Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

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Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by southerncharmmice on Sat 08 Oct 2016, 10:35 am

So a few days ago I encountered a situation:

A woman was persistently trying to give PetSmart three mice that were not originally from PetSmart, saying this was her last attempt to give them a good home. Her reason? Two of the mice were probably pregnant and they didn't want to deal with it. Her story was that somehow their male mouse got in with the two females when they were under the care of someone else. I was in PetSmart when I overheard the conversation and it made me angry. Up to this point, I only had pet mice, and made sure that my males and females were kept separate. I've never bred mice, but I couldn't just let these babies be turned over to PetSmart. Well, I stepped in and offered to take the mice. So, I brought them home, put them in quarantine, and let them get some rest. Of course, I put the two females and males separate. I made sure and sexed them on my own just to be safe.


Anyways, so now I have these two female mice and one male. I plan on keeping them as they are all sweet and I have the means to care for them. But, I have some questions since I've never bred or dealt with pregnant mice before:

1. Is it safe to leave the two females together for the duration of their possible pregnancies? I'm assuming they were kept this way in their old house. They get along really well and like to huddle together.
2. If one turns out not to be pregnant, but the other is, can I leave her in there with the pregnant female to act as a nanny? I've read some mixed views about nannies and such.
3. What sort of nesting materials should I provide? I already have them a a completely enclosed(including bottom) box that only has a little hole for the adults to get in an out of. The hole is even raised to prevent babies from escaping too early. I've read that paper and normal bedding work fine. Is that true?
4. Is there a special diet they should be receiving? How much food should they be allowed?
5. How long until I will be able to tell if either of them are actually pregnant? According to the woman, the male mouse was in there from about October 2nd-5th.
6. Is there anything else I should know? I've read almost all of the threads I could find on here and have looked in a couple other places, but I'm super nervous about doing this right and making sure the babies have the best start possible.

Thank you all so much in advance! Feel free to ask any questions you may have.

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Re: Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by Peachy on Sat 08 Oct 2016, 12:18 pm

I would separate them ASAP so they can settle in and raise their babies the way they like. I've heard good and bad about nannies, but I personally wouldn't use one. Did you find this article on nannies? http://petmousefanciers.forumotion.com/t44-maternity-nannies

Regular nesting/bedding material is perfect. I used newspaper.

You should let them free feed their regular mix. No fruits and veggies because they can upset tummies, but you can offer extra protein, like scrambled eggs or a high quality dog kibble.

You should be able to tell if they're pregnant around week 2.

If you read most of the articles on Genetics and Breeding, I can't think of anything else, but if any questions come up feel free to ask! I'm sure someone will be able to help out. Smile
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Re: Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by southerncharmmice on Sat 08 Oct 2016, 6:39 pm

abeona wrote:I would separate them ASAP so they can settle in and raise their babies the way they like. I've heard good and bad about nannies, but I personally wouldn't use one. Did you find this article on nannies? http://petmousefanciers.forumotion.com/t44-maternity-nannies

Regular nesting/bedding material is perfect. I used newspaper.

You should let them free feed their regular mix. No fruits and veggies because they can upset tummies, but you can offer extra protein, like scrambled eggs or a high quality dog kibble.

You should be able to tell if they're pregnant around week 2.

If you read most of the articles on Genetics and Breeding, I can't think of anything else, but if any questions come up feel free to ask! I'm sure someone will be able to help out. Smile


Yes, I have read that, and that was why I was wondering. The post said sometimes you can't really know if a nanny will be good or not. I also read that sometimes, if you have the mice together and they "share" their litters that it can alleviate some of the stress of being a first time mom. Both of them seem really young. I don't know exact ages, but they are smaller.

Great! Thank you! I usually give all of my mice some newspaper or paper to use for their beds or just to nibble on. They all love it. I just wanted to make sure there wasn't something particular you were supposed to give pregnant females.

Great! Thanks! Would you advise giving them the extra protein food now, or wait until they are a little farther along?

Thank you so much for your help! It is greatly appreciated. Like I said, I'll take all the advise I can get as I'm super nervous about this, haha!

Oh, one more thing:

I want to handle the babies (if they have any) to give them a good start at being pets. For first time moms, particularly those that are somewhat skittish, is there a certain method I should use to handle them? I know you're supposed to make sure the female is preoccupied with something else, but I'm not sure how I'll do that. And do you think three days is still a safe age to start handling them?

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Re: Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by Peachy on Sat 08 Oct 2016, 7:51 pm

A lot of us like to say "Better safe than sorry," when it comes to... well, anything, but it's really up to you and what you think is best for your mice. Smile Maybe others will give their opinions on nannies and such.

