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Need major help in the feeding department!

4030 Views 20 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  evansrabbitranch
Ok, I am told good food means big mice.

I deffinitely need help. When I got started in mice (8 years ago) it was common practice (in Kansas City, MO) to just feed cat food. It was what I was told and has always been my practice. When I got into snakes to help control population I was told to stay away from cat food with red dye as it can kill the snakes to eat mice that were fed it as it builds up in the kidneys.

So currently my mice are fed dye free cat food.

Help! I know I need to do feed changes slowly. So what ONE food should I start with? How long after adding that do I add something else? Are Black Oil Sunflower Seeds ok for mice? How about Cleaned Oats? I have those for my rabbits already.

Do mice eat hay? I have alfalfa hay cubes too.

Please help, while I do feed my snakes from my stock, feeders are not my main goal with the mice. Color and personality are, and I want to add size.
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Mice don't eat alfalfa cubes, they eat primarily seeds, and grains.
Cat food is no good for them. :?
I recommend adding the oats first. Then add things later like puffed rice and no sugar added bite size shredded wheat or uncooked egg noodles. Dog food is a good choice as long as it's high quality with the first ingredient being meat like chicken, try to find one that is high in protein but low in fat. I use Premium Edge senior weight control formula. Too many sunflower seeds or peanuts and you'll get fatties :)
Ok I mixed some oats with the cat food half and half. I will wean them off the cat food slowly. When I can I will pick up some dog food - no dye, high protien but low fat, first ingredient meat. Got it. Mice won't eat alfalfa, ok, skip that then. Puffed rice, I can get that on Saturday. How about Cheerios? I have a lot of whole grain cheerios no one is eating, though I give them to the rabbits now and then. I can get sugar free shredded wheat too. Oooh, what about grape nuts? Would that be ok to feed? Bran flakes? Wheat germ? I have wheat germ right now. . . What about milled flax seed? I know I can get that. My rabbits get it when they are blowing their coats.
I have egg noodles. How long should I let them adjust to the oats before adding the next thing?
How long should I let them adjust to the oats before adding the next thing?
Honestly I mix up the food I give my mice so often I don't think they ever really get used to any routine diet so I'm not sure but I know for other animals it's usually a week. Just keep an eye on their poops and make sure there isn't any big change in the density, neither too loose or too hard and you should be ok. Another thing that's great is scrambled or boiled eggs. I raise chickens too so eggs are easy to get for me. The cat food is probably high in fat and that's why you're seeing fatt mice :) My cats are fat too go figure, lol.
You may have already read though this topic on feeding but if you haven't it's a very valuable resource...

Actually the male was fat when I got him and the shop was just feeding lab blocks. They said cat food was fine, but then what do they really know? They cohab snakes :roll: I was thinking maybe 3 days like it is with rabbits. How often should I offer the eggs and how much at a time? Should I crush the shell into it like if I were feeding birds or no? Had not yet worked to that thread, thanks. I started reading this section at the last page ha ha! Getting good info though thank you!
Anyone know if I can feed Farina? I happen to have 2 bags of it and we won't eat it. I know it is ok for rabbits but since my rabbits are spoiled as it is can I give it to the mice instead?
Ok, I am told good food means big mice.
Not necessarily true unfortunately. Mice will not grow bigger than their genetic capability, overfeeding or feeding lots of high potein/high carb extras will result in fat mice rather than bigger mice. The only thing proper feeding will do is help the mice grow to their potential more quickly. Mice being fed on a lesser diet will still get there, it'll just take them longer ;)

Lots of people use rabbit food as the base of their diet and just add a bit of dry dog food and some seeds. Since you have rabbits anyway I'd just feed them on the rabbit food you use, saves you buying two different types of food! Mice are very simple animals and do well on lots of different things.

Personally, I wouldn't feed human food to animals (cereals, pasta etc) - it's not needed or that good for them, too many chemicals, sugar, salt etc.

ETA: I don't know what you feed your rabbits so if you are mixing a diet from scratch, 50% oats is a good place to start. The remaining 50% should be made of about 20% other grains (wheat/barley/spelt etc), 20% dog food, 10% wild bird seed. That will be all your mice need and is pretty similar to the diet I feed. I feed 70% mixed poultry grain (wheat, barley and maize), 20% dog food and 10% wild bird seed. My mice very rarely get extras, in fact only if I need to feed a litter up to show in the Under 8 Weeks classes do I feed extra.

