Let's Hear It For The Boys!

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Let's Hear It For The Boys!

Post by CallaLily on Thu 07 Apr 2016, 9:25 pm

Originally posted by @Norman's Mom on The Fun Mouse forum. Please do not reproduce in any way without permission.
OK, guys! I've been noticing this topic coming up a lot recently, the age old question, "Which is better to have? Boys or girls?"

It is usually overall agreed that a person's best first-timer mouse/mice should be a trio of girls. I wanted to put this out there to all who are considering mice as pets, and please note, that this is for PETS only, no breeding. This goes for, however, both those folks who are lucky enough to have access to a wonderful breeder, and those who, like me, only have access to pet-shop mice. Boys make just as great a first-time mouse as girls do. My first mouse was a boy, and I haven't looked back.

Here's a little background on me, in case not everyone knows. I have always, and will always have bucks. This has been over a long strand of years that I've owned and cared for them dating back nearly 20 years. There was a time I considered girls, but as I hope to prove, I just couldn't do it. I'd go into the store, meaning to get a trio of ladies, but I have *always* somehow ended up getting a buck. It is these years of experience and careful observation that I make this post, in hopes of some little man finding a loving home. This does not mean I don't know anything about girls, I do, but my primary experience is boys.

The reasons for this is not only a personal preference, but the sad stories that bucks are often doomed to live out, (especially those brought up in pet-stores), sad, lonely lives to be picked on by other bucks (pet stores usually do not separate their boys), or die without any love at all. It breaks my heart. Girls find homes SO much faster because people like to have more than one mouse and girls are the only sex of this species that can live in colonies. It is true, bucks *must* live alone. Therefore, poor males are likely left behind, un-wanted as pets, because a new mouser owner will most likely want more than one. Breeders also have a hard time homing bucks, because of the same reason. People just want more than one mouse. I hope to put a spin on this notion, bucks are *not* useless in that you can only have one. In fact, I believe, it is their most endearing trait.

The reason boys have to live alone is simply their highly territorial nature. This is a on-going debate. Those who breed in Europe have had more success with housing boys together than we over here across the pond. But, they have also been breeding *much* longer than we have, and therefore, through genetics, have been able to get some bucks to be able to co-exist. It is not fool-proof, and they will agree, and are usually prepared to have to separate the boys into their own housing arrangements in the end, in case it just won't work. Over here, I know of only one breeder who has successfully housed boys together, even then it was for a short time, and it was siblings. In pet-store bucks...not at all. The old additive that boys will boys...they want their stuff and their stuff alone. It is nature and instinct for them, however, it's this same drive that allows them to live alone happily.

The Pro's

1.) Bucks want attention.

Because they have to live alone, bucks will be more than normal in the demanding of your affection and love. Their only source for companionship will be from you. As a result, if given proper attention and care, a buck has the tendency to love on you as if YOU are another mouse. The bond is not only endearing, but so heartwarming it can't be described. They will beg for kisses and cuddles, and bond to you like nothing you've ever known. Girls have a harder time taming down this way, a buck will tame faster than little girls will. Girls cannot live alone, boys *must*.

It is because of this tendency of bucks to identify you as it's true and only friend that I love them so much. They develop highly entertaining personalities because of it.

2.) You *can* have more than one boy!

You just need more than one cage/tank is all! I have in the past, and will shortly again, have more than one buck in the same room. They do get on fine as long as they are kept separate at all times...yes this includes 'play time'. Boys should never be allowed to play with each other. It's dangerous, but, if they are in their respective cages they can, and do, often chitter to one another over the space span...it's really quite adorable.

3.) They aren't as prone to loneliness

Don't get me wrong, if you ignore them, they will get lonely, and, just like any other mouse become sick from it, but, if you house more than one buck in the same room, and one passes (Like we all must do someday), they will not get that over-whelming suffering of depression for a lost friend, like little girls can. They will notice their room-mate is gone, but they tend to bounce back fairly fast...after all, they have you, and you are the center of their universe.

4.) Bucks equals a guarantee of no accidental litters.

This is actually the only reason I was able to have a mouse as a pet when I was a child. My folks didn't mind me having a pet, but they did mind extra 'surprise' ones later. If you get your girls from a good breeder, this won't happen, but if, like me, you can only adopt from a pet store...they are *notorious* for adopting out *opps* pregnant does. If you adopt a buck, this will not happen. You get exactly what you want...'a' mouse.

5.) Bucks can be 'fixed'.

It is an operation, and it does cost money, but it can be done easier than girls. Having this option makes it open that if you wanted to spend the time and money for it, you would be able to house him with girls, should you want to give him friends in the future. Keep in mind though...neutered bucks can still be the 'only' man in the house if you want to go that route. Neutered or not, boys *still* can't live together...they may not have their 'bits', but they still will have their territorial instinct.

