Have you had to cull?

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Have you had to cull?

Post by Ash on Wed 04 May 2016, 3:10 pm

With the (probable) possibility that there will soon be 3 litters, I have been thinking about the possibility of having to cull from the litters.
(my females are only 9.5 +/- weeks old)

Have you had to cull before?
Have you ever culled bigger pups instead of your preferred gender pups? does that wording even make sense? (I know that is probably not the most ethical thing to do..)
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Re: Have you had to cull?

Post by MouseLover on Wed 04 May 2016, 4:56 pm

I have never bred mice so thankfully I have not had to make such a hard decision as whether or not to cull, or how many to cull.

With large litters I think that culling some babies would be the right thing to do, for the health of the mother and the remaining pups. I think the kindest thing to do would be to cull any runty looking pups first. If, after that the litter is still too large, and you feel that you need to cull more, I personally wouldn't blame you for culling males over females, if that means that you are able to keep more of them or find homes for them more easily.

But others will disagree with me. When it comes to ethical issues I don't think there's a right/wrong answer, just what feels right to you.

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Re: Have you had to cull?

Post by scaredymouse on Wed 04 May 2016, 5:13 pm

Of course, you need to be aware of the possibility that you may need to cull the litter for the safety and health of the mother and the litter. But I wouldn't start worrying about it just yet. Even if everyone has babies, and even if the litters are huge, it's possible that the mother will handle this herself.

I see what you are asking about culling, and all I can say is that culling is a terrible difficult thing to do. I think the only way you can really make peace with it is if you make your decisions by the book. That way there are no ethical questions to keep you awake at night.

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Re: Have you had to cull?

Post by Soren on Wed 04 May 2016, 5:34 pm

I culled for the first time a few weeks ago when my mouse, Daisy had her first litter (well i think was her first, since she was relatively young when i bought her) which turned out to be 19 babies! Most of the time the mother will cull out the weak herself. Her instinct will be in the best interest of her offspring. But if they don't, and she's trying to take to many on, you will have to decide what to do. Like in my case, I don't believe she culled any. If she did, i never saw them. It will be really hard decision. Ending a potential life so early is heart breaking, but there are pros and cons. I culled 8 of my litter, starting with the runts/peanuts. Now I have 11. 11 is still a large litter for a mouse, but i couldn't bring myself to do more. I read on the afrma website, that the *optimal* number of babies for a mom to handle is 2-6 (although culling closer to two seems shocking to me). I tried to cull the bucks (because they are aggressive feeders), but i really couldn't tell the gender of 3 day old pups. I wont share with you how I culled on this forum (i don't even want to think about memories) but you can research on google (if you do decide to cull) on the most humane/painless ways.

Here's a list of pros and cons to help you make a decision. The right thing to do, how many, and what gender is entirely up to you.

pros to culling:
1. Females only have 10 nursing nipples, and feeding more babies than that can overwhelm her.  
2. Less stress on mother when there aren't a large number of babies
3. Mom may not be able to produce enough milk to adequately feed all the pups. Babies are less likely to die of malnutrition if there is less competition.
4. Less babies mean the mother can give more love and milk to each one, rearing healthier babies
5. Baby bucks are more aggressive feeders compared to does, so if you gender select, your does won't have to fight for dinner as much. (Or vice versa if you need a bunch of bucks for whatever reason)

cons to culling:
1. Even the most humane ways to cull are still seem terrible (although you will probably traumatize yourself more than the mouse)
2. There is no way of knowing a mouse you are about to cull will be a super awesome pet.

We will support you no matter your decision.
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Re: Have you had to cull?

Post by AppleCheeks on Thu 05 May 2016, 7:52 pm

Firstly, please note that when I was breeding mice, I started with pet shop mice. The breeders recorded no information other than a rough idea of when they were born (multiple mothers in one tank), it was a bad situation but not something I knew when I purchased my "starter mice". I did do a lot of research before breeding and had quite a few mentors who helped me through so much even though none of them where here in New Zealand.

So yes, I did do quite a lot of culling. Since the mice I was breeding from were untracked, I had to take things rather seriously if I were to continue and be somewhat successful so I usually culled down to the 4-6 biggest, strongest, healthier looking babies and in the beginning I kept every single one of them to record every single thing about them til the day they died - ie, if they died of cancer, had a lost of respiratory issues, growth rates etc.

Ironically towards the end of my breeding days, I actually didn't need to cull. My mice had actually gotten to a point where they were having relatively small litters (3-6 babies).

@Soren covers the basics about the pros and cons. The main reason for culling is to help mum and babies - less babies means less stress for Mum and less strain is placed on her/her body to provide enough milk for all the babies, in turn, the babies get plenty of milk and nutrition and get the best start possible.
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