Giving up on wheels?

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Giving up on wheels?

Post by sweetlings on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 6:46 pm

Is it okay to keep a cage without a wheel?

My mice are just over a year old, and since they turned 6 or so months they have completely given up on wheels. As babies they were ALL ABOUT the wheel and would shove each other off for a turn, then suddenly, completely disinterested. I have kept wheels in the cage this whole time (three different kinds on rotation, including a flying saucer style and a silent spinner style), but they never ever use them.

They are MUCH more interested now in acrobatics, and so I keep tunnels, hammocks, parrot perches, ladders and swings in their cage to keep them active, which works for them. So is it okay to leave the wheel out? For 6 months or so I feel like I've been wasting so much cage space that could be taken up by more things they would actually use, JUST IN CASE they ever want the wheel again :/
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Re: Giving up on wheels?

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 7:11 pm

How big are your wheels? I've noticed a lot of people who say their mice don't use them have wheels that are too small. I used to have a small wheel before I learned more about mice, and they never used it, until I upgraded Smile

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Re: Giving up on wheels?

Post by MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 7:20 pm

Sounds familiar.  It took April a couple of days to figure out her saucer when I first brought her home.  Then one afternoon she ran on that thing for 2½ hours STRAIGHT.  pitter-patter-pitter-patter-pitter-patter-pitter-patter...  I thought, "Well, if that's all it takes to keep her amused all afternoon, this is going to be easy!"  Then the next day she only ran for about an hour.  After that, it was almost as if she forgot how to use it!  She also had a wheel, and she NEVER showed any love to it.

Then when she was coming around the calendar toward her first birthday, I had the idea to let her try out her jogging equipment in nearly complete darkness.  Something I'd observed about her when she'd get on those contraptions, it seemed that being able to see around her was causing her difficulties with the whole concept of using them -- as though she was just thinking too much about it.  And !voilà!  I slept in the same room with her while she was up with her wheel in the dark, and every time I woke up (which was frequently), I heard that thing , squeekie-squeekie-squeekie-squeekie-squeekie....  I put a dot of olive oil on both contact points, and then she could run all night in near silence.  Similarly, she also showed new interest in the saucer, as long as the lights were completely off, and the constant pitter-patter-pitter-patter-pitter-patter... returned.

After her first birthday, however, interest gradually waned, and never came back.  Time just caught up with her while we were too busy enjoying each other's company to notice......

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Re: Giving up on wheels?

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Wed 14 Feb 2018, 7:25 pm

@MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop wrote:Sounds familiar.  It took April a couple of days to figure out her saucer when I first brought her home.  Then one afternoon she ran on that thing for 2½ hours STRAIGHT.  pitter-patter-pitter-patter-pitter-patter-pitter-patter...  I thought, "Well, if that's all it takes to keep her amused all afternoon, this is going to be easy!"  Then the next day she only ran for about an hour.  After that, it was almost as if she forgot how to use it!  She also had a wheel, and she NEVER showed any love to it.

Then when she was coming around the calendar toward her first birthday, I had the idea to let her try out her jogging equipment in nearly complete darkness.  Something I'd observed about her when she'd get on those contraptions, it seemed that being able to see around her was causing her difficulties with the whole concept of using them -- as though she was just thinking too much about it.  And !voilà!  I slept in the same room with her while she was up with her wheel in the dark, and every time I woke up (which was frequently), I heard that thing , squeekie-squeekie-squeekie-squeekie-squeekie....  I put a dot of olive oil on both contact points, and then she could run all night in near silence.  Similarly, she also showed new interest in the saucer, as long as the lights were completely off, and the constant pitter-patter-pitter-patter-pitter-patter... returned.

