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Need some advice regarding Male Mice living together..........

Hi all,

I am desperate for a bit of advice.

I wondered if anyone had been able to get an intact male mouse to live with neutered male mice?

I have two gorgeous boys who are neutered and live together really happily. I also have a third boy (Bilbo) who was supposed to be neutered but was poorly during the week of the op so his had to be cancelled. He has continued to have some health problems, so in the end it's been too risky to have him done and he has been living on his own.
The boys are all brothers and did originally all live together but began arguing as boys do. 

Little Bilbo definitely isn't happy on his own and its breaking my heart, I was wondering if anyone had tried to introduce an intact male to neutered males and if they had any luck getting them to live together.
I am really tempted to try to introduce Bilbo to his brothers again, but I'm worried that he will just start to bully them and then going back on his own will be even worse for him? 

Sarah x
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  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,293

    Hi Sarah, it`s always worth considering  especially as you already have the other two brothers neutered. However.... it`s not guaranteed success and the single boy still has all his scruples, if you know what I mean, so may cause the trouble if there is going to be any. On one hand it sound`s like a no brainer, but on the other hand, you don`t want any upset or injury to any of them, especially the pair living well together. It`s a shame your single boy was ill that week he was meant to have the same op done.

    This is not something I have ever done myself so I need to let members who have had neutered males answer this for you. The whole point of neutering males is usually so they can have female company, but not always. It`s one of those `suck it and see` questions, but obviously you need to know your boy`s attitudes and behaviours and determine which (if any) might cause any problems. Introducing any mice to each other is usually always done in a small space until they `bond`, or seem okay together. It`s when they are placed back into a cage with familiar toys and surroundings that can cause them to start bickering, so all accessories and anything they can hide in needs to be removed.

    You may end up just having to accept he`s an entire male and not cause your other two any stress by trying introductions, but obviously your trying to overcome that. When two males live together and one passes on, if one is neutered and introduced to an older un-neutered male, this could also work, but obviously that means playing a waiting game. The outcomes are unknown, but I hope someone can re-assure you. x


  • AnnBAnnB Mouse
    Posts: 1,013

    Racingmouse has some good advice. I took on two brothers (one of whom was neutered) but I hadn't carried out the re-introduction myself. I found it quite worrying because the entire male, although smaller, would sometimes pick on the neutered male. They always slept together though and I managed to keep them together.

    I also had a group of elderly neutered males and an entire male who had also become elderly, I just decided one day to pop him in with the neutered group and they were absolutely fine together.

    I don't think you have anything to lose by trying them together, I wouldn't think Bilbo would feel worse if he had to be split from the others again (in his own mind he'd probably feel that he'd managed to scare the rivals away). I would definitely allow yourself plenty of time to keep an eye on them if you do decide to introduce them.

  • CritteryCrittery Overlord
    Posts: 274
    As above, it's definitely possible - but tricky! You'd need to keep a very careful eye on them, and never do full cage cleans. From what I know of keeping boy mice happy, it's best to only do that in halves. Its worth a try as it would be his best option in terms of companionship, I believe.

    If it doesn't turn out well, there are other options for Bilbo - as multimammate mice can live safely with intact fancy males without interbreeding. This tends to be done in a intact male -> 2 female multimammates most commonly.


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  • WheelsWheels Lemming
    Posts: 4
    Thank you so much for your good advice everyone. It's really encouraging that it could be possible, it's going to all be down to Bilbo bum I think x

    I think the best thing to do is just try them together and see what happens. I have my suspicions that they will seem fine to start with, but bullying may start over time, although Bilbo does have a very sweet nature and wasn't one of the trouble makers when they originally lived together.

    It would be so amazing for all three of them if it worked out though so I think it's worth giving it a try. I just think I will need to be super vigilant to be safe.

    Is it best for me to strip the boys cage down to a bare minimum with no levels to start with?

    I will do the introduction on neutral territory, but then they will all go into the boys cage if it goes ok. 

    Do you think it would help if I did it a few days after they have been cleaned out so the cage really smells of them and not Bilbo, or do you think it would be best to give the cage a good clean and start all three of them in neutral smelling surroundings?

    Sarah x
  • AnnBAnnB Mouse
    Posts: 1,013

    If you're doing the initial intro on neutral territory then I'd be tempted to completely clean the neutered boys' cage too.

    I wonder what would happen though if you tipped the contents of the neutered boys' cage into Bilbo's cage for a few days so that he got used to the smell and even started to smell like them. Then put him into the cage of neutered boys?

    I'm not experienced enough at male mouse intros to give you much guidance I'm afraid.

  • zany_toonzany_toon Mouse
    edited November 2015 Posts: 631
    Wheels said:

    Thank you so much for your good advice everyone. It's really encouraging that it could be possible, it's going to all be down to Bilbo bum I think x


    I think the best thing to do is just try them together and see what happens. I have my suspicions that they will seem fine to start with, but bullying may start over time, although Bilbo does have a very sweet nature and wasn't one of the trouble makers when they originally lived together.

    It would be so amazing for all three of them if it worked out though so I think it's worth giving it a try. I just think I will need to be super vigilant to be safe.

    Is it best for me to strip the boys cage down to a bare minimum with no levels to start with?

    I will do the introduction on neutral territory, but then they will all go into the boys cage if it goes ok. 

    Do you think it would help if I did it a few days after they have been cleaned out so the cage really smells of them and not Bilbo, or do you think it would be best to give the cage a good clean and start all three of them in neutral smelling surroundings?

