Pet Mice Forum banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
436 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay everyone - I may be taking a leap of faith here, but I'm also wondering if any of you have ever done the following successfully (!!!):

My second pregnant female gave birth to a large litter this morning. There were 4 pretty obvious runts, and I removed those since I was going to cull them.. but the more I thought about it, the more I was having a hard time thinking about doing this.

So I had an idea: I had learned in nursing school that lactation can be induced in any (female) human if the nipples are stimulated enough. I thought to myself, "What if I could give these little guys a chance - what would happen if I put them in another of my cages that houses 3 female sisters (non-pregnant, none have been pregnant)?"

So I did just that.


I honestly initially expected that they might get eaten, but something surprising happened. All three ladies sniffed the babies, then immediately set out to make a nest (in fast motion!). Their only problem was that two of them wanted to make the nest in a different place than the third one did. Anyway, I ended up picking up the babies myself and placing them in this fuzzy little pet-nest that I had bought at a pet shop. Immediately, the most skittish and timid of my mice jumped in and starting behaving exactly as if she were their mother.

The second mouse seemed to lose interest for awhile, went to eat and drink water, then eventually came back to join Mitzy in the nest with the babies and assist with mother-like behavior. The third mouse, Huggles, went to sleep in a corner. :roll:

Anyway - I am hoping that this mother-like behavior is stimulating the release of oxytocin (the trust hormone and the hormone that contributes to lactation), thus maybe resulting in her beginning to produce milk and the babies having a chance to live. From peeking in on them a few times, I saw that all the babies were underneath her and she had sort of arched her back as if they were trying to suckle from her.

It's been over an hour and the babies are still alive, moving about, and no longer crying. I can't see if they have milk bellies or anything because most of their bodies are covered and I don't want to scare the "mommies."

Do you think it's possible that.. this could happen? That they could lactate?

Have any of you ever tried this? Have you actually been successful?

I'm dying to hear anything you may know about this topic. Thank you! :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,305 Posts
Lactation is possible in non pregnant or bred females... I have seen this plenty of times when I have used a Nanny mouse to help the mother raise a litter.

I don't know how successful it will be since the actual mother is not in with the females you have placed the babies with, and the mothers do tend to produce more milk i have read. But who knows, it may work ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
436 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Haha Rasputin. :lol: It appears that two of her nipples are larger (bilaterally near the inner-part of her legs), but I might just be crazy.

However, it's been.. almost 8 hours and the baby runts are all still alive. How can this be? I don't really see any milk bellies, but I just don't know!

My mouse Mitzy has been letting them try to nurse from her - still acting just like a mother, and I'm trying not to disturb them too often. All three mice are actually stimulating defecation in all 4 runt babies too, which I hadn't noticed before! Also, Mitzy would get up sometimes to go eat or drink, and another of the mice would go over to the babies and keep them warm.

I thought that maybe if I took out some of the bedding from the cage of the female who just gave birth that maybe the pheromones could help stimulate at least one of them to lactate. I really have no idea, but I figured it's worth a try. The pieces of bedding I put in there have some blood on them from when my mouse Small gave birth this morning.

But anyway, the babies are still alive, and I have no idea how! :shock:

---Updates:

10pm: all 4 still alive and kicking! I think I may have seen some suckling action, but it's extremely difficult to tell because of the nest they've made. Still not sure if milk is actually coming out, though.

11:30pm: 1 of the babies has died. Upon examination, I see no milk belly. I examined Mitzy's nipples and they definitely had enlarged, but it seems as if lactation didn't occur (or maybe it was just too soon?).

12:30am: The three other babies died as I was getting ready to cull them. :cry:

I'm really disappointed that this didn't work out.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,436 Posts
I'm sorry it didn't work out for you :cry:

As a thought, maybe the non-moms needed more time for lactation to develope. I've heard that non-pregnant dogs will also lactate if stimulated enough. Maybe, if you were ever going to try this again, put a few babies in with the non-mom, then after a couple hours put them back with mom, and put another few in there. Then just keep rotating them, so that Mom is still nursing them all, but some babies are also working on the non-moms at the same time. Also, another thought, use a non-pregnant nanny for 4-5 days, then seperate part of the litter and leave some with mom, and put some with the nanny in a different cage.

