Female mouse colonies.

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Female mouse colonies.

Post by Rodents rock! on Sat 03 Sep 2016, 1:23 pm

What I've learned so far is with a colony of three females, there is the "leader" and there is the "peacekeeper", what is the role of the other mouse?

Then, how does this play out in larger colonies?
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Re: Female mouse colonies.

Post by MouseLover on Sat 03 Sep 2016, 1:46 pm

My understanding is - The roles are alpha (leader), beta and peacekeeper. The beta is the more submissive mouse, and the peacekeeper (as the name would imply) keeps the peace between the alpha and beta, so the beta won't get picked on by the alpha.

I have never owned a group larger than 4 mice, so I'm not entirely sure how it would play out in larger groups. I imagine they'd all fall within a hierarchy, where one mouse is at the top, one is at the bottom, and the others fall somewhere in between. Perhaps the mice in the middle of the hierarchy are peacekeepers between those at the top and bottom.

I do know that keeping more than 7 mice together is not recommended for novice mouse owners. I think the more mice you have the more complicated the hierarchy gets, and when groups are too large they can end up splitting into two colonies.

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Re: Female mouse colonies.

Post by River on Sat 03 Sep 2016, 5:13 pm

I'm not sure what it's actually called, but I like to view it like wolf pack hierarchy just because I find it funny. In this case, the lowest ranked mouse would be called the 'omega'. The ranks in between are typically untitled, at least as far as I know. I think in mice it's arranged through physical strength, fighting and size, though, while in wolves it's ranked by psychology and personality.

Again; I have no idea what it's actually called. I just find it hilarious to compare wolves and mice. They're oddly similar as it is.

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Re: Female mouse colonies.

Post by CallaLily on Sat 03 Sep 2016, 5:38 pm

@MouseLover wrote:I imagine they'd all fall within a hierarchy, where one mouse is at the top, one is at the bottom, and the others fall somewhere in between.

This. I don't think I've ever heard of other titles, but I imagine they will all fall in line from top mouse to the lowest.

It was rough going in the beginning with my first successful group of 4, but they settled finally with Seren the alpha, Hazel beta, Rina next in line and Celyn lowest. Once Seren's health took a turn, Hazel stepped up and Seren fell to the bottom.

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Re: Female mouse colonies.

Post by MouseLover on Sat 03 Sep 2016, 7:23 pm

@River wrote:I think in mice it's arranged through physical strength, fighting and size, though, while in wolves it's ranked by psychology and personality.

It's funny... I've not always found predicting who the alpha will be that easy! Like you, I used to assume it was down to size and strength/fitness, but my mice have proven me wrong time and again. I have had some tiny alphas leading some much bigger and stronger mice Laughing I think there's a lot more at play than we realise. Psychology and personality of the mouse definitely play a role I'd say. Some mice, for example, might be big/strong enough to go for the top spot, but seem too chilled out to bother asserting their dominance, and seem happy to be second or third in the pecking order. That's been my experience anyway Smile

My group of four was easy peasy, but I introduced two girls to two girls, so I feel that it was a pretty even playing field. They settled down really quickly.

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Re: Female mouse colonies.

Post by Rodents rock! on Sat 03 Sep 2016, 7:35 pm

Thank you all for your information, it's all very interesting and helpful. Very Happy
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Re: Female mouse colonies.

Post by CallaLily on Sat 03 Sep 2016, 7:38 pm

I've been surprised by some of my boss mice too. Laughing

I've introduced two groups of two the first time I tried for a group of four. In the end, the bottom mouse was so bullied (blood drawn again and again), I decided it was best to split them into 2 groups of 2 again. Funnily enough even though it was initially Cheese and Bacon in one group and Twix and Hash in the other, it ended up being Cheese and Twix -- Hash and Bacon.

Seren was inroduced to Hazel prior to reintroducing her to Celyn and Rina. That was rough going too but thankfully worked in the end.