6.) Bucks can be taught tricks.

Any mouse can, but bucks seem to oblige to performing tricks, and catch on to what you want them to do faster than girls do.
Because you are the light in their lives, they will want to please you. A trick to them is playing. *All* of mine have been shoulder-trained...I can walk through the house, vacuuming, with them sitting calmly on my shoulder. Norman was SO clam, that I had once walked through PetSmart with him just chillin' on my shoulder. Two (including my current stud-muffin Berkley) were taught to run mazes or 'pillow games' on a regular basis. They will come when called as well. All of my boys have always responded to their names.

7.) Bucks have a tendency to develop incredible personalities.

Mice are so very entertaining to watch as a general rule, but bucks...wow. Because they are in fact spoiled-rotten brats, they tend to *really* develop a unique and impressive personality. They are so individual and independent that I have yet to have a buck who was not remembered for something unique to his nature. My current boy, Berkley is a BRAT. And I love him for it, he's so funny and demanding, I sometimes think I have a two-year old child, not a mouse. LOL! In the immediate past, I had my beloved Norman, who was possibly the kindest, sweetest and most loving mouse I've ever had. Because they have to live alone, this is a side quality that is not only amazing to watch develop, but is treasured forever when they leave us.

8.) If you want a break from mice...

This is a sadder side-note, but it happens. If you decide to get out of owning mice, I did myself for about 5 years, it is easier to do so if you have bucks. They live out normal life-spans (assuming they are healthy), just like any other mouse, but unlike girls, who will either have to always be replaced as one leaves for The Big Wheel In The Sky, or risk traumatic heartache for the girl/girls left behind, when a buck goes, he leaves. He leaves no one but you. There aren't 'friends' left behind to mourn his passing...except you. This is important to mention, because the reason I left off having mice for a while, was because I love them so much, I couldn't handle losing another one. I needed time for my heart to heal. I didn't have to worry about neglecting any others because of my pain, because there weren't others to neglect. I didn't have to worry about trying to re-home others, because I had only the one.

9.) Vet Care

On the whole, I have noticed that because I only bring one mouse in at a time, it is cheaper for me to get them the care they need. I don't know if it's because my vet feels bad for charging me an arm and a leg for 'one' mouse, or what, but the pocket book thanks him for it. Also, you don't have to worry as much about contamination of an illness, like you would with girls. If one of your girls get mites, or a URI, you'll have to haul them all in because chances are if one has it, they all have it. It's because they co-habitat. Boys, because they have to have separate environments aren't as prone to this as girls are, and as a result, (at least for me) cheaper when it comes to vet bills.

10.) They're just plain AWESOME!  Wink

Cons

1.) The biggest thing is smell. Boys stink. They can be nasty, slimy little buggers. This is because of their territorial instinct. They pee on stuff to 'mark' it as theirs, (including on you) and it can get whiffy. Some boys smell a whole lot more than others, but regardless, they do smell.

There are several remedies to counteract their stinkiness, like scrubbing their cage with a white vinegar solution, fans, and air purifiers. You can put drops of vanilla in their water to make their pee not so *whulf*. You can avoid giving them foods that make them stinky, but no matter what, there will be a smell. You can leave a special toy they have marked in their cage, so they feel they don't have to mark as much since it still smells like them. I use wire cages for more fresh air instead of tanks to combat the smell, however, their smell is something to be prepared for. I have noticed that my older bucks don't smell nearly as much as the young ones do, and they will quit peeing on you after a while, so they do stop marking over time when they know that their environment, and their 'parent' is theirs. Personally, I love them, and I don't think they smell any more than any other pocket pet I have ever had...I think hamsters smell more. I think my boys smell like peanuts...but that's me.

2.) They can become very aggressive.

Again, this is due to their territorial tendencies. It is also why many parents, or the ill-prepared mouse owner get the idea that 'mice bite'. Any mouse can bite, but boys can become the worst of the lot. It's a bad reputation, but it's true. In fact, my current boy is aggressive, and I have spent TONS of time breaking his bitey-habit. It hurts to be bitten, it's scary, and it's not fun. It takes a tremendous amount of time in dealing with an aggressive mouse, and sometimes, you just can't deal with him at all. Sometimes they will become extremely mean, albeit a bit crazy/loco and it's frustrating to say the least. Again, a good breeder will not adopt out an aggressive male to anyone, but if you're stuck with the pet-shops, there is a chance you could end up with one of these monsters. In order to avoid a disaster like an overly aggressive, mean boy, it is absolutely essential that you deal with him....*everyday*. If you get an older boy from a pet shop, the chances of getting an unmanageable boy is even higher. Pet Shops don't tend to handle their mice very well, if at all.