Sarah xxx
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For a dog food, look for something holistic. Blue buffalo or Infinia is good. Blue buffalo is definitely the cheaper option, though. Wellness is okay, but more expensive than Blue. Something with -no- corn or soy in it, is best.

Millet, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, oats, barley, rice (puffed or regular), sugar free cereals, holistic dog food, whole grain pasta. . . All of these are good in your normal mix.

Cooked eggs, cooked chicken, cooked pasta, live or dried crickets, live or drive meal worms, pumpkin seeds (fine to put in your main mix too), fresh veggies or fruits (no citrus), dried fruits of veggies, warm plain oatmeal. . . things like that are good for add-ins, or treats. :)
SarahY: My rabbits are on a pellet free diet and if mice
do not eat alfalfa they will not eat rabbit food unless
you get the pet shop junk that is bad for rabbits. Rabbit food
is usually alfalfa based unless you purposely get timothy based.
I saw some people mention feeding hay, does that mean timothy?
I can share how I feed my rabbits, but its complicated.

Ok so good feed equals better growth rate not better
size, gotcha. But better growth rate shows who is bigger
faster so I can choose replacements faster instead of
just using those I like the colors on alone.

Rhasputin: Last I heard Blue Buffalo was having issues
with their dry foods, but I heard from cat owners. I
like Eagle Pack and Wellness though, what are your oppinions
on those?

I picked up 5lbs of BOSS today, I needed it for the
rabbits, currently have about 5lbs of cat food/oats mix
so how much BOSS should I add to the mix without giving
what would generally be considered too much? Also got
millet and safflower seeds, are these ok? I got one lb of
the safflower and 2 lbs of the millet. I can use the
safflower with the rabbits too so I am thinking half
to the mice and half to the rabbits but I can not
use millet with the rabbits so all of that goes to them.

I will just give the Farina to the rabbits.
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Never heard of Eagle pack. Wellness is okay. Wellness core is better.
I will look into Wellness Core then :) Eagle Pack is a hollistic type of dog food that has no corn or dyes, usually the first 2-4 ingredients, depending on the blend, is meat. At least I am pretty sure they are all corn free, I know for sure they have one kind that is corn free, used to feed a dog I fostered on the corn free blend.
Sounds like you're definitely on the right track. You'll have to let us know if/when you see improvements and keep us all posted. I'm sure this topic would benefit others. :p
Millet is very good and safflower used sparingly is great for shiny coats and and a healthy nervous system. I rarely give my mousies anything with sugar or salt, and when I do, it's in very small quantities as a treat. The same is true of cooked rice and any other starch that has been cooked or processed. Dried bits of bread is an enormous favorite with my meeces. I also get dried apples and bananas; again fed in very small quantities.

You could go through this whole feeding section and learn a lot from it. I know I've learned a lot about feeding my mousies in this forum.
I heard I can feed mixes marketed for pet birds is this true? What about large parot mixes with the fancy stuff in it? I have read a lot of the posts in this section, there is so much to read through!
Parrot mixes tend too have alot of sunflower seeds, peanuts which if given in large quantities make your mice fat but it does also contain some good seeds saflower oats niger a lovely seed canary grass seeds.I use ordinary wild bird seed with added oats groats and some budgie seed as I always have some of that at hand dont go overboard buying expensive mixes they dont need it .I wouldnt buy parrot food
evansrabbitranch said:
I heard I can feed mixes marketed for pet birds is this true? What about large parot mixes with the fancy stuff in it? I have read a lot of the posts in this section, there is so much to read through!
I have 3 wasteful parrots and I give everything they leave,approx 90 % to the mice minus the chillies.The mice have a huge preference above all else for the pumpkin seeds in shells which the birds won't entertain.
Thanks for the info guys, I will be careful not to go overboard on the bird mixes :)
I used a bird mix for a while as part of my mouse mix but then I realized it had bits of pineapple in it and that's not good...too much citrus causes issues from what I understand.
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