Mice/9-10 day old house mouse found in the barn
QUESTION: I found my mouse orphan in my barn 4 days ago from a disturbed nest when hay was moved. Could not find the rest of her family and after 4 hours before night fall, I brought her inside the house. She has dark gray fur, very small, eyes closed. Eyes seem to open a little today, or so it looks this morning, but mostly are still shut. Been feeding her recommended KMR formula twice diluted the recommended dosage every two hours. The first day I also gave her some pidealyte. .After she finishes eating off the paint brush, careful to not make her sore, I stimulate her stomach and genital area very gently stroking with a very small soft thick brush and that works well for her to pee. I think it simulates the mother licking her. It seems less harsh than the q-tip some people use and recommend. She also seems to enjoy it, usually falls asleep. She does not go potty every time although I stimulate at least 10 to 15 minutes, at the end of that, she usually goes and is asleep and I put her in her bed which is heated from below cushioned by a towel not to make it too hot. I have also found poop in her bed, until she started having diarrhea which started yesterday. How should I treat this and how soon shall I expects she open her eyes. I wash her with a warm water q-tip, but she is very clean herself and vigorously grooms herself. She looks small and skinny to me, although lively. Any suggestions as to when I should start solid food? She is still so tiny and seems skinny to me. How do I start solid food. do I wait until her eyes are open. Any help and advice much appreciated. She is a wild mouse can she be a pet? Thank you.
ANSWER: Hi Jutta,
Wow, you are doing a wonderful job with her! The diarrhea is a normal part of switching the diet to a formula, and there isn't much you can do to avoid it. The most important thing is to keep her hydrated and if you can, to weigh her each day and make sure she is consistently gaining weight. The loose stools should return to normal in a day or two.
You are welcome to start solid foods whenever she is ready! Try getting a commercial mouse food mix and leaving some in the enclosure. She will start to explore it on her own time and it may take a few days of nibbling at it before she really starts to eat it in earnest. Throughout her exploration of new foods, continue to feed her like normal with the kitten milk - she will need the hydration and nutrients it provides until she learns to drink water on her own, which may be a couple of weeks more. As she ages and as long as she continues to gain weight, you can start reducing how frequently you feed her the KMR. Of course, everything depends on her - how quickly she figures out solid food, how often she wants to eat the KMR, how well she gains weight. You might also try offering her small bits of stale bread, or even soaking them in water or kitten milk. Remember to remove uneaten moist foods promptly, though, so they don't mold. If she is healthy, she will start to plump up, just continue what you are doing!
Whether or not she can be a pet depends on her and on you. Wild mice have strong instincts that can make them very hard to tame, but on the other hand, frequent handling as a baby can help a mouse become very familiar with you. This is a mouse-by-mouse thing that only you can decide. I would recommend simply paying attention to her - if as she grows she continues to seem relaxed around you, then yes, I think she could make a good pet. If she becomes nervous and skittish, then you may consider releasing her, instead. It is just up to you. I can tell you that the instincts she needs to survive in the wild (or barns) will not have disappeared just from you raising her, so if you decide to release her, she will still be able to fend for herself.
I think I got most of your questions, but if I missed anything, feel free to write me back and I will do my best to help out! Good luck, and thank you for doing such a wonderful job!
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi Tam: Thank you for getting back to me. Things kind of changed as of a few hours ago. She lost the enthusiasm for taking the formula, probably became overheated. feels hot to the touch and breathing fast, and now has been sleeping in her tube several hours. She used to be wiggly and strong. I don't know what to do at this point. I think she needs hydration. I put out rye crisp soaked in water, some lettuce but she did not show any interest in it. Should I wake her up and try to infuse some pedialite. She had been such a lively little thing. What can I do now?
I am so sorry that I missed this followup! I sincerely hope things turned out okay. Is she alright?
She may have overheated, either from the temperature around her or from being sick with something else. If it was just the temperature, then cooling off in a cool part of her cage as she was doing in her tube is really what she needed, and she likely would have taken the hydration you were offering her as soon as she felt able. Pedialyte would not have been really necessary, but anything with water in it would have definitely made her feel better.
If she was sick, which can happen with orphaned pups very easily and frequently starts before they are found seemingly healthy, she may have had a higher body temperature. It is very difficult to treat young mice for illnesses, so the best bet at that point would have been hydration by any means and if possible a visit to a vet experienced with pocket pets or small wildlife.
It really sounds like you have a good instinct on what she needs and how to take care of her. I hope she is doing alright and that she just got a little warm. Please let me know how it turned out and if she is okay, and again, I am so extremely sorry for having missed this question. I really don't know how it happened, and I hate that she and you needed my help and I let you two down!