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Unexpected litter

Hi there.

The back story to the above is in intros but the upshot is we have bubs! I have 3 mice all roughly 2-4 weeks apart in ages and I'm fairly confident all female.

The babies arrived 18 days after the first 2 mice came home and while there is a slight possibility that one of the other 2 is male, 1 arrived too late to be guilty and 20 days before birth mum was in a cage with multiple baby boys so it would be a bit contrived to assume that Dad coincidently came back with us. As I didn't see the birth and the 'sister' is working as a full time nanny I've left be.

I've read up online and returned to the shop for top up advice. I know pet shops are controversial but this shop plays an active role in our local community, it wasn't done thoughtlessly on my part. The pet shop owner tried to be helpful but I'd read the same here as he said and while he offered for me to take vitamin drops, a second cage etc FOC - and offered to rehome babies (declined) I already had the things he suggested.

The babies were first seen Tuesday evening and as the nest has a perspex top I think we saw them fairly early. The youngest of the 3 mice is the only one still coming out to play. Bear (90% sure is mum) and Laura (younger) are sharing duties and while both have been out and about they seem to take shifts and return promptly.

So here goes my questions! :

Our cage has a snap on nest that sticks out the side http://www.petdelights.co.uk/hamster-cage-3-storey-in-3-colours/ but with 4 stories not 3! This has meant I've caught glimpses of the bubs due to the see through nest top but it also means to access the babies later for taming I'll have to snap the box off and snap it open - both of which are quite intrusive and I rarely subject adult mice to it. I'm inclined to leave them be till 9 days when I would like to take advantage of nipples to sex the youngsters. I've done some reading about handling, play pen away from babies for adults etc but obviously the specifics of their nest isn't something I can find online.
Any advice welcome!

I'm not intruding at all at present and we have stopped handling the adult mice - this is partly because they've been in the nest so much. Up to the arrival of bubs I was doing what we did with the previous mice, slowing training for them to come out if they want rather than being lifted and for 2 out the 3 it was going fine but all are now declining. I would like some human scent to be on the adults prior to handling bubs at 9 days and also not to just have all 3 mice untame.
Any advice welcome!

Last of all I haven't even been able to count bubs as the nest has not been empty of care givers. Those I've seen look strong and vibrant to me - not that I have much experience to go on with mice but nothing is worrying me, nothing looks smaller etc. I think there are only 3 or 4 - I realise there may have been more but it is what it is at present and I'm glad it does not appear to be a large litter for a young mum.
Is there anything I need to do differently?

Comments

  • _AnnB_AnnB Legacy
    Posts: 161
    I don't have much experience of breeding but I would try to avoid upsetting mum by completely changing the cage in the babies' first week. However, if the bar spacing is greater than 7mm on your cage, I think you're going to need to change cages by the time the babies come out of the nest to explore (at around 11-14 days?) as babies are prone to squeezing through bars. The other possible problem will be a build up of condensation inside the nest with so many mice in it so you'll want to keep an eye on that/possibly provide a second nest.

    I've found that the sooner babies are handled, the more tame they become. Some breeders handle them from day one but I prefer to leave it for a couple of days. I completely understand your decision to leave them even longer (especially if mum isn't used to being handled) but the babies will be more inclined to try and leap out of your hands, the longer you leave it.

    If it turns out to be a large litter, mum might also benefit from some extra protein in her diet.
  • What do you think their chances are?
  • I hope it goes well for you. We didn't dare go near the litter we had a while ago until they were 9 days old, they all settled into handleable mice though, just one or two were (and in one case is) a bit harder to pick up than the others.

    Some people keep boys together with success, I can just freely admit that our attempts failed miserably I'm afraid lol
  • Well it's been an exciting day here. Bear (mum) has moved the pups to the top floor hut, we got to watch her carry 3 of them up. The nannies appear to have declined to follow - maybe they need to catch up some sleep!

    I'm happier that she's now in the airier hut but am still not inclined to disturb them just yet, I don't want her to take them back down to the small plastic bed that was overcrowded.

    Our donated gerbilarium arrived and has been spring cleaned and left to rest for pet disinfectant to fade. I feel sad as no matter what I do preventing access to the bars means that they'll have a few weeks with much less luxury of space than they're used to. We have lots of toys to put in though.

    If I dangle toys from string would bubs be able to rope climb to the barred ceiling? My good cages are weanling proof so it'll only be 20 days or so in the tank.
  • Thank you to everyone for responding. I've felt much happier being able to get opinions. I haven't seen the babies since mum moved them and I'm hoping that they're ok. If I thought I had access problems before - I have even more now!

    I'm thinking of transferring them to the tank as I've made an accessible bed and TBH, since bar size was mentioned it's played on my mind a bit. As I've been gifted a gerbilarium it seems nuts not to use it. It's less roomy but only for a few weeks and I'll put in small boxes to make different levels maximising the space available.

    I'm going to start a new topic for the cage move because I imagine I won't be the last to think about moving a nest and the title wouldn't give much of a clue!
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