    Sarah x
    Go neutral all the way :) Even neutered boys will start a fight if their territory is being invaded and if the cage still smells of them it will likely be them that will attack Bilbo (not always, but my neutered boys have been more defensive of their territory than my entire boys.)

    I think I'm probably the only person who routinely gets males neutered just so that they can live with another male :P I've only had three introductions go badly out of over a dozen now - one of them went badly because it turned out the entire boy was ill with a tumour :( and the other two were because the neutered boy's hormones hadn't died down enough. I reintroduced that neutered boy with an entire boy on Friday with no problems :) I've even had a group of 6 neutered boys stay together, and at the moment I have an entire boy with a pair of neutered boys :) I would say it is far easier keeping them together if they are an entire and neutered boy mix, but it does depend on the introductions - and boys tend to react very quickly at the introduction stage if anything is going to go wrong. With the three failed ones I had the boys attacked one another the second I put them in the cage together. Just to be safe though, I'd wait until you have a full day to watch them before you do it and keep a towel and a spray water bottle next to the cage so you have a way of separating them if they start a proper fight.


    I tend to treat intro's between entire and neutered males exactly the same way as introducing female mice. Do it in a smaller cage (if you normally use vanilla essence for this then do it with the boys, I treat mine for mites so that I kill two birds with one stone - no mites and the boys smell identical :P ) that is new to them all and only give them bedding, a water bottle and some scattered food. If that goes well and there is no fighting then you can move them up a cage. I tend to introduce toys slowly as well - Mercury and Fozzie (the boys I introduced at the weekend) got a cardboard box on Saturday night and a wheel last night and they won't get anything else now until the end of the week :) Ann's trick of mixing the cage contents might help  with the intro's if you swap Bilbo and the boys bedding around a few days before the actual introduction. As for afterwards I've found that if they are doing well and not fighting then you can do full cage cleans just as you would do with female groups. I've only had to do partial cage cleans in groups of male mice that are all un-neutered.

    And just to show how I intro - Mercury (grey agouti boy) and Fozzie (the ginger and white boy) in a tiddly little cage (excuse the water bottle!!)
    image


    And here they are last night:
    image

    I hope that helps a bit - I know there are multiple ways of doing things like this and everyone has a way that works for them, but that's how I put my boys together :)
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,293
    Roz, you have done very well with your males, Mercury and Fozzy look fab together! Small space, slow introduction of other bits and pieces and keeping a close eye on them 24/7 where possible. x
    Thanked by 1zany_toon
  • WheelsWheels Lemming
    Posts: 4
    Thank you so much for all your good advice. 
    I have taken the plunge and did the introduction yesterday!! 
    Initially all three were a bit worried and a bit wary of each other. They just have a bed and some scattered food at the moment so they were just wandering around eating and having sneaky looks at each other. 
    They all wanted to go for a sleep after a while but didn't want to all be in the bed together so they had a couple of silly squabbles about that. It didn't seem that anyone was particularly trying to claim ownership of the bed though. it seemed like they just didn't feel comfortable all being in there together.
    Their squabbles seemed very minor aswell, it was literally just a little push, a squeak and then run off in different directions. There was no real aggression there or biting so I persevered and just kept monitoring them.
    They seemed to be ok all through yesterday evening, although I was a little bit worried as they seemed to just be avoiding each other, however I am thrilled to bits today as they are all snuggled in the bed together and have been all morning. 
    I will keep a close eye on them and know that things could still go wrong over the next few days, but so far so good.
    I will be such a happy mouse mummy if they carry on like this, it all looks positive at the moment so fingers crossed. xx
    :D
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,293
    This is really positive wheels, pleased to hear that. The main thing is to keep things simple for as long as it takes as adding new things or interfering with their current vibe could scupper things, but hopefully after perhaps another week or two, you can relax a bit more. Boys are notorious anyway for not getting on, but there are exceptions, so fingers crossed for your three boys. x
  • AnnBAnnB Mouse
    Posts: 1,013
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you, sounds really positive so far.
  • WheelsWheels Lemming
    Posts: 4
    Little Bilbo has been worried, but he also seems a bit excited so I really hope they do carry on being nice to each other. He will be so much better off with some chums, he was really worrying me.
    The other two boys Howard and Raj (from the Big Bang Theory) X( aren't massively impressed that all their home comfort's have been removed. They had a lovely hanging bed and one of those big sterile branch's that you get in reptile shops, plus wheels and all sorts of great bits and bobs.
    Now they have one plain straw nest, all their food on the floor and a weird little person has invaded X(
    I was thinking of maybe doing partial cleans for a while at least, and if they carry on doing OK then I will add one item a week maybe as long as it doesn't seem to upset anything.
    I'm so relieved they didn't just instantly hate each other but don't want to get my hopes up too much as I know what little idiots boys are with each other! 8-|
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,293
    I know, it can be hit or miss even at this stage. But things sound stable without escalating, so keep watching the behaviours and interactions. Little tiffs and squeaks are normal, but bullying and constant chasing or actual attacks....I would worry about. Obviously you don`t want any injuries occurring. Trying to think `mouse` can be dangerous! x
  • zany_toonzany_toon Mouse
    Posts: 631
    It sounds like it has been going really well so far, but I think partial cage cleans might be a good idea if you are finding they are having little tiffs and squabbles still. They are still doing really well though :D
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