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Enclosure too big!?

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Post by Halloweenladies13 Wed 09 Dec 2020, 9:22 pm

I house my four female mice in a 75 gallon tank that is very full of beddin and fun things to do. My breeder is trying to say it’s too big and I need to move them into a smaller 10-20 max. This seems ridiculous. I didn’t think a mouse could have a big enough enclosure as long as it was done properly. I can’t figure out how to attach a photo of their set up.Enclosure too big!? 2cb1fc10


https://youtu.be/EDdOnko6_fA I’ve tried attaching a link to a YouTube video I made about their new 75 gallon.

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Post by River Wed 09 Dec 2020, 9:47 pm

It is, in my opinion, ridiculous. It's a common belief parroted in many mouse breeding groups but there's just simply not enough evidence to back it up, especially not when it comes to groups of females

Mice HATE open space. It stresses them out beyond belief. This has led many breeders to think more space = bad. This isn't true...they just don't know how to decorate. Laughing

They appreciate more space as long as it's properly enriched...AKA super crowded with toys. In this recent (2018) study, they kept just three female mice in a cage roughly the size of a 40g breeder. They thrived! They showed less repetitive behavior (stereotypies) and were overall less anxious and performed tasks better than the other mice:
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00232/full?fbclid=IwAR0N-iuXwBFN3RBIaoQnuo5xMOH5KHx91-F8cR_rOl6fWERBzjCEA01sY1A

I do believe the 'proper cage size' could depend on the individual mouse. If someone says their mice were stressed in a bigger enclosure then I'm not going to tell them they're lying, but if your mice are happy and healthy...then leave them in their current set-up. You've crowded it up just fine.

As for what to do about the breeder, did you sign a contract of any sort that said you couldn't use this cage? If not, you could argue your point or just stop responding. It depends on if you want more mice from them in the future. If you didn't sign a contract then they're your pets, you bought them, and you get to decide how you house them.


Last edited by River on Wed 09 Dec 2020, 10:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Halloweenladies13 Wed 09 Dec 2020, 10:21 pm

@River wrote:It is, in my opinion, ridiculous, but overall a super common view for breeders unfortunately.

Mice HATE open space. It stresses them out beyond belief. This has led many breeders to think more space = bad. This isn't true...they just don't know how to decorate. Laughing

They appreciate more space as long as it's properly enriched...AKA super crowded with toys. In this recent (2018) study, they kept just three female mice in a cage roughly the size of a 40g breeder. They thrived! They showed less repetitive behavior (stereotypies) and were overall less anxious and performed tasks better than the other mice:
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00232/full?fbclid=IwAR0N-iuXwBFN3RBIaoQnuo5xMOH5KHx91-F8cR_rOl6fWERBzjCEA01sY1A

Some mice are different. I've had some breeders tell me honestly that their bucks especially stressed out in bigger enclosures and showed more stereotypes. Fair enough, I guess, but if your mice are thriving and healthy then...leave them in their big enclosure! You've crowded it up just fine.

As for what to do about the breeder, did you sign a contract of any sort that said you couldn't use this cage? If not, you could argue your point (that's a brilliant study to link, but many people just want to be right and will argue regardless), or just lie/stop responding. It depends on if you want more mice from them in the future. If you didn't sign a contract then they're your pets, you bought them, and you get to decide how you house them.



Okay thank you I appreciate it. I thought I did a great job giving them bedding to burrow and toys to hide. and no I did not sign a contract or anything. I would like to get mice from her in the future but not if it means I can’t give my mice all the space they deserve. I’ve had very good luck with her mice in the past for longevity which of course I want but I wasn’t sure how to politely disagree since I think she wants to be able to tell people what to do. I think I’ve seen incredible changes in behavior since moving them into the 75 gallon out of their previous converted “bunny” cage.

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Post by River Wed 09 Dec 2020, 10:41 pm

@Halloweenladies13 wrote:
Okay thank you I appreciate it. I thought I did a great job giving them bedding to burrow and toys to hide. and no I did not sign a contract or anything. I would like to get mice from her in the future but not if it means I can’t give my mice all the space they deserve. I’ve had very good luck with her mice in the past for longevity which of course I want but I wasn’t sure how to politely disagree since I think she wants to be able to tell people what to do. I think I’ve seen incredible changes in behavior since moving them into the 75 gallon out of their previous converted “bunny” cage.

You did! Your cage looks phenomenal. I think most mice would feel very secure and happy in that set-up.

