction.

Have you read the articles in the mouse care sections of the forum? They're all written by mouse expert BarbaraFunMouse and an excellent read. You should give all of them a look.

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Post by Barbiefly on Fri 08 Jul 2016, 3:22 pm

Thanks, I've looked at some so far. They are great.
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Post by GabbiLuvsMice on Fri 08 Jul 2016, 3:23 pm

I agree with Cinna, most of the books at libraries are from the 90's and are quite outdated. You can read books for info about mice, but I wouldn't trust them for info on how to care for mice.

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Post by Artistwolf on Fri 08 Jul 2016, 8:47 pm

I once took one of those Persmart "pet mouse guide" brochure things and edited it. It looked crazy afterwards, with all sorts of things crossed out and extra writing all along the margins. I should post a photo of it someday Laughing
I actually have one mouse book that is good in that it recommends that mice live in tanks (or, rather, the pictures do), but other than that it's not at all always reliable. Might get some sticky notes or something and edit that too.

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Post by olimarthemouse on Sat 09 Jul 2016, 7:57 am

@Artistwolf wrote:I once took one of those Persmart "pet mouse guide" brochure things and edited it. It looked crazy afterwards, with all sorts of things crossed out and extra writing all along the margins. I should post a photo of it someday Laughing
I actually have one mouse book that is good in that it recommends that mice live in tanks (or, rather, the pictures do), but other than that it's not at all always reliable. Might get some sticky notes or something and edit that too.

I always grab those PetSmart guides when I get a new pet, solely for having the cute picture on the front! Laughing Cool that you edited it, though!
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