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Orphaned Mice, What Kind?

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Post by Kkameleon Wed 01 Jun 2022, 12:51 pm

Hello! I’m new to the mouse world. The other day I found three orphaned baby mice. According to my research they are probably about 14+ days old? Two had not opened their eyes, but just this morning they opened and they’ve gained energy. I’ve been feeding them kitten formula and just now started giving them sweet peas and seeds which they are slowly enjoying.
They are pooping on their own, as well.

I want them to live the best possible life. I understand that they probably won’t do well in the wild since I found with their eyes closed and have been handling them with human contact.

Can anyone tell me if this is a deer mouse or a house mouse? I can’t seem to distinguish even though I’ve read tons of things. I do live in the woods, but many descriptions of them also match a house mouse as well so I’m not sure.

Obviously I would be concerned about diseases if keeping them as pets. Can babies carry disease this young? They are so adorable and I’d like to keep them if possible but there are various things to consider so I’m not sure what to do.

Thank you! Orphaned Mice, What Kind? C0167810
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Kkameleon
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Post by Kkameleon Wed 01 Jun 2022, 1:03 pm

Kkameleon wrote:Hello! I’m new to the mouse world. The other day I found three orphaned baby mice. According to my research they are probably about 14+ days old? Two had not opened their eyes, but just this morning they opened and they’ve gained energy. I’ve been feeding them kitten formula and just now started giving them sweet peas and seeds which they are slowly enjoying.
They are pooping on their own, as well.

I want them to live the best possible life. I understand that they probably won’t do well in the wild since I found with their eyes closed and have been handling them with human contact.

Can anyone tell me if this is a deer mouse or a house mouse? I can’t seem to distinguish even though I’ve read tons of things. I do live in the woods, but many descriptions of them also match a house mouse as well so I’m not sure.

Obviously I would be concerned about diseases if keeping them as pets. Can babies carry disease this young? They are so adorable and I’d like to keep them if possible but there are various things to consider so I’m not sure what to do. It is hard not to become emotionally attached. I’m sure this is a common predicament.

Thank you! Orphaned Mice, What Kind? C0167810
Orphaned Mice, What Kind? 93f9ad10
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Kkameleon
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Post by cerial Sun 05 Jun 2022, 4:41 pm

Deer mice tend to have a white belly. House mice tend to have a single colored coat. Deer mice are more common then true house mice.

I have a 2 liter live trap and live between a field and a creek with a few out buildings so I catch a deer mouse at least once a month. During the cold months I keep them for a day or two releasing them during the warmest part of the day near a pine tree or other covering.

One of the mice I caught had babies and I kept her and the babies along with my fancy mice. I have had a few liters since then but it has settled around 20 deer mice along with my fancy mice.

Now as babies you can handle them like your doing. But it won't take long till they want to jump and run around. I do not recommend handling them at all. That's the main difference between fancy and deer mice. Fancy mice are afraid of heights and are very slow. Deer mice are fearless and very fast. You can handle a Fancy mouse letting it climb up your sleeve  or sit on a desk. A deer mouse will run up your sleeve and jump off your shoulder just to explore the room. Same thing with setting a fancy and a deer mouse on a desk or putting the two in a cage.

If your going to keep deer mice you need a tank. Preferably a 55 gallon long tank. Or you can make a tank out of single Payne wooden windows like I have done. Anything with bars they will find a way to squeeze out of.

I have a setup where I have a 55 gallon, two 10 gallons, and a 24x60 tank made out of windows. The tank made out of windows has a short 5" radiator hose connecting it to the 10 gallon so I can push the mice out of that tank then cap the hose for easy cleaning before closing off the other side.

It makes cleaning the tanks every 2 weeks easier and reduces the tome to do so to under 2 hours including cutting up all the bedding.

Now you can train deer mice to do basic things. Most will come to me for treats and know not to peek there heads above the lid of the cage. My cages use glass lids made from single Payne windows found on screen doors. They give a 1/8 gap around the entire cage which is enough to let air out while not enough for the mice to squeeze there head through. It is also enough for the deer mice to hide treats they may want to get later.

I am focusing on the cage and cleaning because if you need to catch them by hand eventually they are going to escape.

If they escape you CAN NOT reintroduce them. The reason is simple. While Males from the same litter may have fights they generally wont kill each other. But they will without a doubt kill a outside male or even a outside female you just drop into the cage. Once in the cage your not getting that mouse out without risking the male chasing it to escape also. So as a general rule you want to avoid the mice escaping and the best way to do that is have two sides of a tank joined by a barrier letting you easily clean the tank.

Now then if you eventually want fancy mice know that you only want females because the male Deers do not care if the male is a fancy or a deer. The female fancy mice tend to be much more aggressive to the deer mice then any of my deer mice. They are territorial often squinting and even chasing a bit. Because they are much slower they stalk the deers getting close before they are able to give a close nip. Most of  the deers simply run off but the ones that do go into there back legs are still being defensive and only tap the fancy's head if the fancy continues to move forward.

