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Mice/biter baby mouse wasn't socialized till 4 wks

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Okay, so I'll be as straightforward and short about this as possible, since I have a nasty habbit of writing books to you people because I am admittedly inexperienced with mice(you can't gain experience if you don't try!) Okay, so I bred one of my females and she had 8 babies, 1 runt. I have left them alone for the most part, as mom is very protective of them, even now that their 4 weeks old and weened.
Okay, so about 2 weeks ago I cleaned their cage and moved them all into a separate cage. The runt jumped out of my haand and it took me 20min. To catch her, and, understandably, she bit me several times. I get that; I also get her chewing on absolutlely everything she can find; except her siblings. She beats on them hard and made mom bleed. And YES she is female, as I just sexed and separated them today. She bit me again then when I reached for her brother. Any way I can fix this without bleeding any more than I have? Sorry about writing a book to you, but...oh, and if genetics play any role in attitude, then you may want to know that her father is a very aggressive buck with a knack for biting and chewing as well. Hope you can help. Thanx!

Answer
Dear Sam,

You do have a bit to learn... :)

First, you should not breed. Pet store mice have poor genetics-- as you can tell by the father. Now you know that if you breed an aggressive mouse, you might get aggressive babies. She may end up needing to live alone. That makes one cage for her, one for the other females, and, once they grow older, possibly one cage per boy. Male mice do sometimes live together if they are siblings or father and son, who have never been separated. Sometimes. The rest of the time they will fight to the death. Another really good reason to leave breeding up to experienced, trained private breeders.

Second-- didn't hold the babies till 4 weeks-- oops! Babies need to be socialized starting at 7 days old. The way to avoid the overprotective mom problem is to take her out first, when she is out of the nest. Someone else holds her or she goes in a safe place until you have put the little ones back in the cage.

All hope is not lost, though. It will take a little bit of work to tame these little ones, but it will be well worth it. They will be snuggly things in no time. Follow the instructions and steps in this post:

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Mice-3824/2011/7/frightened-mouse.htm

I don't know if the aggressive one will become sweet to you, but if you try hard she should at least be calmer. She will never be nicer to the other mice. The best thing to do about a bite-- and this is hard!-- is NOT to react. If she bites and gets what she wants, she will keep biting. Usually I stop with that advice, but in the case of drawing blood, I don't expect you to smile and bleed. You need to protect yourself. If it is primarily one part that gets bitten-- say, fingers or palm-- you can try bandaids, maybe Nu-Skin, or even duct tape! Or thin gloves. Then the trick is-- and the usual trick with bare hands when they do not draw blood-- is to *expect* the bite (which at that point isn't all that painful compared to other things..) to the point of being surprised when it doesn't happen. Still, you have to judge when it is less painful and you can take the protection off. I had a girl who, understandably, did not want my fingers in *her* cage. I understood that. But there are good reasons to have one's fingers in a mouse cage. So I thought about it. She only bites once. I decided to anticipate it; in fact, the first thing I did when I put my hands in the cage was to give her a fingertip to bite. And she did. But over time she bit me less and less hard-- it became a formality-- until she just stopped. I had been polite, and I was welcome.

This advice will be more useful when they are tamer.

Best of luck and let me know how it goes.

Squeaks,

Natasha  

Mice

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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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