I'm not sure what I would do. I would hate to lie, if her mice are healthy and well-bred then she deserves the benefit of the doubt. I'm not sure how I'd phrase my response. I tend to come off a little strong, but maybe sending her the study and saying something along the lines of:

"I respect your position here, but I've done my research and I think there is enough evidence for us to at least agree to disagree. I have made sure there's not a ton of open space that would stress them out. Thank you!"

And go from there...? Maybe you just disagree at the end of the day. There aren't a lot of studies so she could be basing this off of experience. As long as she's being kind to you, then I would be kind back. Smile

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Post by Halloweenladies13 Wed 09 Dec 2020, 10:52 pm

@River wrote:
@Halloweenladies13 wrote:
Okay thank you I appreciate it. I thought I did a great job giving them bedding to burrow and toys to hide. and no I did not sign a contract or anything. I would like to get mice from her in the future but not if it means I can’t give my mice all the space they deserve. I’ve had very good luck with her mice in the past for longevity which of course I want but I wasn’t sure how to politely disagree since I think she wants to be able to tell people what to do. I think I’ve seen incredible changes in behavior since moving them into the 75 gallon out of their previous converted “bunny” cage.

You did! Your cage looks phenomenal. I think most mice would feel very secure and happy in that set-up.

I'm not sure what I would do. I would hate to lie, if her mice are healthy and well-bred then she deserves the benefit of the doubt. I'm not sure how I'd phrase my response. I tend to come off a little strong, but maybe sending her the study and saying something along the lines of:

"I respect your position here, but I've done my research and I think there is enough evidence for us to at least agree to disagree. I have made sure there's not a ton of open space that would stress them out. Thank you!"

And go from there...? Maybe you just disagree at the end of the day. There aren't a lot of studies so she could be basing this off of experience. As long as she's being kind to you, then I would be kind back. Smile

Okay I will try that. Unfortunately mice are one of the species that are seen as being able to be kept in tiny things on a shelf and a lot of keepers show that. However a lot of foreign keepers were the ones who taught me how to properly kept them in more space. I’ll see if she will accept that my mice are happy and if not I’ll just have to find a different breeder. I can’t force them to be in something tiny if they’re thriving in a large space that I’ve spent a lot of time designing to make them feel safe and happy. Thanks so much for all of the advice!! Kiss

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Post by chiroptera Wed 09 Dec 2020, 11:15 pm

It makes me sad that a mouse breeder of all people would give in to the silliness about them having "too much" space. Empty space stresses mice out, because they're exposed - but cluttered space, such as what you have, is perfectly fine! Of course, there might be rare exceptions where a certain mouse or group of mice does better in a smaller space, but in the vast majority of situations, there's no such thing as a "too big" enclosure as long as there's enough enrichment and the mice always have access to food, water, and shelter.

If it were me I'd honestly probably ignore her or lie if I still wanted to get mice from her in the future, only to avoid conflict, but if I had other sources to get mice I'd let her know that I think she's wrong lol

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Post by Halloweenladies13 Thu 10 Dec 2020, 9:19 am

@chiroptera wrote:It makes me sad that a mouse breeder of all people would give in to the silliness about them having "too much" space. Empty space stresses mice out, because they're exposed - but cluttered space, such as what you have, is perfectly fine! Of course, there might be rare exceptions where a certain mouse or group of mice does better in a smaller space, but in the vast majority of situations, there's no such thing as a "too big" enclosure as long as there's enough enrichment and the mice always have access to food, water, and shelter.

If it were me I'd honestly probably ignore her or lie if I still wanted to get mice from her in the future, only to avoid conflict, but if I had other sources to get mice I'd let her know that I think she's wrong lol

Unfortunately she’s pretty much the only breeder in my area. There’s a rescue about two hours away but they rarely have females and I won’t buy from a pet store so I’m kind of stuck and like I said her mice are beautiful and bred for longevity which is amazing. I’ll probably just have to lie to her if a simple agree to disagree doesn’t work

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Post by SarahAdams Fri 11 Dec 2020, 11:01 am

Too much space? Does she know how much space mice in the wild have? "Open space" I agree is bad and would cause a lot of stress. A mouse out in open space in the wild is a dead mouse and the instinct to hide is intact in our domesticated mice. I gave each of mine their own very large bins, packed with stuff to the point where the bottom is barely visible. I think they were used to tiny cages and were apprehensive and agitated at first, but now they love their big homes and use every inch.

