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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, sorry if the title isn´t the best, english is not my first language but I have a few questions.

A friend who is breeding feeders has been experimenting with mixing in wild mice to widen out the genepool (because we have very small breeding stock and it has been very difficult to aquire mice here at the moment. Importing is very expensive and difficult to get permisson and difficult to fulfill a home quaranty requirements (although not impossible, plan to do this one day)).
I am sure that many here are apposed to it but I would like to discuss it anyway.
I was a bit shocked at first to hear it because I care so much about the breeding stock here and also because this has been tried before, by a person I know, and after 7 generations the mice still had that crazy wild instinct so this was cancelled. Now this person has got I think at least 4 generations of mixed mice and some of them seem to be more calm, more like our pet mice, don´t jump away from you in panic (I am told, I have not seen them only 3 hyperactive stressed out once all in wild colour).

My question is, has anyone here tried this before?
If so, how many generation would you think is enough to get calm mice?
What could this do to a small breeding stock if these mixed mice were to be mixed in to it?

I must tell you that I am not so excited about this but it is ok as long as it is only with one person and not mixed with the rest of our small mouse breeding stock. But maybe I am ignorant and this is fine.
Would love to have any comments about this matter.
 

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Before you decide to throw the baby out with the bath water, read up on the silver fox program in Russia. There are some media clips on the bottom of this page:

http://www.sibfox.com/media/

You CAN get very tame animals with *very* selective breeding. Although, the only way to not get over run with 'failures' would be to cull heavily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
moustress said:
I have tried it, and it's just not worth the trouble.
How many generations did you stop at? just curious if it was past 7 generations :)

neurozool said:
Before you decide to throw the baby out with the bath water, read up on the silver fox program in Russia. There are some media clips on the bottom of this page:

http://www.sibfox.com/media/

You CAN get very tame animals with *very* selective breeding. Although, the only way to not get over run with 'failures' would be to cull heavily.
Thank you for that, very interesting and yes I would expect that, would need major culling which is then fine for a feeder breeder.
So it would help to inbreed the calmest wild mouses? :?:
 

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I don't know how long it will take but I have had a curious litter born to my dutch.I have one dutch doe no bucks,she's black and I thought I would cross her to a fawn buck to produce eventually fawn dutch.The litter are all fine and healthy but in just the one outcross they have reverted to wild type mice.In size and comformation you couldn't tell them from their wild cousins.Clearly no matter how much we've selected for breeding over many generations,natures always ready to step in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
that is interesting. The three mixed mice I have seen did all have the wild colouring but the body, eyes and ears were similar to/same as on our pet mice. Well, they were a little more gray than I have seen agouti on photos here, maybe that is the wild colouring in the mice here.
 

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I'm so glad you posted this! I have been wondering about all this for quite some time - I've even been trying to catch wild house mice, test them for diseases, and then attempt interbreeding. I do wonder if doing this would make the resulting offspring weaker in a sense, since it is the crossing of two subspecies (mus musculus musculus and mus musculus domesticus). I just find this whole topic quite interesting, though I certainly wouldn't 'add these mice' to my main stock, since I breed mostly for calm, people-loving personalities. ;)

Edit --- I just remembered that I read an article about this topic on a science website of some sort awhile ago, but I can't seem to find the full-text article again. Here is the abstract, though: http://www.jstor.org/pss/49973. I find it truly fascinating. :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
haha wow that link you gave me, thank god it was not the full-text article because I had a hard time reading this abstract! I think my english isn´t as good as I thought, so many big words lol, didn´t understand anything really. :oops: except this sentence: ,,For the first time in any natural hybrid zone we found an increased developmental stability in the populations with mixed genomes."
Maybe my friend who is doing this experiment will be able to read it better.

Here is a little text, put in bold the words I don´t understand....does everyone here understand this all or am I alone? :doh
I think I really need a dictonary

Developmental stability reflects the organism's ability to buffer minor developmental accidents and is often estimated by measuring the fluctuating asymmetry. Either implicitly or explicitly, numerous authors have assumed that developmental stability is correlated with overall fitness. If this is the case, changes in morphological asymmetry across a hybrid zone could be used as a measure of the selection on hybrid genomes. Developmental stability in hybrid populations is theoretically related to the genetic distance between hybridizing taxa, and results from a balance between the stabilizing effect due to increased heterozygosity and the disruptive effect caused by breakdown of genomic co-adaptation. Here we have compared the amount of fluctuating asymmetry across a transect of the hybrid zone between the two European subspecies of the house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus and M. m. musculus) in Denmark. For the first time in any natural hybrid zone we found an increased developmental stability in the populations with mixed genomes. Moreover, the apparently beneficial effect of hybridization on the developmental stability of the hybrid mice contrasts with the results of both genetic and parasitological studies which show that hybrid dysgenesis occurs in this zone. Our results suggest that the barrier to gene flow in the Mus musculus hybrid zone may result from the disruption of relatively few gene systems. They also lead us to reassess the relation between developmental stability expressed as fluctuating asymmetry, coadaptation and overall fitness.
But yes I think this is interesting topic expecially if we find out that this is maybe a good thing which could help small breeding stock in remote islands like mine.
 

