Barbering

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Barbering

Post by despereaux on Sat Nov 19, 2016 7:12 pm

So Willow loves to groom her sisters and it seems like she means well, but lately she's been over doing it. When they were younger, the others would just squeak at her and then go on their way when they'd had enough. They've all since grown and she is a lot bigger than the others so it's easier for her to keep going even when they want her to stop. Now not only is she my only mouse left with a full set of whiskers, but Daisy has a thin patch on her forehead that is getting sparser by the day. She's otherwise a very sweet mouse and has never done any chasing/nipping/etc. I don't think there's any malicious intent behind this, but on the other hand, I could be totally wrong. I'm wondering if it's time to give Willow a time out and isolate her from the others for awhile. Would this be at all helpful? And if so, how should I go about doing it?

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Re: Barbering

Post by MooMouse on Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:23 pm

Do you offer them plenty of toys, hides, and things to do? Maybe Willow is doing it out of boredom. I don't own female mice so I've never had this problem, but I know that sometimes boredom can be the cause of excessive grooming and barbering.

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Re: Barbering

Post by despereaux on Sun Nov 20, 2016 3:50 pm

They have quite a bit to do in their cage. They have more than enough floor space, lots of places to hide/explore, and a big wheel. I usually make some kind of hanging level too and every other day or so I hide treats around the cage for them to find. I clean it out often so they don't see the same thing for too long. Willow is also a pretty lazy mouse. She eats and occasionally runs on the wheel but other than that she pretty much stays in the nest.

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Re: Barbering

Post by Peachy on Sun Nov 20, 2016 4:35 pm

From what I've read, barbering is more OCD and dominance than boredom. To put a dominant mouse in her place, you need a more dominant mouse. But for the OCD... two things I'd try with an OCD scratcher is blowing at them gently to tell them no (so you could try that when you see her going after her cagemates) and distracting as much as you can. More playtime, new routines, new toys... as often as possible.

I think separating her until the others start getting fur back might be a good idea if you can't seem to slow her down. It would give you and her time to come up with a new habit, but it sounds like the success with that varies and might take a couple tries. Getting hair and whiskers pulled out sounds painful, so if nothing else the other girls would probably enjoy the break. lol

There's another member who hasn't seemed to have any luck getting her grooming fanatics to knock it off, but maybe she'd have more ideas. I hope you can convince Willow to stop!
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Re: Barbering

Post by MesaMouse on Sun Nov 20, 2016 6:24 pm

I have no suggestions but am amused that your "power-groomer" is named Willow. That was the name of my power-groomer, too, and her sisters bravely tolerated her ministrations. She never went after whiskers, just the top of the head and around the muzzle so her sisters always looked like tonsured monks Laughing !

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Re: Barbering

Post by Brynne on Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:45 pm

That 'other member' must be me! Sorry, nothing I've done has made much difference. First Sarah Jane and later Eliza decided that they will barber any or all of the other lab mice. So I put them together as a pair to give the others a break and let their whiskers come back.
I've even had mice become barberers who were born here. I'm certain they were never barbered or exposed to any barbering as children. Yet it came naturally to them as adults, even when it was absent in their parents!

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Re: Barbering

Post by CinnamonPearl on Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:25 am

I remember when I was on TFM, the old mouse expert said that the best way to stop a barberer is to separate her out for four weeks.

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