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Smelly Mice Threatened!

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Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by Andorrici on Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:31 am

My parents have threatened to make me give away my pet mice if they stink too bad.
The past few days their cage has begun to smell bad, and I'm using treated pine bedding. Which bedding is the best to reduce smells? We tried soil but they say it's too much work to bake or freeze it every cleaning. I'm looking for something that doesn't have to be changed much, is cheap, and reduces smells. Also, is there any other tricks I can use?

Things I have already done, and it seems to be working sort of.
1. Put baking soda under their bedding to reduce smell.
2. Drop an extremely small amount of vanilla extract in their water.
3. Use like, every perfume/cleaning supply/vacuum/detergent/wipe to clean my room and make it smell like old people
4. Instead of doing a cleaning every week, and a deep cleaning every week and 1/2, I'm doing a deep clean every week.
5. Opening windows to air it out In that stuffy room
6. Reducing the humidity so the scent isn't as strong
7. If I SEE my mouse excrete any waste, I'll get it with a paper towel instantly.

You can see the lengths I went to keep all four of my mice... We are looking into different bedding, a bigger cage, and experimenting with other foods.

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Re: Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by CinnamonPearl on Tue Oct 18, 2016 9:06 am

Okay, there are a lot of problems here. First off, REMOVE the baking soda IMMEDIATELY. The stuff is toxic to mice and an ingredient in rodenticides. Switch them off of pine bedding ASAP- pine is NOT safe for mice. Switch them onto a paper-based bedding like carefresh or Kaytee clean and cozy. I use the latter. And do NOT put anything in their water. If one of your mice does not like the taste, they won't drink, and mice get dehydrated very quickly. I guarantee that dealing with smelly mice is a lot easier than dealing with dehydrated, ailing mice. And don't go crazy with the perfumes in your room- mice's respiratory systems are very delicate, and I can imagine the perfumes must be irritating.

Change all of that immediately for the health and safety of your mice. I believe that switching them to a paper based bedding will help. I also know that giving them filtered water can help with smell, rather than spring or tap. Clean their tank once a week, but you can also wash things like their wheel or other plastic toys more often if they're peeing on their wheel to make it smell.

Also, what do you define as a deep cleaning versus a regular cleaning? Since I clean my mouse's tank the same way every week, I'm unsure what the difference is.

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Re: Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by CallaLily on Tue Oct 18, 2016 9:16 am

I would NOT use baking soda. It's been known to make mice ill and can be harmful to their respiratory systems. Also be very careful spraying cleaners and air fresheners near your mice for the same reason.

You definitely should be deep cleaning once a week. Spot cleaning any wet bedding in between.

The most commonly recommended bedding here is paper based but I know that it isn't necessarily great at reducing odor compared to some others. Hemp bedding has great reviews in that area if you have access to it (I can't find it here).  Aspen bedding also is usually said to work well - I've had success with it in the past with other small pets - but watch for allergies.  I've heard that a layer of corn cob bedding under your usual bedding can also be helpful with odors. Watch for mold.

Have you read this thread? http://petmousefanciers.forumotion.com/t36-cleaning-odor-and-bedding

I also wanted to add that any type of bedding will need to be replaced at every deep cleaning, every week. You could try leaving a little of the "cleaner" old bedding to mix with the new but I personally have never found that to help.  But the majority will need to be changed out weekly no matter what.

What are you using to wash the tank?

Also, at least in my experience, when I've noticed my mice getting a little smelly just a couple days after cleaning, it's usually the wheel. You may need to wash it every 1-3 days.

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Re: Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by River on Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:26 am

I should mention that only pine /shavings/ are toxic. Kiln dried pine is fine, actually,  it doesn't release the harmful phenols. However most places in the USA dont sell this item, so most won't notice it. 

If your mice are excessively scent marking, leave a handful of old bedding and some unwashed toys in after cleaning. This can reduce the need to mark the territory, if that's the problem. 

I wouldn't use anything paper based. It doesn't absorb the smell well. Aspen, hemp and corncob as ohers have mentioned, might work out best.

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Re: Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by MesaMouse on Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:05 pm

A cheap way to go is to use shredded newspaper. Putting several layers of newspaper down first, then adding shredded newspaper (and sometimes adding a bit of Kaytee Clean and Cozy) worked just fine, even for my last colony of 5 ladies. As others have already said, spot-cleaning the tank/cage daily is a must, as is a weekly deep-clean. Mice usually pick one corner of their habitat to use for urination (just look for the yellowed or damp bedding) so that's the area you want to focus on daily.

Mouse poop has no odor so cleaning up every bit daily is not necessary. Wheels are a notorious spot for mice to urinate and poop -- when my mice were young, I had to scrub their saucer wheel every morning and definitely noticed a urine odor if I skipped a day.

You may want to look at the type of toys and hides you currently have for the mice. Items made of ceramic and/or plastic are ideal: ceramics do not absorb odors and both ceramic and plastic is easily washed with soap and water as often as needed. Wood toys/hides are "stink-traps" -- this goes for popsicle-stick MES, too. Such items really can't be effectively washed to remove all odors and needed to be replaced frequently. Creating playthings out of toilet-paper tubes and cardboard egg cartons is a cheap and easy way to offer fresh fun toys for your mice as most homes have an on-going supply of both.

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Re: Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by MooMouse on Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:03 pm

I really think that dirt is the best thing for reducing odor. I also buy small wood chews that come in a pack so that if they get stinky, I can just dispose of them and pop a new one into the cage. Wheels can definitely have a stench, particularly if they are solid, so cleaning them once or twice a day should help reduce odor. Also, what kind of enclosure do you keep them in? Switching them to an aquarium could possibly help reduce the smell because it would be confined to one area.