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Health wise, it would help. No questions asked. If you use healthy mice, it will strengthen the gene pool- but only by the same effects a true outcross would. If you are breeding a variety that is dependant upon inbreeding, then you will only set yourself back. If you are looking to infusing health, and are willing to work very hard to restabililze type and coats, then it is a viable option.

Personally, I would breed wild mice in the same way the bred the foxes. Keep them as wild as possible. Only breed the tamest adults, and cull all pups that are the least bit skittish. DO NOT *try* to tame them- just breed the ones that *are* (naturally) the tamest. (Sit out where you can watch them in the daytime, seem to adjust better to living in a tank, ect) I would *not* inbred this population, as that would limit how genetically healthy they would be. (and that is the whole point) When you finally get mice that are easy to handle, I would breed into your fancy mice. It is easier to cull animals you have no genetic use for, then to breed a wild mouse to a show mouse and have a whole litter that cannot be touched (and have colors you want to keep). At this point you would have all the genetic bonuses without any of the spooky-ness of wild mice. Keep in mind, this is a *huge* project- and would work better if you got other breeders to do it as well- you would have to be very committed.

It might be easier to ship mice in...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
neurozool said:
Health wise, it would help. No questions asked. If you use healthy mice, it will strengthen the gene pool- but only by the same effects a true outcross would. If you are breeding a variety that is dependant upon inbreeding, then you will only set yourself back. If you are looking to infusing health, and are willing to work very hard to restabililze type and coats, then it is a viable option.

Personally, I would breed wild mice in the same way the bred the foxes. Keep them as wild as possible. Only breed the tamest adults, and cull all pups that are the least bit skittish. DO NOT *try* to tame them- just breed the ones that *are* (naturally) the tamest. (Sit out where you can watch them in the daytime, seem to adjust better to living in a tank, ect) I would *not* inbred this population, as that would limit how genetically healthy they would be. (and that is the whole point) When you finally get mice that are easy to handle, I would breed into your fancy mice. It is easier to cull animals you have no genetic use for, then to breed a wild mouse to a show mouse and have a whole litter that cannot be touched (and have colors you want to keep). At this point you would have all the genetic bonuses without any of the spooky-ness of wild mice. Keep in mind, this is a *huge* project- and would work better if you got other breeders to do it as well- you would have to be very committed.

It might be easier to ship mice in...
I understand. What you say makes very much sense, try not to tame them but just breed naturally tamest once, of course!

I am planning to import mice when I can, hopefully within a year but I am not sure so then this is not so neccisary. But since there is a need for feeder mice my friend is trying this out, so looks don´t really matter there. Plus we don´t have show mice here, only regular fancy?/pet mice.

But I would like to keep our mouse stock pure so I will not use these wildmixed mice but since I was asking for information for my friend (who will maybe singnup since I told him that this place is ok for feederbreeders) I just was wondering for the future if we could use these mixed mice if we need to (for ex. if we can not import for some reason for some years (which I do not expect)).

Maybe another breeder would be willing to be a part of this project but I do not know anyone else who would yet, me for ex. really don´t like wild mice, they are just too crazy and stressed out for me...but maybe someone else will :) perhaps some reptile owner since mice are now so rare it is very difficult to get food for reptiles. I just like to breed mice because I think they are awesome and so pretty :mrgreen:
 

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If your culled 'wild' mice will be food, just make sure they are dead before they are put with the reptile. Tame mice can hurt a snake/lizard- I don't want to think what a wild one would do.

That would be a good outlet for the culled 'un-tame' mice, and if you ever did need a shot of health to your show mice, you should have tame 'wild' mice at that point. Once they have been bred for tameness, you could always breed for larger ears, better tail set, ect. Who knows, by the time you need them, you might have some good traits! I would devise a test for mice of different ages so you know which to cull. Pinkies that do not react with loud noise, hoppers that show less fear, adults that do not hide/bite. I would take it in small steps, but give the same standard to everyone that helps out. If you all cull and keep the same types (personalities) you should end up with the same type mice.