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Re: Female mouse colonies.

Post by MesaMouse on Sat 03 Sep 2016, 7:54 pm

In my first colony of four, Merlot was the alpha from day one and Frascatti the low girl; once Merlot established the rankings (herself, Chablis, Bombay, Frascatti), no one ever questioned it and all lived happily in their "spot." The second quartet (the 5th lady, Mimi, passed within a matter of days) had Tosca as the alpha with Lucia as the second in command; Carmen and Musetta were lower tier but equal. Tosca was not a bossy alpha and, frankly, the colony was run very smoothly by Lucia "behind the scenes." When Lucia passed, the colony really fell apart in spite of Tosca trying to reassert herself periodically. This last group, the quintet, had two alphas: Buffy was the initial leader when she, Willow and Anya were a trio for three weeks but when Cordelia and Tara joined the group, there was an ongoing tussle (often violent) between Buffy and Anya for leadership with Anya coming out on top. As long as the colony was together, the two would periodically wrangle with Anya always winning. As a result, Buffy became a more timid mouse and slid further back in the pecking order. Tara was always the low girl, initially harrassed and ostracized by the original trio (forced to eat alone, sleep alone, run on the saucer alone); after a few months, alpha Anya decided to make Tara her BFF -- go figure! Tara (my all-time favorite mouse) was the first of the group to pass on and, to my surprise, the rankings fell apart except for Anya who was now even tougher on the remaining three. Apparently Tara, the gentle soul, was the linchpin that kept everything running smoothly as she tried to be everyone's friend.

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Re: Female mouse colonies.

Post by Artistwolf on Sat 03 Sep 2016, 10:10 pm

So, fun facts about wolves:
The omega wolf really acts as the peacekeeper between the pack members. There's a strict hierarchy going on there, but similarly I'd think a two-wolf pack wouldn't work. Because you've got the first two in command—Alpha and Beta, then you've got all the other small groups that have their own responsibilities, but of course they'll tend to squabble and stuff. There are studies that show that the omega distracts the squabbling wolves by running in with a stick or something. And the omega does get saved some fairly good portions of meat. So they are valued Wink

I think it is similar with mice. The Alpha, of course, is always going to try to reesablish dominance over the others, such as the Beta. Musn't get too big a head, you know! Wink So then the peacekeeper, who I'd like to call the Omega, distracts them in some way so that its all still friendly and no one tears someone else apart and causes total chaos.
I guess what I'm saying is, it's not really a matter of first, second, and last rank for the mice. It's not that cut and dry! The omega is every bit as important as the alpha or even the beta. True with both wolves and mice.
Just a different way of looking at it.

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Re: Female mouse colonies.

Post by CinnamonPearl on Sun 04 Sep 2016, 7:40 am

As fun as boys are, I do kinda miss having doe colonies. Their family structure is so interesting to watch. It's a shame I won't have one again for a long time!

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Re: Female mouse colonies.

Post by CallaLily on Sun 04 Sep 2016, 8:48 am

@Artistwolf wrote:
I guess what I'm saying is, it's not really a matter of first, second, and last rank for the mice. It's not that cut and dry! The omega is every bit as important as the alpha or even the beta.

I hope I didn't make it sound as if they weren't important by listing them in order of highest to lowest. You're right, they all absolutely are! That's one reason why a minimum of 3 girls is recommended.

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Re: Female mouse colonies.

Post by Artistwolf on Sun 04 Sep 2016, 12:53 pm

Lol sorry no my just being weirdly stern on this forum again. I was honestly trying to sound lighthearted but whatever XD
I just love looking at mouse colonies and, like River, comparing them to wolves. Super intetesting!!

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Re: Female mouse colonies.

Post by CallaLily on Sun 04 Sep 2016, 1:43 pm

Ah, gotcha.  I don't think you sounded stern.  I just wanted to make sure I didn't come off wrong. I think a lot of the time I do.

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Re: Female mouse colonies.

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