Not interested in eating when not in cage

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Not interested in eating when not in cage

Post by Kate B on Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:56 pm

I've only had my mice a couple weeks (and two of the three not even that long), so I'm guessing this is just because they're still getting used to their new home.  But my mice do not seem interested in food when out of their cages.  Like sometimes I set up little obstacle courses or treasure hunts for them, where I hide little treats around for them to find.  But so far they just seem to want to explore the environment and don't pause to eat the food they find.  That kind of makes sense to me, because in a new place where they don't know for sure that they'd safe, eating wouldn't be as high a priority as surveying the scene.  But I'm just curious, since I've read a lot of advice online about offering treats to help them bond with you and also to encourage foraging/exploring/climbing/etc.  So I'm wondering when they start being up for that, if it is because they're new here.  Or if I'm doing it wrong or something.

The only one who I've had some food-motivated success with is Daphne, who's the adult of the three and also the first one I got.  Holding out treats in my hand until she'd come grab them is how I got her comfortable with me, and now she'll climb on my hand - with or without a treat - when I put my hand in her cage and call her.  But since she started doing that, she kind of lost interest in whatever food I'm holding.  And the babies (Mishka and Xan) mostly don't eat out of my hand at all.  Xan has a couple times, but never like Daphne did.  And Mishka won't.

I wonder if I'm overfeeding them?  So they're not hungry?  Or maybe not being strict enough about only offering treats for special occasions?

This isn't something I'm worried about really, just curious.  Any thoughts?

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Re: Not interested in eating when not in cage

Post by stephlisa on Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:18 pm

Mice are naturally curious creatures - my mouse is much more motivated by a chance to explore somewhere new than food. I reckon they are just more interested in exploring, mice are normally pretty good at eating when they're hungry it seems.

I wouldn't worry about it. We normally treat Colin by hiding them around his cage after playtime so he can go foraging because he's more interested in the world around him (blanketland (aka my bed) is a particular favourite because its nearly always different!)

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Re: Not interested in eating when not in cage

Post by CallaLily on Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:25 pm

They're probably just not comfortable enough to stop for a snack outside of their safe zone and/or just more interested in exploring. Some mice never seem to get comfy enough or want to slow down enough to stop for a treat at play time.

I personally don't recommend hand feeding treats for taming. It can encourage nipping/biting. Instead I think it's better to hide treats around their tank for them to find when play time is over. I don't find they need any encouragement to climb and explore in a play area anyway.

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Re: Not interested in eating when not in cage

Post by CinnamonPearl on Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:01 pm

I agree with Calla. It's really not a good idea to use treats to tame mice. Lots of people recommend it because it's the "easy" way of doing things, but it can backfire. You got lucky that it didn't encourage bad behavior in Daphne! Also, don't worry if your mice aren't interested in eating outside the tank. They know they have food waiting for them back at home, so they choose to explore. I can relate to how you feel: I once built a huge maze for my late girls with a pile of cheerios in the middle, and they would find the middle and leave immediately without sparing a glance at the food. A bit irksome on my part, but totally normal. XD

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Re: Not interested in eating when not in cage

Post by Kate B on Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:22 am

Thank you!

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