Questions about what to do with mouse who's likely pregnant

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Questions about what to do with mouse who's likely pregnant

Post by Kate B on Mon 23 Jan 2017, 2:21 pm

I posted recently about my discovery that one of the two very young mice I got, who I thought were both female, is actually male.  I've separated them, and my plan is to set up a nursery tank for Mishka (the female) in case she's pregnant.  Then after 20 days or so, if she still hasn't had babies, I'll put her in another larger tank with older female, Daphne.  

I've seen a lot of good info on here about pregnancy and birth in mice, but I have some things I'm still wondering.

The woman I got the babies from said they were 5 weeks old.  And obviously she had the male in with the females before I got them.  I know gestation would be 20-21 days.  What do you think is the soonest I should start preparing for her to possibly have babies?  

I'm setting up a nursery tank for her today anyway, and it's going to be in a quiet place and away from other mice.  So in some ways, it doesn't make that much of a difference.  But she and I haven't quite bonded yet, and I'd like to spend the next (however long before she's likely to have babies) getting her comfortable with me.  But, unlike my first mouse, Daphne, Mishka doesn't seem at all interested in becoming friends.  She's not mean, but she's shy.  So me bonding with her is probably going to require some times where I take her out of her cage when that wouldn't be her first choice.  

So my biggest question on this is if I set up a nesting box for her like I plan to, when should I stop opening the top of the box to make her come out and play with me?  I know the latest she might have babies would be in 20 days from today.  But what's the soonest, if I got her a little over a week ago, and she was 5 weeks old and had been in with a male before I got her?  Like even if she was with a male, she couldn't have gotten pregnant before she was 4 weeks old, right?  Or should I not count on that?

I'm so worried about this sweet baby having babies!  She's so young, and seems scared, and is in a new place.  I want to help her any way I can.  So in addition to answers to my questions above, any other advice about supporting my (possibly) pregnant little one, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks!

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Re: Questions about what to do with mouse who's likely pregnant

Post by Peachy on Mon 23 Jan 2017, 3:20 pm

Hopefully you and Mishka got lucky and she's not pregnant yet. Mice are often weaned around 28 days, give or take, and technically *can* become fertile at that age, but between 5 and 8 weeks is more likely, for males and females. I've heard from some breeders (who know their lines well, I definitely wouldn't recomend this as a norm) who wait until 5-6 weeks to separate males.

But that's just a little sliver of hope for you. Razz Count 23 days from when you separated them... After that day, if there's no babies you can be certain that she's not pregnant and go ahead with introducing her to your other girl. There's not really any good way to guess when she might give birth before that without knowing when she might have conceived. How old is she now?

Offer extra protein to help her out since she's so young. Scrambled or boiled eggs are a good choice and help with milk production. High quality dog kibble would be another good option. Avoid fruits or veggies until she's in the clear or the babies are weaned.

You can open the top of the nest until there are babies... or until the last week of baby watch if you're more comfortable with that. After the first couple days, culling usually happens more because something is wrong with mom or babies than because the nest was disturbed by their owner.

On the topic of forcing playtime, with nervous moms that like to run and hide, I like to provide other hiding spots that I can take out with Mom inside. This means waiting for her to wake up and can take a little patience, though. If it doesn't work and she runs back into the nest, you can go carefully scoop her out or try to get her into a toilet paper tube.
I prefer to use a popsicle stick toy that she feels comfortable playing on. I just lift it out with her on it and put it in her playground, handle the babies, then put it back in her cage with her when it's time to go home.

Fingers crossed that you won't have to deal with babies!!
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Re: Questions about what to do with mouse who's likely pregnant

Post by Kate B on Tue 24 Jan 2017, 6:27 am

Thank you, Peachy! That's very helpful.

To answer your question, I think Mishka's about 6 1/2 weeks old. I got her a week and a half ago, and she was supposedly 5 weeks old then. So as long as the woman I got her from was correct and honest about her age, she's 6 1/2 weeks.

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a "Crazy Mouse Lady," according to my 13-year-old daughter Love
my mice are Daphne Sparkles and Mishka, and man of the house, Xan AKA Rock Crusher

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