Hi everybody! :)

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Hi everybody! :)

Post by Mousietale on Mon 17 Apr 2017, 4:15 pm

Hi there!

Very sorry if this is the wrong part of the forum to post this, I'm new here, but thought I'd introduce myself briefly, and ask for a little advice, if that's okay!

My name is Joe, and in around 5 weeks my wife and I will be giving 100% of our love and care to two female mice for the first time in my life. Having never owned rodents of any kind before, I think I'd like to ask a few (probably stupid!) questions if you don't mind Smile I just want to make 100% sure they have the best life possible and aren't in any danger.

If I bullet point some things on my mind, perhaps some of you lovely experienced owners could copy it back with answers below each one? I'd appreciate it so much!

-exercise wheels, okay for mice? Any danger of tails being caught or squashed underneath them? Any in particular that are recommended?

-hamster style exercise balls for when cleaning the enclosure, yes or no? I've heard horror stories and I'm really unsure!

-are there any types of wood that are particularly safe and recommended for mice? Without any harmful toxins (and preferably that won't get chewed through in 5 minutes?)

-how are mice with DIY painted wood? I ideally would love to make them a little painted wooden obstacle course inside their cage (just a little fantasy of a project I have) but am unsure about paint toxins etc, is there a risk, and again (sorry for repeating myself so much) are there any that are particularly recommended?

-is there such a thing as too much human interaction with mice? What's a good amount of "out of cage" attention to give them?

-are there any forms of enrichment that you have found to be particularly successful/enjoyable for them? Any particular toy/climbing apparatus?

That's all I can think of for now, sorry if any or all of these have been asked to death, but I've genuinely been searching for hours without finding too many answers, which really surprised me!

It's lovely to be acquainted with you all, and thank you in advance Smile

Joe

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Re: Hi everybody! :)

Post by Rodents rock! on Mon 17 Apr 2017, 6:40 pm

Hi Joe - welcome to you and your wife. I will try to answer some of your questions.

Mice love exercise wheels - I like the silent spinners - they really are silent. You will need to get one that is larger then you would imagine it needs to be. Even though mice are small, you need a wheel big enough so that their backs don't arch when they are running as this can cause them problems down the road. But, yes, a wheel is a must with mice.

Personally I'm against the hamster exercise balls. I put my mouse in a little plastic critter carrier with a little bedding, some toys and some treats while I clean out his tank.

As far as too much interaction with your mice - I think as long as they are enjoying themselves you are good. But when they are tired or done playing, please be respectful of that too.

I've made climbing things out of popsicle sticks as they love to climb and explore. You could also use small cardboard boxes with holes cut out for them to climb through. They also enjoy ladders and ramps. Anything really - as they are active and love to explore.

I have a male mouse - and male mice must be kept alone as they can fight with other males and that can end in bad injuries or even death. But they are sweet to their people.

Female mice must be kept in groups or they can get depressed. I noticed you said you and your wife are planning on getting two females, which is good. But what would be even better is to get at least three females. I've read on here that 3 is the best minimum number of female mice to keep together.

Anyway, hope I was helpful. Can't wait to see photos of your new mice and cage set up when you get them! They are very sweet little animals.
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Re: Hi everybody! :)

Post by Mousietale on Mon 17 Apr 2017, 6:54 pm

Hi, thanks so much!! Smile I will definitely bear all this in mind.

With constructing things out of Popsicle sticks, how do you recommend keeping it together, I'm guessing glueing isn't a great idea with potentially toxic substances in it? Or is there no risk in that sense? Also how long does a cardboard masterpiece tend to last? Will it be chewed through within days? Very Happy can it be out of more solid wood?

Also, the breeder we are taking them from is looking after them exceptionally well, but I'm not 100% convinced she can tell the sex of them. Is there anywhere they can be taken for an 100% "yes, these are female" guarantee? Would a pet shop do it or would it be a trip to the vets?

Thank you kindly again!!

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Re: Hi everybody! :)

Post by Rodents rock! on Mon 17 Apr 2017, 7:01 pm

Hi Joe -

You can use any non-toxic glue for the popsicle creations. I used a hot glue gun when making mine. Just be sure any glue you use says non-toxic.

As far as how long the popsicle stick creations or the cardboard creations will last just depends on how much your mice chew and how dirty it gets. For my male mouse, Mickey, I would toss the popsicle stick creations after two weeks and replace it with a new creations because of the pee and poo that gets on them.

