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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! Im new to the mice keeping and breeding despite that I have had other little fury critters :) I work at a pet store in my college town. We are a reptile oriented store so therefore... Yes sadly we sell feeder mice. Once in a while we get in colored mice. Long story short I was picking a mouse for my pet ball python that I also have. He is a brown and white mouse with a perfect white spot right on top of his head and when i picked him up he was tame! Instantly I said no I cant feed you I have to keep you. Haha. Yes I have a pet snake and 4 pet mice now. Two males and two females. When I was younger I used to breed dwarf hamsters. I wanna try my hand at breeding some fury things again. But i need to know in any ones opinion what is the best food you can buy without making your own mix? Theres multiple kinds of kaytee.... Mazuri, Sunseed, Nutriphase, Carefresh,...... I need help. I have read a lot and all i get is more than 20% protein is good then I will read something that says less than 15% is better..... Whats right? I try to spoil my animals and I like researching nutrition. So whatever is best for my little mousers I would like to know. I realize when I do decide to breed one of my females that I can add a good quality puppy or kitten food to help with the milk. But whats the best for them and the males when they arnt breeding?

Opinions and Knowledge wanted please :D

Note Im from the U.S and to help I can post some of the major brands and links to the ingredients information.

1. *New Recently* Carefresh Complete for Mice and Rats - http://www.carefresh.com/products/pet-food/mice-and-rats/
2. Mazuri Rat and Mouse Diet - https://www.mazuri.com/PDF/5E09.pdf
3. Sunseed Vita Prima Rat, Mouse, and Gerbil http://www.petfooddirect.com/Product/8548/Sun-Seed-Vita-Prima-Rat,-Mouse-and-Gerbil-Formula-Food
4. LM Animal Farm Vita Vittles Mouse and Rat Diet - http://www.petco.com/product/106131/LM-Animal-Farms-Vita-Vittles-Mouse-and-Rat-Diet.aspx
5. KAYTEE Forti-Diet Pro Health Mouse & Rat - http://www.kaytee.com/products/kaytee-fortidiet-pro-health-mouse-rat.php
6. KAYTEE Supreme Rat & Mouse - http://www.kaytee.com/products/supreme-mouse-rat.php
7. Forti-Diet Crunch Mouse & Rat - http://www.kaytee.com/products/fortidiet-mouse-rat-3-lb.php
8. Nutriphase Gold Mouse and Rat Formula - http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2753467&lmdn=Pet+Type
 

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Well, as you already know for pet shop stock, most in the USA can't be fed over 13% Crude Protein. Too much CP can cause hot spots in mice that can't handle the overload, which can lead to them scratching themselves badly and could contribute to OCD.

Honestly the best source of mouse food tends to be Hamster and Gerbil mix, as most Rat and Mouse mix is just too high in CP...I use Brown's Tropical Carnival Hamster and Gerbil mix, supplementing it with fresh foods and hard proteins like meal worms, scrambled eggs, turkey or chicken, pasta...things like that. I would recommend staying far away from any Kaytee brand and Nutriphase...they put a chemical (Ethoxyquin) in their mix to preserve it that has been known to be deadly to mice. Sunseed is another good mix. Others I know have had good reports from using Finch birdseed too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ah is that right? So its different in the U.S.... They are on sunseed right now. The only thing is Im worried the litttle bugers are picking out their favorite seeds and not eating the rest. They were all on just lab blocks before i got them. Poor things!

Im particularly interested in the new carefresh food. It seems good to me but Im not a mouse nutrition expert so I dont know for sure. Heres some things from the website. Its mostly blocks with a little seed mixed in.
- CareFRESH® Complete™ for Mice and Rats features a varied and protein-rich diet specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of your pet. We fortified and enriched our diet with powerful antioxidants that are critical to your pet's health. We blend our food with undyed grains to provide the variety that promotes natural foraging behavior.
- No artificial colors
No fillers
No animal by-products
Encourages tooth wear to help support dental health
Anise helps support your pet's immune system
Amino acids for healthy growth and development
Vitamin E antioxidant helps support healthy circulatory system
- Corn, Soybean Meal, Wheat Mill Run, Alfalfa Hay Suncured , Oat Groats, Whole Wheat, Ground Barley, Yeast Culture, Yeast Extract (Source of 1, 3, 1, 6 Beta Glucans), Molasses, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Sodium Bentonite, Lignin Sulfonate, Flax Seed (Source of Omega 3), Soybean Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a Source of Viatmin E), L-Lysine, Anise Ground, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Magnesium Oxide, Ferrous Carbonate, Manganous Oxide, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Lecithin, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Magnesium Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Colbalt Carbonate, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Thaimin Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hychloride, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide.
- Crude protein (min) 18.0%
Crude fiber (max) 10.0%
Crude fat (min) 4.0%
Moisture (max) 10.0%
Ash (max) 10.0%
Omega 3 (min) 0.1%
Omega 6 (min) 0.9%

Any thoughts on that one anyone?
 

