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Hi there! + a few questions

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Post by Dots on Fri 18 Sep 2020, 8:14 pm

Hi! My name is Dots, and I’m new here. I have owned mice before but they were all females kept in CritterTrails alone. So, I have a couple questions.
1. Would you recommend getting a trio of girls or a single boy?
2. What cages would you recommend (preferably wire, also bin cages won’t work because I don’t have the tools)?
3. Is it okay to get mice from pet stores? I didn’t want to but there aren’t any mice on petfinder or Craigslist (only frozen pinkies for snakes). There are no mouse breeders near me, and none of my shelters have them. I’ve been checking all of these sites for months.

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Post by SarahAdams on Fri 18 Sep 2020, 9:23 pm

Hi. I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than I will come along and give you more detailed info. In the meantime, I've read that the Prevue 528 is one of the very few suitable cages if you don't mind the expense. It will be slightly less in the US, but for me, it's listed at 155$.

I bought a very large bin. All you need to make the cage is the bin - 20 or so dollars - a roll of 1/4" wire mesh - about 10$. I bought a very cheap soldering iron on Amazon (14$) to cut through the plastic for the openings and then attached the mesh with zip ties - about 5$. There are many YT videos on exactly how to make it. I had never made one, but it's not difficult.

Males or females - the choice is yours. You should get at least 3 females. I have 3 males (got them at the animal shelter) all kept separately. If you get a male you'll have to give it more attention whereas a trio of girls will have each other and not need quite as much of your time.

It's preferable never to get pets at a pet store, if possible. They are all bred in inhumane conditions and can suffer from health/genetic problems and we don't want to financially support factory breeders. There is a sub-forum here to inquire if anyone has mice for adoption. You can give your location and maybe you'll get lucky! Smile

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Post by MeanMurine on Sat 19 Sep 2020, 11:26 am

Hey there. The choice between one boy mouse or a trio of girls depends on your schedule. Girls will keep each other entertained while you are busy, a boy will need a ton of your attention daily for his entire life. Smell is also a factor (boys STINK, girls do not) but space isn't, as a boy needs as much space as a trio of girls, which is a 10 gallon tank at minimum.
If you keep girls, make sure to supply a few hides so they can get some space from their roommates if they need to.
I'm not sure about cages as I keep my male mice in plastic enclosures with barred lids, and my females live in a Duna Multy. Just keep in mind that you want some height, a deep pan for plenty of bedding and a bare minimum of 200sq inches CONTINUOUS floorspace. Also be prepared for mess, as some mice simply love pushing bedding through the bars. I've noted that extra timid new mice tame down faster in smaller enclosures but for a permanent residence, always aim for maximum room.
Lastly, people will recommend breeders or adoption and I see that you've tried to make both work. If that's the case, and there are no alternatives, don't feel bad about picking up some mice from a pet store! They'll most likely be of the same quality as adopted mice, genetically speaking. Just make sure you are indeed buying the gender you are looking for.

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Post by Dots on Sat 19 Sep 2020, 12:23 pm

Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it. I think I will go with girls. Seeing little fluff balls playing together is just adorable, and since I only have hamsters currently I don’t get to see that (I have two Syrians). I have a 10 gallon I set up, but I just can’t keep them in that long term. Maybe I’m just used to larger hamster cages, but it just doesn’t feel right. I actually have a Prevue, but the bars are bent a little in some spots and I feel like a mouse could escape from that. I probably will keep them in the 10 gallon until they’re tame, but I will end up upgrading to a 20 gallon, or a wire cage of the same size or larger. I also think I’ll keep looking around for adoptable mice for a little while longer. The problem is that mice aren’t commonly kept as pets where I live. Even mentioning you’re thinking about getting them will warrant you a few odd looks.

