I had troubles introducing my female mice

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I had troubles introducing my female mice

Post by Superchicle on Wed 08 Mar 2017, 4:54 pm

I had two female mice and a couple of weeks ago I decided to get two more mice since I had upgraded their cage to a much bigger tank. I got two young females and tried to introduce them to my adult mice on a neutral ground, but the older ones would bite and harrass the babies.

So I did a complete cleaning of the tank, divided it in two sides and switched the two groups from one side to the other every day so they would become used to the others smell.

After a week and so of doing this, I tried to introduce then on neutral ground again. I had a bit of succeed with one of my older mice, she would still made the other two squeak but I don't think they were hurt, only a bit scared. They even cuddled together on a wood tube for a while. Then I tried to introduce the other mouse but she would attack the little ones on sight and chase them.

I tried again next day but this time I tried to introduce them on their tank, wich had the smell of all the mice, with the same outcome. Then, I decided to change the cristal divider they had for a wire one, so they could interact but not harm each other. They were like this for two days and then somehow the violent mouse managed to get to the baby's side and seriously injure one of them. She had wounds all over her back and even bled a little. Luckily she seems to be recovering just fine.

Now I have the two groups in completely separate enclosures so nothing like this happens again. But since I am very inexpert on keeping mice I wanted to ask for your advice, did I do something wrong trying to put together the two groups?
The breeder I got my new two mice from recommended me to introduce the mice on a enclosure that had only the littles smell since the olders were the ones attacking, and that was the next thing I was going to try. Would that have worked better?

Also is there any chance I may have better luck trying to introduce them in some months when the young females are grown up? I have read that young ones are usually better accepted but, since that was not my case and I got the new mice so if something happened to one of my older mice the other would not be alone, I'm inclined to try again.
Thank you so much for your help! ^^

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Re: I had troubles introducing my female mice

Post by CallaLily on Thu 09 Mar 2017, 9:47 am

hello2 and welcome to the forum!  I'm sorry you're having such trouble introducing your two groups.

About the wire divider - I see you aren't using it anymore and for good reason.  Aside from them managing to squeeze through or climb over (like I'm assuming is what happened in your case) they absolutely can fight through the mesh/bars too.  It may be more difficult, but they can still manage to cause some pretty serious injuries.  Just thought I'd mention that for you or anyone else reading to keep in mind. I'm glad your poor injured girl is healing up well.

I noticed you mentioned you recently upgraded to a much bigger tank. What size?  Sometimes Many times, especially with mice first meeting, bigger isn't always better. You may need to first introduce them in a smaller enclosure and keep them together for a while there before attempting to move them into a larger space.   Not squeezing them into something too small, but starting them out in a space that's just right for a group of 4. A 15 gallon or a 20 gallon tank would be suitable.

How are you setting up the tank you're placing them in after intros?  Some find it better to only offer the bare necessities - bedding, a house, a wheel, water, and scattered food. Then as they get along, slowly add in more items a day at a time. If the new toy causes problems, remove and try again the next day.

If there's one particular mouse who's the aggressor, you can place her in a time out in her own tank for a couple days to a week. She may learn that she really prefers friends, plus it'll give the other mice time to build a bond.

Also keep in mind that unless blood is drawn, it's best to let them work it out. I know it can be hard to watch all the chasing, nipping, and squeaking but it really does look worse than it is in most cases. They should figure out who's boss and where everyone else falls into place.  Separating them over these squabbles often doesn't help.  Now if blood is drawn, you do want to put the aggressor in time out as I said above.  

Nothing else is jumping out at me. Have you read the thread in Introducing Mice?  There may be a few tips on there that I'm forgetting.

Waiting until the younger mice have grown and they're all close in size may help.  In the meantime you can spend a lot of time handling them everyday taming them up more, if that's something they still need. Doesn't hurt either way.

I hope this helps and good luck!

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Re: I had troubles introducing my female mice

Post by Superchicle on Thu 09 Mar 2017, 1:23 pm

Thank you so much for your advice! I think I see the issue now. As you said the tank I was trying to introduce them on was too large I think, as well as the neutral ground I prepared for them. Now that you mentioned it, my mice did show territorial behaviour, rattling their tail and such.

I think I'll try again in summer, in the meanwhile, should I switch toys and put bedding from one cage into the other so they keep getting used to the smell?

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Re: I had troubles introducing my female mice

Post by CallaLily on Thu 09 Mar 2017, 4:14 pm

Yes, I think swapping toys or bedding leading up to an intro does help. Please let us know how it goes when you do introduce them again.

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Hamlet & Horatio / Emrys, Cream, & Hershey / 
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