This article is from the WSSF 2011 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Karen Robbins
I wanted to share a little warning with everyone who has mice. I have recently purchased some new model Critter Trails for mice and African soft-furred rats, and the new style doors have improper bar spacing where the latch is (bars dip down) and had an escapee. Pic of mine so you can see what I mean:
New design Super Pet Critter Trail cage being used for mice showing gap at bottom of latch in the middle of the door.
You aren’t able to block the opening completely because you can’t open the latch, but if you attach a wire or zip tie to prevent the latch from going up quite so high as it does in the closed position (basically make it act as if the spring is wearing out and not pulling as tight any more), the latch itself makes the spacing more appropriate. It’s hard to describe, but if you have one it will make sense.
I wrote the company about the issue, and I do hope they listen. The gap is big enough for a full grown mouse, almost a full grown persistent gerbil to get through. The cages are too small for anything but a pair or trio of mice in my opinion so the cage is useless without fixing this problem.
A Thanks for this warning. Hopefully your solution with the latch keeps your mice in.
Karen Baglini, facebook
RE: Breeding & Stuff WSSF 2010, “Mother Mice Eat Babies?”
Q I have 9 all white boy mice and 14 all white girl mice to adopt out. I bought two pregnant mice and didn’t realize how overwhelming it could be. They are 2 months old but it’s best if someone else gave them a good home.
A Yes, mice and rats do have lots of babies. Because of this, owners need to be prepared ahead of time for what they are going to do with all the new additions once they grow up and are needing their own cages and your feed and bedding bill suddenly goes way up. It is easy to care for a mom and her new litter as it only require you having one cage to clean, but when the kids are weaned, your responsibilities are increased.
Finding homes is not easy for mice as the males do not get along with each other and will need to be housed separately from the time they are around 4 weeks old, plus their natural musky odor doesn’t make them suitable pets for most people. While females are able to live together, unless you separate the males from the females at 4 weeks, you could end up with your babies having babies.
There are many places you could try letting others know you have these mice needing homes: from online forums, to the many classified-type online sales sites, to putting notices in the local paper or up in pet shops. Good luck finding them homes, but in the meantime, make sure you have them all separated so the new owners won’t have the experience you just went through. Since mice only live 1–2 years, keeping the ones you aren’t able to rehome would be the responsible thing to do and just require a short time commitment to them.
Mary Lynn Murphy, facebook
Q This is “Super Mouse” getting ambushed at the water bottle by several of her babies (she had 14!). When they were first born, she split them into two nursing groups (she used a piece of paper towel as a partition); one group would sleep while the other nursed. And she allowed the two runts to nurse any time they wanted. As for treats, I have been supplementing her regular diet with peas, lettuce, broccoli and pumpkin seeds. Are these okay?
A With large litters such as this you can give mom and babies some extra goodies like high-quality cat/kitten or puppy/dog kibble, millet, oatmeal, whole grain bread, sunflower seeds, and good-quality dog biscuits in addition to their regular diet. Nursing moms and babies need to have around 24% protein and 4–6% fat for ideal growth (see www.afrma.org/bc_mineralproteinmice.htm for more information on “Mineral & Protein Requirements in Mice”). Scrambled eggs are another good protein supplement to use. Peas, leaf lettuce, broccoli, and pumpkin seeds are fine to use for treats.