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All of the products have corn as a main ingredient; some of them have it as the most prevalent ingredient. I don't know if there is any commercially packaged mousie food that doesn't have corn or corn products in it.

Why is that a concern? Because corn causes cancer in meeces; when it mixes with digestive acids it form a carcinogen. when I stopped feeding my mice anything with corn, I nearly eliminated the occurence of tumors. I've had a large mousery for over 11 years, and stopped feeding corn to my mousies about nine years ago. Peanuts and sunflower seeds are also not all that good for meeces.

I saw a brand of rat and mouse food that has no corn at our local Humane Society shop; I'll see if I can get the name of that for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yea I noticed I cant find one without corn. Reading more has kind of got me interested in making my own mix but Im slightly clueless on what to put in it. Can anyone give me a list of ingredients for a homemade complete mix? I've found a few on the internet but I just need to know if they are ok. Heres on in particular.

1 part whole oats or oat groats (Plain quaker oats?)
½ part high-quality dog food (I got this one I'll prolly use Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula Ultra Premium Dog Food or is there something better?)
½ part wild bird seed (What kind exactly?)
1⁄8 to ¼ part whole unsalted raw sunflower seeds
Extras Maybe -
¼ part whole barley?
½ part whole raw brown rice?
high-quality dog biscuits?
½ part buckwheat?
½ part whole wheat?

Oh and heres the ingredients on the dog food -
- Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Peas, Potato Protein, Canola Oil, Potatoes, Tomato Pomace, Vegetable Flavoring, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Spinach, Parsley Flakes, Cranberries, L-Lysine, L-Carnitine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Kelp, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin D-2 Supplement, Folic Acid.
- Crude protein (min.) 18%, crude fat (min.) 8%, crude fiber (max.) 4%, moisture (max.) 10%, omega 3 fatty acids* (min.) 0.3%, omega 6 fatty acids* (min.) 2.0%.
-A True Vegetarian Formula: A complete and balanced alternative to meat-based diets. No animal products, which may cause allergies in some sensitive dogs.
- Oatmeal: An exceptional source of carbohydrates, fiber, thiamine, and vitamin E. Not widely used in pet food because of cost.
- Carrots:. An excellent source of beta carotene.
- Brown Rice Only: Rice grain with the bran portion intact, an excellent source of carbohydrates. Contains increased levels of B vitamins.
- Potatoes: Rich in potassium and an excellent source of highly digestible carbohydrates for energy.
- Skin and Coat, Omega 3 and Omega 6: Lecithin, linoleic acid, whole grain flaxseed, vitamin E, biotin, and kelp are combined to result in an excellent skin and coat.
- No Corn, Wheat, Soy, Dairy, or Sunflower Oil: These items, suspected of causing allergic reactions such as hair loss, scratching, hives, tail biting, chewing feet, and ear infections, are not used.
 

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I just pick out all corn, peanuts and sunflower seeds. There is actually a debate on dried corn vs. fresh corn causing tumors. It's up in the air, some studies support it, others debunk it, but for mice...who are tumor factories, personally, I don't chance it, especially with the last of my Pet Shop mice. Their genes are just too unknown for me to tempt the Cancer-Card. But, I did notice that for the time I left the kernels of corn in their mix, they wouldn't eat it anyway.

Equus, as far as them picking out "the good stuff" first, this is a favorite trick of theirs. Let them do it, but don't keep their bowl full of food. Only fill it when it is almost empty (usually every couple of days depending on how many mice the bowl is feeding), that way they have to eat the other stuff too. Doing things this way will help make sure they get a balanced diet.

