Mice/4 baby wild mice, 4 days old
QUESTION: Okay so I was in my grandma's garden and found a mouse nest. By the time I realized what it was and that it had babies in it, there was no way to fix it by just putting them back. So my friend and I have been taking care of them. We got krm and are feeding them with paintbrushes every 2 or 3 hours. There were 5 of them but one passed away today, broke my heart. So now there are only 4. We're positive they are about 4 days old, they have color, light fuzz, whiskers, and their ears have unfolded from their head and I'm guessing are opening up. So, my question is about one of the babies. His ears are not included quite yet like the other 3. Where we are feeding them with paintbrushes, the other 3 graduated to a slightly bigger brush because of how voraciously they were eating. But this fourth one is being quite stubborn to eat even with the smaller one. I got him to poop a little bit, andi could see the milk in his tummy but just barely. The other three had very obvious milk spots after hoarding down their last meal, and are pooping very well. It's time to feed them again, so this may change but I am worried about them. They are wild, and no mommy, so I'm just looking for any advice of any kind that can be given. Thank you.
ANSWER: Hi Dawn,
It's great that three of them are eating and pottying well! As for the fourth who is being more stubborn, try feeding in different positions to see if something is more comfortable for him. He needs to be consistently gaining weight, so if you have a scale that measures in grams, weigh him before and after meal to look for trouble that might mean a visit to a vet or a call to a wildlife rehabilitator experienced in rodents. You can also try very, very lightly stroking with a thumb and forefinger down his sides from shoulder to hip after every meal, in case gas pains from switching to formula are dampening his appetite. Do you have a heating pad set to its lowest "warm" setting beneath their enclosure? Is he sleeping well in between feedings?
Mouse #4 was probably the runt of the litter. Because runts get less milk from mom and get to the colostrum last, they tend to be slower growers. BUT, as long as he is growing, he is improving, and every day that goes by with him gaining weight is a step in the right direction.
Please let me know if you have any other questions and I will respond as quickly as I can. Best of luck, and thank you for taking care of these babies!
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QUESTION: Sadly three more passed away, the runt from the first question and two others. We really aren't sure what happened, but, now we have only one left. It's a little boy and he is eating really good though, and going to the bathroom really good. I'm checking him often to make sure he is going good and sleeping good. We just fed him a little bit ago, and same as the last four feedings he is eating really good. After we were done I went to check on him and he was a little lethargic, and I could see he was trying to go on his own, because like I said his tummy is getting it good ha-ha, sure enough I gave him a little nudge and he felt much better. So, we're down to one and it upsets us but we have high hopes he will make it because of how good he is eating and pooping right now. As far as the faux nest setup, we have him in a plastic beta tank, not the one they come in but like the five dollar cheapy from Walmart. There's bedding and a glass bottle we heat up when it gets colder, then a little more bedding and a paper towel, and we just now put in a hot hand packet under the bedding, then he's sitting in a cupcake paper with four or five papers, then shredded toilet paper in it so he can wiggle into a warmer, comfier spot. So, tank, bedding, bottle, hothand, paper towel, bedding, cupcake paper, toilet paper, then the baby with shredded toilet paper around him. I'm checking often, about every 30 minutes or hour to make sure he's not too hot or cold, and that he's still wiggling but sleeping good. Lol sorry for the long reply. Thank you again. Also thanks for the hint about being gassy!
Keeping orphaned mice alive is very, very difficult. Even people who do it frequently still lose them sometimes. Is there anyone in your area you can ask for help, such as a vet, wildlife rehabilitator, or rodent breeder who might have experience with orphans?
If you can switch to using a heating pad on its lowest "warm" setting beneath the enclosure, you will have better control over his temperature. Baby mice are unable to control their own body temperatures, and can overheat or chill very quickly and easily. Then you will only need a basic, soft bedding such as Care fresh or Yesterday's News to protect him from contacting the warmed surface directly.
Best of luck, and let me know how he does and if you need anything!