Minimum vs. Standard

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Minimum vs. Standard

Post by CucumberMouse on Mon 12 Feb 2018, 7:33 pm

So, kind of just sharing what I think about the minimum, because why not? You guys can feel free to share your opinions on it too Smile I'll just start out by saying that I don't really think anything is really wrong with the minimum. I think it is okay. But, that's just what it is, the minimum. To me, if it is decorated in the right way, a mouse will be just fine living there. But, I don't think the minimum should be the standard.
I guess it kind of bothers me is that when someone asks what the best cage size for their mouse, most people immediately jump to recommend the minimum. I've done it too. I don't know, it's just that, is the minimum really the best for a mouse? I agree with informing people of what the minimum is, but not necessarily recommending it. This might just be my opinion, but unless there's a special case (like an old mouse, or maybe your female colony doesn't get along in a cage bigger than the minimum, etc.) but if you are only willing to get your mouse the bare minimum cage size, then you aren't really getting your mouse/mice what they deserve. Again there are special situations, maybe you have to downgrade your mouse to the minimum cage size due to financial situations that weren't in play while you got your mouse. For people who end up with litters of mice and decide to keep them (likely a better fate than what they would have if they were given to a pet store), it can get crowded so you have to keep them in smaller cages. Some mice just get nervous in too large of spaces. I get that. But I feel that, far more often than not, mice would love the extra space, space that could be easily be provided by the owner.
So, why when someone asks what the best cage size is for their mouse, why do people almost always say the minimum of 200 square inches? Why not recommending a bigger cage, like a 20 or 40 gallon? It's actually recommended, and not just set as the minimum. I've seen people who are prepared to give their mice as big of space as possible, but when one or two people mention using the minimum, they stop all further research and give up on using a bigger, possibly far more enriching cage, to use the minimum. I know that some of us do recommend bigger cage sizes, but not all that many.
Again, not trying to say the minimum is bad, or that you are a bad owner if you use it, but I feel that the mouse community as a whole could maybe try to put more emphasis on the usage of cages that are bigger than the minimum.
So, what do you think? Do you think that we should have a "standard" cage size, one that is the best between both worlds, the best for the mouse and the owner. Kind of like a "go-to" recommended size. Now, I'm not saying that we need to start recommending to people that they try to give thousands of square feet or anything like that. Just, what would be more enriching for a mouse than the bare minimum, and still fairly easily providable. What size do think would best fit that? Just curious about other's opinions Smile
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Re: Minimum vs. Standard

Post by CallaLily on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 3:16 pm

I have pointed out the minimum (which varies depending on how many mice), usually when someone asks what that is. But I do like to add that upgrading to a larger enclosure once they’ve settled in and bonded is usually appreciated (though not always). In my experience I find plunking new untamed mice straight away in a larger enclosure doesn’t always work out. Moving them up after taming, sometimes doing so slowly as well, works better imo. How large depends on you and more importantly your mice.

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Re: Minimum vs. Standard

Post by CucumberMouse on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 5:38 pm

Yes, and I agree with you on keeping mice that are being tamed in smaller housing closer to the minimum, it definitely helps the mice and owner in most cases. That would be like one of the exceptions I mentioned. And, I never said that you specifically don't recommend upgrading to a larger tank, I just feel like not enough is said about it in the community.
There was another thread a few weeks ago talking about the minimum, and I really can't stop thinking about it. I don't think the person that started that thread is the only one who really disagrees with the minimum. I couldn't really decide if I liked the minimum either. My thought would be maybe coming up with a "standard" or recommended cage size as well as having the minimum. Kind of like a compromise between keeping the minimum the same and making it bigger. Like, I said earlier, I don't think the minimum is really wrong, but I think that mice (with some exceptions) should be housed in something over the absolute minimum for the majority of their life. Kind of just throwing ideas out there more or less Smile Just like a little brainstorm about minimums and if they're what is best for the mouse.
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Re: Minimum vs. Standard

Post by Peachy on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 6:54 pm

I believe we've already begun heading in this direction, somewhat. At least that's what I had in mind while writing the "Proper Housing" thread. Ten gallons are the minimum and generally preferred for short-term uses, and twenty gallons minimum are preferred for long-term housing. The cage calculator page still needs updated to reflect this, though.