The diet you outlined is going to be really high in CP, and it looks like something I would feed my Breeder mice, or nursing/pregnant mothers and growing babies, not pet shoppers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I am going to eventually breed my mice once my females are big enough. I dont think they are quite fit yet to have a litter. So is that homemade mix i lined out ok? What do I need to take out or add?

Also when I do breed I was going to sprinkle Esbilac on the mix for the pregnant mothers to be and for the babies. Esbilac I believe is the U.S. version of Lactol.
 

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Why would you give a vegetarian dog food? Mice are omnivores and meat is fine to give them and naturally makes up part of their diet (i.e. insects).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hmm well I just thought the ingredients looked good for them but maybe Im wrong. So i just need to worry about the fat content of the dog food? No more than 8%? Right?
 

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That dog food you mentioned has tomato in it, which is not good for mousies, the same is true for any citrus fruit. I always thought that protein content for non-breeding mousies should be around 7% or 8%, and around 10% for breeding/nursing animals.

It's interesting that someone other than myself has seen meeeces turn up their noses at corn. That's what started me on eliminating it from their diet, and it was at that point I started wondering and then noticing a decrease in tumors, especially in the does. I then started wondering about the kitty kibble. When I got corn free kibble, it took only about four or five months for the incidence of cancer to drop to zero. Since then, I have had only a handful of tumors in the past eight years. It's such a simple thing that I am always surprised when someone tells me they can't be bothered to do it.

I shouldn't have started on the subject; it's one of my favorite soapbox topics.

In case you wondered, I feed largely whole wheat and whole oats. I add different things to the diet like safflower seeds for healthy fatty acids, and millet for variety, dried fruit, usually banana and apple, dried bread, breakfast cereal, cooked egg yolk, tuna, chicken, yogurt, baked potato. All the mousies get a small lump of corn-free puppy kibble avery other day and the breeding meeces, and pregnant or nursing does get a lump every day. They seem to love anything new I give them, but they eat the whole grains too. They riot for dried bread or cereal.

I was adding barley to see if they liked it, which they did, and went to my feed mill and got two 50 lb. bags, only to find it smelled so strongly of mold I couldn't in good conscience feed it to them. I'll try another supplies for the meantime, as I only make the hour drive to that mill about 3 or 4 times a year. I should have had them open a bag for me so I could see and smell it. why anyone would buy grain that smelled that bad to feed to anything is beyond my capacity to understand.

I still want to know if mealy worms add something to a mousies diet that can't be provided by other dietary protein elements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The only thing about me making a homemade mix is I only have 4 little meeces! Haha So I cant really buy large bags. The hard part is going to be finding the ingredients.

Mousetress what kind of kibble do you think I should use? Your from the U.S. right? And is it true the fat content of whatever kibble pick shouldnt be above 8%? What about the protein content?
 

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I'm State-side...I use Chicken Soup for The Pet Lover's Soul adult kibble. It's great stuff! :)

Mousetress, as far as I know, mealworms are just packed full of protein, and that can totally be supplemented elsewhere in a diet if you use a meat-type protein instead of mealworms (IE the dog kibble, eggs, chicken, turkey, etc.)...but they do love the worms so much! I feed mine mealworms as a treat (I use freeze-dried).

Mice in the wild eat them and other insects as part of a regular diet, but also as a source of moisture (water). Ours don't need to do that, so whether you substitute worms or crickets for meat-based foods, or just use them as a treat, they add a huge protein power kick to a diet. I believe they are something like (roughly) 57% Protein (huge) and 28% fat content (also huge). Like dog kibble though, insects are so packed full of proteins that 3 per mouse per day is best, or you could be facing hot spots or fat mice! :lol: There is some speculation that feeding mealworms boosts immune systems in mice since besides being a high source of protein, they also are jam-packed with aminophenol, vitamins, hormones, enzyme and mineralization elements like phosphorus, iron, kalium, natrium, calcium, etc.

I can tell you for a fact that my mice go crazy for them, and the only thing they love more is Cheerios!
 

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thanks for the info Ididn't think there was anything unique about insect proteins. I've even eaten bugs on two occasions myself as part of Biology club initiations in high school. they were not bad, especially the deep fried bees. Didn't care for the earthworms, though.

Fat meeces gee, I wouldn't know anything about that sort of thing. *snort* Yellow and orange meeces are my faves...