Before you start breeding though, I would get live traps and get as many mice as possible (that you can house) One per tank. You can get wire mesh and make a tunnel that is just narrower then a cardboard tube inside the paper towels. Seal one end of the metal mesh and have some way to seal the other (but be able to re-open). Set up enough tanks (not cages) with mesh lids for each mouse. Dump all traps into a tank and put a tube in with the mesh tunnel inside it. MAKE SURE TO WEAR THICK LEATHER GLOVES! They jump like crazy, so watch out. I recommend a 20 gallon Tall tank. A mouse will run in the tunnel and you close it. You can pull it out to see if you can sex it, and treat it for mites. You can spray though the mesh. Put one mouse in each tank.

You will need to keep them separated until you know they are healthy, and can sex them 100%. You will then want to let them get use to being keep in tanks, and decide who is the tamest. I would use ear holes to keep track of who is who. That can at least get you started. Just make very sure they are healthy before you start breeding, and make sure you sex well. Although the females should be keep together- I would not put a buck in with a colony as you will not know who's pups are who's and it would be harder to keep track of the program. I would remove the female you want to breed and put her with the male for 3 days, then place her back with the colony. A solid tunnel with seal-able ends would work well for this.
 

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Mymouse, I'd definitely help you if you didn't live so far away! :lol:

neurozool, thank you so, so much for all that information! I'm going to bookmark this page so I can keep referring back to it. I only have one little problem - I live in a very rural area and have never seen or heard from any of my friends that there are House Mice around here - only Deer Mice. I've caught a couple of the Deer Mice before and made sure to use extreme caution (I even wore a surgical mask!) when releasing them back into the small forest behind my house (as I was not looking to catch Deer Mice, obviously). We have a ton of farmlands around here, so I used to be so sure that there were House Mice somewhere around here.. but I've had absolutely no luck.

Since I live a half hour from Boston (in which I KNOW there are House Mice, I've seen em!), I could easily drive there and place my live traps, of which I have three Victor-type ones. The real problem is.. where do I place them? I'm apprehensive about placing them near dumpsters or restaurants because I'm afraid of catching ones that have Salmonella or something else. Do you have any advice on the actual catching of them? That must sound like such a silly question! I'm absolutely going with your advice once I'm able to catch some, though, since it seem you really know your stuff! :D
 

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Empty houses would be good. I would put a bunch of mouse food in a house you have access to (in the corners) with some bedding and come back a week later and set up the traps along the walls...of you can find a way to keep the traps open- put the food in there with the bedding, and a week later make the traps 'live' so that when they come back- you catch them.

Were you wanting to breed them to your fancy mice? If not, you could always breed and tame deer mice the same way. Do you catch deer mice in your home? Oh, and you don't need to wear a mask when handling them. You can only get Hantavirus from large quantities of dried urine. If you are finding them in your home, I would wear a mask when cleaning that area- but the mouse itself is fine. :)
 

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I want to actually catch m. musculus musculus (ie. wild house mice) to integrate into my breeding program for the sake of hardiness in the long run. ;)

However, funny you should mention deer mice.. I set traps around the outside of my home last night in hopes that maybe, just maybe, I'd catch just one wild house mouse. To my surprise (well, sort of), I caught two baby deer mice! They are so cute, I can't stand it! :lol: Do you know anything about domesticating deer mice? I'm not so sure I can let these little guys go again.. *clings*

I believe they are only about 3 weeks old - fully furred, eating chewable foods, probably just weaned or in the process of being weaned.. they let me pet them, but they don't like being held (they jump!). :X I definitely have been wearing gloves and all, but oh my goodness.. such sweethearts they are. We haven't had any mouse infestations in our home, but years ago my parents put all these glue traps around the basement and attic..

..a few months ago, one of my fancy mice actually got stuck in one! Thank god I got her off of it (with veggie oil.. and she has since had a beautiful litter and is thriving wonderfully).. there is very little that enrages me more than the horror of glue traps..

My point is this - I really want to catch wild House Mice - not Deer Mice - but all that live around here are the Deer Mice. I know that if I drive about a half hour away, there are a bunch of House Mice (in Boston!), but I just wish it were easier, plus I don't want anyone taking my mouse traps. :evil:

Your advice sounds like a great idea, though! I actually do know of a few abandoned buildings nearby, but I tend to think that if anything, they'd have only Deer Mice living in them.
 

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How about placing a craigslist ad for Boston? Someone might catch you some and you could pay a small finders fee. I would make a note that it is not for snake food though!

Look here for deer mouse info (I love this site!) http://mouseranch.com/
 
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