I say give them 3 full days before disturbing the nest. You could peek at day 2, but don't touch anyone!
Don't fully clean the cage until about 3 weeks. You can spot clean after a week, just don't bother the nest.
Use a TP tube to move mom out of sight of her babies before you handle them and make sure your hands are clean and rub them in bedding first before you touch anyone.
Make sure mom has plenty of food and water at all times.
You don't usually have to to be this super cautious with litters, but if you're nervous or if the mother's nervous it's playing it safe.
If you are super cautious with the litter they will be wild. The difference between regularly handeling pinkies and not handeling them is astounding. I ussually check on them on day 1, breifly hold them on day 2, and start daily one-on-one handling on day 3 (only a few minuts each untill they get fur.) Also, I clean out the entire cage after a week. Realisticly, if the does are comfortable with you, and they react badly to this, they should not be bred from.
I usually don't start really handling my bubs until they about 10-12 days old...I'll check on them and look at them before that, but find it completely unnecessary to handle them much before that. My current litter (Asplodamouse's litter) was barely handled except to glance at them and snap a few pics until 2 days before their eyes opened and they have completely skipped the hopper stage and are sweet as can be. You do NOT need to handle pinkies to end up with friendly mice. Handling them the couple of days before their eyes open and frequently afterwards is the key to friendly babies I do personally try to avoid cleaning the cage for a couple weeks though...I don't think its worth the stress on mom unless it is really gross.
With the ones I've fostered this week, they have been handled so much that I wonder if they will grow up thinking they are eepple!...OK I'll let that typo stand...heehee...and the littler ones born to one of the young does have been picked up, dragged around, moved in here...put back there....these two girls just don't seem to care. And the babies are all doing alright.
Things will be just fine; it is good to put your hand in and let the babies get your scent as early as possible, though. Give the mom a treat first so she doesn't try to make a snack out your fingers.
I've had the same experiences with both pet store (including litters IN actual pet stores) and well bred mice (the litter I have now is NOT from show mice btw)...has never made any difference if they were handled much, or at all, while they were pinkies....so long as they are handled the few days before and after their eyes open.
I agree with Stina. I didn't hold my first litter, or look at their nest until they were 6 days old and they all turned out fine, and they were pet store mice. I even notice it with my 2 litters I have now. One litter I got to handle the day before their eyes opened, the other was 2 days before. I went away for a weekend and came back and I could see a difference in how how the first litter acts versus the second. Not that big of a difference, but enough.
I believe that if you can manage it from 3 days on, that's good because they get used to being handled, but the most important time for socialization is right before their eyes open until weaning time. And of course after. Their little lives change entirely when their eyes open.
Thanks so much guys. I've been peeking into the side of the cage but not letting myself reach in. LOL. I am such a kid when it comes to this stuff. I want to see and touch! No sign of new life yet though. I am pretty sure there are a few days to go, still.
I was the same with my first litter and now with my second I want to handle them as much as I can. I have 14 babes in this 2nd litter and Mum is fed up so I Take 4 at a time out of the nest and hold them in my deep breast pocket of my pj's for 15-30 minutes each, enough time for Mum to feed the others without squabbles and keeping them warm and feeling safe at the same time...they are just 6 days old though and I think this may be a challenge when they find their hopping legs!