I'd offer protein now, but introduce the new foods slowly. Maybe start with 2-3 times a week for the first week. When I brought home my pregnant girls, they were already really really pregnant and they loved their scrambled eggs! Cookie

With my moms, who gave birth like 2 days after I brought them home, I gave them a MES playground and then just lifted it out while they were on it. Move it into a separate tank in a different room with some treats, handle the babies, spend a few minutes getting to know Mom, then let her go back home. I still handled at three days, and then around 9-10 days I bumped it up to twice a day.
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Re: Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by southerncharmmice on Sat 08 Oct 2016, 11:26 pm

Very true. I probably will end up separating them just to be on the safe side.

I'll whip them up some eggs tomorrow and maybe offer them a few pieces of my dog's kibble. Hopefully they take to it!

I could do that! Both of them love their wheels and they love to climb all over their play stations. They usually will come out and explore when they hear me too, so hopefully it won't be too hard to get them onto something to remove them.

This is probably a dumb question, but when I handle them, how long should I keep them out of the nest? And should I do it one at a time or all together? The house I have them in right now has a removable top so I can get to the nest without disturbing it too much when the babies come.

Oh, and cleaning. How does that work with babies in the nest?

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Re: Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by Brynne on Sun 09 Oct 2016, 4:58 am

Save yourself the guilt that occurs when mouse babies end up dead or missing in the company of two or more adult mice. I will never forget the last time I let a pregnant mother use a nanny: All that I found of the litter were the mostly-eaten remains of two newborn corpses. No live babies. No intact dead ones. I have no idea if the nanny got jealous and killed them, if the mother killed them due to stress from the nanny, or if the babies were simply dead of natural causes.
It's a painful lesson. Please do not insist on learning the hard way.

The possibly pregnant mice can be kept together for another week unless the owner was wrong about the dates and they start to look heavily pregnant. They only need to be separated for the time they raise the babies. They can be re-introduced when the babies are weaned and you are deciding how to arrange your new colonies.

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Re: Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by southerncharmmice on Sun 09 Oct 2016, 1:08 pm

Yeah, I will be separating them soon to be on the safe side. Neither of them are showing yet, but I'll keep my eye on them and separate them in a week unless anything changes. I definitely want to avoid loosing as many babies as possible.
That is the reason I was asking about the nanny. I've heard very mixed things on them so I was curious about everyone's experience. Thank you so much for sharing your advice!


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Re: Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by southerncharmmice on Thu 13 Oct 2016, 8:04 pm

So, I'm 90% positive that BOTH females are pregnant. They've been gaining weight pretty consistently. I've been keeping track of their weight to help me tell and to also work on them being more calm when being handled. They're also starting to show a bit. I think that one female is further along than the other as I can see a belly much more defined on her than on the other girl.

So, my questions as I prepare for these babies are:

1. Cleaning cages? Once the babies are here, how do I do that? Or do I even worry with it at all?
2. One of the moms is really skittish. She sprints to her wheel and runs whenever I open the cage to feed or do anything. If my hand comes in the cage, she either runs faster on the wheel and burrows under her bedding. Should I even worry about handling her babies? I'm just scared that she will feel threatened and eat them.
3. How can I tell (without disturbing her nesting box) that they have had the babies?


Thanks for all of the help in advance!

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Re: Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by Peachy on Thu 13 Oct 2016, 10:05 pm

You can clean the tank at one week or wait until 2 weeks. Leave the nest alone, just replace the bedding in the tank and spot clean as needed while you have Mom out.

Mom mouse might calm down after the babies are born and she's had a chance to bond with them. Babies more often get eaten because there's something wrong, not because you handled them, so I would still handle them after day three or four. Once they get older and have fur, the chances that anything will happen to them are even smaller.

Last, after birth, Mom will be noticeably thinner. But before I even saw my moms I heard teeny baby squeaks. They're the sweetest sounds. Love
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Re: Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by Mouseketeers on Fri 14 Oct 2016, 6:56 am


Mice are pretty good at the whole baby thing. If things go wrong, babies being eaten / dying young. There is usually nothing you could have done to have prevented it. So take lots of deep breaths and try not to fret too much Wink Something us mice people are super good at when it comes to our mice.... xD

You can clean as per normal if you would like, I would avoid any strong chemicals for the first month. So nothing with a scent. Also avoid changing the nest. Leave it all there till pups are weaned. Mum mouse will keep that area clean herself.
Personally I leave the tank / tub for atleast a week. Then I go in and change most of the bedding and clean toys so on.

There are a few litters who are incredibly quiet. But most of the time you will hear them. Like @abeona said, you will hear them before you see anything.

Handling pups is such a bizarre topic. Some of my friendliest, nicest mice have come from my most neglected litters. JJ my people loving pet has a full sister who loathes me xD So I don't think there is a right or wrong answer when it comes to handling the pups. I had a nanny mouse who would run for cover when she saw you / grab and scatter the pups all over the tank when you approached the tank. All those pups now display the same behaviour despite the intensive handling from day one.

