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Winning back Ursula's trust

So as I've shared before, one week after I brought home my precious baby mice, one of them got an awful ear infection. I administered oral antibiotics for four days, and now she is all better! Hurrah! But, she is fearful (understandably: she now associates hands with being taken out of her cage and being force fed nasty chemical liquid [if only I could tell her it was life saving!]). This is doubly sad as she was so friendlt and loved being handled before the ear infection.

So I'm now trying to win back her trust, slowly. I felt like last night was a breakthrough: she nibbled a cheerio from my fingers through the cage, and licked a little peanut butter off my fingers.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? I'm of the opinion that I'm just happy she's alive and well, and handling her would be a bonus: but I would like her to not be scared of me.
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Comments

  • AnnBAnnB Mouse
    Posts: 962
    I had a really strange experience with one of my old mice. She was always an extremely friendly mouse, really outgoing but one day she became really frightened of me. I had no idea what I'd done wrong but I'm very happy to say she was soon back to her normal friendly self. It's also worth noting that illness itself can play a part, my old cat developed a tumour which affected his character.
  • MouseLoverMouseLover Lemming
    Posts: 188
    I had a similar experience after force-feeding a mouse antibiotics for a respiratory infection. She was probably only 10 weeks old at the time. She ended up hating me, and would even nip me when I tried to hold her.

    The good news is, it was only temporary. I kept giving her treats and being gentle and patient with her. Eventually she forgot all about that nasty medicine and became very friendly. I'm sure your little one will come around in time :)

    Glad to hear she's all better now!
    Hamster: Archie
    Mice: Honey, Violet, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.
    Rainbow Bridge: Daisy, Peach, Ivy, Penelope, Hazel, Ruby, Clover, Peanut, Minnie, Ginger
  • HoyleKingdomHoyleKingdom Lemming
    Posts: 31
    Thank you both. Tonight she boldly took a pumpkin seed from my hand (and then scurried away with it) which felt like progress. What I do find interesting is that last night she was all about the cheerios, and tonight only a pumpkin seed could tempt her! (I'm a little worried I'm over-treating them whilst i'm training them :s)
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    edited September 2016 Posts: 1,229
    Try breaking the treats into smaller pieces rather than feeding the whole pumpkin thing/seed? If it`s a green colour, that`s the seed itself. If it`s white, that is the shell and needs to be broken off and the green seed is inside!

    It`s all about allowing them to regain that trust and it will happen, as you have witnessed. They just have to re-establish that. Mice are intelligent so they are fast learners. My wee Russian hamster has been taken to the vet this morning to have his teeth checked having barely been handled and already he`s taking food from my hand, so they do tend to have that fight or flight thing going on and then they settle again.

    Glad to hear the Baytril had the desired affect having only used it for four days?
  • HoyleKingdomHoyleKingdom Lemming
    Posts: 31
    Good tip on chopping the pumpkin seed in half Racing mouse.

    She had some sort of injection at the vets, which helped immediately (no more horrid barrel-rolling, I cried every time she rolled like that). Vet said four days (eight doses), but we gave her one extra one (to compensate for the our lack of technique in the first few doses!)
  • zany_toonzany_toon Mouse
    Posts: 631
    I have only one suggestion and found it has worked with just about every mouse I have had - malt paste. It is a high calorie treat, but as it's a paste you can literally just smear the tiniest amount in your hand or on your finger and mice often spend ages licking it off which gets them used to being close to you :) It's really good for hiding medicine in as well once mice get used to it :) getting them used to being near you like that you can then sit and talk away to them to build up them getting used to your voice again and then slowly getting them used to you touching them :) I hope that helps, I've used it for taming some of my most nervous mice :)
  • HoyleKingdomHoyleKingdom Lemming
    Posts: 31
    I can't say I'd heard of malt paste before, but I just googled it and it seems to be the go to tempting snack for rats! I'll give it a go on the squeakers. Octavia loves peanut butter, but I try to give her only tiny tiny amounts as I've heard it's really bad for them and they can choke if you give them too much. Are there any health warnings with malt paste?
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,229
    Malt paste or peanut butter when administering Baytril can be handy tools! These can mask the bitter taste although small animals do seem to know when food is tainted with something! I think malt paste is mainly for animals like rats or ferrets? Havn`t used it myself but hey, if it works....
  • HoyleKingdomHoyleKingdom Lemming
    Posts: 31
    So I've bought the malt paste .... It says for ferrets - probably fine for mice but is this what you've used zany_toon? Racingmouse: we tried putting the medicine in peanutbutter, but she knew it was a trick! She now won't go for peanutbutter beacuse of the association I think.
  • AnnBAnnB Mouse
    Posts: 962
    Yes, you've bought the right malt paste - it's marketed for ferrets. I do find mice can gag a bit when scoffing it down so it's as well to only give a tiny amount. I hope it works.
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,229
    Or....my trick of breaking off a small piece of McVities Rich Tea biscuit, wet it (or leave it dry, doesn`t matter)and drop the baytril dose onto the broken end of the biscuit. Let it soak in and leave it in front of mousie. They usually can`t resist! Rich tea biscuits go down well with my hamster too....they must be a miracle food for small animals in emergencies! X(
  • HoyleKingdomHoyleKingdom Lemming
    Posts: 31
    Wow - ok, so Ursula LOVES malt paste! I am so pleased - she now comes to the bars of the cage when she hears human voices! We've been putting the tiniest smudge of a finger and she busily licks it all off! I've had my hand in the cage and she's put an investigatory paw on my hand whilst licking of the magic malt paste. So pleased with this little mouse's progress! Hurrah for malt paste!
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 816
    I was first told about malt paste on here and have used it for taming ever since. Its great stuff!
  • zany_toonzany_toon Mouse
    Posts: 631

