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Mice/How to get my mice to live to age 4

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QUESTION: My pet mice are from a national pet chain and are feeder mice for snakes.  They haven't lived to be a full 2 years old.  They are housed with white-footed mice that were rescued as slightly older than pinkies, bottle-fed and buddied with pet shop mice so no one is alone or stressed.  They snuggle together and can't be without each other.  
I asked an employee at the store, who stated her pet mice live to be 3 to 4 years, what she does that keeps her pet mice alive so long.  We compared feeding and housing practices; I feed Mazuri lab blocks and some seed/grain mix, occasional lean cooked meat, very occasional meal worms and Cheerios.  She feeds a commercial feed mix for rats and mice.  We both give fresh veggies and some fruit.  NO processed foods.  I give peanuts in shell without salt so they can forage and hoard (very important for the white-foots).  They are not overweight, very agile and busy.  We use Marshall's GoodBye Odor for urine odor control and aspen bedding.  No toxic paints, coloring in food and no mouse candy or yogurt chips.  Cage cleaning without water and dish detergent.  The only thing the employee uses that I don't is Bene-Bac Plus powder in the water supply.  Are probiotics needed when animals aren't on antibiotics?  Can Bene-Bac be used with GoodBye Odor?  Are there veggies that mice shouldn't eat besides grapes, raisins, garlic and onions?  Thank you for any suggestions.

ANSWER: Hi DeeDee,

You sound like an awesome mouse mom!

Your friend the pet store employee is either memory-challenged or truth-challenged. Mice don't live to be age 4:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040412235951.htm

Two years is certainly a good life for any non-bred mouse-- meaning came from a pet store or mouse mill or anywhere other than from a responsible, educated breeder. Now that I have an excellent breeder, two years is a lower limit rather than an upper one; but even so I would be pretty amazed if a mouse lived to be three.

It was a great way for you to do some every careful research though! As for probiotics, a little live yogurt every once in a while is helpful. I don't put anything in the water because anything you put in may have the side effect of making the water taste bad and discouraging the mice from drinking as much as they should.

Squeaks n giggles,

Natasha




---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: How did you find a reputable mousery?

Answer
Hi,

It was January 20, 2002. I had found a mouse group on Yahoo. I was so excited to even learn that show type mice existed, It was a mouse meet, in MD. Everyone, all women, were talking about whether Mike the Mouse Man would be there. Near the end, Mike arrived. He had the most beautiful mice who just lay in his hand and wanted to be scritched and petted. He had seven, and six were spoken for. I was new to the community. He gave me the last mouse. I named her Tiramisu.

Mike and I exchanged cards. Lo and behold, we lived six blocks apart in the East Village of Manhattan!!  We soon became fast friends and he has been giving me all the mice I want for 13 years!! I have six right now.

But not everyone can be so lucky!!!

I recommend you join my group on Facebook. Find the Files section. Go to the file called Sites, Groups, and Forums. There should be some mouse groups where you can ask for the nearest mousery. When it comes to a social atmosphere you will probably want to post your pics and hang out in my group. The mouse people can be... intolerant.

See you soon!!

Squeaks n giggles,

Natasha

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Natasha

Expertise

I can answer questions about raising mice and caring for them as pets, with knowledge from my 38 years of having fancy mice as pets. I have NO MEDICAL TRAINING and you should take a sick mouse to the vet; but if you simply can't, I will try to help you. I LOVE PHOTOS!!! I ALSO LOVE UPDATES! Let me know how the little tyke is doing later on, for better or worse, especially orphans. It also helps me to help the next person. Please first search first: use 'Natasha Mice Mouse' with whatever else your question includes. Or check out these links: **** YOUR FIRST MOUSE (my video; rough draft): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNK4uqNZTbA&feature=share **** TEN VIDEOS ON RAISING ORPHANS: http://www.youtube.com/user/CreekValleyCritters/videos?query=raising **** SEXING MICE: http://www.thefunmouse.com/info/sexing.cfm **** And some GREAT MOUSE INFO SITES: http://thefunmouse.com/info/index.cfm http://www.rmca.org/Resources/mousefaq.htm

Experience

I have had mice for 40 years (since I was 5!). I raised them when I was a child but now I keep all females, and never fewer than three so that if one dies the others are not devastated, because they have each other.

Organizations
I run Rats and Mice are Awesome on Facebook. The official name is Rats are Awesome.

Education/Credentials
B.A., M.A., M.A. in Linguistics: Yale University and University of Connecticut

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