I hesitate to really change anything or set a hard number. I think discussing the signs of a mouse that needs more/less space so owners can make an educated decision about what their mice need is the way to go.

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Re: Minimum vs. Standard

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 7:27 pm

@Peachy wrote:I think discussing the signs of a mouse that needs more/less space so owners can make an educated decision about what their mice need is the way to go.
Yes - exactly. For example, two of my boys - Jack and Rocky - are perfectly happy in ten gallons, and I can meet all their needs in a 10 gallon, so I see no reason they need a bigger cage. I'm sure they'd enjoy more space, no doubt about it, but I don't think they are unhappy with what they have. Rocky is constantly sparking, in fact I don't think a day has gone by that he hasn't done it Laughing  But I also had a trio of girls in a ten gallon once, when one girl started overgrooming her sisters - a sign of boredom. So I moved them up to a tank with the footprint of a 20 high and they now have no issues with cage size at all, and frequently show signs of happiness, such as sparking and bruxing. Then there's Scout, he has OCD. I don't believe it has anything to do with cage size though, because he's already in a 20 high with tons of activities and fun things to do, and even sparks sometimes, so he's obviously not bored or unhappy - which tells me the OCD is unrelated. Then my girls in the 20 long have always been happy, no issues there.

So obviously it will vary greatly from mouse to mouse, and the right cage size is the cage size that you can tell your mice are happy in. There is no scientific number that every single mouse will automatically be happy in, but we can use our judgement and advice from others to make an educated decision. Smile

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Re: Minimum vs. Standard

Post by CallaLily on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 7:35 pm

@CucumberMouse wrote:And, I never said that you specifically don't recommend upgrading to a larger tank

Oh I didn’t take it that way. I was just rambling about how I try to approach the minimum question when it comes up. Cool I’m glad more are thinking about providing more room than just the bare minimum for their mice once they’re tamed. Bouncy

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Re: Minimum vs. Standard

Post by CucumberMouse on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 9:06 pm

Thank you for all of your input! I really agree with Peachy, about upgrading or "downgrading" based on behavior. I hope more in the future will continue to explore the idea of possibly starting out with a bigger sized cage (after taming) Smile
Rereading some of my posts, I realize i might've sounded a bit serious or rude? I certainly didn't mean to! I'm happy that I could get all of your opinions on this, they're helping me to work out exactly what I make of the whole matter ^-^
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Re: Minimum vs. Standard

Post by Blessed on Tue 13 Feb 2018, 9:58 pm

Oh, I don't think you sounded rude at all! Just rather thoughtful and clear you were trying to get your point out.. Good vibes
But this is a very insightful thread..
@Peachy, do you suppose it could become a sticky, or not? Smile

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Re: Minimum vs. Standard

Post by deleted on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 5:24 am

I agree with you. Many say that their mouse becomes less tame when in a bigger cage, but that's just because it now has all the space to fulfill its natural behavior and therefore don't need the human to "let them out"
It hurts to hear, but if a mouse has everything it needs (space, enrichment, and companionship) it has no need for human interaction. Some still becomes tame, but that is up to the personality of the mouse Smile

I personally really think 20g should be the bare minimum for any small rodent, for permanent housing. The problem with saying a 10g is fine is that many "casual" owners have no interest in upgrading later, they cut corners by just taking the absolute minimum, and then stay with that.

This is going to be unpopular, and criticized probably...since I as a newbie on this site probably don' t have a lot of saying in this matter.. but I think as a pet forum, everything should be in the interest of the animals, which means we should push for better standards.

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Re: Minimum vs. Standard

Post by CallaLily on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 6:11 am

@CucumberMouse wrote:
Rereading some of my posts, I realize i might've sounded a bit serious or rude? I certainly didn't mean to!

You didn’t come off as rude at all. One of the things I love about this forum is we can talk things through, question the standard, share what works for us, etc without getting flamed. We have a great group here. Group Hug

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Re: Minimum vs. Standard

Post by deleted on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 6:42 am

@AnonymousMouseOwner wrote:Then there's Scout, he has OCD. I don't believe it has anything to do with cage size though, because he's already in a 20 high with tons of activities and fun things to do, and even sparks sometimes, so he's obviously not bored or unhappy - which tells me the OCD is unrelated. Then my girls in the 20 long have always been happy, no issues there.