I would only do this with litters you don't mind losing all/part of.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,106 Posts
I always breed does in pairs (or more) and those who don't get pregnant will feed the babies too, though mum is sometimes the biggest feeder (as evidenced by the prominence of her nipples) - sometimes there is no difference in this respect between the does. I'd say maybe 90% of the does lactate to help the doe who has given birth when not pregnant themselves.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,017 Posts
I just had two litters in a ten gallon, that holds three does. Only two of the does were pregnant, and had litters. BUT, the third doe has claimed duty over some of the babies, and is nursing them, despite not being pregnant, or having her own litter. :D

I've never seen this happen in my mousery before, but it's nice, since I don't plan to cull these litters, until much later (if at all) because I am breeding for coat type, and it's important to me, to let them grow until I am 100% sure about the type of coat they will have, before I choose who I'm keeping/selling, and who I'm culling. And both mom's had large litters, at least 12 a piece, so it's SO NICE that the third doe is chipping in!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,817 Posts
That's pretty amazing.

I observed Oddball, a yellow tri buck, not only licking the babies, but a couple of minutes later he was in position 'surfing' on the whole litter, as if he was nursing them. Maybe I should turn him over and see if he's lactating (only half kidding; he really was doing this!).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
382 Posts
I haven't read all the responses but I'm sure the induced lactation would have worked better if you only used one female vs 3. It would be very difficult to induce lactation in 3 females at the same time with only 4 babies. The induction is caused by the need for milk (milk supply is directly related to the demand for it) and if the 3 females were sharing the 4 babies, none of them would have received enough stimulation. However, if you put all 4 babies with just 1 female, they would have stimulated her more than they did being spread among 3 girls. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
436 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Autumn2005 - That's an interesting idea!

MouseBreeder -- Oh wow. It sounds like the does that lactate to help must have been pregnant before, though.

Rhasputin - Haha! 12 a piece? My first two does gave birth within two days of each other to a total of.. *drum roll*.. 39 babies between them. :shock: That is quite interesting though! Was that third doe actually lactating? I've had females try to take over the babies from real mommies, but weren't lactating (though apparently thought they were). :lol: \

moustress - That's awesome! :lol: None of my males have ever been interested in babies (that I've seen), though I put a couple babies in with their daddy and they were all over him trying to nurse.. from every.. uhh, 'thing' they could put their little mouths on. Once they tried nursing from the no-no parts, he'd had enough and ran away. Funny moment, though!

-- And edit: I am officially a forum addict, it appears!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,017 Posts
Yes, I believe she is really lactating! Her nipples are sticking out, and I often find her 'baby-surfing' while the two moms are busy running around, or eating. :p

They're also fostering three baby gerbils. Which seems to be working alright, they've been in there about 5 days now. They're a bit thin, but I think it's because it took them a day or so, to figure out that they can nurse on the mice, just as well as they could nurse on the momma gerbil. One of them only has three legs, because the mother gerbil ate one off. . . I hope he makes it. . . I hate to say, but three legged animals are so cute. :oops:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,106 Posts
lizashley said:
MouseBreeder -- Oh wow. It sounds like the does that lactate to help must have been pregnant before, though.
Nope, just of an age where they could be bred themselves - they don't have to have been pregnant before.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Rhasputin said:
I hate to say, but three legged animals are so cute. :oops:
I have a three legged chinchilla kit that the mother tore the leg off of during birth- she is very healthy and fully weaned now too... you should come by the northern states ;)

A friend of mine has a breeding colony, and even if there is only one or two litters, all of the does chip in. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
I found four ten day old baby wild mice in my garage yesterday and put them in with the two does who lost all off their litter but one, who was fully weaned before this. One of the does is still quite large from having been pregnant and not having very many mouths to feed. I feed them by hand every two to three hours but the moms clean them, stimulate them aand keep them warm in a nest they made for the bubs. It seems that without seriously pronounced nipples that the babies try to suckle on their girl parts though, lots of distressing squeeking and spinning when this happens :/
Then of course mommy mouse wants to sit at the far end of the cage and nurse her wounds from the nursing bubs.
The babes were so attached to her a few times that I had to intervene and pull the baby off of her. It seems to be hapening less often as time goes on, I'm guessing that she is teaching them that its bad to bite mommy's mommy parts.

About inducing lactating, I might remove a doe to increase stimulation in the other, great idea thanx
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,259 Posts
Introducing wild mice, which may not even be the same species as your mice, is a recipe for illness and parasites. A handfeeding schedule for baby wild mice requires once an hour from 6am to midnight, then again at 2am and 4am. It goes down to half that once they're fully furred. Ideally, you'd use Esbilac with a little of a higher-fat supplement. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
I have a female who has never been bred that has become Nanny to her sisters babies. She is often nursing them, and lately now they are getting older she seems to be nursing them more than the mother.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top