QUESTION: Hi Tamarah me again,
First all the little guys have adapted to Spooky's loss, surprisingly Runaway no longer bites on the bars, charges me when I open the door and uses all his wheels. : ) I think maybe he was stressed because of Spooky. I have a tube that rests on little Rummys tank, Rummy is always sleeping when I feed them. Runaway runs down the tube, tells Rummy the eats are here and Rummy runs for his food too. It's so cute. Anyway I wanted to ask you if you might see something in the photos of Rummy it looks like his Hair is parted right down the middle. And there is almost looks like a greasy spot towards his lowere back and his left eye looks a little cloudy in the picture but not when I look at him. Weird. His ears have healed, just never grew back from an earlier issue. He sounds like he is clearing his throat, but since Spooky passed he has started to play on his porch more. I couldn't get him to play much while Spooky went down hill. Now he runs thru his tubes until he gets dizzy : )
But what concerns me is this spit in his fur down his back and the two little greasy spots. It almost looks like Spooky's split but Rummys is wider and there is no break and greasy?
If it's something I want to catch it before it gets to late.
Also all the kids get the same mix of food, I hand mix my own food so if one gets 5 pumpkin seeds they all get the same amount as an example. All the little guys appear normal in weight, but little Rummy is so much bigger then the rest. He gets exactly what everyone gets no less no more, yet he is bigger.
Any suggestion would be appreciated.
ANSWER: Hi Leah,
It's wonderful that everyone is behaving a little more comfortably. Perhaps you are correct and they were feeling stressed during Spooky's troubles. Mice are quite intuitive.
Mice with the yellow gene, which it looks like he has based on the picture (yellow can appear anywhere from reddish to orange to tan to yellow depending on genetics), are a little more prone to obesity than other mice. Mice come in all shapes and sizes - some very large, some tiny, some lean and some chunky. You don't need to put him on a diet or anything, as he does not look big enough to cause any kind of problems, and he should have free access to food. If you are worried about him, however, you can always modify the kind of food he gets by reducing the percentage of fat and protein in his diet slightly. This way, if he is more prone to storing these types of nutrients, he should utilize his diet more effectively, become tired and overheated less, not gain any new extra weight, and will hopefully have a healthier coat, too. If you are mixing your own food I am going to guess for now that you are educated in the nutritional content of each thing you add to the food and why, but if you have any questions please feel free to ask and I can help. Food is tricky stuff! :)
As for the part in the fur, I am curious about something. When he grooms himself, does he avoid this area? Does he do the opposite and clean that area even more than usual? He looks like he has a very fluffy coat, and sometimes longer coats have a natural part down the middle, but this looks almost like he is overgrooming himself. If he lived with another mouse I would wonder if he was being barbered/overgroomed, but since he lives alone, I am curious about his habits.
Can you also clarify what you mean about the clearing his throat? Has he been sick in the past with a respiratory problem? Are any of your other mice clicking, coughing, or sneezing, or have they been doing so recently?
Sorry for all the questions! Let me know and I can try to give a better, more complete response! :)
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QUESTION: I know this is going to sound strange but I have never seen him groom himself, ever. I haven't even seen him scratch, nothing. Its like one day he is normal and the next something is wrong but he hides for a day or two, I check on him, he seems normal but he seems to be off from the other little guys, Most of them run to their doors to see me and open them but Rummy he stays in that top part of the tank where your suppose to feed them but he and most of them make their beds in there. He looks at me and just turns around. they all wake up at the same time, run on their wheels but Rummy he just seems distance to them and too me. I have played with Rummy when the others are sleeping in the afternoon and he seems fine so I just chalk it up to he sleeps when they are up. When I open his porch so he can get some time out of the cage most of the kids run and play a good hour while I clean each tank, all 22, they each have two tanks :)but Rummy he brings out what he likes to eat, eats on the porch then goes inside and then he just sits on the bed not out on the porch and then he just goes back upstairs. He is getting better as to playing on the porch since Spooky and he wiggles around and chews on his toys. he seems normal except for that graspy sound he makes. I haven't seen or heard him run on his wheel for sometime now. I marked his wheel and it hasn't moved
The greasy part looks wet.
all the other little mice, seem happy, for the first time I don't worry about anyone, Except Rummy. He has been sick where I used the Revolution it had to be a few months ago. his ears where red, bleeding and eaten way. he has healed even if his ears are a little funny looking. he still is cute.
he sounds like he is squishing water around in his throat,not a gargle sound
As for his food they all get really fine chopped nuts walnut,pecans,almonds,cashews,macademia,brazil,pie nuts, hazelnuts (Don't tell Filbert :) ) 3 itty bitty pieces of each. NO PEANUTS, NO PISTASHIO NUTS. and 3 to 4 depending on my supply each pumpkin,squash,sunflower,watermelon seeds,cantalope seeds they love that,flax,millet,1/4 of Ritz, less then 1/4 of an inch gram crackers half
chocolate and honey teddy grams mostly just the head, tiny piece of Rice cake,1/4 teaspoon of grape nuts,corn flakes crushed, 4 cheerios, 1 chocolate cheerio, 2 peanut butter cheerios 3 pieces of fiber one cereal, dry soy bean halfs 3 pieces, half square of Wheaties cereal, rice krispies about 5 pieces of the dry kitten food, half a mini dog bisquit 2 twice a week, 1 piece of popcorn every 3 days and 1 yogurt drop a week. About 3 pieces of puffed rice cereal.All of this is with no salt or very little and same on the sugar. Then I mix it with Tropical mouse food (store bought) and the one with the little gray pieces the name I can't remember, about a half teaspoon each. and they get feed for the most part every 2 days.