A bit unrelated to the topic, but when talking about animals it's not normal to use the names for human mental issues, it's misleading d;
What we call OCD in humans is intrusive thoughts, while what we are talking about in animals is a stereotypical behavior which is a way for them to cope with an insufficient environment.
Changing the root of the problem can lessen this behavior, but it's rarely that it goes fully away once learned, sadly.

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Re: Minimum vs. Standard

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 7:00 am

Nova wrote:
@AnonymousMouseOwner wrote:Then there's Scout, he has OCD. I don't believe it has anything to do with cage size though, because he's already in a 20 high with tons of activities and fun things to do, and even sparks sometimes, so he's obviously not bored or unhappy - which tells me the OCD is unrelated. Then my girls in the 20 long have always been happy, no issues there.

A bit unrelated to the topic, but when talking about animals it's not normal to use the names for human mental issues, it's misleading d;
What we call OCD in humans is intrusive thoughts, while what we are talking about in animals is a stereotypical behavior which is a way for them to cope with an insufficient environment.
Changing the root of the problem can lessen this behavior, but it's rarely that it goes fully away once learned, sadly.
What do you suggest I to refer to it as, then? That's how everyone I have ever seen discuss it refers to it, so it's the only word I know for it. And I don't think this is an "insufficient environment", he has everything he needs plus a lot more...

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Re: Minimum vs. Standard

Post by deleted on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 7:18 am

@AnonymousMouseOwner as I said, stereotypical behavior, that's the name for it Smile

But maybe it's not enough for him? Maybe he lacks companionship? (yes I know this is complicated for male mice, because of their territorial nature. But we humans can't show mouse behavior and we can't be there for them 24/7 as another mouse would)
He could also just be an oddball, that's also possible.

What kind of behaviour is he showing since you call it "ocd" ?

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Re: Minimum vs. Standard

Post by CallaLily on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 7:19 am

@AnonymousMouseOwner wrote:
Nova wrote:
A bit unrelated to the topic, but when talking about animals it's not normal to use the names for human mental issues, it's misleading d;
What we call OCD in humans is intrusive thoughts, while what we are talking about in animals is a stereotypical behavior which is a way for them to cope with an insufficient environment.
Changing the root of the problem can lessen this behavior, but it's rarely that it goes fully away once learned, sadly.
What do you suggest I to refer to it as, then? That's how everyone I have ever seen discuss it refers to it, so it's the only word I know for it.

I think a lot of mouse groups refer to it in that way, and I’ve even seen articles and research papers too. Not saying it’s right or wrong.. I have no idea.   Pardon

On this forum’s page on itching it’s mainly referred to as “chronic scratching.”
Keep in mind that mice are very clean animals and they do scratch often. It is only a problem if it so excessive that it leads to hair loss, redness of the skin, or open wounds. If your mouse has one of these problems you need to act quickly to resolve the situation. The longer the problem goes unresolved the more chances it will develop into chronic scratching. Chronic scratching is similar to OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) in humans.

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Re: Minimum vs. Standard

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 7:30 am

Nova wrote:@AnonymousMouseOwner as I said, stereotypical behavior, that's the name for it Smile

But maybe it's not enough for him? Maybe he lacks companionship? (yes I know this is complicated for male mice, because of their territorial nature. But we humans can't show mouse behavior and we can't be there for them 24/7 as another mouse would)
He could also just be an oddball, that's also possible.

What kind of behaviour is he showing since you call it "ocd" ?
When I hear the word "stereotypical" I think of the words "normal", "average", "what you'd expect", and chronic scratching is not normal, it's not something that the majority of mice do.

It's likely he lacks companionship, but there's nothing I can do for that unfortunately. He is very territorial and hates my attention. I give him playtime outside his cage and he gets lots of puzzle toys and things to do, but if I try to give him one-on-one attention, he absolutely hates it. Needless to say he's bit me more than once, but I still try to work with him. By "ocd" I mean chronic scratching. His case isn't as bad as others I've seen, but he's missing a little fur around his face from all the scratching.

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