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Old 11-12-16, 08:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

I can't spend over a grand on mice every year so I've decided to take the plunge and breed my own. I can't do rats--I just like them too much and cannot euthanize them, so I'll continue buying F/T rats for the contingent of snakes that eats those. But mice I can manage.

Picked up 4 male and 8 female friendly, healthy-looking fancy mice from Petco as that was my only option for purchasing them. 1 male and 1 female upon closer inspection turned out to be too furry for me to be comfortable with so I will only breed those 2 together and harvest all of their offspring as pinkies or fuzzies to avoid stuffing my snakes full of hair and letting that gene get into the rest of the breeding pool.

I have the 4 males in a 10-gallon tank and the 8 females in a 20-gallon long. All of them came from the same groups and get along well. They're on Kaytee Clean & Cozy (Carefresh knockoff) bedding. They have toys, plastic barns, exercise wheels that they cannot get enough of and quality food. They and their babies will have good lives until they are humanely euthanized and frozen for 30 days to kill possible parasites.

We will have separate grow-out tanks for weaned, sexed babies and will replace the breeders with the best of the young adults at about 8 months.

Questions: 1) Plan is to pick a couple females at a time to put with a chosen male in a separate "love shack" for mating and then put them back in their houses. How long do they have to stay in the "love shack?" A couple of hours? Just until 1 mating takes place? 2) Can the females be left together in the 20-gallon long to have and raise their babies? Or do they need to be put individually in separate tanks to give birth and raise young? 3) Does each female need her own little plastic barn or a nest box? 4) Should I breed everyone at once? A few at a time, staggering litters? 5) Are there any color combos that should not be bred together (i.e., lethal genes)? Males are 1 solid black, 2 black and white and 1 brown with minimal white, all with black eyes. Females are 1 each gray with red eyes, pink-eyed white, fawn with black eyes, fawn with red eyes, white and fawn with red eyes, brindle with black eyes and 2 browns with black eyes.

Any and all advice from those who have "been there, done that" is welcome!
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Old 11-12-16, 10:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

Tanks don't have enough air flow for mice, their breath and urine will make the walls disgusting and they'll have a higher chance of RIs. Tubs work just fine for them, just gotta drill some extra holes. Put the holes in the lid and at the very top and make sure there's nothing to climb on and they won't be able to chew out. I'm sure replacing the lid with a mesh top would work, too.

I personally kept my females in their own permanent housing, and introduced the male to them. No moving of the females, especially mice as they're prone to cannibalism, just put the male in when you want to breed. I leave the male in 24/7 until they're visually pregnant, usually takes a few months depending on how long it takes for the females to accept him.

As long as your females are from good lines, all the females can remain together: they'll share nursing duties and the same nest. How you stagger is up to you and your demand.

No clue on genes, though. lol
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Old 11-13-16, 03:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

Ah, nuts. I got tanks with screened tops because I thought tubs wouldn't have good enough ventilation.

The two extra furry mice are going back. The male terrorized the other 3 males in the bachelor colony and I figured since he's going back so should the extra furry female. I'll replace them with two friendly pink-eyed white females, which I've heard tend to have larger litters.

We'll split everyone into 3 family groups of 1 male and 3 females.

More noob questions:

When the males are done servicing the females, can they go back in the bachelor enclosure together? On the one hand I don't want them impregnating the females again while they're still nursing, but on the other hand I don't want them killing each other if they won't remember / recognize each other after a month(s)-long breeding hiatus. In that case it makes more sense to simply leave them in the family group or cage them singly.
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Old 11-13-16, 05:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

I don't see how a screened top tank has less ventilation than my solid sided tub with a drilled lid. In fact I know it's definitely less ventilation and smell builds up more while I have no problem with 20g longs with screen lids.
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Old 11-13-16, 10:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

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Originally Posted by akane View Post
I don't see how a screened top tank has less ventilation than my solid sided tub with a drilled lid. In fact I know it's definitely less ventilation and smell builds up more while I have no problem with 20g longs with screen lids.
Because you can also drill holes near the top along the walls. In this way a tub will have more ventilation than a tank unless you get a tank that happens to have vents along the side as well.

I'm sure if you make the holes small enough they couldn't stick their noses through you could even drill lower down the wall, but I figured it was safer to just drill holes farther up the top.

I kept all my mice in tubs and never had a problem with smell or gunk build up, so unless you didn't provide enough ventilation I don't see how a tub would have less ventilation.

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Originally Posted by SerpentineDream View Post
Ah, nuts. I got tanks with screened tops because I thought tubs wouldn't have good enough ventilation.

The two extra furry mice are going back. The male terrorized the other 3 males in the bachelor colony and I figured since he's going back so should the extra furry female. I'll replace them with two friendly pink-eyed white females, which I've heard tend to have larger litters.

We'll split everyone into 3 family groups of 1 male and 3 females.