    Wow - ok, so Ursula LOVES malt paste! I am so pleased - she now comes to the bars of the cage when she hears human voices! We've been putting the tiniest smudge of a finger and she busily licks it all off! I've had my hand in the cage and she's put an investigatory paw on my hand whilst licking of the magic malt paste. So pleased with this little mouse's progress! Hurrah for malt paste!

    Sorry I didn't manage to answer your question about whether you had the right stuff, but I'm glad that Ursula loves it so much :D It's my go to treat for mice that need tablets or that are tricky to get medicine into as there aren't many of them that seem to be able to resist it :P If she's coming right up to you already I'd say start moving the bit of malt paste right into the centre of your hand and it will encourage Ursula to come right up and sit on you - it's not a treat she can run off with so most mice seem to want to get as close as possible to it :P (and just as an added bit of information, it can be really useful to help put weight on a mouse that's not been very well
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 321
    I found malt paste made by Beaphar - is this the one? Just to check - it says it has milk and milk derivatives. Is this ok for mice I thought they shouldn't have dairy?
    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley.
    Never forgotten fancy girl mice Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex, wild mice Harry Houdini and Little Wills
  • zany_toonzany_toon Mouse
    Posts: 631
    Sarahnash said:

    I found malt paste made by Beaphar - is this the one? Just to check - it says it has milk and milk derivatives. Is this ok for mice I thought they shouldn't have dairy?

    Yep, that's the one :) Mice can be lactose intolerant, which can cause minor doses of the runs but they rarely need more than a tiny bit of malt paste :) Even the smallest of smears on your finger will have them running over :P A tube can last me a month or two between all my rodents, my cat and my pup (who both like a sneaky lick :P ) getting some every night, but it could easily last longer than that as I'm far too generous!! It can also help with keeping them "regular" as they get older as the oils in it are good for their intestines and help things move through quickly :)
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 321
    Ah ok thanks zany. Sorry to hijack your post hoylekingdom, and welcome BTW!
    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley.
    Never forgotten fancy girl mice Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex, wild mice Harry Houdini and Little Wills
  • HoyleKingdomHoyleKingdom Lemming
    Posts: 31
    Progress! Ursula has gradually been licking malt paste further and further up my hand. Last night, she climbed onto my hand with all her paws! I slowly lifted her out of the cage and we had a good few minutes of handling her. She was quite nervous though: didn't want to explore my hands stayed quite still (I don't know if that's classics worried nouse bahviour, but it's v. different to Octavia: who loves scurrying and exploring our hands and arms). I hope she will trust us enough to try again: she is such a gorgeous mouse.
  • AnnBAnnB Mouse
    Posts: 962
    Good news, sounds like you're making progress. She should, in time, learn that handling is nothing to be feared.
  • zany_toonzany_toon Mouse
    Posts: 631
    Well done on your progress with Ursula :D That's fab news :) I wouldn't worry too much about her staying still though, some mice are just like that. I've had several over the years, and one just now, who just plonk into my hand and stay put so Ursula may well be the same :)
  • HoyleKingdomHoyleKingdom Lemming
    Posts: 31
    More Ursula updates: she is completely wonk-less! She is getting used to being handled, but I wonder if anyone else has had a mouse that is unsteady on their hands? Octavia has no problems balancing and crawling on our hands, but Ursula feels different as she keeps her tummy quite close/low on my hand (like she has a low center of gravity?) Do you think this is a symptom of her past ear infection, or do different mice just sit/scurry differently? H xx
  • AnnBAnnB Mouse
    edited October 2016 Posts: 962
    Great news about Ursula's improvement. Are you lifting your hands up when holding her? Most of my mice have been a bit nervous of being up high on anything but if she still feels unsteady when your hands are resting on a table or something similar, then perhaps it is the result of her ear infection.
  • zany_toonzany_toon Mouse
    Posts: 631
    I'm so glad that Ursula is doing better and now wonk-less, that's fab news :D I can't add to anything that Ann has said, but it really is great that she is well again :)
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