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Post by boofandkara Sun 24 Apr 2016, 4:17 pm

@scaredymouse wrote:Welcome to the forum!  I wanted to address the issue you are having with mouse smell.  Most mice that come from pet shops are extra stinky for a little while.  We even have a name for it... pet shop funk.  It comes from their poor diet, tap water, and then the stress of adjusting to a new home.  So, spot clean the tanks as best as you can, clean the toys frequently, give them filtered water, and give it a few weeks.  I was surprised at how strong my critters smelled when I brought them home but it gets better.  And you get used to it.  And a lot of young mice like to pee on their wheels but they seems to grow out of that behavior, in my experience.

What kind of bedding do you have them on?  What kind of food are you feeding them?  These things can also make a difference with odor and overall health.
Hi, thanks for your message. They came with full food dishes so they've mostly been eating that. I have given them a bit of a dried whole oat grain bagel, some cheerios here and there, and tiny freckle-sized bits of dried cranberry (when I was trying to charm them into climbing onto my hand). The pet store also recommended buying a block to put in each of their cages, which I did, and some bird treats that look like Trix cereal (moon and berry shaped, brightly colored). I only put a few of the bird treats on top of their food bowl. The manager recommended I buy a bag of Kaytee Supreme for mice and rats, so I did, but I haven't had to open it yet and am contemplating returning it, though I don't know what I'd get in place of it. Any recommendations? I also just bought some timothy hay but haven't put any in because I'm trying to leave them alone. They are on carefresh natural bedding, it's brown. The pet shop manager gave me an enormous bag of it for free for adopting them both so as long as you don't see anything wrong with it, they will likely be on that bedding for months to come. I also just got some fleece to make them little pouches or hammocks.

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Post by boofandkara Sun 24 Apr 2016, 4:18 pm

@scaredymouse wrote:Welcome to the forum!  I wanted to address the issue you are having with mouse smell.  Most mice that come from pet shops are extra stinky for a little while.  We even have a name for it... pet shop funk.  It comes from their poor diet, tap water, and then the stress of adjusting to a new home.  So, spot clean the tanks as best as you can, clean the toys frequently, give them filtered water, and give it a few weeks.  I was surprised at how strong my critters smelled when I brought them home but it gets better.  And you get used to it.  And a lot of young mice like to pee on their wheels but they seems to grow out of that behavior, in my experience.

What kind of bedding do you have them on?  What kind of food are you feeding them?  These things can also make a difference with odor and overall health.
Hi, thanks for your message. They came with full food dishes so they've mostly been eating that. I have given them a bit of a dried whole oat grain bagel, some cheerios here and there, and tiny freckle-sized bits of dried cranberry (when I was trying to charm them into climbing onto my hand). The pet store also recommended buying a block to put in each of their cages, which I did, and some bird treats that look like Trix cereal (moon and berry shaped, brightly colored). I only put a few of the bird treats on top of their food bowl. The manager recommended I buy a bag of Kaytee Supreme for mice and rats, so I did, but I haven't had to open it yet and am contemplating returning it, though I don't know what I'd get in place of it. Any recommendations? I also just bought some timothy hay but haven't put any in because I'm trying to leave them alone. They are on carefresh natural bedding, it's brown. The pet shop manager gave me an enormous bag of it for free for adopting them both so as long as you don't see anything wrong with it, they will likely be on that bedding for months to come. I also just got some fleece to make them little pouches or hammocks.

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Post by CinnamonPearl Sun 24 Apr 2016, 4:22 pm

So you're feeding them lab blocks and Kaytee food? I would switch them off both of those. Kaytee is full of junk and fillers, and lab blocks can be healthy, but oftentimes the main ingredient is corn or soy, and lab blocks are completely boring and not stimulating for mice to eat. Mice thrive off getting to choose and shuck their food, so eating the same bland blocks day in and day out isn't too good for them. The foods we recommend on here are Brown's Tropical Carnival Hamster and Gerbil food and Sunseed Vita Parrot food. Sunseed Vita is much preferable in my opinion, as you have to be careful that the Brown's isn't moldy all the time, but either work. I would return the Kaytee, and then you can use the blocks they're eating now to convert them over to a healthy, fun seed mix.

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Post by Brynne Sun 24 Apr 2016, 4:44 pm

"Any recommendations?"

Yes- Don't listen to pet shop employees about mouse care! The treats they sell are chemical junk. Rodents are much happier with cardboard boxes and homemade toys than the expensive plastic ones the shops sell.

As for water, it's a fun science experiment to try on yourself and/or your mice: For one week, drink only distilled, reverse osmosis or another VERY highly filtered water such as ZeroWater. Use it for all cooking, tea, coffee, etc. Take note of how the mouse waste smells (Or your own urine and body odour.)
Week two, drink only natural spring water that has had no filtration whatsoever. Make sure it's loaded with a lot of natural minerals. If it smells like a swamp when you open the cap, that's the best kind to use. The mice will probably STINK after a few days of hard water.

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Post by MouseLover Sun 24 Apr 2016, 4:52 pm

boofandkara - I may have misunderstood, but do you mean that he makes little noises when he breathes? If so, you may want to get him to a vet or at least keep a close eye on him. As these are your first mice, you wont know what to expect, but mice should breathe silently. Any chirping or clicking noises could be a sign of respiratory infection or an allergy.