My fancy mice have never become pregnant from any of my deers  despite several of the fancy being happy to sleep in the pile of deers. Some of my more aggressive fancy will chase some of the submissive fancy near a pile of sleeping deers and the submissive will be safe with the deers. It has been 2 years and not one baby from my fancy mice.

Now then while most of my males get along. I do have a case of a mouse I call Grey. Grey is a male mouse he simply does not get a hint of when to back off. He is extremely submissive and scared of everything. He tries to do things like find a group that will let him in fancy or deer but he often gets bit by both sides and the reason he is grey is because he is stressed all the time. When is is stressed he chirps for several minutes.
https://www.youtube.com/shorts/OBayEiNAr2w

So I end up separating him for a few days then reintroducing him which never went well having him freaking out shortly after. Even placing him with a single fancy I know likes deer mice in a single 10gallon tank I would find him in the corner of the tank avoiding the fancy mouse.

Because of this I have deemed Grey to live in his own cage and he  seems much happier. Just know that this may be the case with some of your males. You either need to let the males go or respect that you may need to separate them.

Onto veterinary care. Most vets wont mess with deer mice(mostly due to the difficultly handling). Most deer mice are extremely healthy. A fancy is lucky to live for 24 to 30 months best case  while deer mice can live for 60+ months in captivity. They just have fewer issues and if they die it is usually instant like they try to jump 3 feet across the cage and land wrong.

Now for bedding I have a large cage that i clean every two weeks. Because of this I buy books at the thrift store that are going to just be thrown away. I have a cross cut shredder and shred the books into around 80 liters of 1" paper pieces. The fancy love carrying these pieces digging and making tunnels out of them. After shredding I shake out any dust by pouring the bedding into one bag then another. Once the cages are cleaned an wiped down I insert the bedding into the cage before wetting it down with ivermectin with a 1/5 ratio turning up the bedding as I do so. This is the best way I have found to get the ivermectin onto the deers.

As for finding a cage I got my 55 gallon off marketplace for $50. The lids were free I just needed to pick them up. The bedding cost me around $6 to make 80 liters. I place sticks from outdoors for them to climb and chew on in the cage then place lots of cardboard boxes in the cage. The cardboard boxes, branches, and bedding are all thrown out  every two weeks keeping enrichment up.  I use mesh items and metal items like office organizers and tunnel s made out of metal in the cage. They like climbing the mesh and being metal it is easy to clean. I have some 10" wheels which are about the only plastic things in the cage and are also easy enough to clean.  Avoid using ropes or fabrics as they are very hard to get completely clean and hold moisture for a long time.

Once again I do not recommend handling your mice. But if you do handle them just wash your paws after. as far as training sliced almonds make great treats. Although they tend to fight over them.
On diet I feed my mice cereal mostly consisting of grains and oats with absolutely no corn. They love cinnamon toast crunch cereal as well as cheerios. But the cereal below is what they eat the most. Of course I also give them fruits and live insects from time to time.
https://www.meijer.com/shopping/product/meijer-vanilla-almond-cereal-12-4-oz/71373391385.html

Having a variety is going to allow the mice to choose what they eat. I have all the food mixed together in a tote and give the mice a cereal bowl of food per day. I also refresh the water at the same time. Your going to throw away more food then they eat. They will hide it as well as it just gets covered after a while which is why cleaning the tank(s) every 2 weeks is recommended.

Know that keeping deer mice is a 5 year commitment. Mine have only known the cage so they are good about being good within the cage even having a very specific sleep schedule. I would never accept any outside Deer mice as they would probably be killed. The deers are submissive to even the new fancy mice. But if you want to have deers know that if they are raised in the cage they might not do well outside the cage. You really shouldn't handle them and if you place them in a cage make sure it is big enough for them to do things like run and jump within the cage.

cerial
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Post by Kkameleon Tue 21 Jun 2022, 11:09 pm

Thank you so much for your detailed response! It was really helpful.

The deer mice are still doing well. I decided to keep them since I found them before their eyes were open. I felt that they wouldn’t do well in the wild after hand feeding them and I did handle them quite a bit when they were very young.

I have them in a 20 gallon at the moment and I’m also searching on marketplace for a 40-50 gallon since i see they need more room.

I do have an issue with housing two males and one female (I think) at the moment. The only option i can think of is that my friend takes the female to care for to avoid pregnancy. I am just very concerned that she will be lonely and won’t have a good life living alone. I know female mice tend to need more socialization from what I’ve read.

Do you think introducing a fancy mouse to her will go ok? I don’t have one but would be willing to pick up a fancy mouse.

She’s been living with her siblings and seems happy playing with them, so I feel bad separating her but I don’t know what other option I have.

Thanks again for your help and any other suggestions are appreciated

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