It depends on the mom. If she trusts you and is very calm, you may be able to hold them on the first day, but you should probably wait until they are 2-4 days old. If the mom is nervous and jumpy I would wait for 5-6 days and seperate her. Make sure you make your hands smell like the bedding so the mom won't smell you too much.
I handle babies 3 days after birth. Make sure you take Mom out and put her in a different room so she can't smell or hear you mussing with her pups. Wash your hand before you handle them. Scoop them out and hold them for a minute...not much longer...pinkies get cold really fast. Then put them back as close to as possible as how you found them. Wash your hands again and return Mom to the tank.
If you're breeding mice that will be bred from themselves, you should be able to handle from day one. I handle all of my mice from day one, as do many other folks here. If the mice eat their babies because of human touch, they don't have the required level of docility that good pet mice should have. And cannibalism is often inherited.
I spoke to the guy in our local petshop yesterday (really good shop) and he said strictly no handling pinkies til they're 14 days old and their eyes are open, yet everywhere i've looked on the net says around 4 days of age. so naturally this confused the hell out of me. mum seems to be ok when i go in the cage to check the babies, she doesn't act stressed. just comes up for a sniff and a tickle then goes for something to eat.
I always handle mine from day one, I don't usually bother removing the mother. My doves are so laidback :lol: The abyssinian mothers have been a bit more skitty, but I just put them in a little tank while I have a look. I've never had pinkies munched on after handling.
I've never had trouble handling mice from the very beginning. Once I picked up my pregnant doe, then realized that she was giving birth! She had 16 babies, nothing wrong with them. About canniblism, though, how old are the pups before there's little chance fo cannibalizing? I've had trouble with moving mothers and the mothers eat the babies, or some of them, but it doesn't seem to happen after their eyes are open?
I typically wait till I can see some kind of markings on them. That way, their eyes are still closed, but they are a little bigger than "newborns". I love when I open a tote and you can see the one on top has a little color to it... its like a treasure hunt to see what you will get. That's just how i do things.
I usually handle mine on day 3 or 4. only for a few seconds, after rubbing my hands in the bedding so they smell of mum. Then each day increasing the time i handle them by a little at a time. I'm lucky so far as all my does are really nice natured and aren't too fussed if i'm busy with their babies. xxx