3.) They NEED attention.

If you don't have the time to devote at least a 1/2 hour or more everyday to your boy, you shouldn't get one. Girls can be left longer, because they have their friends, and you are second-rate to them, but boys absolutely, 100%, totally and completely need your undivided attention *every single day*. While they do tame down faster than girls...the won't stay that way unless you deal with them. They will revert back to instincts and you'll have to start all over. I made that mistake in my early twenties...I had a little boy, life sort of took over, and I didn't give him all the attention he should've gotten. by the time I could get back to playing with him on a regular basis, I had to tame him all over again, and it was harder the second time around. Boys are time-consuming if you take care of them as they should be taken care of. If you don't have that kind of time for a commitment, don't get one.

4.) More than one boy

If you have more than one boy, than you have more than cage or tank. That means more time cleaning them. As stated above, it's time-consuming, and because they are real messers sometimes..it can be gross. A cage needs to be cleaned for any mouse at least once a week, but if you have three boys, thats three cages...three girls, that's one cage/tank. You can do the math. It takes me 1/2 hour to clean *one* cage. It can also be a pain to run between cages, wash hands, play with the other one, wash hands, play with another one, etc.

5.) Boy 'Bits".

Boys, like cats, tend to have more problems health wise when it comes to these very special parts and their delicate urinary tract. I read a study a long time ago (I'll try to find it, it was a lab-journal) that boys have a larger tendency to develop infections due to urination problems than girls do. Frankly, the parts stick out, and in extreme circumstances tend to either get caught on things, injuring themselves, and/or get stuff stuck up their little peters. It's expensive to deal with, and very painful for them. It is true that most of the time, the bits are 'pulled up' as it were, especially when they are running around and doing stuff, but, older boys tend to let it all hang out, and as a result, this is something to be aware of. Boys, like any mouse, absolutely need fresh water *every* day because of their urinary tracts. Urine is a tool for them, and they will drink more water as well as a result. If they have crummy water, their little systems will shut down, and they will get sick.

6.) Enrichment

Boys also need *lots* Of toys. The hours you aren't there to play with them, they need things to play by themselves in order to stay healthy and stimulated. This can get expensive, since their idea of 'playing', like any mouse, is usually, 'tearing apart'. They need more toys than girls, because girls, while they also need toys, have each other. Boys need an incredibly rich environment, otherwise they become bored, develop bad habits, or trash stuff. Some bad habits are chewing on bars, risking messed up teeth and jaws, or chewing on themselves, risking injury and infection. You need to switch up their environment as well to keep them guessing...so for instance, Berkley gets different toys every week, just to keep him happy (or he stuffs all his bedding through the bars, making a huge mess on the floor...and Norman, who actually would tear his house apart, and scatter the pieces everywhere in his cage).

7.) Loss

Because of the loving nature that a boy will have for you, when he leaves, I think it hurts more because you *will* be attached to him, and his unique little self. It's heartbreaking, and can leave scars. Any mouse can do this, but boys bond so totally to you and you alone, when they leave, I believe they leave bigger holes. Any mouse would elicit this kind of pain, but with a boy who has a true little personality, it's nearly as bad as losing a longer-lived pet, like a dog or a cat. Death affects us all, but I still grieve for one of my most special boys to this day.



That's all I can think of for right now. Feel free to add your two cents, my feelings won't be hurt. I just felt that a shout out for all the little men was deserved! After all, we are all here for the love of mice. To me, the pro's outweigh the cons, and I hope you'll agree! So when it comes to that ultimate decision between a boy or three girls, please take this into consideration! If anyone has any questions, please feel free to post or PM me! Cheers!
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Re: Let's Hear It For The Boys!

Post by dragonmyst on Sun 01 Jan 2017, 10:09 am

Honestly, I love the fact that I can just get one without being cruel! It is so much easier too, you don't have to deal with quarantine, bullying, and introducing mice to each other with all the stress that entails. No offense to people who prefer girls, but boys are really it for me. I think they are a great first time mouse because of that.
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Re: Let's Hear It For The Boys!

Post by Colors on Sat 14 Jan 2017, 7:14 pm

If I get more mice in the future, I think I will get a male. My females have always fought in the past and I'm tired of seeing them so stressed and making me stressed. I've heard so many wonderful things about males! I briefly had one in the past but it was so brief that I don't remember what it was like. I think he was very sweet. Smile
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Re: Let's Hear It For The Boys!

Post by Superman on Thu 03 Aug 2017, 8:48 pm

I'm just reading this for the first time, and it's bringing tears to my eyes. Making me think about my lonesome boy and how you as one person really are their whole world.

What an insightful and endearing post. Breaks my heart a knowing someday he won't be around anymore..

I guess it's our job to make sure their world is filled with lots of love <3

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