Bully Mouse

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Bully Mouse

Post by Bthny on Thu 28 Jul 2016, 11:22 pm

I have 3 mice (all girls). Cleo is the oldest at 19-21 months, the other two are younger at 2-3 months. They'd been living together for about a month with no issues until earlier this week (at one point early on, they were separated when Cleo stopped eating, but there's never been any fighting). Desdemona, who's dominant, started chasing Cleo back to their sleeping house. There were a few times when Desdemona seemed like she was being annoying and Cleo just wanted to get away, and a few times when Desdemona seemed like she was really chasing her. Starting yesterday, Desdemona started initiating actual scuffles. Cleo is definitely the most submissive, and Desdemona isn't trying to pick on the other mouse in the same way.

When it was just chasing, I let it be, but once it started escalating, I tried doing "time outs" by removing Desdemona. After a brief time out earlier tonight, Desdemona started a fight with Cleo, it briefly stopped, and then started again in the time it took me to cross my room to the cage. Neither are bleeding, but I have noticed that Cleo has some patches of thinner fur on her back. I initially thought it was because she was getting older, but her fur was damp from the squabble, so I'm wondering if it's from Desdemona.

They had 3 wheels in the cage, 2 huts, 2 water bottles, and, for food, 1 dish that's free fed pellets, 1 treat toy with seed mix, and some food that's hidden in the bedding. The last actual incident that was most like a fight was outside of a hut. Desdemona loves to climb but the others don't have much interest in it, so she also had her own little hammock at the top with a path to it that the others didn't use. Could that be a factor?

Any ideas of what's going on? I've heard that mice will try to push out ill cagemates, and, while Cleo hasn't been showing any signs of being sick, I was wondering if anyone had seen that. Would it be normal for only the alpha to try and push her out?

If this is just normal dominance behavior, why didn't it show up before now?

After Desdemona had an extended time out, I reintroduced all of them in their play bin. Everyone seemed to be getting along fine, so I put them back in the cage with all of the climbing stuff at the top removed, just in case she somehow became territorial over that and it extended to more of the cage. I'd also scattered a lot of their seed mix, but another scuffle broke out Sad I have Cleo and Rosaline (who's been completely friendly) together, and Desdemona separated for now. I know separating is not the best and that you should let them sort it out, but since this is new, unusual, and has gotten worse since it started, it seemed like the best option. Does anyone have any idea what's going on? I'll try scrubbing everything clean tomorrow and reintroducing them, but any advice would be very much appreciated!
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Re: Bully Mouse

Post by MouseLover on Fri 29 Jul 2016, 7:04 am

A month isn't a particularly long time to have been living together, especially if they've been separated a few times during that month. Sometimes it can take a while for the mice to sort out their hierarchy and settle down. Do the mice sleep in the same nest together?
Generally, the rule is that if there is no blood spilled, you just have to let them get on with it. Separating them repeatedly could just prolong the issue and prevent them from bonding and settling down.

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Re: Bully Mouse

Post by CinnamonPearl on Fri 29 Jul 2016, 9:13 am

I'm with Mouselover. It's always a bad idea to separate girls unless blood is drawn. I don't even separate sick girls for quarantine reasons, because being torn away from her friends will only exacerbate an illness, or at least not improve it. Reintroduce them and let them get on with it. If you think Desdemona is being territorial over toys, then put them in an empty tank with only water bottle and food bowl until they stop bickering and slowly reintroduce their toys.

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Re: Bully Mouse

Post by scaredymouse on Sat 30 Jul 2016, 1:53 am

Another thing to consider is that sometimes things get a little crazy if someone goes into heat. My youngest mice go into heat real bad and they chase down everyone, such that the other mice just stand in the corner with their hands up squeaking. It looks awful but it's not.

All mice bicker. Think about young sisters fighting over a toy. They may scream and cry. Then mom might come in and scream, too. But by bedtime, the girls are playing together and everything is fine. I honestly believe that what looks like a serious fight is often no more than a minor disagreement to them. If there is no blood, it's not serious.

The need more that a month to work everything else. It can also be confusing to the to be separated and then put back together. However, if there is blood, then you should take the aggressor out for a liitle while.

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Re: Bully Mouse

Post by AnonONIagent on Sat 30 Jul 2016, 12:16 pm

As long as blood isn't being drawn I wouldn't worry too much. Even the closest of mousey friends get into fights sometimes. It's natural for mice to bicker with each other every so often.

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