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Hello there, I have a question for all you fellow mouse lovers. I just recently bought three mice, one male and two females and are currently in a 10 gallon tank with aspen bedding. When you walk into the room they are in its just BAM the smell hits you. I don't really know what I can do to help with it, I've had them for less than a week, just got them on Monday.
 

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It will most likley be the buck who is smelling the most as there urine have a stronger scent. Bucks will normaly sent mark more than does ive found and especially as you have him in with does. He wants to let any potential intruder know that's his territory.

Not much you can do realy, except spot cleaning more often along with a full clean once a week. All ways leave in some of the old bedding so there is some of there scent still in there so they are not encouraged to scent even more. Make sure the room and tank is ventilated.

Mine only smell like that when there over due for cleaning, I do all mine once a week.
 

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I too have a horribly strong smelling boy mouse . try putting 1/4 tsp. vinegar and 1/4 tsp. vanilla per 1 cup water (and only offer this mixture to drink). it sure as heck helps with my male (he had to live in the bathroom until he drank enough mixture to reduce his odor).

then for bedding I put down a layer of corncob bedding. this stuff is scientifically proven to absorb the most ammonia smell of all the beddings. On top of that I put a generous amount of carefresh. I find the this bedding in tandem with the drink mixture works best at reducing smell.
 

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I personally would not add vinegar to drinking water as it has a bitter taste and that in itself could cause your mice not to drink it unless reach a point where dehydration has already set in.

Plain vinegar on a saucer is an old method of absorbing smells whether this is truth or old wives tales can not say.

I use the neutradol gel type things in mouse room (on trial) results so far not very satisfactory is bad smell build up already present.

Incense sticks give a better result but are short lived.

I would look more into why the smell is so strong from just the few mice you have as it could be stress related besides the reasons already pointed out by PPVallhunds. New surroundings, new cage mates, are some contributing factors to stress which should naturally subside after a few cage cleans.

It may also be that you are more sensitive to the smell also.

Increasing ventilation would be the optimum solution and a cage with higher sides like a glass tank will prevent the optimum airflow and ammonia buildup inside the tank would be greater. Spot cleaning on a daily basis would help prevent this is if a particular area is being used regularly as a toilet area. A cut down plastic container used in this spot makes spot cleaning simple.
 

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the vanilla makes the vinegar taste good- I did drink a bit to see when I started out. rodents (rats too, though I only give them a taste) seem to actually enjoy the vinegar mixture. I have never had problems with mice not drinking the mixture- mine seem to prefer it to plain water.
but, as with most advice, follow at your own discretion, I suppose.
 

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Another factor in smell are cage furnishings. If you have plastic hides tubes, wheels, they do not absorb any odor and start to really stink after one day. Try rinsing those, if you have them, on a nightly basis. It helps.

My tanks used to have all sorts of stuff for 'enrichment', and the smell was bad enough that I would tie up my hair in a bandana otherwise my hair would stink by the time I was done with my mousework. Same with clothes. One mouse care book I read recommended having a nylon coverall to use when doing mousework, I suppose the nylon doesn't absorb odors?
 

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I have made the experience that an unclean cage (1 month plus) doesn't really smell through the entire room and doesn't really smell much more than a clear cage. The only thing that really amps up the smell is when the mice are angry at each other. It even smells more 'angry' and not just like mouse, if you know what I mean. It could be because of territory with multiple males, but it could also be that the females feel harassed, that they fight over a new item in the cage, or if they don't have enough nest building materials they might steal from each other. So my advice is: find out how to settle their indifferences and don't clean the cage so often.

In my opinion the really upleasant smell is actually just their natural pheromones, which we nauturally do also perceive as what they are supposed to signal. That is why I think that the vinegar/vanilla mixture must make them rather sick somehow, such that their bodies fail to produce pheromones.
 

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that's an interesting view- by sick, do you mean emotionally because they don't smell like themselves? I don't think of it as a "failure to produce pheromones". Rather it is just diluting what they do make.
I think of it like this: if a human eats donuts and junk all day, their farts and bodily functions are going to smell so bad. but if a human eats differently, veggies and whatnot, they will smell less. I realize that the mixture is not so much "health vs unhealthy" but it is "you are what you eat"
 

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Well, to my knowledge it is actually so that (human) men do produce less testosterone if they don't excercise and if they eat a diet high in carbohydrates and fat. This will also reduce how they smell, since sex hormones directly contribute to pheromone release. This would be one of the unhealthy ways how mice could smell less: because they get lethargic, eat unhealthy and thereby get low on testosterone. Acids can lower blood pH in excess and thereby especially interfere with organ and metabolic functions, also vitamin and nutrient absorption. But you would have to drink so much it would make you feel unwell esp. in your intestines. Personally I have consumed ridiculous quantities of lemon juice as well as vinegar and it made me very anxious and a little bit mentally confused (so vinegar-overdose would be seemingly not related to what the mice experience). Regardless, it is very easy to consume way too much acids, sugar or salt through food (whereas salt probably is the most obvious). Mice are not the same size as humans, they are about 2500 times smaller by weight. I don't know how much more water they drink per day and food they eat by weight, but it must be about 10 times more. This of course also means that their bodies will accumulate any substance or toxins that much faster. So I would not trust the taste-test at all. Maybe their metabolism is different to ours and it can break down all the acid but maybe they never would have encountered much pH value variation in nature and thus their bodies can't deal with it. I don't know.
 

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well i have to say, acidity is a very strong point that i didn't even consider. It is quite diluted, but if that is all they drink it could build up. thanks for the consideration of that.

okay- so in a hypothetical experiment with groups of mice offered both the mixture and filtered tap water in identical, equally accessible dispensers, if the volume of mixture water goes down quicker that the other, i may conclude that the mice prefer it. By showing a preference, i might conclude that the mixture doesn't make them ill.

of course i would have to start with a group raised on the mix and a group raised on plain water, to see if there is a difference. i would have to log the results week by week- it would be long term. if the mice initially prefer the mixture, but within a few weeks switch to plain water, i would assume that it does built up in the system and they have to flush it out every once and a while. If they fluctuate in preference a lot , i would guess that it builds up quicker or that they want different flavor. If there is no preference, then i assume it is not harmful.

as it is, my breeding mice have plain water as they are in a separate room where smell doesn't float around my house. only the pets get mixture. So if you think there is danger of the acid irritating babies or affecting mother's milk, i hope this eases you.
 

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i don't actually think that the taste is that important. a couple ideas-: as i said, i think that rodents like the flavor, but when you only drink one thing you get acclimated and flavor doesn't matter anymore as it becomes a constant. then, I know that dogs have weak taste buds in comparison to humans- so maybe mice and rats follow that train.
 

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Clean your mouse tank out every 5 or 6 days if you have a male including the furniture and soak it in hot soapy water also clean the walls of the tank with it and make sure you get rid of the soapy residue by rinsing everything with water. spot clean, just changing the bedding of your mice every few days to reduce the smell and that should keep everything under controll :)
 
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