Trouble introducing mice, help!

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Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by LindzDaFinS on Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:22 pm

Hi, I just registered so if I posted this in the wrong place I'm sorry Smile I had 4 female mice, but a few months ago one died, and about a week ago another died. I was left with two female mice, Willow and Puddles. They are adults, probably 8+ months old. I recently picked up two young female mice, Storm and Rain, probably around 2 months old. I put them all (orignal and new mice) in a critter keeper with new bedding and toys, while I cleaned the originals cage. This was before I read up about introducing female mice, and I didn't know it was so complicated. I replaced the bedding and cleaned the bottom of the originals cage. I have some wood pieces hot glued to the back of the original. mice's cage, that I left and didn't clean (big mistake! The original mice new it was their tank from the smell). I put new bedding back in the original tank and put their wheels and huts back (without cleaning them, another big mistake). I watched all 4 mice in the critter keeper, and everything was going ok. They were smelling each other and then the originals started chasing the new mice. I decided to put them all in the originals tank (after only a few minutes of them meeting, another mistake). As you can imagine, it did not go well, and they started wrestling and chasing and squeaking, the original mice probably smelled their scent on the toys and fought to defend their "territory". I took them out and put them back in the critter keeper and decided to read about introducing mice. After I read, I got out a big sterlite bin and put completely new and different type of bedding in it, with water bottles and I scattered some food around as well. I added the willow ball and clay pot from the critter keeper too, but nothing else. Then I put the mice in with some vanilla extract on their rumps. They were ok, a bit of chasing but then they settled and slept for a few hours. When it turned night, I put their wheels in. I should have cleaned the wheels with vinegar but instead I put some dabs of vanilla on them, hoping in would cover up the smell (wow, did I really think that would work?) of the original mice. They were ok for about 10 minutes, but then the original mice started chasing, wrestling, and biting the new mice. Blood was involved, though very little. Rain had a very small scratch/bite on her tail, and Storm was ok. They were confined to the corners, and storm was huddled on top of a water bottle. Both new mice went behind a wheel and slept on top of each other. I decided they needed to sort things out, so I left them over night. That was a mistake. I woke up to find Storm and Rain still confined to corners, but Rain had a large tear in her ear and more small scratches on her tail and back legs. It actually didn't look too bad. Storm had a slightly deeper scratch at the base of her tail. I took the wheels out and watched. There was some chasing and tussling at first, but then they settled and all went under a pile of paper towels I put in and slept together. It made me feel a bit better. I took the wheels and toys from the original mice's cage and cleaned them with vinegar, and let them dry outside. I took the wood pieces off of the back of the tank and boiled them, and let them air dry. I took the bedding out of the tank and scrubbed the whole tank with vinegar. I let it dry and then checked on the mice again. They were still sleeping. I waited about and hour and decided to move them in to the big tank. I put their bedding from the bin into the tank, the water bottles and paper towel pile came too. I didn't add anything else. They chased a few times, then settled and slept. This was around 5:00 pm. Storm and Rain piled on each other and slept in the corner, Puddles and Willow would stop by and sleep with them, then sleep with only each other, then sleep with the new girls again etc... So it became night and I decided to add a house I cleaned with vinegar, that the originals had only seen once before a long time ago. They were fine for the first 10 minutes, they willow chased the new guys away and out of the house, and wouldn't let them in. Upon seeing this, I took the house out. I waited 30 minutes, then tried a big edible log stuffed with toilet paper and paper towels. Same thing happened. So I took the log out and went to bed. I woke up and they were peaceful. I let them sleep for the day and decided to put the wheels in at night. They were ok for around 20 minutes, the Willow got very energetic and started running around the cage and chasing the new girls around. Puddles was just running on her wheel. Soon Willow stopped in a corner to groom herself and Puddles came to chase them around, not as much as Willow did. I decided to go to sleep and let them sort this out. I could hear them squeaking and chasing throughout the night. Then we come to today. I woke up and everyone was sleeping. The new girls in a corner, Puddles in a toilet paper tube a few inches away from the new girls, and Willow under the paper towels. The wheels are still with them. Should I let them fight and resolve this themselves? Or is there something I should do? Puddles and Willow really aren't monsters like they seem, they are both just very outgoing and alpha-like. I feel like all 4 mice will be able to live together eventually, this is just going to take time and I need your guys help. Sorry for the long post, I thought the details would help some Smile

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Re: Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by LindzDaFinS on Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:36 pm

Wanted to add that no injuries have occurred to the new mice after the first night, it was only that first night where the small scratches happened.

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Re: Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by MouseLover on Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:54 pm

Obviously you know the mistakes that were made, but it's good that you were able to find the correct information about introducing mice. As you say Puddles and Willow aren't being nasty, they're just trying to defend what they think is their territory. The mice need to work out their hierarchy before they'll relax and be happy as a colony.

It sounds like things have started to move in the right direction. I'd say keep doing what you're doing - keep the toys to an absolute minimum, and anything they gets fought over I would remove (except for food and water obviously). Eventually they should learn to share and will settle down. But be very careful to keep a close eye on things, and if any serious fighting (drawing blood) happens, I would remove the aggressor and put them into time out for a day or two. Sometimes being a bit lonely can remind them the benefits of room mates and they'll try to get along.

Keep us updated!

