Free Web Hosting Provider - Web Hosting - E-commerce - High Speed Internet - Free Web Page
Search the Web

:: Mouse ::
Is my mouse pregnant?
A mouse will start to show around 15 days; she will be a bit bulgy around her midsection. After the 15 day mark she will get noticebly bigger and bigger. Other signs include: fanantic nest building, hoarding food, nervous behavior, and a change in normal routines. Some mice show these signs, others do not. Click here for a picture of a pregnant mouse, before and during.

Care for the mom
Make sure she has planty of food and water, maybe even more than you would estimate she would need in a day. Fattening foods are good for milk production, as well as extra calcium. A liquid multivitamin drop in the water bottle is good too.

Labor and birth
Labor can last anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours. Make sure not to keep checking in and disturbing the mother as she has her babies. This can cause her to feel threatened and perhaps to even eat the litter. She may end up burying the babies in the litter of the cage to keep them out of the light - don't worry, this is normal. You'll usually know that she has given birth when you hear little squeaks coming from the nest. With my mouse, there were no squeaks, but some blood on her nesting material. She had a smaller sized litter, so there were enough nipples for all the babies, so there wasn't much squeaking. The blood I found was a rare find - mice usually eat everything that gets blood on it.

Babies
Day by day comparison

Mice can have up to 20 babies per litter (and in some extreme cases, more than that!). Make sure you have a plan for any mice that you may breed. If you can't keep them all, try getting friends to adopt some, and if you run out of friends, there's always the pet store, but MAKE SURE to check with the manager that they won't be sold as feeders, but as pets.

(The babies on the left are 2 days old)
When the babies are born, they are referred to sometimes as "pinkies". They are about the size from your last joint in your pinkie finger to the end. They are blind, deaf, and hairless when born. After about 5 days, they will start to develop pigment in their skin, and after 10 days will start to open their eyes and start the road to full development.
Do not disturb then for a couple of days after the birth, as again, this can threaten the mother. Some people who have great relationships with the mom can check up on them on the first day, but if you are worried, leave them be for the first few days.
After at least the 5th day you should be handling the new mice. Make sure to handle them every day so they get used to being held and so they will develop into nice tame mice who aren't afraid of their owners.

Handling the Babies
By the 5th day after the babies have been born, you should be handling them. They are small, so if you are afraid of hurting them try scooping the babies out with your hand, maybe bringing some litter with you. Make sure your hands aren't too cold, and never grab legs, hands or tail, just scoop.
If the mother is being over-protective about you handling her pups, get her out of the cage first, place her on your shoulder, then take out some of the babies, so she can see what you are doing with them. If she still gives you a hard time, or she isn't much for being held in the first place, you can place her in a seperate cage while you take out the babies. She should get over this overprotective-ness after the babies have been weened. Many mice won't exhibit this behavior anyways.

(The babies on the left are 10 days old)

The "Flea" stage
Anywhere between 10 and 23 days, your babies will enter what is referred to as the "flea" or "popcorn" stage. The babies will be jumping around, regardless of their safety. They will have no fear of heights, so be very careful with them at this point, as they will jump right out of your hand onto the floor. Try holding them inside the cage, but if they are being good, ;) , you can try holding them outside the cage, but do so over a bed, couch, or at the very least a carpeted floor, so if they do manage to jump out of your hand they will have a soft landing. Between 3 and 4 weeks this behavior will slow down and stop.

Seperating the babies
Once the mother has weaned all the babies, at about 4-5 weeks, you should begin seperating the boys from the girls, otherwise you will have a population expolsion. At this age the boys will have testicles showing, and before this, when the mice are beginning to get their fur in, is a good time to sex the females as their nipples can be seen. But don't wait until all the fur is in otherwise they will be covered up..

(the mouse on the right is 5 weeks old)

When a mouse eats her litter...
When a mouse eats her litter, or any of the babies, she will usually do so within the first 3-4 days. although it could still happen up to 2 weeks after birth. She's not doing it because she is a bad or evil mom, she knows best.
The litter or a baby could have been born stillborn, had something very wrong with it that would make it unable to live long, or she could have had too large of a litter, and was sizing down the litter so they wouldn't all starve.
She also may do this because she felt threatened by something she felt wouldn't allow her litter to survive. This is why it is important not to bother her while she is giving birth, or immediatly after she has given birth.
I've read sometimes that first time mom's get carried away when eating the placenta, and just don't stop, but it sounds like this is fairly rare.
Also, if she didn't have adequate water and food supplies, she could see that as a threat to the litter's survival.
The reason she actually eats them instead of abandoning them is because by eating them she will "re-use" their nutrients, and also mice don't like having other dead mice in their tank...I know, it sounds very morbid.
By talking to one experienced mouse owner, I was told that in her opinion about 5% or less mother's eat their litters. If your mouse seems happy and well adjusted, the litter will probably be alright.
If you have a mouse that has eaten two litters already, it would be best not to breed her anymore, as this can also be a genetic trait that any survivors may adopt.

These photos courtesy www.jenmarie.itgo.com - check out that site for even more great photos of babies from day one on...

day 1

day 2

day 3

day 4

day 5

day 6

day 7

day 8

day 9

day 10

day 11

day 12

day 13

breed food housing toys images