This is like so many people say bettas like to be in tiny cups of water. Just because pet stores sell these tiny enclosures - more decoration than proper homes for the animals - doesn't mean the fish like it. In the wild, they live in vast rice paddies and other large, shallow bodies of water. My betta had his own 10-gallon tank.

The more space you give an animal, the better. Your tank looks great and your girlies must love it!

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Post by Halloweenladies13 Fri 11 Dec 2020, 1:38 pm

@SarahAdams wrote:Too much space? Does she know how much space mice in the wild have? "Open space" I agree is bad and would cause a lot of stress. A mouse out in open space in the wild is a dead mouse and the instinct to hide is intact in our domesticated mice. I gave each of mine their own very large bins, packed with stuff to the point where the bottom is barely visible. I think they were used to tiny cages and were apprehensive and agitated at first, but now they love their big homes and use every inch.

This is like so many people say bettas like to be in tiny cups of water. Just because pet stores sell these tiny enclosures - more decoration than proper homes for the animals -  doesn't mean the fish like it. In the wild, they live in vast rice paddies and other large, shallow bodies of water. My betta had his own 10-gallon tank.

The more space you give an animal, the better. Your tank looks great and your girlies must love it!

Thank you! I strive to give all of my animals as much space as possible and way above the minimum. It caught me off guard when she said that like was I in the wrong? So I’m glad that everyone is agreeing my set up looks good. They seem to have so much fun building burrows and playing with all of their toys. I can’t imagine forcing them into a 10 gallon together. Like that’s barely enough space for a wheel let alone all of the other things they enjoy and need.

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Post by chiroptera Fri 11 Dec 2020, 4:25 pm

I watched your video on their setup and it looks fantastic! Smile

As Sarah said, mice in the wild have all the space in the world, and they certainly don't die of stress from having "too much" Laughing Keep it nice and full of enrichment and places to dig and hide like you have it, and I think you'll have some very happy mousies on your hands.

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Post by SarahAdams Fri 11 Dec 2020, 10:30 pm

OMG - I just noticed the video. How lovely to watch them checking out everything. Such curious little critters!

AFAIK, only hamsters and gerbils - being desert animals -  will use a sand bath. Mice clean themselves with their tongues like cats. If you remove it, a good replacement would be a small-sized Sputnik. My mice adore stuffing bedding in theirs, getting in, and looking over the edge. Laughing so cute.

If you think they will chew the twine holding up the basket (which mine immediately did to a seagrass hide I hung up) you can get those really cheap plastic shower curtain holders at the dollar store. You can link them all together to whatever length you need, attach them to the basket and the mice won't chew them. They like to climb the links too and the round, smooth plastic can't hurt them.

LOVED the video and your adorable fuzzy mice! Smile

P.S. If I could, I would turn my mouse room - about 10'x10' - into a giant habitat. It's impossible to give captive animals too much space.

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Post by chiroptera Sat 12 Dec 2020, 12:05 am

I had some twine holding up a toilet paper tube and the girls left it up for a while... but eventually they chewed through it Laughing

If you don't mind the possibility of whatever you're hanging falling, then letting them chew the twine can be a fun game for them. But the shower curtain clips are definitely the way to go for more permanent structures. Razz (Though it could also depend on your mice - your girls might not chew the twine so you may not have to worry about it!)

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Post by River Sat 12 Dec 2020, 10:08 pm

I wonder how these breeders think the mice in Germany are doing...

There's a language barrier so we can't often share information, but after meeting a German mouse owner recently I have been trying to look at more German sources and their 'minimum' cage size is massive. I'm talking 5-600 square inches for a pair! Laughing

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Post by Halloweenladies13 Tue 15 Dec 2020, 9:54 pm

@River wrote:I wonder how these breeders think the mice in Germany are doing...

There's a language barrier so we can't often share information, but after meeting a German mouse owner recently I have been trying to look at more German sources and their 'minimum' cage size is massive. I'm talking 5-600 square inches for a pair! Laughing

Thank you everyone for the advice! I actually did take out the sand bath after finding out if could be harmful! I also ended up talking to the breeder and discussing my concern. In the end we kind of agreed to disagree but she offered to give me some free mice because that was her finally idea of helping with the space issue she had a problem with. I’m fine with that outcome as two of my girls are nearing two and I feel like it was the second best outcome to her agreeing more space is better if doing it correctly! Anyways thanks everyone for the support because it really confused me when she said that the first time. And actually I did mention European mouse care and she completely ignored that part!

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