Petcare: Mice

Mice facts:

  • Mice belong to the Rodentia family and are omnivorous - omnivores eat seeds, grains, grasses and insects.
  • Mice are nocturnal spending most of the day asleep and are active at night.
  • Mice domesticated for pets are very clean and intelligent. 
  • Mice use their tail to control their body temperature because they cannot sweat.
  • Mice are fully grown at three months old.
  • Mice have 1 pair of upper & lower front teeth called ‘incisors’ that continue to grow.
  • A baby mouse is called a pinky, or a kitten
  • Baby mice are born hairless with their eyes closed.
  • One mother mouse can produce over 100 babies a year.

Feeding your mouse:

Supreme rat & mouse mix
Feeding the correct food to your mouse is essential for maintaining good health. Mice require animal and vegetable protein source in their diet. Their food should be firerous texture for help with dental wear. In the wild they naturally forage for their food and eat seeds, cereals and insects.

Mice, if overfed, can sometimes selectively feed and may leave their less favourite ingredient in the bowl until last. To help overcome selective feeding your mouse can be fed twice a day, dividing their daily requirements into two meals and feeding morning and evening and only refilling the bowl once empty.
What to feed your mouse?
Mice should be fed a food made up of vegetable and animal protein and a fiberous texture to help with essential dental wear.
There are various types of commercial mouse feeds on the market:-
Coarse mixes are a blend of cereals, extrusions, mealworms, vegetables &/or fruit that supply your mouse with a mix that's balanced & nutritious and also encourages their natural foraging instinct with a variety of different textures in the mix like mice would eat in the wild. Mr Johnson's Supreme rat & mouse mix is the perfect food for your mouse, contains dried mealworm a natural source of animal protein and offers them insects like they would eat in the wild.
Extruded food - a single tasty nugget that's easy to digest, contains all the goodness in every mouthful.

A commercial mouse food should be fed along with a small selection of suitable fresh fruit and vegetables.

Introducing your mouse to new foods.

Your mouse's diet should never be changed suddenly. Abrupt changes in their diet could trigger digestive upsets, especially in baby mice or those that are stressed (for example if they have moved to a new home). If you want to change their diet, it is recommended that this change takes place gradually over a 10 day period. This can be done by mixing small quantities of the new food in with their existing food, while reducing their existing food proportionally until the food is fully changed over.

Fresh greens, fruit & water:

The daily diet of mice should include a very small quantity of fresh greens like carrot, broccoli &  peas

along with fruit like apples, grapes, strawberries, melon and banana. Remember your mouse is very small so should be fed these in moderation otherwise they may get an upset stomach.

All greens & fruit should be washed before feeding.

Your mouse will need access to water at all times. Water should be dispensed from a drip free bottle, the water changed daily and the bottle cleaned regularly.

 

Housing, bedding & exercise.

The size of the cage you will need depends on how many mice you will keep together. Mice will appreciate a cage with multiple levels as they do like to climb, and it should be fairly tall.
Mouse houses - tanks style base with a wire cages top are the best types of cage for mice. This ensures the mouse gets the best of both worlds. A base that can accommodate deep litter/bedding as mice like to burrow and the cage top allows adventure and an area for mice to explore and climb.

An alternative is a wire cages (with horizontal bars) a tall cages with various levels provide lots of climbing opportunity on the sides of the cage, fitted with furnishings, platforms and toys throughout the cage gives them the ideal opportunity to explore.
The most important thing with both types is to make sure the bars are arrowly spaced so that the mice cannot escape (or get stuck trying to escape). Do not underestimate how small of a space a mouse can squeeze through.
Cages should have solid flooring is a lot easier on the mice's feet.


A deep layer of shavings should be provided in the cage but a cedar and pine shavings due to the strong volatile oils released form these woods. Hardwood shavings appear to be a better choice. Another alternative is paper or wood based cat litter - it is very absorbent and good at controlling odors. It is more expensive but you will need to use less.

 

Handling:

Most mice will become quite tame given time, patience and perhaps a little bribery. At first, allow the mice time to become accustomed to their new environment. Once the mice are calm, start spending more time around their cage and quietly talk to the mice to get them used to your voice.
As the mice become comfortable or curious with your presence, start offering some favorite tidbits (try millet or sunflower seeds) by hand, and once the mice are taking treats from your hands, they may start walking on your hands, or you can start trying to pick them up.

When picking up a mouse, it is best to try scooping it up by cupping your hand under the mouse but do not squeeze or tightly grasp the mouse's body.
Do not pick your mouse up by it tail.

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