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Re: Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by scaredymouse on Tue Oct 18, 2016 8:40 pm

The only thing to really decrease the odor in the room is an air purifier/hepa filter. They don't have to be gigantic or expensive. If it is just going in your room, something like this might work: https://www.amazon.com/Holmes-Desktop-Purifier-Optional-HAP242-NUC/dp/B0000DK35B/ref=zg_bs_510192_2

1. Baking soda is toxic to mice and can kill them if they ingest it and can cause respiratory disease when the fine dust enters their lungs.

2. The vanilla won't hurt them, but it is unlikely that it will do anything to help with the odor.

3. Too many perfumes and fragrances in your room can also cause respiratory issues with your mice. And I'm sure you have found that they don't really solve your problems

4. The best way to clean is once a week. Everything out of the tank, bedding thrown away, plastic items washed, and new clean bedding.

5. Airing out the room is good as long as the mice aren't in a draft.

6. You are correct that smells are worse in high humidity, so keeping it low can be helpful.

7. So, you aren't doing yourself any favors removing waste as you see it happen. Mice poop and pee a lot. And they like their environments to smell like them. If you remove all their smells, they will work harder to put down more smells to make it feel like home. That is why tanks are cleaned once a week and not any more often than that.

Tell me more about what your current situation is with your set up. Do you have a tank or cage? What size is it? What do you feed them? What kind of toys are in there? Are you using filtered water?

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Re: Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by Andorrici on Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:57 pm

Tell me more about what your current situation is with your set up.  Do you have a tank or cage?  What size is it?  What do you feed them?  What kind of toys are in there?  Are you using filtered water?
[/quote]

It's a kaytee critter cage, and it's only about the size of a laptop. I feed them mouse/gerbil/hamster mix by forti diet, and I have TP tubes, edible chew toys, and some plastic toys. The water is filtered.

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Re: Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by MesaMouse on Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:16 pm

@Andorrici wrote:It's a kaytee critter cage, and it's only about the size of a laptop. I feed them mouse/gerbil/hamster mix by forti diet, and I have TP tubes, edible chew toys, and some plastic toys. The water is filtered.

Ok, a few things: (1) Kaytee foods are very bad for mice as they contain a chemical that can be toxic to them -- you're better off with a parakeet seed mix like Vitakraft or a hamster-gerbil mix like Brown's Carnival (pick out the striped sunflower seeds, peanuts and raisins from the latter); (2) cages tend to be smellier than tanks because they are open-sided and allow odors to enter the surrounding area; (3) the size cage you've described ("about the size of a laptop") is too small for 4 mice -- they should be in a 20g or 20L tank. Petco is having one of their $1-a-gallon tank sales until around November 5 so you can pick up a 20g or 20L for $20 and also get a screen lid to fit.

Changing their diet and increasing the size and type of habitat will make a big difference in controlling odor.

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Re: Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by CallaLily on Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:40 pm

I completely agree with MesaMouse. Make sure to transition them slowly over onto the new food to try to avoid stomach upsets.  After a few weeks of being completely switched to a better diet you will most likely notice a huge difference in smell just from that.   Being too crowded is playing a role too though.

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Re: Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by CinnamonPearl on Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:18 pm

You're keeping four mice in a cage the size of a laptop? That's hardly big enough for two! You need to switch them to a 20g long tank right away. The overcrowding will definitely contribute to the smell.

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Re: Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by scaredymouse on Sun Oct 23, 2016 1:25 am

I agree with everyone else. Changing their food and getting them into a glass aquarium will make a world of difference with the smell. Kaytee food is very poor quality food and the cage you have is much to small for that many mice. In addition, the plastic cage and toys tend to retain urine smells.

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Re: Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by Andorrici on Sun Oct 23, 2016 11:46 am

Thank you all so much. I am so new to mice, and I am appreciating all of this. I am asking my mom for large tank, and I have made the adjustments you told me to. Smile

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Re: Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by CanadianExport on Sun Oct 23, 2016 1:00 pm

Wishing you the best with all of this Andorrici and I hope your parents are willing to help you make the appropriate changes!
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Re: Smelly Mice Threatened!

Post by essentiallysue on Sun Oct 23, 2016 2:13 pm

I could make a few suggestions, too. For bedding, I shred newspapers. But I recently found that the paper the the post office sells for packing packages is so nice and soft and clean. Shredded, it makes so soft a bedding. It comes in a long roll, so you would have a lot for a long time.
For housing, I get a nice size bin cage from Walmart. It is inexpensive and I use an acquarium cover for the top, instead of the cover that comes with the bin.
For their houses, I make things. I use cardboard boxes, Jenga blocks for stilts, and make holes and doorways in the houses. They love to chew them and if they are soiled, I throw them away, and have another made and ready.
Their wheels: I use the Silent Spinner type. I cut a hole in the side of the bin at just the right height, and take the stand off the wheel, insert it through the hole and screw it onto the inside of the wall with the little yellow knob. I have several wheels and change their wheels as soon as they are soiled. When the mice are young, they soil them a lot, and I change and wash them daily. It is less of a chore as they get older. But most of the smell will come from the wheels.
I have four girl mice, and they are odor free.
Another idea: I keep 2 bin cages and prepare them just the same, so one is ready to put them in when I need to clean the other one. I usually keep their sleeping house so it will be familiar, but all the other things in the second cage gives them a lot of new things to do when they are transferred to the clean cage. And cleaning the used cage is easy for me to do and have it ready for the next cleaning time. I clean every week to 10 days, and write the day I clean them on the calendar.
I use popsicle sticks and boxes to make them all kinds of sleep houses, climbing things, and sitting stands to do their washing up.
Welcome to the pleasure of owning mice! I know if you follow all the suggestions given here, your mother and dad will be proud and you mice will be, too.

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