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Re: Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by LindzDaFinS on Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:42 pm

Thank you! The mice seem to be fighting over the wheels, should I take them out or leave them to fight until they calm down?

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Re: Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by AnonONIagent on Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:44 pm

Leave them with only food and water at first, and then as long as there is no fighting introduce a clean wheel.

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Re: Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by LindzDaFinS on Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:48 pm

Ok, so I will take everything out except the water bottles bottles (I am scatter feeding). How long should I wait until I put a wheel in? They are peaceful until anything comes into the tank. Can they go a week without a wheel or hidey house? I'm thinking a week would give them some time to bond, and then they would fight less when a wheel appears. Bad idea?

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Re: Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by Peachy on Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:59 pm

Sorry if I missed it in your first post. How big is the tank that you have them in? If there's too much space it can contribute to them being territorial. I had a similar issue with my first introduction... One of the girls needed to guard stuff from the other. It took them a few days of meeting in neutral territory before they could move in together and have simple toys. It sounds like your girls have got a good start... Maybe try a boring cardboard box before you offer a wheel?
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Re: Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by CinnamonPearl on Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:15 pm

So long as everyone is acting friendly, try to reintroduce the wheel. Obviously remove it if a fight breaks out, but it seems like things are starting to go well, so definitely try it. It's okay if they argue a little. They need to work out their new hierarchy, and it'll settle down once they do. I wouldn't leave them without their things for a whole week though. That seems like overkill, and boredom can really get to mice quickly. When I had to empty a tank for introductions, my Rosie, who's usually a very mellow mouse, was literally bouncing off the walls with boredom.

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Re: Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by LindzDaFinS on Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:15 pm

abeona- The tank is 36 inches long, 12.25 inches wide, and 16.75 inches high. Should I move them back into the smaller bin, or keep them in this tank? It is quite big. Or should I move only the new girls into the bin, and have a neutral meeting sessions again? It's been 4 days that they have been together, so I feel like that may not help much anymore. I have 4 wheels in the cage (one for each mouse) is that too many, should I only have one? I thought they would fight for running on a single wheel, but maybe if they learn to share one wheel they will be friendlier. Right now, they are in the large aquarium with the 4 wheels, one dish of Eco earth they love to dig in, 3 water bottles, a pile of paper towels and toilet paper, and woven ball (is that too many things?). Puddles is running on one wheel and foraging around the cage, Willow is asleep under a paper towel, and the two new girls are sleeping together in a corner. Puddles walks by every now and then, and doesn't notice them (or if she does she doesn't care). I'm torn between removing the wheels and keeping them, there hasn't been much drama tonight (yet).

CinnamonPearl- I haven't removed the wheels yet, because there hasn't been any fighting so far. 3 out of the 4 mic are still asleep (at 10:00 pm wow, the chasing must have wore them out!), so that may be why. Should I only have one wheel, or keep the 4 I have in there? I thought they would fight to run on one wheel.

I'll update if anything good or bad happens Very Happy

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Re: Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by CinnamonPearl on Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:20 pm

According to my calculations, that tank is about 31 gallons. That's a tank for about six mice. So you may have some behavioral issues in the future regarding this if any of your mice aren't tame, but since the introductions are going well and your mice are apparently still well behaved even with the bigger space, I wouldn't worry about it for now. In fact, it gives you room for an extra couple of girls if you ever want it.

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Re: Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by Peachy on Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:53 pm

If everyone seems to be doing alright tonight, I'd let them be... four wheels and all. Razz

In my experience, besides taming issues in big spaces, the more space a mouse has to protect, the crazier they'll be. Smaller spaces force them to interact and bond. If it gets bad, like one mouse causing lots of issues, moving them to a smaller space might be worth it, even if it's only until they're getting along. Otherwise, letting them get to know each other and work things out themselves is important, like you've been trying. I hope things will get better! Smile
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Re: Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by Rodents rock! on Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:57 pm

It does sound like things are on the upside now. Hope things keep getting better. Keep us posted. Smile
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Re: Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by LindzDaFinS on Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:23 pm

Thank you all for the advice! I just fed them and gave them some bits of lettuce as a treat Smile They are doing very well right now. Puddles gets along with the new girls quite well, and I haven't seen her chase once this afternoon. Willow is still chasing, but not all of the time. Right now, Rain is running on a wheel, then hopping off and (I don't know if mice do this, but my Guinea pigs "popcorn" where they kick up their legs and run when they're excited) popcorn, then hop back on and run again. It's really cute! Puddles and Willow are sleeping on each other about a foot away. And little Storm was exploring, but now she has settled in a corner and is grooming herself. I'm happy with the progress they've made today! Very Happy I'm going to continue watching them, but only intervene if a bad fight breaks out. I'll update on how they're doing tomorrow Smile

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Re: Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by CinnamonPearl on Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:28 pm

Yes, mice popcorn. We just call it sparking in mouse world. So happy to hear everything is fine! This is usually how it goes with introductions. Besides the blood, you've had a pretty standard experience.

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Re: Trouble introducing mice, help!

Post by LindzDaFinS on Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:12 pm

Good to know! I'm glad everything that has happened is normal. I think things are going to go smoothly now. Smile Willow and the new mice are actually sleeping together in a corner, while Puddles is foraging and drinking. Thank you all again for all of the help! Things could change, and I'm still expecting squabbles for the next week while they all bond, but right now I think they will be successful as a colony. Anyway, I will update in the morning since it is very late when I am. Smile

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