Takes me 4 hours on a Sunday to put it all together- each day I put one for each mouse in a salad dressing cup with a lid, and everyone gets the same amount - no favorites.
Can you tell I love my kids. Most lived for 2 years.
The only thing I added was Hay, I never gave it to them before and for the most part they enjoy it. Could it be he is allergic to that I added it maybe 3 weeks ago.
Tamarah I appreciate your questions because if it helps you, help me, help my little guys I know you care. You don't direct me to a facebook page to get more answers.
ANSWER: Wooh, that is quite the ingredient list!! Okay, let me go through this part by part so I don't forget anything, okay? :)
Exercise: It's okay if he doesn't like his wheel. Some mice just don't prefer to use it. As long as he has other methods in his cage to play and burn some energy, he'll be set!
Sound he makes: Did the sound in his throat begin when he was on the Revolution, or is it more recent? The only noises mice make that I don't worry about is squeaking when playing or bruxing (grinding the teeth together) when content/happy. If it is a normally occurring sound and has begun recently, especially if it has been getting worse over time, I would wonder if he has a respiratory infection of some type. It can be hard to tell unless you know when it started though and if it has increased over time, since a mouse that has recovered from a respiratory infection may continue to make weird noises after healing.
Greasy hair spots: I have not heard of food sensitivities causing a greasy coat (though itchy skin may lead to excess grooming), but what kind of hay are you providing? If the spots started at the same time, you could always try stopping it for a while and seeing if you can tell a change over the next couple of weeks. The spots are right where his head would go when he turns to groom his own back, so it may be that something is bothering him there and he is overgrooming it, or perhaps there is still something oily in his mouth when he goes to groom. If not, I would look toward his diet - especially in overweight mice, providing too much protein or fats can lead to a greasy and disheveled coat. By reducing these for him you can see if it impacts his coat health, but only change one thing at a time - either the diet or the hay first, then the other later on if no change.
Diet: I have to admit, there is so much going into this diet that I am not very clear on what exactly the end content would be as far as percentage of protein and trace nutrients. Do you have a reason you came to the recipe you have now? It might help me with other questioners in the future! The link I gave you in the other answer has examples of other people's homemade diets so you can get a feel for what other people utilize to achieve a balanced food. If I am remembering correctly, you should aim for about 15-20% protein, or even less for a mouse that is overweight or not breeding. Kitten food and dog biscuits are usually quite high in protein, so you could reduce those for Rummy, as well as keeping nuts and seeds to treats. Commercial mouse mixes are frequently very high in seed content and therefore fat - you could look at mixing in a lab-quality block that has been formulated to provide the nutrition required without the extras (extras can always be treats, after all). My local feed store offers Mazuri, so that is what I typically prefer. Their ingredients and nutritional content can be found online, too, so you can research it before spending money on it!
Wow, that was a long answer, I'm sorry! Hopefully it makes sense, but if it doesn't or I misunderstood something please let me know. :) I asked another expert for feedback just in case I am missing something about his coat, so I will let you know if I hear any new information. If the facebook page you are referring to is the rats are awesome one, it's a pretty wonderful resource that I use as well. ;)
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QUESTION: I give all the little mice the same diet, I would go on line and see what other things I could give my little guys so they didn't get board of the same stuff, most of my little guys lived to over 2 years, so I didn't change it except for maybe the amounts of each because as I added stuff their food bowls would flow over, so I filled them one day and waited a day and a half and when I changed their food and I would see what they all enjoyed and kept that the same and just reduced the rest so it fit in the bowl. : )
I will tell you this I went on that site and no Almonds for my kids, Yikes! : o
I only put a little of the store bought food in with my mixture, I am afraid I should be giving the something I'm not.
I mean this in a fun way, I'm a chunk-ster myself so I wouldn't want to eat the same thing everyday. : )
The hay I use is that Timothy hay. They like to chew on it but I didn't realize I should cut it down so it didn't poke them in the eyes or that the dust from it can irritate there eyes. Gee I hope that wasn't what caused Spooky's eye problem.its just dawning on me as I write this. : ( I'm going to be sick if I caused it. Maybe Rummy is allergic to that it's about the same time I gave it to him that this was happening. Now I'm going to be sick if I got him sick.
My questions are long because I want to give you as much info to help me with my little mice they are the world to me.
I didn't mean anything about the Facebook page I'm just a plain mousey's lover.
The greasy spots looks like he is wet,
The thing is, mice, just like us, will usually eat the tastier things before they eat what is necessarily healthy. They may prefer yummy snacks, but will overload on fats and proteins before getting to minerals and vitamins they need for a healthy coat and body. Lab blocks like Mazuri and mouse mixes that are not filled with corn or seeds only (no fiesta or kaytee) are specifically formulated and used by scientists when they need their mice to be completely healthy. They include all vitamins needed and still remain tasty. When I worked in a mouse lab and our goal was to breed healthy, long living mice, we fed Mazuri or similar blocks and gave treats now and then. It may seem boring, but it makes all the difference. I really truly think if you wean them onto a commercial, healthy formula that you will see an almost immediate difference in skin and coat health as well as energy. I urge you to at least give it a shot.
Timothy hay and alfalfa are both great snacks, but you are right that too much could cause irritation. There is no way to guess if that caused Spooky's issues though, so don't beat yourself up, OK?
Your questions aren't long at all, don't worry! I was just laughing at my long winded response. :)