Mice/mice

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Question
Today I found 5 baby mice about 1-9 days old ......AND I HAVE KNOW IDEA WHAT TO DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please help me thank you.

Answer
Hi Sophia,

Is there someone who can help you take care of them?  Call your local veterinarians, animal rescues, pet shops, rodent breeders, and wildlife rehabilitators to see if anyone in your area has experience and can help you.  Baby mice need to eat every couple of hours, and can be very challenging to care for.

If you have not touched or moved them, it is possible (depending on where they are obviously) that mom may come back.  Mom mice need to go get food now and then, but return to their nests several times throughout the day and night.  If the mice have not been disturbed and are in a secure location, you may be able to leave them alone.  If you have already taken them in or if they are not in a safe place, please keep reading.

Your biggest priorities will be to keep them warm, fed, and going to the bathroom regularly.  You will need a box, cage, or other enclosure with shredded tissue, paper towels, or other soft bedding where you can watch for signs of them eliminating waste on their own.  Place this entire enclosure on top of a heating pad set to its lowest "warm" setting.  You should be able to notice a slight difference when placing the back of your hand on the bottom of the enclosure, but it should NOT be hot.  Do not use a lamp, as these can overheat the babies.

Before each meal, you will need to help each baby go to the bathroom.  This helps stimulate their appetite, and young mice physically cannot potty on their own without your help.  Get a cotton swab or cotton ball and dampen it slightly with warm water (roll it between your fingers if you need to warm it back up) and very gently dab at the genital and tushy areas.  This simulates mom's grooming and is their signal to potty.  You should see a little bit of fecal matter at most feedings, but they should be urinating at every feed.  Urinating less often could be a sign of dehydration, and not urinating at all is a medical emergency.  Once they potty, dry them off gently (baby mice can chill very quickly!), and start feeding.

For food, baby mice need something called kitten milk replacement or puppy milk replacement, which I will call KMR for the rest of this answer.  You can find KMR at your local pet shop or feed store.  Mix according to instructions on the container (and store remaining formula according to them, too), adding about double the water to keep the solution watery and easy to eat.  You can use a dropper to let them drink, or you may have better success using a small paint brush to encourage them to sip off the bristles.  Never force fluid into their mouth or let it drip on them freely, as this can cause them to choke.  Try to feed them every two hours, but this will depend on their age, which I will address in a moment.  They should be satisfied enough after every meal to take a nap in their enclosure, and you can help by using your forefinger and thumb to VERY lightly pet them from shoulder to hip on each side for a minute or so after eating.  ALWAYS return pups completely dry after a feeding.  If they are damp from pottying or KMR, they can become cold very quickly and that can be deadly.

Ideally, you should find yourself a food scale so you can weigh them before/after each feeding.  This will allow you to track how much they eat and be sure that they are gaining steadily.  They should each be gaining weight every single day - not doing so could mean they are not eating enough or becoming dehydrated from the food switch, and losing weight is a sign that something is very wrong and is a medical emergency.

This website has EVERYTHING you need to know, and I recommend reading it right away:  http://www.rmca.org/Articles/orphans.htm

And this chart may help you determine their age:  http://jaxmice.jax.org/images/literature/pupsposter-large.jpg  I know the words are probably too tiny to read, but the images might help you get a better guess at their age.  That will help you figure out how often they should be eating, when to start offering solid foods, and when they should begin drinking water on their own.

This is all just a start - keep in mind that orphaned pups are VERY hard to successfully raise, even when you do everything right.  Getting someone's hands-on help is your best bet, and keeping your hopes up.  Each day that goes by is one more day closer to them surviving on their own!  Please let me know if you have more questions or need help in the future.

-Tam

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Tamarah

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding mice as pets, mouse behavior, color and coat genetics, breeding techniques, and general health questions. I can help with caging and setup, nutrition, social issues, and what to do in most mouse emergencies (such as unplanned litters, injuries, fighting, etc.). I can also assist with questions pertaining to orphaned mouse pups, weaning litters, and questions of mating and birthing. I cannot answer questions about exotic or wild varieties of mice such as spiny or pygmy mice. *****FOR EMERGENCIES, anything requiring immediate medical intervention, PLEASE take your mouse to a professional veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator who works with mice as soon as possible! IMPORTANT RESOURCES: Raising Orphaned Mice: http://www.rmca.org/Articles/orphans.htm Orphaned Mice Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/CreekValleyCritters/videos?query=raising Natasha's Your First Mouse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNK4uqNZTbA&feature=share General Mouse Help: http://www.fancymice.info/ Mouse Info and Exotic Breeds: http://www.hiiret.fi/eng/species/

Experience

I have enjoyed the companionship of mice nonstop since 2004, and spent a year caring for them in a lab where I learned a great deal about their breeding, social needs, and health. I spent a few years breeding them, specifically working with albinos, marked mice, angora mice, and satins. My education never stopped - I am learning something new every day from current and well-established research thanks to the wonderful folks at the Jackson Laboratory, as well as from my wonderful mousey friends online. I also love learning from my terrific questioners here on AllExperts - you folks keep my passion for these amazing animals alive and well!

Organizations
East Coast Mouse Association - expired, American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association - expired

Education/Credentials
Partial University for a B.S. in Microbiology, Partial University for a 2-year degree in Veterinary Technology (RVT cert), C.E. classes in pathogens, aseptic technique, genetics, and applications

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