I have found, at least in pet shops I've been in, that they don't always have the most knowledgeable people working for them. So I would recommend a trip to the vet, just to be sure. Smile
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Re: Hi everybody! :)

Post by Mousietale on Mon 17 Apr 2017, 7:24 pm

Once again, thanks so much! I feel like I'm learning loads already, and I'm sure I'll get to know mickey too the longer I'm here! That's perfect thank you.

One last thing, I really like the idea of making a small living space out of wood for them and painting it, and filling it with bedding and a couple of toys. Is wood and non toxic paint okay to use and keep there long term providing it's cleaned when the cage is cleaned?

Thanks once again Smile

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Re: Hi everybody! :)

Post by scaredymouse on Mon 17 Apr 2017, 8:53 pm

We can help you determine the sex as well. Do not count on a pet store! Go to a vet.

If you are getting females, I would recommend a 7" flying saucer or an 8" mesh wheel, as multiple mice can use them at the same time.

I'm typing on my tiny phone right now, so I'll check in later when I'm on the computer to comment on the wood/DIY questions.

Some mice like the little balls but I think they would rather run free in a box. For cleaning day, I plop my girls in a box with some toys.

You can spend as much time as you want with them but they can't be away from a water source for more than a half hour at a time. So either have a water bottle in their play area or plop them back in their tank for a few minutes so they can have a drink and grab a bite if they want.

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Re: Hi everybody! :)

Post by Rodents rock! on Mon 17 Apr 2017, 9:12 pm

I know other people on the forum would be better to tell you about what woods are safe. I know the popsicle sticks are safe. I believe non-toxic paint would be fine. A wood living space would be fine and last a long time as long as you just make a roof and 4 walls. I wouldn't make a wood floor as that may get dirty. I use a small plastic igloo for Mickey. I just set it down on the Carefresh bedding and I give him some torn up paper towels and he gathers up all the pieces of paper towel and forms a nest in the igloo. So cute to watch him do that! Mickey keeps his nest spotless! He goes poo and pee everywhere else, but never in his nest, which is really nice!
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Re: Hi everybody! :)

Post by scaredymouse on Tue 18 Apr 2017, 12:16 am

Hi, it's me again! I'm at a computer, so I can type more. As far as safe wood to use... Kiln-dried/heat treat (KDHT) pine is safe, sturdy, and readily available at places like Home Depot or Lowes. Just make sure it's KDHT and not just HT. Applewood sticks are safe and easily be made into ladders or fences. Plasitkote is a safe water-resistant coating you can use on the wood and they make it in different colors or you could make your own wood stains using food coloring.

That said, mice chew everything. And if they don't ruin it with chewing, they will pee in it until it is completely gross. So, you can make they all kinds of wonderful thing... and they will greatly appreciate them... but they will also destroy them. Just wanted to mention it. I also have hamsters, they don't really pee on all their stuff like mice do. So I can actually make them nice things and they will last a long time. But not my mice, they pee all over everything!


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Re: Hi everybody! :)

Post by River on Tue 18 Apr 2017, 12:47 am

I think the destruction is something mice love!

My girl (Graham) is allergic to wood, and while its not common, its certainly something worth noting. Shockingly, some of their cardboard toys still last up to two weeks...I guess the destruction level depends on the mice. We use a lot of fleece here, which can last months, if you switch it out often.

Flying saucers take up a /lot/ of space in a 10 gal, so keep this in mind when choosing your wheel! Stands can be made to save space. I use these for food bowls and wheels alike. However, mice do love wheels. I've heard mesh wheels are a favorite, but they're a bit loud in my opinion. I reckon you can use coconut oil to keep them quiet?

I'm also (mostly) against exercise balls but some mice do like them and we generally agree that they're safe if used correctly. I have used them in the past, but for no more than 15 minutes at a time and only if the rodent seems to like it.

My mice have different times they get out..some get nervous if out for more than 15 minutes. Others would love to be out all the time. I'd say it depends -- I like to offer water and food when they're out and about.

My mouses favorite toy right now is a tissue box converted into a hammock. I believe it was @Callalily 's idea...there's a bit of fleece glued over the opening. I cut a door in the side so it doubles as a hut. Maier is a huge fan of the hammock up top - she sleeps there all day, loafing. I can attach a picture if this description is confusing.

Ladders, hammocks, egg cartons and any sort of box are always hits here. Shreddable toys last an hour at best but they are loved to death! I find does are particularly fond of climbing.