More noob questions:

When the males are done servicing the females, can they go back in the bachelor enclosure together? On the one hand I don't want them impregnating the females again while they're still nursing, but on the other hand I don't want them killing each other if they won't remember / recognize each other after a month(s)-long breeding hiatus. In that case it makes more sense to simply leave them in the family group or cage them singly.
I've never had a problem reintroducing my males together, but again, that really depends on the lines used to create your breeders. You will have to breed for temperament to stop that from happening if you do end up having males that fight when introduced.
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Old 11-14-16, 06:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

I use 1 male to 5 females. I don't bother removing him. Once they get breeding I just leave them alone. The only time I ever had babies eaten is when I started screwing around with them and moving mice. Breeding mice is fortunately very easy, so don't overthink it. Use good food (lab diet) and for the most part leave them alone unless changing substrate.
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Old 11-15-16, 09:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

I had a silly Habitrail type cage that my mice used to escape from. I had 2 females and 1 male and they all lived together. The population grew as paticularly interesting colored ones became pets, but I was very fortunate in that the two females gestation was timed about as far apart as possible, so I had a steady supply of pinkies and fuzzies and later hoppers to feed my growing snake with.

After the original ones went away, I never was able to duplicate that success . I stopped breeding for a while, then decided to start again. I got a male fancy mouse from PetSmart that bit me to the bone a few times. So..I put him in my snakes cage and laughed as he was terrified then consumed.

But for a while it was fun raising them. I am so fortunate to be able to drive to The Big Cheese Rodent Factory and get quality frozen mice, rats, and baby chicks. Not very expensive and outside of no pet mice, much easier and cleaner than dealing with live ones.
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Old 11-16-16, 05:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

OMG one of the females bit off a male's testicles.

I noticed blood on the bedding and the male mouse huddled in the corner looking unwell. I picked him up to see what was wrong with him and he didn't fight me at all. I saw a bloody spot where his little 'nads used to be.

I don't know which one did it to him. Not sure why either. Maybe he tried to force her to mate when she wasn't in estrus?

I placed him back in his corner. Not sure what to do for him other than Neosporin. One of the females came over, curled up beside him and started gently grooming him, which he seemed to appreciate.
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Old 11-16-16, 08:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

Keeping all males together will definitely cause issues bc there will always be a fight for dominance and territory. That is natural. Males are the ones who really cause the stench more so than females bc males scent their territories. One male to two females is the way I do it. I also use tanks and buckets. The buckets I use for the males as holding pens once the females are visibly pregnant. The less space you give the males if you house them together , will cause more infighting. I use the pelleted newspaper to help with odors and do frequent changes with Carefresh mixed in. There will be disputes, that's normal but if they are prolonged then it calls for a separation. In the case of the male mouse that was bitten by the female, I would definitely separate him for now.
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Old 11-16-16, 09:24 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

I have all the mice separated into 3 family groups with 1 male to a harem of 5 now (picked up some more females) in 20-gallon longs. None of the males are housed together anymore.

I'll put the little guy in his own tank for now. Will probably end up culling him since he can't breed anymore. Too bad... he was by far my favorite of the lot. Rotten luck for him.
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Old 11-16-16, 04:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

Gotcha! Nice female to male ratio. Won't take long till you are loaded with a food supply. Smart move. I wish i did it a long time ago. It's great for the hatchling ball pythons, and my new Arizona mountain kingsnake project, and my Pied male who is a mouser.
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Old 11-16-16, 06:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

I had to kill the colony.

My husband came home from a business trip and the second he went near the mice his throat closed up and he starting coughing and choking. We have just discovered that he is violently allergic to mice. He's fine with my pet rats, but those mice messed him up bad.

I humanely dispatched them by cervical dislocation and put them in the freezer, except for the emasculated male whom I was concerned could have an infection as a result of his wounds... that one I threw out to be on the safe side.

So bummed. I had thought they'd have several good months to live happy lives. I had just bought them some more toys and a 20 lb. bag of Oxbow mouse food. And now we're back to buying frozen mice in bulk.
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Last edited by SerpentineDream; 11-16-16 at 06:34 PM..
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Old 11-16-16, 08:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

Maybe he was coughing and choking because he saw what happened to the male mouse?
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Old 11-16-16, 11:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

Quote:
Originally Posted by SerpentineDream View Post
I had to kill the colony.

My husband came home from a business trip and the second he went near the mice his throat closed up and he starting coughing and choking. We have just discovered that he is violently allergic to mice. He's fine with my pet rats, but those mice messed him up bad.

I humanely dispatched them by cervical dislocation and put them in the freezer, except for the emasculated male whom I was concerned could have an infection as a result of his wounds... that one I threw out to be on the safe side.

So bummed. I had thought they'd have several good months to live happy lives. I had just bought them some more toys and a 20 lb. bag of Oxbow mouse food. And now we're back to buying frozen mice in bulk.
Wow I can't believe they just bit his testicles off, that's so weird. Sounds like that line would need some work to fix if you had been able to keep them.

Sorry you had to cull them all off, but it's better than your husband suffering. I have also noticed mice are a little dirtier than rats, I was going through bedding a lot quicker with them.
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Old 11-19-16, 08:48 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Questions About Breeding Feeder Mice

Quote:
Originally Posted by SerpentineDream View Post
I had to kill the colony.

My husband came home from a business trip and the second he went near the mice his throat closed up and he starting coughing and choking. We have just discovered that he is violently allergic to mice. He's fine with my pet rats, but those mice messed him up bad.

I humanely dispatched them by cervical dislocation and put them in the freezer, except for the emasculated male whom I was concerned could have an infection as a result of his wounds... that one I threw out to be on the safe side.

So bummed. I had thought they'd have several good months to live happy lives. I had just bought them some more toys and a 20 lb. bag of Oxbow mouse food. And now we're back to buying frozen mice in bulk.
Wow, sorry to hear that it caused your husband suffer like that. Definitely best to get rid of the mice! Anaphylaxis can be deadly. No joke there.
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