After her first birthday, however, interest gradually waned, and never came back.  Time just caught up with her while we were too busy enjoying each other's company to notice......
That's a good possibility too, I've noticed as I'm walking down the hallway to my "pet room" I'll hear the "squeak, squeak, squeak!" of the wheels, but as soon as the light turns on, it's total silence Laughing Everyone just stops as soon as they see the light. Some will get back on and continue running, but many of them wait until I leave and turn the light off again Razz

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Re: Giving up on wheels?

Post by stephlisa on Thu 15 Feb 2018, 1:48 am

I was told by the shelter that it wasn't the end of the world to leave out a wheel if the space is used for other things.
I'd recommend putting it back in a few weeks to a month just to see if they are interested. My boy, Colin, spent his first months with us totally ignoring the wheel so I removed it for a bit. I put it back in and he decided he needed to run all the time! Pumpkin never used the wheel, and Basil only uses it occasionally, but its a very silent wheel so he might be using it at night when im not looking.

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Re: Giving up on wheels?

Post by sweetlings on Thu 15 Feb 2018, 4:12 pm

Merci thats so funny that April would only run in the dark. To be fair, my girls stay in a seperate room when I sleep so they COULD be little night time athletes for all I know. I certainly don't find any mess in the wheel like I used to though so I don't know Confused

Anonymous, thats a good point! Their wheels were certainly a good size for them when they used them (no bending tails or backs), but I haven't seen them run in them for 6 months or more so maybe they have outgrown them without my noticing? Is there a size guide beyond "back and tails should be naturally straight"? My wheels are 6 inches and 7 inches, and it's difficult to judge size/mouse posture when they ignore the wheel completely haha

Stephlisa, good to know that the shelter recommended it might be okay. Maybe I will take the wheel out for a week and then see if reintroducing it revives some interest Smile
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Re: Giving up on wheels?

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Thu 15 Feb 2018, 4:21 pm

@sweetlings wrote:
Anonymous, thats a good point! Their wheels were certainly a good size for them when they used them (no bending tails or backs), but I haven't seen them run in them for 6 months or more so maybe they have outgrown them without my noticing? Is there a size guide beyond "back and tails should be naturally straight"? My wheels are 6 inches and 7 inches, and it's difficult to judge size/mouse posture when they ignore the wheel completely haha
Normally 7-8 inches is a good range, I like to go more for 8 inch wheels for girls, since they tend to run together, but if you have a saucer then a 7 inch (usually labeled as "medium") works well, I've seen two mice run on it before Smile

Sorry if if you've mentioned this already, I didn't go back and search your original post for it, but have you tried different styles of wheels? I know one of my boys hates saucer wheels and seems to want to use them as a platform rather than a wheel Laughing, and all of my girls have different preferences, some like mesh and some like saucers.

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Re: Giving up on wheels?

Post by River on Thu 15 Feb 2018, 6:30 pm

My girl abandoned her saucer wheel, so I left the silent spinner in there for a few days, no second wheel available.

She was not happy. I added it back in and what do you know, she started using it...after months of ignoring it. I have no idea why to this day. Maybe it'll catch their attention, too?
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Re: Giving up on wheels?

Post by sweetlings on Thu 15 Feb 2018, 7:51 pm

River, I hope my girls have a similar "Don't know what you have until it's gone" realisation! I'll try just leaving it out for a day or two so they don't get too moody about it and hopefully it will spike their interest again!

Anonymous, thanks for the tips! I have a silent spinner style wheel, a much 'deeper' wheel that also clips to their cage bars (this WAS the favourite) and the flying saucer (which I have NEVER seen them use). I have never tried a mesh or a 'standalone' style wheel though, so maybe i'll pick up a slightly larger mesh wheel and see if size/style change helps Smile
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Re: Giving up on wheels?

Post by Mahjling on Fri 16 Feb 2018, 2:07 am

I rotate my saucer wheel in and out, when they get bored of it, I remove it for a few days, then put it back in to keep it interesting.

My girls really just don't love their wheel though, despite using it very very occasionally, they spend most of their time digging instead. If upgrading your wheel doesn't work out, they may just not be into it.

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