Mice/Orphaned wild mouse not pooping a lot
QUESTION: Hello, Natasha.
I have been reading your posts for days. The ideas you share has helped me with several decisions since adopting a wild orphan mouse. Thank you already. : )
I have a mouse question that I hoped you would consider.
I'll give a lot of background below - how I found my orphan, Ebeneza, and how / why I have changed her diet in the five days I've had her...
It’s all preface to this question:
Should she be pooping more? If so, how can I bring that about beyond my current routine with her (described below)...
THANK YOU for any ideas you may share!
I found this lone baby mouse in the garage early afternoon on 9.11. I took her in that evening - partly because I wondered if it was my fault her mother didn't come for her. (For a few hours, I set the baby in a warmer part of the garage bc she was shivering. Realizing I probably shouldn’t have done that, I put her back. But maybe mom returned to the original spot and did not find her. Or maybe mom smelled me on the cardboard with which I moved her baby. . . .Other possibility is that mom was lunch for a garter snake. They like our garage. Anyway, when I saw the baby shivering against the croquet mallets as evening arrived, I felt responsible...)
I would guess Ebeneza is between 10 and 12 days old today.
Her eyes are still closed.
At first, I syringed her a powdered drink called Esbilac "small animal milk replacer," the label says. It comes in an envelope that calls for 1tsp Esbilac powder, 2tsp water. (I realize now I should have diluted it more from the start.)
In seven or eight feedings, we developed a routine. She'd take 2-3 mL per feeding. She’d poop (with help) - before feeding, after, or both. Then she’d snooze.
Sometime on 9.13, I stopped 'pooping' her. She was pooping on her own (mostly when I held her and sometimes in her box). But then her stomach felt different / a little hard. Oh no - bloat! (?)
I went back to pooping her:
-Rubbed her tum before and after feedings.
-Q-tipped her before and after feedings, which was productive.
-Also soaked her tum and genitals with a cotton ball dipped in warm water. THAT released her (a LOT).
Her stomach softened up, and we dodged a bullet, it seemed like.
In the meantime, I've been reading everything I can find online about caring for orphaned mice. I am trying to discern good info from bad and I make changes as I go. One change was in diet.
To replenish her after the almost-bloat, and to ease her digestion, I fed her once with a warmed 50-50 Gatorade/water mix.
(G2 blueberry pomegranate flavor, delights Ebeneza, by the way.)
The next feeding, I re-introduced the goat’s milk. First I fed her 2 mL of 50-50 Gatorade/water mix. Then she took 3-ish mL of (more diluted) goat’s milk. It’s not like I planned to feed her that way. It just seemed like the way to go. Anyway, she seemed fine / happy.
From researching, I got the idea to combine the 50-50 Gatorade mix _with_ her (50-50) goat’s milk. I experimented with a third Gatorade/water and two-thirds goat's milk. (It smells great and she loved it.) I stayed with it for the better part of 24 hours. Her appetite grew. : ) She drank 4-5 mL per feeding.
In one setting, she sucked down 5 mL without a break to breathe or groom. And then she wanted more. Holy smokes. So I gave her another 1-2 mL.
Since, she has seemed hungrier, stronger, livelier. Her tum was and is soft. Relief. I figured (hoped) she was pooping less because I am cutting her goat’s milk with Gatorade/water. Figured less poop also meant she would benefit from more nutrients.
Yesterday evening (9.15), I adjusted dinner. It's about an even split between Gatorade/water and goat's milk. I hoped it would satisfy her growing appetite.
Today Ebeneza is FREAKISHLY agile, fast, strong. (I can barely hold her to Q-tip her, and she is fearless.) Awesome. She is napping now after absolutely crushing 7 mL of her blueberry goat's milk cocktail. This brings me to the question finally.
Her tum is soft, but her poops are still really scarce and really little. They don't seem proportionate to what she is consuming. I found one in her bed this morning. But she's not leaving pellets even the size of the ones she left the day after I found her. At her morning feeding, her poop was just a speck on the wet cotton ball. And I couldn't get her to go before or after the monster 7 mL feeding this afternoon. Hopefully she will when she wakes.
I am sorry this is so long. But if you had time to consider the question, I thought this background might help. Regardless, thank you. So many of your posts have been helpful already. : )
ANSWER: Hi Jon,
Sounds like you are doing a terrific job. Awesome.
Remember that when you are giving her 1/2 Gatorade mix and 1/2 diluted formula or goat's milk, she is only getiing 1/4 formula, which is not nearly enough.
Where did you get goat's milk? Curious. I can recommend it to others.
People are also often successful on 100% formula. That didn't work out well for her only when you stopped stimulating her system. So you shouldn't consider it dangerous.
I would suggest 1/4 straight Gatorade and 3/4 straight goat's milk. And watch carefully for both bloat and dehydration, as described in the raising orphans videos that you certainly have watched. I expect more poops. You can even go to straight goat's milk if you want to see more poops. Again, watch for bloat or dehydration.
I expect her to do well. I hope she does.
I would also invite you to friend me on Facebook so I can add you to a message thread that I have which includes people who have raised pups/kits successfully, and those who need help. Aud Fischer, the woman who made those videos, is on the thread.
If you love mice in general you are also welcome to join the rat and mouse group that I run. Although mice are just as awesome as rats, the Facebook name of the group is only Rats are Aweaome.
Best of luck.
Squeaks n giggles,
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hello, Natasha.
Thank you for the thoughtful response. If I could it over, I would do more of what you advise.
We held and talked to Ebeneza this a.m. as she passed imperceptibly off. She could barely lift her head and would not take food.
...Pretty heavy-hearted at the moment.
At her last feeding, she was less than her electric self. But she was far from lethargic or slow. She ate until her stomach was HUGE. It was so big that I woke her between feedings to massage her tum. At that point, she had some diarrhea. And she fought me like crazy to quit touching her stomach, as always. I took that as a good sign. Oh well.
When she passed this morning, just a few hours later, her stomach was soft. Does that support your theory that I left the poor thing under-nourished? I feel so bad. But what you say makes total sense.
Thank you again for your response. Your words mean a lot to people who, expectedly or not, find themselves sort of living and dying with the outcome of every creature feeding or bowel movement. What an experience.
It is hard not to feel badly for making mistakes . . . and to just feel bad in general for her. ...I miss her.
The experience of it changed me.
Well, something went wrong inside of her. It might have been nothing to do with you. You may have found her because her mother abandoned her, knowing there was something wrong with her. When these little guys go, often there is no sign it is going to happen. They are incredibly delicate little things-- remember, when you and I were like that, we had quite a bit more time before we were born-- and replacing a mouse mom is not easy.
One thing you can do in her memory is notify your local wildlife centers that you are ready to take any orphan mice (or maybe even others such as squirrels) if they ever come in. It is a very valuable skill.
I am sorry for your loss. These little pups really squiggle their way into your heart.
Best wishes and squeaks,