Meeces will eat just about anything....a friend had left some samples of spices in tiny plastic bags on my unheated porch over the winter, and there was very little left by the time spring rolled around. and growing up I remember seeing the bar of Ivory bar soap with the edges all worn down with tiny tooth marks. *yuk*
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Mealy worms and mice..... That would be interesting to watch. haha Maybe I will bring some home sometime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Since I have a very small amount of mice.... Its really impossible for me to make my own mix without having tons left over. So is it ok if I keep feeding my sunseed diet and supplement it with just a little dog kibble? Like a little every other day? Or is there things in a grocery store I could make a complete mix with? I think I finally settled on a kibble.
http://www.petco.com/product/100263...x-Puppy-Formula.aspx?CoreCat=DogFlink_DryFood

Let me know if theres something wrong with that one. :)
 

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It's easy to make your own mix when you only have a few mice - that's what I did when I only had pet mice. Just buy smaller bags of ingredients from health food shops, supermarket and pet shops. Between the three you will be able to buy everything you need.
 

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Whole hearted agreement from me; meeces can easily live off our leftovers, and might be better off doing do, as things sold for birdfood or other pets are allowed to use lower quality ingredients. Dried mixes are easier as they don't go bad and make a smelly unsightly mess. Mousies are smelly enough without that. I just don't like some of the ingredients in those mixes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
See I dont even think my college town has a health food shop.... I'll look around though. Thanks for the advice everyone :)

EDIT : Great News! I just poked around on google and I think I found a store! Im going to go check it out tomorrow. Can I get some final advice on my mix? So I can buy the grains?

1 part whole oats or oat groats (Plain quaker oats? Yes?)
½ part high-quality dog food (Castor and Pollux)
½ part wild bird seed (What kind exactly? I cant find any with out corn!)
1⁄8 to ¼ part whole unsalted raw sunflower seeds (keep these or take them out?)
Extras Maybe -
¼ part whole barley? (Add or Not)?
½ part whole raw brown rice? (Add or Not?)
½ part buckwheat? (Add or Not?)
½ part whole wheat? (Add or Not?)
And for the babies and pregnant moms I will sprinkle Esbilac over the mixture and give them a little more dog kibble than normal.

Update: I can only find ONE bird seed mix that doesn't have corn, but it has tomato flakes.... is that ok?
8 in 1 Ecotrition Essential Blend for Canaries & Finches
Canary grass seed, rape seed, steel cut oats, red millet, finch millet, flax seed, niger seed, pineapple granules, raisins, diced carrots, diced potatoes, minced onions, alfalfa flakes, parsley flakes, celery flakes, diced red peppers, diced green peppers, cabbage flakes, leek flakes, diced zucchini, tomato flakes, spinach flakes, crushed red pepper, dicalcium phosphate, dried whey, soybean oil, cod liver oil, wheat germ oil, mineral oil, salt, potassium chloride, magnesium oxide, dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate (source of vitamin E), manganese sulfate, ferrous carbonate, zinc oxide, choline chloride, niacin, vitamin A palmitate, copper sulfate, riboflavin, d-calcium pantothenate, mixed tocopherols, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine hydrochloride, cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), potassium iodide, cyanocobalamin, color added (red 40, yellow 6, blue 1).
Crude protein (min.) 15%, crude fat (min.) 12%, crude fat (max.) 8%, moisture (max.) 12%.
 

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The pet food shops here usually sell bags of seeds for birds separately as well as the commercially made mixes. They buy and weigh them out themselves - do they do this in the US? Budgie seed mixes don't usually have corn in, and wild bird seed mixes (which I use) have little if any. Sunflower seeds are fine, whether in the shells or not (the hearts are more expensive but you get more edible product per bag, whereas the ones in shells are cheaper because there is less edible product but opening them does give the mice something to do and encourages natural behaviour, keeps their teeth down etc). Here it is also easy to get hold of bags of linseed (good for the coat), safflor seeds, millet and other seeds, all fine in a mouse food mix.

If you have the choice, get oat groats, rolled oats or bruised oats over whole oats. I ue flaked barley in my mix and the mice seem to like it, so that part is fine. I avoid wheat myself but a little is ok. I don't know about the rice - it might be better to use pasta? I always wonder if feeding dry rice could cause problems with expansion when it gets wet. I expect that I am just being silly but no one has ever been able to answer the question!

P.S. Avoid the bird mix you mentioned as it has onions in, and moustress also said to avoid tomatoes, though I have never heard of that before.
 
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