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2 new juvenile females (I hope) - musky smell and "fighting"?

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2 new juvenile females (I hope) - musky smell and "fighting"? Empty 2 new juvenile females (I hope) - musky smell and "fighting"?

Post by Oreo&Mocha on Mon 20 Aug 2018, 7:46 pm

Greetings - we are first time mice owners. We purchased two mice from a local pet store that advertised all of their small rodents as being only females (you could "order" males). We believe the two we got were littermates, or at least had been living together at the store for a week or more. We have had them for 5 days and the smell of their habitat is quite musky. We are using Carefresh bedding and it's been changed once in the time we've had them (I was shooting for twice a week). I provide fresh food every day, but of course they are distributing it at will around and about. Smile

So my questions are - is the musky smell normal for two female mice? It does not smell like ammonia. And, they seem to fall into a pattern of smelling each other, stalking, chasing, and scrapping several times a day. No one has gotten hurt, so maybe this is just a dominance display?

I guess I'm worried we have a male (or two). We do not want babies, nor do we have the space to separate them, so if that's the case, I'll have to return them. One for sure looks to be female and I haven't been able to get a good look at the other.

Thoughts? Advice? Thanks in advance! Smile

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Post by Lizardian on Mon 20 Aug 2018, 9:07 pm

I've only had male mice, but from my understanding sometimes females can occasionally have little scraps and it's normal BUT if it's actual and consistent fighting and/or bullying, usually there's a "bully mouse" that's picking on the more submissive one. My advice is to provide 2 food bowls if you only have 1. Make sure the same food is in each bowl. Provide a lot of hiding places and escape routes so that the bullied mouse can get away if it needs to. You may want to consider separating them temporarily and then re-introducing them in neutral territory.

If they're young mice then sometimes they can be hard to sex, they're a bit like cats in that regard. With males you will usually see a bulge where the testes are at, but if they're young the bulge may not be very developed. Checking whether it has nipples or not is a good way to determine for sure whether it's male or female, as male mice do not have teats.
2 new juvenile females (I hope) - musky smell and "fighting"? F9ee277b31eca13556520e16a09cf253

I'm not sure as far as the urinary issues and odor - assuming it's not a medical issue, make sure you are feeding them a good diet.
https://www.petmousefanciers.com/t15-mouse-diet

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Post by Blessed on Mon 20 Aug 2018, 9:41 pm

Mice are horribly stinky anyways...the male is just 2x worse, perhaps.

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Post by CallaLily on Tue 21 Aug 2018, 12:39 pm

It is very common for new mice to be extra stinky for a few weeks when you first bring them home. The pet stores usually feed really junky food and that combined with the stress of the move can cause them to smell pretty strongly. After they’ve settled and have been fed better quality food, it should tone down some. Filtered water is said to help over straight from the tap. An air purifier can be a big help too. Also, cleaning too often can sometimes make things worse. Spot clean daily and full cage cleans once a week is really all that should be necessary. I find when a mouse cage is stinking shortly after a clean, it’s usually the wheel. They tend to go a lot when they run so check on that.

Chasing, sniffing, squeaking, mounting are all normal as they figure out who’s who. You should really only need to be concerned if blood has been drawn or if one mouse is so bullied they’re being kept from eating/drinking enough. Otherwise, let them work it out. They need to establish who’s in charge. Also, usually 3 or more females is best in a group. This keeps the dominant mouse from putting all their attention on the one submissive mouse - so it’s more balanced. Not that female pairs can’t work -they can- it’s just 3+ usually work out better.

If you’re having trouble sexing them you can try to grab pics to share here and we’ll try to help. Try placing them in a clear container and taking pics from underneath in a well lit area.

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Post by Oreo&Mocha on Tue 21 Aug 2018, 2:30 pm

Thanks, everyone! I appreciate the responses. They seem to be eating and drinking well, and they share the nest box to sleep, so hopefully it's just typical shenanigans. They are awfully fun to watch and I'm amazed at what constructors they are with the bedding and such.

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