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Some thoughts on sunflower seeds.

14658 Views 31 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  rocketmdove
Im gonna start by saying when I first got mice and I didnt know any better. I fed them largely on sunflower seeds until I noticed them gaining weight. I decided to limit what I gave them but then again I was breeding brindles and seem to be known for weight problems. Im sure the fatty diet did not help at all. This time around I still feed sunflower seeds sparingly since they love it so much but it dont see anyone doing this. Is there something wrong with these seeds being fed to mice? Correct me if Im wrong here.
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You are quite right; a sunflower seed is like a big fat steak for a mousie. I no longer feed them at all as I think that corn, sunflower seeds, or peanuts as all of them, in my experience, increase the incidence of tumors. Corn is thought by many to be carcinogenic for meeces, and all three items are often contaminated with a fungus that produced aflatoxins, which can even harm humans if the exposure is high enough.

A good diet for meeces should consist largely of whole grain, with the addition of some healthy form of vegetable oil like safflower, linseed, or something like that, along with some source of protein.

You are right about brindles, though, they get fat even on a very low fat diet. There's just no way around that, I'm afraid. HEy, at this time of year, the fattie mousies make good hand warmers, and they run away very well, so, enjoy!
Exactly, moustress knows what she's talking about. After reading several documents pertaining to tumor research there is a link to the chemical that is released when mice digest corn and sunflower seeds that can cause cancer. It was previously thought that tumors related to eating corn were due to mold growth on the corn.

I eliminate corn completely and the only sunflower seeds that they get are in the mix of bird seed that is hulled and chipped into fine pieces. I feed rolled oats, birdseed mix with millet, milo, canary seed, etc, whole grain oat cereal for the vitamins, puffed brown rice, high quality meat based dog food, and pumpkin seeds as treats. Nursing moms get a bit of whole gain oat toast with a sprits of butter daily.
I also use a bird seed base as you described and sprinkle cat or ferret food. I give veggies and greens as treats. I didnt think about oats. That would be great to mix in thanks. The sunflower seeds are premixed into the bird seed. I like the price so I would hate to stop buying it as it doesnt have too much sunflower in it but if its a serious health concern Id rather pick them out by hand :lol: Really I would!
Believe me, you will not be the first one to hand sort throughj bags of grain and seeds. I have been obsessed with giving my meeces the best possible diet for years. It would not be stretching to say I often spend more time preparing their nightly rations than I do on feeding the hubby and myself, on the average.

Dried high quality whole grain bread is such a good treat for meeces; mine riot if I don't put enough little pieces in each tank for everyone to have some right away. I think that growing grain began the centuries long relationship between human and mousie, and bread cemented their attachment to humans. Who or what can resist the smell of bread baking!
I used to work in a sitdown restaurant and they sliced fresh rye bread daily for their famous ruebens so I took home the ends that they would put aside for me. My mice loved it soooo much. They would eat the entire inside and leave the hard outer shell. It looked like a little house when they were done and I would tear a little door for them! Yes mice love whole grain bread. I had a mouse that loved flies but she passed a couple years ago. I have the ability to catch them by hand but now they will go to my tree frog. Anyway, the jist is no sunflower got it. Got some handpicking to do with the remaining birdseed. Ill enjoy it :lol:
I just gave my mice some oatmeal and they went crazy over it! What is oatmeal anyway? What is it made from?
Haha very funny. I coulda figured that out myself.
Interesting thread as I`ve also been guilty in the past of over-feeding sunflower seeds but as daily treats, rather than being in their main food dish.

They are high in fat, but I was`nt aware of the cancer risk. I was with corn and soya which I don`t feed anyway and have recently started cutting down, or cutting out sunflower seeds altogether. Thing is, you get so used to handing over little `sweeties` to the little faces mooching for something that you don`t realise how many seeds you are feeding them through the bars! :oops:

Wholemeal bread is a staple in this house and I always snip up a few bits for the girls (although Betsy is`nt mad about it) and again, I worry about bread.....why? Because if you look on the packet of bread, it does`nt just contain wholewheat and the like, you will also notice the E numbers and raising agents. Now this got me thinking that maybe these added extras might not be so healthy for mice? Not so much with weight issues, but with skin allergies, or causing a reaction of this type?

