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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I usually feed my mice and rats Mazuri 6F lab block as their main diet. I also like to add other foods for them to munch on like oats, fresh fruits and veggies, and they sometimes enjoy baby food. They absolutely enjoy licking baby food off a spoon. So what would be a good ratio of block, fresh foods, and treats? What is the general rule about cooked foods ("people food"). I do not have any mice right now. I only have two rats that I will be breeding when they are old enough. (They are currently 6-7 weeks old). I will also be getting another pair of rats so the female will have another female cage mate and the male will have a cage mate.

I'm trying to hand tame these rats and eventually when I have breeder mice, I would like them to be handled on a regular basis as well.
 

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I don't know about rats, but Mazuri 6F is too low in protein (16%) for many mice, especially the ones from good breeders. I have used Mazuri Rodent Pellets (23%) plus high-quality kitten kibble (35%), eggs, and infant formula for a long time. My mice are large, showier mice though. If you have smaller petstore mice, I hear that they do better on lower protein. I have heard that the smaller mice sometimes even have allergic reactions to higher levels of protein, but I don't have much experience with that. I have fed petstore mice the same high protein diet of the larger mice with no ill effect. So in short, whether Mazuri 6F is good for your mice will depend on the mice. :p

Regardless, the lab block should always be offered ad libitum and everything else in smaller amounts. What I do is on cleaning day after the cages are cleaned, I feed them ONLY lab block for two days so they are forced to eat it, then a couple days after I give them the kitten kibble, the grain mix, and the seeds in various amounts (it's always changing).

The ratio doesn't matter as much as ensuring that they get adequate amounts of lab blocks, which have good concentrations of vitamins and minerals. The rest is supplementary. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
While I would love to breed nicer mice, pet store mice are the only kind I can get around here. I don't know any mouse breeders in my area and those that do breed mice to supply the pet stores with feeders, I don't particularly care for. (unhealthy mice and rats, low weights, sickly). The only healthy mice I've ever gotten in the area came from Petco. These mice looked healthy, ate well, had good weights and began breeding without problems.

I like mazuri 6f because I can get it in a 50lb bag for about $55 shipped and that lasts me a long time, especially now when I only have a few rats to feed and when I move I will probably only start off with a few breeding mice. Thanks for your reply. Now with kitten food, is there a specific brand you use? Would adult cat food work just as well or are the protein and fat content too different?
 

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Whatever place has 6F in stock can get Rodent Breeder in stock, as they come from the same place. All you have to do is ask, and the cost is usually the same. :)

There are five Mazuri dealers within 25 miles of Richmond, found on the Mazuri website's "locate a dealer" feature.

There's a breeder in Bristol, and I know some used to be or still are in NOVA, DC, and MD. Verminarium is one if I'm not mistaken. Unless you live in NYC or LA, you should expect to travel at least a few hours to get better quality mice in the US.

I use Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's soul. Any high-quality food works, though. This page talks about the components that go into making high-quality pet food. It's formulated and run by a rodent rescue so it has particular relevance to our purposes: http://www.srr-rescue.org-a.googlepages.com/petfood (if I'm not allowed to post this link, forgive me. I read the rules and didn't see anything against it as it's not selling anything, it's for info purposes)

Good luck with everything! :)
 

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I am a beginner with mice but I will happily answer from the rat perspective. Those protein levels seem fine for maintenance of adult rats - I would add another protein source for young rats that are rapidly growing, and for lactating does and their litters. I actually use a rabbit feed as the base for my rat food. I normally use a fish based puppy kibble (burns or jwb not sure if they are brands you get over there I am in the UK) as about 10% of my mix for adults. I prefer to use fresh foods for the younger ones, chicken wings are much enjoyed (bones and all) as are pilchards and scrambled egg. Kale is never refused, nor egg food (the kind for rearing cage birds), nor soaked vitalin. I also make them bran mash with lactol.

I am glad you are keeping your breeder rats with companions, because it is so easy to tell when rats are in season you need only put the buck and doe together for a few hours if you wish to know that exact date of conception. That way the breeding male will go back very easily with his cagemate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
On my next day off I will head up to the tractor supply store that says they carry Mazuri and see if they carry 6f or could order some in for me. How does Rodent Breeder differ from Mazuri 6f? Is it just higher protein? Would it be a good diet for both mice and rats?

I really can't wait till I move. As soon as we are settled in I'm going to go on the hunt for good quality mice. I don't breed for show but quality healthy animals are important.
 

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The main difference is protein content. When pregnant, nursing, and growing up, protein synthesis is at an all-time high and higher protein levels are good. All Mazuri rodent products have adequate amounts of other nutrients. I really like Mazuri. The other brand of lab blocks that are good are called either Harlan Teklad or Native Earth, depending on where you are. Any place that sells Purina can order Mazuri, as it's from the same place (Purina is not as good as Mazuri, but that's another story I guess).

When you do get mice, post pictures. Everybody always loves pictures! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh trust me, I'm a camera happy person. I take pictures of my fur kids whenever I can. I actually have pictures of when I used to breed mice and rats a while back. Then I brought a feeder home for one of my snakes, she refused so the rat sat in a spare tank near the snakes but I guess I wasn't as careful as I thought I was and I lost a lot of my rats due to some kind of illness. A breeder told me it was something called Mycos and that killed off many of my favorite rats. After losing them I couldn't bring myself to really breed like that until now. And I will have quarantine practices in place when I start breeding so that doesn't happen again and lots of sanitizing and probably even taking showers between caring for rejected feeders/new mice and rodents and the existing breeding rats/mice. I don't want that to ever happen again. :evil:

But if you'd like to see pictures of the rats and mice I used to have, I'd be happy to post them.
 

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It could have been Murine Hepatitis or Sendai. Both are not uncommon in rats and both are good reasons to observe a proper quarantine! I've lost mice and rats from a similar outbreak that in retrospect makes sense as to where it came from but at the time seems to have popped out of nowhere! :?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well after a few days of having that feeder rat, he started to display very odd symptoms. He began moving his head around in a very strange way. When I asked some breeders about this they said it was something called mycoplasmosis, which can affect different areas of the body. It can go to the brain, causing neurological problems, as it did with this rat. It can also go to the respiratory system and genitals. We had a black hood dumbo male named Monk. He was our favorite and the first sign for him was the first litter he sired. He wasn't acting sick or anything but the first litter he sired was very very small. I believe I only got 2-3 pups from it and they died pretty early on. Then he got really sick really fast. It had hit his respiratory system and we stayed up with him till he passed away. It was pretty bad and by the time we realized what it was, we had lost quite a few rats. The feeder rat died a day or two before Monk did.

So this time, I'm going to do it right. Quarantine is a must, sanitizing EVERYTHING, and proper quarantine practices will be in place so that this will never happen again. I want my mice and rats to be healthy, happy, and spoiled rotten.
 
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