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Mice/Breeder in Iowa??

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QUESTION: Hello Natasha,

This is jesse and its been a long time since I have updated you on anything concerning the girls ans I thought now was as good a time as ever. I was at the pet store just today to do some price comparisons on mouse food (trying to find the cheapest price for my favorite food for them). While there I passed by the holders for the mice and saw two of the cutests little girls. A sales associate saw me looking and came over to see if I needed any help I politely declined.

I stuck around to continue looking at them trying hard to resist the urge to buy them seeing as the one mouse of mine that had been rather ill finally passed (I babied her in her last few days). I was about to convince myself that I didn't need them when someone entered requesting to purchase some feeder mice. The person requested those two specifically and looking over I could tell the sales associate really adored those two females. Seeming at a loss of what to do I stepped in saying sorry I had already requested to buy those to which the sales person quickly agreed with the story.

Long story short they thanked me profusely in the end for following through and actually buying them while feeder mouse person left with just pure white mice. I bought a simple cage with all of the necessities to keep them in as well.

Fast forward to getting home and wanting to see if Millie would get along with them since she had been housed alone for the longest time I stuck her in their simple cage. Lo and behold they became fast friends! Millie is even protective of the two new girls (she tried boxing out at me when I reached in to pick up the smallest new female, is that normal?)

Curious I added the other two to this new cage as well and everyone seemed to be getting along fine. There was a little boxing mainly coming from one of the older females towards the new medium gray one with streaks of darker gray, black, and white through her fur. There was a little squeaking, lots of sniffing, and no major shows of aggression that would be need for concern. (Though Millie was yet again protective of the new arrivals so I removed the other two older females putting thm back in their own cage again.)

Is Millie's protective behavior towards the new babies of the family normal? Also is it normal for the one mouse that used to bully Millie to suddenly be so accepting of Millie and the new girls all of the sudden?

Also one of the new girls had frightfully earned herself the name Oreo because she literally looked like the cookie and have yet to name the other girl. (Her coloring and unique pelt reminds me of a starry sky though names suggestions would be much appreciated)

ANSWER: Dear Jesse,

I stopped going into pet stores because I could not do so without coming out with mice. Now I have an awesome breeder, and the stores around here pretty much just have albinos, I have not been tempted (of course albino mice deserve love and life as much as any other; but they don't catch the eye). Still, I just saw that Mainely Rat Rescue had rescued dozens of beautiful mice from a hoarder. There are all colors and long and short fur. The ones available are the babies of the ones that were rescued. Do you live in the Northeast? The mice are mostly in NJ, NY, etc. I had to talk myself out of it because I am so used to my sweet little mice who don't have any interest in leaving even if I leave the cage open. Have you seen my mice? Check out the Your First Mouse video which addy I have in my profile. These girls just sit there. Over the last decade I have watched my breeder create sweeter and sweeter mice. I was calling them Mikiodo Motionless mice until my breeder got mad at me.

There may be two reasons for the lack or lessening of aggressive behavior. The first is that a lot of time has passed and their personalities do change during their lifetimes (I am sure you have experienced how sweet they get as they get older).  And I assume the mice were all near each other, so they actually knew each other very well.

The second possibility is that changing mouse population sometimes breaks up any behavioral or social patterns which have formed.

In any case, if they can all live together, that is wonderful. That means that the two who live together won't have the problem that when one dies the other is devastated and alone, which makes her susceptible to depression, illness, and mites.

If it is tough to get the little ones out because Millie is protective (how cute!), take Millie out first before you take the little ones out.

Oreo is the most common mouse name of people who write to me. The next most common is Pumpkin. So your girl has good company!

Squeaks n giggles (but sorry you just lost someone),

Natasha

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Natasha,

I unfortunately don't live in that area I live in the Midwest area in the state of corn. Otherwise you could bet that I would be at that rescue right now probably. I wish I knew of a breeder near me like you do.

Anyways thank you for your quick reply and yes it is quite cute how Millie reacts around the new girls. If I pick one of them up to handle them then place them back with the first thing she does is to make sure they are ok. She takes care of them like a dedicated mother mouse almost like they are her babies.

The possibility of new arrival accompanied by a new cage environment is actually a very possible reason behind why they are getting along. Like you described there is a possibility that the hierarchy was disturbed making it easy for them to get along. If that is the case my main goal is to get them all to share a cage so I can sell all of the others.

I guess my next question is do you know of any mouse/rat breeders in the general ia area?

ANSWER: Hi Jesse,

I just want to make sure I know where you are before I ask around. Your spellcheck tells me you live in a state called corn! I am guessing Colorado?

Squeaks n giggles,

Natasha

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Sorry I actually forgot a word in that paragraph. I live in Iowa which is a farming state and known for its corn. Any information you could get me about breeders in or near Iowa would be great.

Answer
Good thing I asked! Actually I was going to suggest Kansas; they are a corn state too, right?

***

OK I got NO bites from my Facebook shout-out about private breeders. That doesn't mean there are no breeders. The thing with mouse breeders is it is more of a hobby, which means people don't stay in it all that long. It is very hard to keep track. Try to find mouse groups online- there are lots of them. There may be a yahoo group for the midwest. I am mostly involved with people in the Northeast.

If I come up with anything I will let you know. Sorry I can't be of more help.

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Natasha

Expertise

I can answer questions about raising mice and caring for them as pets, with knowledge from my 38 years of having fancy mice as pets. I have NO MEDICAL TRAINING and you should take a sick mouse to the vet; but if you simply can't, I will try to help you. I LOVE PHOTOS!!! I ALSO LOVE UPDATES! Let me know how the little tyke is doing later on, for better or worse, especially orphans. It also helps me to help the next person. Please first search first: use 'Natasha Mice Mouse' with whatever else your question includes. Or check out these links: **** YOUR FIRST MOUSE (my video; rough draft): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNK4uqNZTbA&feature=share **** TEN VIDEOS ON RAISING ORPHANS: http://www.youtube.com/user/CreekValleyCritters/videos?query=raising **** SEXING MICE: http://www.thefunmouse.com/info/sexing.cfm **** And some GREAT MOUSE INFO SITES: http://thefunmouse.com/info/index.cfm http://www.rmca.org/Resources/mousefaq.htm

Experience

I have had mice for 40 years (since I was 5!). I raised them when I was a child but now I keep all females, and never fewer than three so that if one dies the others are not devastated, because they have each other.

Organizations
I run Rats and Mice are Awesome on Facebook. The official name is Rats are Awesome.

Education/Credentials
B.A., M.A., M.A. in Linguistics: Yale University and University of Connecticut

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