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Hi everyone,

Another in my series of 'newbie questions'!

Just wondering what your 'top 5' tips for keeping mice would be (like avoiding common mistakes; things that beginners should be aware of). There are quite a few books available but I know there is a lot of expertise here on the forum so I want to make the most of it!

Many thanks :)

Beth
 

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I am by no means an 'expert', but from personal experience can tell you the things that pop into my head....

In no particular order:

-QUARANTINE(!) if/when you add new rodents (if you already have existing rodents)
-wash your hands after being exposed to/handling other rodents (pet stores, shows,etc.) and wait 3 hours (I believe this is the acceptable amount of time for SDA(?)) before returning home to your rodents.
-make sure there is always clean water available
-keep them away from drafts and from direct sunlight or excess heat
-feed a balanced diet and note foods that can be hazardous
a sixth thing that springs to mind is just a general practice I use. When spending time with my mice and handling them, I always check them over for any oddities: lumps, bumps, bites, dirty vents (diarrhea), discharge from eyes or nose, etc. Also that they are just generally acting 'themselves'. Once you become acquainted with them, you will notice their own little personalities and should be able to tell if they're acting off.
 

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if you are getting them for pets don't get males.
don't get adults either,5 or 6 weeks is ideal.
I know thats not five.
 

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Again in no particular order:
- Use a non dusty absorbent bedding such as Aubiose (helps avoid resp infections and problems caused by damp)
- Feed a good quality balanced diet, not a ready made mix (avoids cancer causing preservatives like ethoxyquin and stops them eating the equivalent of junk food all their lives)
- Never keep a doe on her own (can cause stress/psychological problems)
- Make sure your mice are tame so you can handle them regularly and/or check their health as needed
- Make sure they are not allowed to overheat (mice can handle cold much better than heat)
 

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the pine and cedar ones are interesting.Would they be labelled as this?Are they wood chips or shavings or sawdust.Which animals are they promoted as a bedding for?
 

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Laboratory tests have shown that cedar shavings are toxic to respiratory systems and the liver and kidneys and that rodents, when they have a choice, won't even step on it. I think pine has been tarred with the same brush for little reason, as I've never seen a problem in animals kept on that (assuming that pine is the normal softwood shavings you find in the pet shop, they don't tell you what it's from).

I kept my rats and mice on wood shavings for 10 years until I got into the rat fancy about 9 years ago and the first breeder I had rats from told me that I could only have rats from her if I switched from wood shavings to hemp or something. So I did and I switched the other animals too as it was easier to buy one type of bedding, but I have never seen a difference in their health. My mice are back on unscented wood shavings now as I've found it's the best at keeping odours down and it's lovely and soft. I believe odour control is the single most important thing when choosing a bedding as urine fumes are much more dangerous than anything else.

Mice are very easy to keep healthy on the whole. My top 5 tips are: 1. feed them a simple diet that meets their needs, 2. keep their houses clean and smelling fresh, 3. make sure they don't overheat in the summer, 4. keep the ladies in pairs or groups, and 5. give them hay to nest in as they'll eat it and keep their tummies in good order, and it'll groom their coats as they move through it. Oh, and 5a. if you're giving them hay keep a sharp eye out for symptoms of mites and spray them and their cage as soon as you suspect they might be infected.

Sarah xxx
 

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Here in the US, pine and cedar wood shavings are the most common things you will find available for bedding for everything, including small animals. Pine was found to have similar harmful oils as cedar, just not quite as concentrated and harmful, but not good nontheless. We also have aspen shavings, which are deemed safe, and what I use. They are very soft and absorbant. They work very well.
 
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