Being near your arm chair will be a really good start for getting him used to you though Smile

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Post by boofandkara Mon 25 Apr 2016, 12:38 pm

@MouseLover wrote:boofandkara - I may have misunderstood, but do you mean that he makes little noises when he breathes? If so, you may want to get him to a vet or at least keep a close eye on him. As these are your first mice, you wont know what to expect, but mice should breathe silently. Any chirping or clicking noises could be a sign of respiratory infection or an allergy.

Being near your arm chair will be a really good start for getting him used to you though Smile
I did ask the employees and they say he's always been like that and that it doesn't sound like a respiratory infection to them. He doesn't do it all the time, only sometimes, especially cleaning himself. Once when I held him and he was very nervous he ran all over me chirping and then settled down in one spot and sat for a while quietly. I've decided to wait until he fully settles in and feels more comfortable before visiting a vet because I know this transition has been stressful for him. I am also waiting to see if some funds will come through a few nonprofits I contacted in order to pay for a vet visit. It is quite expensive just to have him seen (not to mention any potential prescriptions) and I am low-income.

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Post by CinnamonPearl Mon 25 Apr 2016, 2:43 pm

Don't trust pet store employees to tell you anything accurate. They're notorious for not caring and handing out blatantly false information like it's their job (which, technically, it is). I wouldn't even bother asking them anymore questions, as they're bound to give you some dangerously false information. Can you get a video of this chirping? If so, we could tell you if it's a URI symptom or normal chatter.

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Post by Brynne Mon 25 Apr 2016, 3:53 pm

Petco has a thirty day warranty for free vet care.

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Post by scaredymouse Mon 25 Apr 2016, 4:04 pm

Tap water has all kinds of junk in it (who knows what). Filtered water has less junk in it and tastes a lot better. If it tastes better, they drink more and have less chance of getting dehydrated. Every person and animal in my house drinks filtered water. I'm in Michigan, we just had that big thing in the news about the awful water in Flint, Michigan. I just don't trust tap water. Addiitionally, their urine usually has less of an odor with filtered water.

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Post by scaredymouse Mon 25 Apr 2016, 4:21 pm

I agree with everyone else, pet shop employees do the best they can but often don't have the best information.

here is a link about mouse nutrition if you want to read through it...
http://petmousefanciers.forumotion.com/t15-mouse-diet#

lab block aren't great for mice. for one, they don't taste good and they are boring to eat. there are studies that show that mice are happier, and live longer, when they get to search around and choose their food. so having a nice mix with a lot of variety is mentally stimulating for them. Some good choices are Tropical Carnival Hamster and Gerbil food (mouse food, oddly enough, isn't well suited for mice) and Sunseed Vita Parakeet food. I prefer the Sunseed vita Parakeet food, they love it. And then I supplement it with things like dried mealworms, cheerios, flaxseed, walnuts, dried coconut, pumpkin seeds, millet sprays, and gerber puffs (in the baby food aisle).

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Post by boofandkara Mon 25 Apr 2016, 5:48 pm

@CinnamonPearl wrote:Don't trust pet store employees to tell you anything accurate. They're notorious for not caring and handing out blatantly false information like it's their job (which, technically, it is). I wouldn't even bother asking them anymore questions, as they're bound to give you some dangerously false information. Can you get a video of this chirping? If so, we could tell you if it's a URI symptom or normal chatter.
I could try to get a video of it. This is a local pet store well known in our area for legitimately caring, not petco or petsmart. I spoke at length with the manager, who owns mice herself and has owned a variety of rodent pets most of her life. I agree that pet store employees may exaggerate information or make recommendations based on wanting to make a sale, but she did not make any money off of me other than a single bag of food. She gave me everything, including upgrades on a tank that I offered to buy, and additional new toys for these boys. She said her 'resident URI expert' had spent time with the mouse and does not believe it is a URI. But I have left messages with some nonprofits and local animal clinics asking about potential free services to see if he can get seen regardless because of course I want to make sure.

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Post by boofandkara Mon 25 Apr 2016, 5:52 pm

are there any types of seeds the boys can't have? one of my jobs is at a bagel shop and i get free old bagels. i've got some 'harvest grain' bagels which are whole grain with poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds on top. can they have those?

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Post by boofandkara Mon 25 Apr 2016, 6:09 pm

I just spent a while watching him and taking some videos. He definitely seems to make more noise when I'm near the tank, as well as when he's cleaning himself. He itches his ear a lot - could he have an ear infection and be chirping because of the discomfort? Just now, as I was writing this, he stood up and looked at me with his nose up in the air and started chattering in a way that he only ever does when directing it at me, as though he's like hey! what are you doing! bring me more cheerios! Then he'll stop when I talk to him, and start back up when I turn back to the computer. I don't know. I'll try to figure out how to get some videos up.

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Post by boofandkara Mon 25 Apr 2016, 6:33 pm

here is a compilation video. if you turn your volume all the way up or use headphones, you can hear him squeaking sometimes. other times he is totally silent. i didn't get any of his chattering - where he's like standing up and looking at me and talking, because he only seems to do that if i'm looking away. as soon as i come over and pull out the camera, he stops. so i think that might be just him asking for some company.
https://youtu.be/PFZ_FD_nW8I

i captured a video of the chattering! it's kind of long but he chatters throughout. please note, he put all that bedding in his food dish. i have not removed it because i am trying not to mess with his carefully curated habitat as he adjusts to his new home. he pretty much put everything where it is right now.
https://youtu.be/kHOb9amUVt4


Last edited by boofandkara on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 7:00 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by CinnamonPearl Mon 25 Apr 2016, 7:41 pm

Wait for someone more experienced to chime in, but it sounds pretty normal to me. He sounds like my Rosie, who's an absolute chatterbox.

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