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Post by MeanMurine on Sun 20 Sep 2020, 5:35 am

Mice here are so out of the ordinary I had to order(!) live mice through a reptile store in the middle of the capital! It took weeks. They didn't seem to believe I was going to keep them as pets. Appropriate food didn't exist so I had to make my own mix. I definitely understand the struggle.
Starting with the 10 gallon is a good idea, it can serve as a quarantine or hospital enclosure later on too. Good luck with your cage search Smile

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Post by Dots on Sun 20 Sep 2020, 9:54 am

Okay, so a lot of stuff happened since my last post. I was talking to my mom two nights ago about how I decided on a trio of girls, and how I had my tank already set up. Yesterday, only a few hours after my post saying, “I’ll keep looking at shelters and such.” She surprised me with three female mice from Petco. And let’s say, she’s learned her lesson from buying from stores. The reason why? We think one of the mice is not only a female, but a pregnant female. I separated Boo (the suspected pregnant girl) from the others in a 10 gallon. The others (Luna and Autumn/Pumpkin (haven’t decided yet) are in a temporary wire cage. I have an extra 10 that I need to find/DIY a lid for. So, yeah. I’m very overwhelmed and have very mixed feelings about basically everything that’s happened the past few days. Should I start a new thread for this is in the pregnancy section? Should I send some pictures so you can tell me if you think she’s pregnant or not? Any help would be appreciated. Robin~ has already helped me a ton over on The Hamster Hideout forum, but she suggested I post here.

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Post by MeanMurine on Sun 20 Sep 2020, 10:35 am

I've had a few surprise pregnancies so I can provide advice on the matter, and I suspect others can also. A thread on the matter would definitely help you out immensely. Weighing her daily can reveal a pregnancy (steady increase of weight) but if she's already looking a bit pregnant she will simply balloon over the next few days. Stay on pregnancy watch for the other girls too!

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Post by SarahAdams on Mon 21 Sep 2020, 6:04 pm

@Dots wrote: We think one of the mice is not only a female, but a pregnant female.

Oh, no. I noticed last week that one of the three males I adopted from the shelter was looking like a furry golf ball and was terrified I'd actually gotten a preg female. This is a wild and crazy mouse and checking the parts was impossible. However, upon cleaning and refilling all their food bowls I saw he'd eaten about twice as much as the other two, so is just a fat little piggy mouseboy.

I hope it's the same case for you!

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Post by Uhura on Fri 25 Sep 2020, 10:31 pm

Dots, Did you get a female? A pregnant female? Or what you were hoping for?

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Post by Dots on Sat 26 Sep 2020, 4:27 pm

Umm, yes? I’m a little confused. I did get three females and I think Boo has her babies last night/this morning. I’m not too sure as I only saw her for a split second but she looked like she had her babies. I wasn’t exactly hoping for baby mice. I do think they’re adorable, but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with the males. I can’t keep them, but I can’t find anyone that wants mice. I hope that answers your questions.

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Post by Uhura on Sat 26 Sep 2020, 7:18 pm

It answers it. Others here can tell you when/how to separate male pups in time. I don't know what to tell you about finding someone who wants them. I hope you can find an answer.

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Post by MeanMurine on Sun 27 Sep 2020, 5:04 pm

There's a full guide on sexing with pictures and everything somewhere on here. I separate males out at four weeks of age, they can stay with their brothers for a week or two after that but anything more is a risk. I leave the daughters with the moms for five weeks minimum. I handled both the litters I had daily from day 5 so they'd get used to me and humans in general.
As for finding homes, ask friends, family, local shelters might be able to find homes also, post on mousie sites. People may be willing to drive a fair distance to get adoptable mice. Ads on sites like Craigslist are doable too as long as you confirm adopters have proper mouse husbandry. An adoption fee will prevent people from picking them up as mouse food.

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Post by Dots on Sun 27 Sep 2020, 9:51 pm

Okay, I’m confused (again). I thought she had her babies because she definitely looks like it, but I haven’t seen any signs of them. She isn’t spending time in her nest and I don’t hear any squeaking. I’m guessing either this means she culled her litter or she wasn’t pregnant at all (if this is the case I have no clue why she looked pregnant before, and suddenly doesn’t now).

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Post by MeanMurine on Mon 28 Sep 2020, 2:22 am

You could take her out of the cage for a bit and check the whole enclosure after rubbing your hands in soiled bedding to mask your scent. Make sure not to disturb the nest too much if there's babies.

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Post by Dots on Mon 28 Sep 2020, 8:04 am

I just did that and...nothing. There’s no babies, or any sign of them. Is there any sickness that can look like pregnancy? Could she have just culled the litter?

Thanks for your help by the way. It means a lot.

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