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How long should you wait before handleing babies? Also how long after they're born should you wait before cleaning the cage?

I've been spot cleaning the cage just removing really wet bedding and old feed off the floor. I handled the babies on day two to sex them and I always remove the mom and the other doe before I clean the cage. Unfortunatly when I went to feed them last night 5 of the babies where gone I'm asuming one of the two does ate them so I don't know if the mom got stressed from me working on the cage. I'm only in there long enough to change feed, water, remove wet bedding and count the babies so 5 min tops. The other thing I've been thinking is that 3 of the babies to me looked white rather than pink and I know if you have babies with WW gene for spoting will be animic and die shortly after birth so possibly they died and mom just cleaned up. Both parents are broken patterned so they should have the W gene and that would suggest that 50% be WW but I also know there are a lot of modifiers.

Anyone else have possible ideas? The babies are 5 days old today if that makes a difference.
 

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Sometimes this happens randomly if there is anything wrong the mother could cull.

If the mother is comfortable with you then there should be no need to remove her. We handle the babies from day two sometimes day one with the mother still in the box and don't normally have any problems.

Personally id say its ok to clean out the cage when they are about 3-4 days if you really need to just try to keep some of the old nest to put the babies back in so they keep the cent that way the mother should not abandon them.
 

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Removing the mother is always a good idea for safety. If you know your mice then perhaps you don't do this but it is advisable to do so unless you know exactly what you're doing. What I mean is, just because Dom doesn't take his does out, this is not what I'd advise everyone to do, just in case. Obviously all mice and all strains are different.

Anyway, broken is not a lethal gene in any way. A mouse with two copies of the gene is just a broken as it's a simple recessive. W is the gene for variegated I believe. I have never bred variegateds so I can't offer a great deal of information about them but I'm sure there will be some out there online. Make sure it's about mice though, not hamsters or other rodents as they have different problems with white spotting genes that I haven't heard of in mice.
 

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I've only been breeding mice since christmas and two of my mouse mums have completely culled and eaten their litter, which was a bit of a shock as I'm used to rat mums and they very very rarely ever do that.

I now leave the babies 5 days then I take out mum and handle babies and spot clean the cage and then watch how mum reacts to this before I decide what do to. Each mum is different with each litter too. One of my does was fine first litter and ate the second :*(

Lisa
 

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Sorry to hear that. I find it rare that the does cull the litter, so it may be worth evaluating environmental causes for your does culling their litters. Some things that people don't always think of are the presence of electrical noises (that we can't hear), the presence or scent of other animals, the perceived amount of food and water (regardless of whether you know there is or isn't enough to last, if you see what I mean). I think you will probably have been through all these posibilities already but it doesn't hurt to mention them I suppose.
 

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both of mine were directly after I disturbed the nest, so I have put it down to that, as although my mice live in a shed full of rats the rest of them have raised litters fine, they also have Radio 2 on as company 24 hours a day...

Lisa
 

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I handle the babies from 24 hours old and weed out the rubbish all with the mothers in can't say i've ever had problems.

Halcyon you say your mice live with the rats in the same shed, I was wondering if you went near the mice after the rats, if so
the mice may well kill the litters as they think they are protecting them, seeing as rats and mice don't get along very well.
I'm guessing as cleaning day for the rats draws near their scent gets stronger hence the mice may well be on edge already and any scent in the nest may just tip them over the edge.

Just a thought....
 

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my very first litter is a week old now and me and the kids have handled them from day one - couldn't help ourselves!!

We have a dog and a cat in the house who pay attention to the mice in the lounge, especially when they are squeaking, or out and about.

I knew that the does sometimes eat the babies so I have consciously made sure they have loads of food including high calorie stuff like sunflower seeds and suet. I haven't needed to clean the cage yet, but it is getting to that point. THey also have loads of toilet tubes for hiding and kitchen paper for a nest, I always put the babies back where they came from and cover them up again.

No idea if any of this has prevented the mum ewating them, but so far so good !!
 

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I always used to have a second doe in with a pregnant doe to play 'auntie'. I no longer do this as the extra doe was found, on a few occasions, have taken some of the babies to a separate nest. I watched as the mother took them back, and the other doe took them again. The babies were being dragged all over the place instead of being nursed and kept warm. I've even seen younger 'sisters' do this. While most you don't ever do this, I've found that the sire usually helps out with the babies. Yes, I know the doe is likely to get pregnant right away, and I let that happen for reasons I would explain if anyone wants to know. the point is ,I guess, that mousies are unpredictable and it's impossible to predict how any doe will react in any given situation. Some does will take a lot of commotion in and around their cage without any problem, others don't.

Having rats nearby does sound like a possible cause for panic, though. Rats hate meeces, I know. I once made the mistake, in a pet store, of handling a couple of meeces that were up for adoption after being returned by a customer, and then (without washing) put my hand in with a big beautiful hooded blue rattie girl. She perforated my fingers quite thoroughly; jeez those ratties have strong jaws!! I still love 'em, though. I almost adopted her on the spot, but I don't have room for rats right now. I did bring home the two homeless buck meeces, though.
 
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