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New Member, I need help!

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Post by Sparrow on Thu 20 Sep 2018, 10:15 am

Hello Everyone!
On Saturday I am adopting y first ever mice. I have kept hamsters, ferrets, rabbits and guinea pigs basically all my life. I currently have three hamsters and two guinea pigs. ( I LOVE rodents haha)

I know a person who has baby mice, four females and one male kept separately and he wants to put them down, so I offered to take them thinking that their care would be similar to that of a hamster... The mice are all 3 months old and siblings.

I keep my dwarf hamsters in 650sq inch cages and my Syrian in a 800sq inch cage. After looking through the forum, I found out that mice cannot be kept in spaces so large? Is that true?

Also, can I keep all 4 of the females in one cage or must I split them up into two groups of two? I know that the male needs to stay separated in his own cage.

What kind of food would you recommend for mice? A have read on other websites that you can feed mice a hamster food mix. That doesn't really seem right? But I guess its best to ask anyways...

How often do you need to clean their cages? With hamsters you cannot clean the cages and more than once a month but I read on here that mice cages need to be cleaned weekly. Would weekly cleanings cause stress?

What kind of wheel would you recommend and how many of them per cage? I have some comfort wheels and flying saucers lying around the house as spares for my hamsters. Would those be a good option?

How much bedding do mice need and what kind would be best? I use hemp bedding mixed with paper bedding and hay, about 6 to 8 inches for my hamsters. Would mice be similar in that sense or do they need less/more bedding?

Is there anything else that I need to know before taking the mice under my roof?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Post by CallaLily on Thu 20 Sep 2018, 3:10 pm

Welcome! Mouse Wave


You can keep mice in larger spaces but you may find newly introduced groups do better in a smaller space until they’re bonded. And keep in mind that mice do not like wide open spaces, so you’ll need to really pack in a lot of hides/toys/cover. They’re also really great at climbing, so don’t forget to utilize that space too. Smile

Yes, four female mice in a group can work out just fine. If they’re not already together, there’s a page here on the forum that goes over how to properly introduce them.

Hamster and parakeet seed mixes are recommended by many who keep mice because most commercial mouse food has too much crude protein and is full of junk. You’ll have to pay attention to the labels still but most have better luck finding something more suitable among the parakeet or hamster mixes. For the average mouse from untracked lines you’ll want 12-14% crude protein, 5-8% crude fat, and less than 10% crude fiber. Well bred mice may have slightly different needs - ask your breeder what works best for their lines. Also look for a lot of whole food variety in the mix, with things like whole millet, oats, barley, wheat being the main ingredients and things like corn, sunflower seeds, pellets being further down in the ingredients or not at all.

Full cleans are needed about every 7-10 days with most mice. They’re messy and poo and pee a lot and to top it off they have very sensitive respiratory systems, so going too long between cleans isn’t a good idea. Also, most mice really really enjoy the change that comes with a clean. They’ll spark (kind of like popcorning with guinea pigs) a lot and rearrange and explore and just have a grand old time.

Flying saucers are great! Comfort wheels would be fine too. Medium sized saucers or wheels of 7”+ are usually a good size.

A few inches of bedding is fine. Some mice do enjoy digging, but I find they don’t need a huge amount like hamsters or gerbils. Hemp mixed with paper and hay is just fine. I prefer paper based beddings for my mice but I can’t get my hands in hemp to try but wish I could!

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Post by Sparrow on Thu 20 Sep 2018, 6:43 pm

@CallaLily wrote:Welcome!  Mouse Wave


You can keep mice in larger spaces but you may find newly introduced groups do better in a smaller space until they’re bonded.  And keep in mind that mice do not like wide open spaces, so you’ll need to really pack in a lot of hides/toys/cover. They’re also really great at climbing, so don’t forget to utilize that space too. Smile

Yes, four female mice in a group can work out just fine. If they’re not already together, there’s a page here on the forum that goes over how to properly introduce them.

Hamster and parakeet seed mixes are recommended by many who keep mice because most commercial mouse food has too much crude protein and is full of junk. You’ll have to pay attention to the labels still but most have better luck finding something more suitable among the parakeet or hamster mixes.  For the average mouse from untracked lines you’ll want 12-14% crude protein, 5-8% crude fat, and less than 10% crude fiber. Well bred mice may have slightly different needs - ask your breeder what works best for their lines. Also look for a lot of whole food variety in the mix, with things like whole millet, oats, barley, wheat being the main ingredients and things like corn, sunflower seeds, pellets being further down in the ingredients or not at all.

Full cleans are needed about every 7-10 days with most mice. They’re messy and poo and pee a lot and to top it off they have very sensitive respiratory systems, so going too long between cleans isn’t a good idea. Also, most mice really really enjoy the change that comes with a clean. They’ll spark (kind of like popcorning with guinea pigs) a lot and rearrange and explore and just have a grand old time.  

Flying saucers are great! Comfort wheels would be fine too. Medium sized saucers or wheels of 7”+ are usually a good size.

A few inches of bedding is fine. Some mice do enjoy digging, but I find they don’t need a huge amount like hamsters or gerbils.   Hemp mixed with paper and hay is just fine. I prefer paper based beddings for my mice but I can’t get my hands in hemp to try but wish I could!  
The females are all from the same litter, and were never separated from one another so they are very strongly bonded (or so I was told).
Their care seems to be simple enough and they don't seem nearly as demanding as hamsters. Another thing that is basically a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders is that their supplies can all be the same as my hamsters (with some adjustments to the food mix). I want to have everything ready by the time I bring the little darlings home and this makes it far more easier for me.

I am shocked that they enjoy cage cleaning, especially so frequently. I personally adore that, as I make new DIY toys for my pets every few days and I love rearranging cage setups.

Thank you for all the information and advice!
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