When you think about it, mice would pinch the wheat and oat grains from the bread mills, but nowadays, bread is added to with all these other agents and it`s these ingredients that worry me.
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Yes, good point about the bread, you have to read what's in it. I read the labels for my family's nutrition as well as the mice. No high fructose corn syrup for me, my kids or my furry kids either! Other then that I try to by whole grain products that aren't bleached or derived from corn, soy, or wheat and don't have anything artificial including colors or flavors.
Glad you agree with me there beth. It was something I thought about just recently and although my girls only get very small bits of toast or hard wholemeal bread, I worry now about the additives that are added to make the bread rise or preservatives for shelf life.

It`s getting to the stage where I`m running out of ideas for treats! Sunflower seeds are out and now the bread is going the same way because of the additives. :roll:
Pumpkin seeds are a huge hit at our house. I grow them all summer then dry them out and freeze them for mouse treats all year long.
My gerbils used to love pumpkin seeds and they are lower in fat than sunflower seeds, but the mice never care for them to be honest.
I bought a few sunflower hearts today mice love them, too many make a fat mouse, I bought my sack of poultry mix, sack of wild bird seed with aniseed no sunflowers and my pedigree chum small bite kibble which i dont mix in the feed because all the seeds sink to the bottom so things like sunflower kernels kibble bread / toast is given seperately.The thing is with fawn satin mice they are very prone to get fat unlike the siamese so I give the sunflower sparingly never tried pumpkin seeds they say they are nice for us to eat toasted?
My understanding about corn is not only that it can be carcinogenic, but can also be bad for mice if it is the genetically modified version, that is used for about 90% or so of American corn products.
In feeds, it can increase the likelihood, and severity of tumors, and cause an increase in sterility in mice if fed over a few generations.
The first thing I do when I make up my girls mix, is pick out the yellow corn and the bright coloured extruded biscuits. I don`t trust the `EC permitted colourants` to be natural and why they feel the need to `dye` anything for the benefit of a pet is beyond me? It`s not as if the pet is`nt going to eat it because it`s a natural brown colour? So why they use these colourants like greens and reds is silly. Why bother adding them at all? Maybe they think the rabbit or the mouse or the rat will think, `oh dear, I don`t like the colour of that brown biscuit because it`s not green`.... :roll:

I buy sunflower hearts for the wild birds, but have stopped feeding any sunflower seeds to the mice. I still have some in a tub, but will only feed one or two as a treat to finish them off and won`t be buying anymore. Rosie (my oldest mouse) expects a sunny now and then so being nearly 17 months old, I don`t want to deprive her of her favourite munchie! But I am restricting them more though.
You can get poultry corn and poutry mix the poultry corn I keep away from the poultry mix is full of natural ingredients the pieces of corn you see dyed bright yellow you dont get in poultry mixes
I would have thought that a poultry mix would be full of corn geordie as these types of birds do best on corn fed meal? Some can also have shrimp and shellfish ingredients added but these can be very high in protein so mice should`nt be fed those. It would be too much of a good thing! But not great for their health either. I think that`s why many people choose to mix their own home-made foods/mixes these days because they are so fed up with the wastage seen with many commercial mixes. I must throw away a good half kilo of corn and biscuits from my rabbit mix alone, but I gain the grains within it. But rather than buying oats, wheat and barley as seperates and mixing them myself, I don`t know that by doing this I would be mucking up the nutritional value. If Burgess did`nt fill the mix I use with so much corn and added more grains instead, the mix would be better value.

If I thought buying loose grains and seed and mixing my own would be just as good for the girls, I would do it. But you get so used to buying bags of mix and using that, you get into a routine and don`t want to change it incase it depletes what you feed. It`s probably just worrying over nothing (much like the dog kibble argument) but you never know what to do for the best really.

When I make a list of all the grains and seeds that mice benefit from, I can see how easy it would be to do a home-made mix and probably save money by doing it. :roll:
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I used to have show bantams and poultry mix has lots of different stuff in wheat,barley,oats not alot of corn in as you buy that seperate for scatter feeding and corn is what makes the egg yolk a nice deep orange colour.Alot of mice breedersuse poultry mix .The thing is RM such as Rabbit mix which I use too its meant for rabbits so alot will be left mice in the wild will eat poultry mix the kibbled maize I think are the large pieces of yellow corn that look like a gold tooth I wouldnt give mice those.At the end of the day you have too feedthe mice and you dont want alot of wastage unfortunately its difficult these days toknow if seeds vegetation etc has been genetically modified because its not always put on the label if its GM it should be but its not always I use this mix and there is never anything left I dont worry about the additives in bread they dont get alot of it anyway we can get over paranoid about feeding as long as the mouse is healthy dont change the diet mine are healthy and happy.
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