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Over-Grooming Sisters

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Post by jaylew on Mon 13 Nov 2017, 11:25 pm

Hello all! I was hoping this behaviour would go away, but it hasn't, and I'm getting worried about my girls.

I've had them for about 2 months, two female fancy mice named Ophelia and Isabelle. When I first got them, Ophelia was very dominant and would mount Isabelle regularly - they'd chase each other around the cage, but it would very rarely result in any sort of squeaking. Ophelia is noticeably bigger than Isabelle, but they're definitely both females.

In the last 2 weeks, the dynamics have switched, and Isabelle will not stop grooming Ophelia, especially her head and neck. Ophelia doesn't fight her, but she squeaks a lot, and is obviously uncomfortable. I've been monitoring them to make sure there's no blood or anything, but as of this evening it looks like Isabelle's actually groomed away some of Ophelia's fur on the back of her neck. I know this is unacceptable... but I don't know what to do! I don't want to stress them out by separating them, as I know they're deeply social... what would you suggest?

Nothing about their diet or living situation has changed, with the exception of the addition of one of those bendable natural wood and wire walkways. They are very active on their wheel, eat plenty, have their enclosure regularly cleaned and bedding changed (but leaving some so as not to disturb the scent too much), and are otherwise healthy and treat each other well. But the grooming has just gone through the roof, and I need help figuring out what to do next!

Thank you so much. Heart

Stats:

  • 10 gallon tank, mesh top
  • All natural paper Uber bedding
  • Water in natural Kaytee glass bottle
  • Silent spinner wheel (can't remember inches, but definitely big enough for them to stretch out all the way)
  • Plenty of natural, healthy toys and places to hide & play
  • Seed & fruit mix food they've been eating since arriving at the store I bought them from (I know, store is not ideal!)
  • Well-ventilated, safe and quiet environment
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Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Tue 14 Nov 2017, 1:16 am

This is usually caused either from boredom, or just a show of dominance. In your case, it sounds likely it is dominance. If you are in the place to do so, and have the resources, I'd recommend getting a third mouse, as this will balance out your colony and it is just overall better than having a pair.

However, if you believe it might be more because of boredom, they might benefit from a cage upgrade. I had a girl who was over-grooming her sisters, and nothing was working to make her stop. Eventually, I upgraded their cage, and she has since stopped, she doesn't over-groom at all anymore, so I assume it was boredom. They were in a ten gallon, but I upgraded them to a cage with the footprint of a 20 gallon tall tank. A bit bigger tank can fit more toys to keep them more happy Smile

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Post by jaylew on Tue 14 Nov 2017, 11:04 am

@AnonymousMouseOwner wrote:This is usually caused either from boredom, or just a show of dominance. In your case, it sounds likely it is dominance. If you are in the place to do so, and have the resources, I'd recommend getting a third mouse, as this will balance out your colony and it is just overall better than having a pair.

Awesome, thank you so much @AnonymousMouseOwner! I was thinking that a third might be the solution.
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Post by Rodents rock! on Tue 14 Nov 2017, 7:54 pm

I agree, that is the first thought that came to my mind, I believe adding a third mouse should solve this problem. Good luck and keep us posted. Would love to see photos of your girls. Very Happy
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