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Mice/Raise feeder pinkies?


Hi Natasha,
I emailed you earlier this week about my two mice, Mellie and Nilla (more specificatly Nilla) wondering if you thought her symptoms were a stroke and if I should take her to the vet.
I have some sad news. Nilla Bean passed away earlier this morning of unknown causes. She was eating normal, drinking normal, weighed the same, and her walking and eye problems were getting better. I talked to a vet who told me it could have been some internal problems and I failed to mention she had a brownish staining around her eye and pink staining around her neck which he said could have been a sign of mycoplasma (I think that's how it's spelled) which eventually gets into the lungs and they pass. I'm not so sure because the brownish staining was gone a few days ago and she was breathing normal. Either way, she has crossed the rainbow bridge even after constant around the clock care for the last 9 days.
Now I only have Mellie who has been out with me all day (funny, I almost think she knows what's happened) but now I'm concernd about her. She's an only mouse now, al of her "sisters" have passed. I'm still going camping, and taking her with but I'm unsure of what to do at this point. Do I get more mice friends for her? I know its very VERY early to think about getting more mice but I've read that being alone for mice is not good for girls and I don't want her getting depressed. I was thinking of adopting or taking in unwanted or feeder mice (after I get a bigger cage. Currently I have bought a sterilite bin with a latching lid that I'm going to cut "windows" in and cover with hardware cloth for ventilation. The bin is 45 gallons and is 36.5"L and 21"W and 19.5"H. I have not started to put it together but I am going to do that as soon as possible. Anyways, I was worried that adopting a pair of mice that have already previously been cagemates for awhile, would they not accept Mellie as a friend if they are already friends? I've also considered (Please don't judge me, I mean this in a good way I promise) getting one or two pinky mice from a petstore and raising them to be Mellie's friends. (I know it takes a long time and I know it's around the clock care, and I know the chances of them actually making it aren't very high but I have always wanted to do this since I got my 4 mice and I have a lot of Kitten Milk Replacer left over from when I was feeding Nilla. If this is a stupid idea, please tell me now before I get emotionally attached to anything. I've watched the "raising pinky mice videos" all 10 of them multiple times. I feel this is something I can do, I just want some advice if you think it's a good idea (all other mouse people I have talked to have told me it's ridiculous because they're still "feeders" and their is no guarantee they will be female pinkies. Once I move Mellie into her bigger bin I will have an extra cage for quarantineing any mice).
This has all happened very fast and I really wish I could have just put Nilla back in her cage with Mellie, healthy and happy but that's not the case.
What should I do about my lonely mouse??
Thanks again for all your help on this. I'm grateful someone answered and wasn't judgemental about it.

Hi Jayme,

There is no need to wait- the faster Mellie gets friends, the less likely she will be to get depressed, get sick, and get mites,

I think the idea of raising pinkies is fine-- as long as you know why you are doing it-- that is, raising pinkies because you are 'rescuing ' them is in general a mistake because you are just dooming more mouse souls into the process. So as a general practice it makes no sense. But specifically, it does make sense. If you want some amazingly loyal and loving creatures like I have never had :) then go for it.  But don't expect to sleep for 2-3 weeks. If you do it you absolutely have to nurse them every TWO hours AROUND the clock.

I actually don't remember if you are a kid or an adult; but if you live in your parents' household, you must get permission from them, with them knowing how much work it will be. You can't afford to have your project scuttled partway through. I insist on this because I see what happens when parents happen upon projects that they didn't give permission for.

On the very positive side, even though Aud Fischer, the woman who made those videos (she is in my Facebook group :) ) still leaves the warning up that there is a 75% failure rate, that has not been her personal experience. She wrote that because at that earlier time, the people she helped were not very successful. As she got better at helping, people she helps have had better survival rates too.

I don't remember if I suggested you friend me on Facebook? Besides running a rat and mouse group, I also have a message thread going with people who have successfully raised infant mice, so we can bring questions up as they arise. This also means you even get help if I am not around.

You CAN tell sex even a few days after birth. One way is to have really, really, really good eyesight and look for itsy bitsy nipples, which only girls have. The other way is by comparing undersides of various ones to examine their genitals. There is actually a difference, and you should print out the first week of the sexing mice article which is listed (you have to cut and paste) in my profile paragraph to compare.  As for being feeders... Make sure the pet store sells the same mice for feeders and pets, and that their pinkies come from the same place (or they breed them), so you know at least their genetics are ok. Mice just bred to be eaten at a week old don't even have to have good enough genetics to live two weeks, so that is a bad bet.

If you decide raising pinkies is not the way to go, get 2-3 little baby mouse girls for Mellie. Three is better. I like to have three per generation. But maybe 4 is too many mice.

Until Mellie can have friends, she needs a ton of time with you. She has probably been feeling left out lately too. Keep her in your sleeve or on your shoulder when you are doing other things. Within a couple of days her personality will probably change to being more sweet and interested in you.

I am very sorry about little Nilla. She was a real fighter.




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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): **** TEN VIDEOS ON RAISING ORPHANS: **** SEXING MICE: **** And some GREAT MOUSE INFO SITES:


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.

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

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

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