Maier loves to gather construction paper slips for her nest. She refuses any other nesting material, with the exception of her hammocks of course.

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Re: Hi everybody! :)

Post by stephlisa on Tue 18 Apr 2017, 2:53 am

Welcome to the forum!
Just thought I'd post my answers to some of youtlr questions too :-)

exercise wheels, okay for mice? Any danger of tails being caught or squashed underneath them? Any in particular that are recommended?
Do do do get a wheel! My boy loves his Comfort Wheel and also a big mesh wheel. I think the mesh gives him a nicer running surface. But don't get the barred hamster wheels with large gaps between the bars (mesh is fine, bars not!).

-hamster style exercise balls for when cleaning the enclosure, yes or no? I've heard horror stories and I'm really unsure!
Colin used one for a while when we first had him with no problems, but as he got to know us, he just wasn't interested in it anymore. I'd say it's probably not worth it.

-how are mice with DIY painted wood? I ideally would love to make them a little painted wooden obstacle course inside their cage (just a little fantasy of a project I have) but am unsure about paint toxins etc, is there a risk, and again (sorry for repeating myself so much) are there any that are particularly recommended?

So I've used a thing called Plasti-kote to protect wooden shelves in Colin's cage which is safe, but in general I stick to natural DIY toys.

-is there such a thing as too much human interaction with mice? What's a good amount of "out of cage" attention to give them?
IMO...no! Colin is male and as such gets a lot more attention than I would give females because he lives alone. Just make sure you keep water out with them if they are out for longer than 30min.

-are there any forms of enrichment that you have found to be particularly successful/enjoyable for them? Any particular toy/climbing apparatus?
Colin loves anything he can climb on. Egg boxes are great for chewing. DIY lolly stick toys are also well appreciated too.
Things that weren't successful was the loofah chews mainly.

Sorry if I repeated other peoples answers, I hope that helps a little :-)

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Re: Hi everybody! :)

Post by Mousietale on Tue 18 Apr 2017, 10:42 am

Hi everyone! Thank you SO SO much for all your answers! This is genuinely the nicest forum I've seen, all such lovely answers with no arrogance or irrigation whatsoever, and all so helpful too! I'm keeping this page open when I visit the pet store on Sunday to get lots of treats for them, and I'll also visit a DIY store and enquire about KDHT/plasticoat there, just so I know I'm potentially getting the right stuff. I'll also scavenge some cardboard from old appliances/purchases and make sure it goes to good use!

A friend of mine had degus once who loved to unroll toilet paper from his hand and take it to their nest to shred, is this doable with mice too? I thought it was adorable.

Once again, thank you all so much Smile nothing wrong with any repeated answers or anything at all, it just validates it more! Such lovely people, thank you xx

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Re: Hi everybody! :)

Post by River on Tue 18 Apr 2017, 11:02 am

Yep! Mice love toilet paper. It's a favorite of a lot of mice. I know mine enjoy shredding it.

I'm glad you like it here so far! Hopefully you'll stick around. Send pics of the mice when you can!

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Re: Hi everybody! :)

Post by scaredymouse on Tue 18 Apr 2017, 12:26 pm

it has been my experience that not all home improvement stores carry KDHT, they might try to tell you that HT is the same. Just try a different store. All of the wood should be stamped, so you will be able to identify it, the employees don't always know what they're talking about.

Heat treated gets rid of all the bugs/germs. Kiln dried burns off all the phenols that can irritate the lungs of our little critters. So they are different processes that do different things. Builders don't care if there are phenols in their wood, so heat treating is all they really care about. We care about both.

Here is an example Smile





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Lady mice: Winnifred & Sally/Georgie & Harriet Potter, Spec, Erzulie, Lucille, Clementine
Gentleman mice:  Lil Smokey, Magnus, Norman, Alexander
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Re: Hi everybody! :)

Post by Mousietale on Sat 22 Apr 2017, 1:36 pm

Hi everyone! Hope it's okay to post links here, but I'm looking at homes for them now so I'm fully prepared for their arrival, and I've found this, which says mouse suitable. Would some of you more experienced owners than me be able to check out the bit that says item description and check the pictures and tell me whether you think this would be suitable? Smile

Just want to make sure that not only is my money going to good use, but most importantly that they're going to be 100% happy and safe. Thanks!!

http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/192003702596

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Re: Hi everybody! :)

Post by Mousietale on Sat 22 Apr 2017, 1:37 pm

Also scaredymouse thanks so much for the detailed description of the wood, I will look out for that Smile

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