Good pet mice are going to be good pet mice. Handling the pups without a doubt helps, especially once they are in your hand. However a lot of it is already written in their DNA. So if you are worried that mum mouse will spook the pups start a routine early. Every time you touch the tank leave behind food. Doesn't have to be treats, any food will do. She will be hungry a few days after birth. She will appreciate any and all food. And we all know, even if it is the same old boring food we always eat, if it is given to us by someone else it is always better than what is at home in the fridge Razz

You can move the tank out into a high traffic area too a few days after birth. She may never be a people mouse and love having you around. But the idea is to avoid that flight response. You don't want that passed to her pups. Having her think of food when you go near the cage and not survival is step #1. Hopefully by day 10 when the litter starts reacting to their environment the doe will hopefully be a little less flighty.

What I am about to suggest has potential risks. However instead of removing mum from the tank. If you want to handle the pups. Move the hide, most mice will nest in some sort of hide. Pick that up and move it across the tank over some new fresh food. If she picks the pups up and frantically tries to move them. Immediately replace the hide and leave them be. The last thing you want is pinkies scattered all over the tank.
If she scurries after the hide and .. hides. Then feel free to handle the pups. Repeat the process a few times a day for short bursts, always making sure new feed is added when you move the hide. and always moving the hide back over the nest when you are done.
Please understand the risks involved with this, there is a very good reason why all breeders will advise removing mum when handling her babies. I have found greater long term success with skittish untamed doe's when she isn't being chased around and removed once or twice a day.

At the end of the day all you can do is read your mouse and go with your gut feeling.
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Re: Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by southerncharmmice on Sun 23 Oct 2016, 5:54 pm

UPDATE:

Sorry for not being on in a while, it's been pretty busy around here! But, here is an update on the females:

Both were definitely pregnant. They got that 'golfball' look to them.

I was out of town the last few days. Got in yesterday, checked on them. The yellow female wasn't out and I didn't want to disrupt the nest so I let her be. The black and white female was and hadn't had babies yet. I went out just now and both females were out and definitely no longer pregnant! I heard squeaks in the black and white female's cage and stole a very quick peek without disturbing the nest. I wasn't able to count any, but I did see a bundle of cute pinkies! I'm going to leave them alone for a few more days and then start handling them. When I do that, I"ll be able to get some photos! Motherhood must have calmed her down because she crawled right onto the cardboard box I used to get her out on and wasn't skittish at all!
The yellow female, on the other hand, was too skittish and I didn't want to disturb her nest with her running around, so I let her be for now. I'm going to see if I can steal a peek tomorrow as I haven't heard squeaks and am a little worried. She was the very skittish girl I was referring to in previous posts.

I'm hoping these girls continue to do well! They are getting kibble, eggs, and as much of their normal food and water as they want.

I'll keep everyone updated!

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Re: Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by MesaMouse on Sun 23 Oct 2016, 7:21 pm

That's good news on two fronts: both mice have given birth (at least one successfully, as you heard the squeaks) and one of the Moms is not as flighty! Yay! Hope Mama Yellow's pups are OK, too -- definitely keep us posted.

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Re: Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by southerncharmmice on Mon 24 Oct 2016, 5:21 pm

UPDATE:

I was able to speak with the person who was caring for my mice while I was gone and she believed that the yellow female had her babies on the night of the 21st or the morning of the 22nd.

I went to check on the mice again today and they're doing wonderful! Black and white mom was out and about and seemed curious about me. I was able to lift her out of her cage easily and spent some time with her. I didn't bother her nest again and I won't until the 26th-27th, so that is when I'll get a detailed head count and photos.

I was also able to get the yellow mom out and she was a bit calmer. I spent a little time with her and gave her some food to occupy herself while I peeked in the nest. Thankfully, she has a nest full of babes that were squirming and all seemed to be doing well! They're just really quiet apparently! Her babies are bigger than the white and black mom's, so I can definitely tell that they are older. Still no official head count. I plan to start handling the babies tomorrow and will be able to get some pictures and a accurate head count on the babies.


Last edited by southerncharmmice on Mon 24 Oct 2016, 8:37 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by Peachy on Mon 24 Oct 2016, 6:06 pm

Congrats. Look forward to baby pics. Smile

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Re: Possibly pregnant females, seeking advice

Post by southerncharmmice on Tue 25 Oct 2016, 7:15 pm

UPDATE:

Handled the yellow female's babies for the first time today! There are 10 total babies and all are doing well. Saw a lot of really good milk bands also. There is one baby who didn't seem to have much of one but was still up to size and squirming, but I'll be keeping my eye on it!
I can tell that I'm going to have at least one brindle baby and another mostly solid baby, but the others are still too pink to tell!

Tomorrow I'll be handling the black and whit female's babies for the first time!

I didn't think to get any photos today, but I will tomorrow since I'll be handling both litters!

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